Book Review of Radical Reform: Interracial Politics in Post-Emancipation North Carolina

Document Type

Book and Media Review

Publication Date



Review of: Radical Reform: Interracial Politics in Post-Emancipation North Carolina. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011. x + 298 pp. $45.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8139-3002-2; $45.00 (e-book), ISBN 978-0-8139-3052-7.

Excerpt: Historians working on post-Civil War North Carolina have struggled to explain the relationship between two complementary issues. First, the state’s vibrant antebellum two-party political system continued into the Civil War. Even as Confederates decried the influence of partisanship, many North Carolinians’ prewar political sensibilities persisted and formed a relatively competitive two-party system. Second, a strong state Republican Party emerged by 1868 and continued into the 1890s when it cooperated with Populists to wrest control over the state from the Democratic Party. What has troubled historians of post-emancipation North Carolina is the relationship between this wartime political system and the later “fusion” of Republicans and Populists in the 1890s. Deborah Beckel attempts to explain these developments in Radical Reform.[...]