HISTORY

How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America

Oxford Univ. Apr. 2020. 264p. ISBN 9780190900908. $27.95. HIST
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The United States was founded on a paradox in which equality depended on the inequality of race, class, and gender. Conversely, wealthy white men, in order to reassert oligarchic rule, have used the language of freedom to convince themselves that if people of different races or classes enjoyed the same rights, or if women developed more political authority, it would undermine the very freedoms upon which America is built. In clearly written prose, Richardson (history, Boston Coll.; To Make Men Free) argues that the appeals to freedom and rights used today are the same as those used by Southerners prior to the Civil War. The main difference is that women and people of color are now full members of society. Employing an array of sources, the author traces the history of inequality from the U.S founding through the election of President Trump, paying special attention to westward expansion and the ongoing influence Southerners had on national politics and government.
VERDICT Those interested in American history, politics, and its historical development will find much to enjoy in this well-written, argued work.

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