Radical Reconstruction and Re: Peter Camejo

Richard Fidler rfidler at cyberus.ca
Thu Jul 10 12:36:22 MDT 2003

Just to confuse things further, there's a very good book on Radical
Reconstruction by... Peter Camejo. Yup, the Green socialist in

Racism, Revolution, Reaction, 1861-1877: The Rise and Fall of Radical
Reconstruction [Monad Press (Pathfinder), New York, 1976].

>From the introduction:

This book had its origin in a series of lectures delivered at a Young
Socialist Alliance educational conference at Oberlin, Ohio, in the
summer of 1974. It is only a partial contribution towards a full
analysis of Radical Reconstruction, which in itself would be but part of
a needed Marxist analysis of the second American revolution as a whole.

This work does not offer any original research. The information
contained in it is taken from the books, pamphlets, and articles listed
in the bibliography. Only its interpretation of the data is new. In one
sense it is a defense of the contributions made by C. Vann Woodward in
his Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 and Reunion and Reaction, since
its thesis is based on Woodward's important factual findings. The book
concentrates on explaining why Radical Reconstruction began and
especially why it was overthrown. The first two chapters present the
historical background against which these events took place.

Although much of the factual information used in this work is taken from
the school of the self-styled revisionist historians, I reject their
claim to have disproved the basic outline of Charles and Mary Beard and
Howard K. Beale's economic determinist interpretation, which was so
illuminating despite its one-sidedness.

My goal has been to bring together in an integrated interpretation what
others have seen as separate and unconnected developments in the United
States between 1861 and the 1890s. This picture in turn has been placed
within the broader international view of the meaning of the second
American revolution best expressed in the articles of George Novack in
America's Revolutionary Heritage and his book Democracy and Revolution.
Unfortunately the contributions of this outstanding Marxist scholar are
not well known among academic historians.


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