Portrait of a Radical Republican
dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Tue Sep 9 07:54:31 MDT 2003
It appears to me that this portrait does nothing other
than confirm in the life of one individual the rapid
transformations of the bourgeoisie's interests in the
pre-during-after Civil War periods. In short it confirms
and illiustrates in the case of the individual what we
know and always have known about the class-- the bourgeoisie
are always the bourgeoisie, radical or conservative are
manifestations based on historical needs, to be jettisoned
when the defense of property requires one, or the access
to markets and expanded reproduction requires the other.
Villard goes from being a Unionist, associated with "radical,"
abolitionist publications, to post civil-war, a Unionist working
for the railroads, pocketing money from securities sale and
the exploitation of labor, indentured and unindentured. And
at the time of his death, he is even more conservative, protect-
ing his accumulated propety from reform legislation.
And this is supposed to prove what? That abolitionism never
existed? That radical Republicanism was never a powerful force
at a specific moment in US history? That you can't trust the
If I have the sequence right, the bourgeoisie represented by
Villard go to war after the South secedes, wins the war by
freeing the slaves, secures its unimpeded access, its "Manifest
Destiny, to bridge the continent, and then ruthlessly exploits
labor, indentured and otherwise, in the service of this ex-
pansion. And so I might ask, "Who's surprised? Try telling
me something I don't know."
I might ask Lou to suspend his stricture about "not showing
dms anything," and show me his explanation for the Civil War,
his analysis of the driving forces, his explanation as why the
North was forced to emancipate the slaves.
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