Those Terrible Carpetbaggers

Current, Richard Nelson
Date published: 
June 1988

This book is a major reinterpretation of what has long been considered 'the most disgraceful' element in the Reconstruction of the American South after the Civil War - the Northerners called 'carpetbaggers' who came south to run the government of old Confederate states under the aegis of Federal troops. These carpetbaggers were supposed to be inept, unfeeling and corrupt. The author has examined the careers of ten carpetbaggers and discovered they played a much more positive and creative role than they have been given credit for, though there was ineptitude and corruption in places. The 'carpetbaggers' were aware of the plight of the newly freed black slaves and res ponded positively to their needs. The narrative is put into the larger context of Congressional politics and the history of individual Southern states during the period 1865-1877.