Redeemers to Northern capitalists: Come on down!

“The Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction, sealed the alliance between Northern and Southern conservatives and ratified the shifting emphasis of Northern policy from the political and missionary to the economic and exploitative…..

“Northern capital could not have moved so swiftly through the South had it not been for the collaboration of Southern business elites. The men who ‘redeemed’ state governments from carpetbag rule were eager to play the role of junior partner in the lumbering, railroad, textile and other industries….

“Their rhetorical devotion to the ‘Lost Cause’ and the supposed glories of the old order were the syrup that made the medicine of modernization go down. As early as the summer of 1877, when railroad strikes threatened to rip the Northern class structure apart, Southern publicists saw their opportunity. The Raleigh Observer addressed the ‘panic-stricken, mob-ridden States of the North,’ promising that ‘Money invested here is as safe from the rude hand of mob violence as it is in the best U.S. bond.’ ”

— From “Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920” by Jackson Lears (2009)

 

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