“In this unique perspective on Reconstruction, the political scientist Forrest Nabors offers new insights on how the Republicans of the Civil War era drew upon their portrayal of the conflict between freedom and slavery as a struggle between republicanism and oligarchy to shape their program of Reconstruction.”—James McPherson, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History, Emeritus, Princeton University, author of The War That Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters
“This path-breaking, passionately argued study frames Reconstruction rightly for the first time since Reconstruction itself. Returning to what politicians North and South actually said and did, Forrest Nabors shows how the Confederacy masked a regime of oligarchy with such slogans as “States’ Rights” and the “positive good” of slavery. He further shows how Reconstruction aimed to settle the Civil War by restoring the rebel states to the genuine republicanism they had espoused during the American Revolution and had pledged to honor in the Constitution's republican Guarantee Clause.”—Will Morrisey, author of Self-Government, the American Theme: Presidents of the Founding and Civil War
“When I picked up Forrest Nabors’ new book and started reading it, I could not put it down. It is a masterpiece—forceful, persuasive, and enlightening in the extreme. It is not only the best book ever written on Reconstruction, it will also transform everyone’s understanding of the character of the Old South, the origins of the Republican Party, the path to secession, and the roots of Jim Crow. It will be the starting point for all future scholarship on these subjects. American history textbooks will have to be rewritten to take into account the lost and largely forgotten world that it illuminates – and scholars will discover just how much we could learn if we were willing to set aside the prejudices of our own time and reconsider past developments from the perspective of Aristotelian political science.”—Paul Rahe, Professor of History, Hillsdale College, author of Republics Ancient and Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution
“In this vibrantly provocative new book on Civil War and Reconstruction America, Dr. Nabors recaptures an understanding of the history and culture of the American South that is largely unfamiliar to Americans today -- and which will likely be disturbing to many -- Northerners and Southerners, alike. According to Nabors the key to understanding the antebellum South and the Civil War is not slavery per se, but the anti-republican ethos that permeated the beliefs, habits, and way of life of the Southern oligarchy and set them at odds with not only Northerners, but middle class, poor, and enslaved Southerners as well. Nabors' recounting and analysis of the crisis of the American house divided may remind Americans today of the dangers of a nation whose citizens are so radically and exigently divided amongst themselves.”—Colleen A. Sheehan, author of The Mind of James Madison: The Legacy of Classical Republicanism
“Forrest Nabors has performed a tremendous service. Aided by Aristotelian regime analysis, he uncovers—or recovers—an understanding of ‘the supreme cause’ of the American Civil War. Delving deeply into original source material (especially the speeches and writings of the Republicans who served in the Reconstruction Congresses), Nabors establishes that the ‘irrepressible conflict’ should be understood, and was understood at the time, as a conflict between oligarchy and republicanism.
“This landmark contribution ought to reshape our understanding of the Civil War, the difficulties and failures of Reconstruction, and the Guarantee Clause of the Constitution. Nabors listens, philosophically, to historical actors, and thereby achieves a fuller understanding of the motive force behind the perversities of racism and white supremacy.”—Diana J. Schaub, Professor of Political Science, Loyola University Maryland
“Argues that the Confederacy was in fact an oligarchy—a nation ruled by a small group (wealthy slaveholders)—and that the goal of the Civil War and Reconstruction was to return American governance to a true Republic, ruled by representatives of all the people. Highly recommended.”—Midwest Book Review
“It is a masterpiece, and it is going to have an immense impact.”―Ricochet.com