In the Election of 1872 the conflict between President U. S. Grant and Horace Greeley has been typically understood as a battle for the soul of the ruling Republican Party. In this innovative study, Andrew Slap argues
forcefully that the campaign was more than a narrow struggle between Party elites and a class-based radical reform movement. The election, he demonstrates, had broad consequences: in their opposition to widespread Federal corruption, Greeley Republicans unintentionally doomed Reconstruction of any kind, even as they lost the election.
Based on close readings of newspapers, party documents, and other primary sources, Slap confronts one of the major questions in American political history: How, and why, did Reconstruction come to an end? His focus on the unintended consequences of Liberal Republican politics is a provocative contribution to this important debate.
Slap offers an engaging and well-researched narrative that differentiates between the prolonged evolution, development, and political machinations of the liberary republican movement and the Liberal Republican Party.
. . . A fine and necessary study.
—The Journal of Southern History
For a nuanced treatment of how liberal Republicans' beliefs evolved and drew on classical republicanism, and a clear narrative of the tangled intrigues in the Cincinnati convention, [Slap] can't be bettered.
—Civil War History
Slap joins a growing company of historians who take seriously the ideas and beliefs espoused by political actors.
—American Historical Review
Slap's study focuses on a small, elite political group using mainly manuscripts and newspapers.
. . . An important addition to literature on Reconstruction.