Too Great a Burden to Bear

9780823268757: Hardback
Release Date: 1st July 2016

9780823271764: Paperback
Release Date: 1st July 2016

9780823268764: EPUB
Release Date: 1st July 2016

9780823268771: PDF
Release Date: 1st July 2016

Dimensions: 152.4 x 228.6

Number of Pages: 320

Series Reconstructing America

Fordham University Press

Too Great a Burden to Bear

The Struggle and Failure of the Freedmen's Bureau in Texas

This work focuses on Bureau agents at a more personal level. The answers illuminate who officials believed qualified–or not–to oversee the freedpeople’s transition to freedom. Officials in Texas desired those able to meet emancipation’s challenges. That meant northern-born, mature, white men from the middle and upper-middle class, and generally with military experience.
Hardback / £116.00
Paperback / £33.00
EPUB / £37.00
PDF / £37.00

In its brief seven-year existence, the Freedmen’s Bureau became the epicenter of the debate about Reconstruction. Historians have only recently begun to focus on the Bureau’s personnel in Texas, the individual agents termed the “hearts of Reconstruction.” Specifically addressing the historiographical debates concerning the character of the Bureau and its sub-assistant commissioners (SACs), Too Great a Burden to Bear sheds new light on the work and reputation of these agents.

Focusing on the agents on a personal level, author Christopher B. Bean reveals the type of man Bureau officials believed qualified to oversee the Freedpeople’s transition to freedom. This work shows that each agent, moved by his sense of fairness and ideas of citizenship, gender, and labor, represented the agency’s policy in his subdistrict. These men further ensured the former slaves’ right to an education and right of mobility, something they never had while in bondage.

Christopher B. Bean is Assistant Professor of History and Native American Studies at East Central University, Oklahoma.

Rooted in bureau, census, and
military records, Bean’s research is
nothing short of exhaustive...this is a
solid study—accessibly written and
deftly argued.

—Dr. Brlan Matthew Jordan
Civil War News

Christopher Bean's Too Great a Burden to Bear makes a significant contribution to Reconstruction studies. Deftly combining storytelling with systematic quantitative analyses of the evidence, Bean offers new information, not just on the agents themselves, but also on the largest issues in Reconstruction historiography.

—J. William Harris

Steeped in Reconstruction historiography, Bean's work aims to replace stereotypes of agents as either occupying carpetbaggers or corrupt and colluding oppressors of freedpeople.

Journal of Southern History