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Part III: Texas in Civil War and Reconstruction

Edited by Richard B. McCaslin, Donald E. Chipman, and Andrew J. Torget University of North Texas Press PDF

Landholding in Brazos County, Texas:

Frontier, War, and Reconstruction

Carl H. Moneyhon


ne of the most persistent historical questions concerning the

American Civil War and Reconstruction is what impact the war and the end of slavery had on local elites in the South. The answer to that question has varied. Some historians have seen relatively little change, while others have perceived a more radical transformation.1

As historian James Roark points out, however, resolving these interpretations is difficult because of the narrow geographic focus of most of these studies.2 Further, most of these studies have concentrated particularly on older plantation communities. The following study seeks to expand our knowledge of the war’s impact by examining a different type of community, a frontier county of the Confederacy—Brazos County, Texas. It does so by exploring what happened to the local elite between 1850 and

1874. This investigation assesses their position every five years during this period, looking also at their persistence as members of the local elite from point to point.

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Part V: Texas and the Twentieth Century

Edited by Richard B. McCaslin, Donald E. Chipman, and Andrew J. Torget University of North Texas Press PDF

Investing in Urban: The Woman’s

Monday Club and the Entrepreneurial

Elite of Corpus Christi, Texas1

Jessica Brannon-Wranosky


ewly urban areas in the South, around the turn of the twentieth century, promised opportunity to thousands of people looking to make their mark. Spread across the region, cities sprung up in areas where plantation and ranching agriculture was once the primary path to regional influence. Like most of the South, Corpus Christi in

1900 was surrounded by a mostly rural landscape, but a growing class of optimistic urban social elites believed that a different future lay ahead for the small seaside city. Middle class by national economic standards, this group included the town’s leading lawyers, storeowners, doctors, and bankers. As a group, they wielded much influence, but it was the women among them, including their wives, who made some of the greatest strides in the early Progressive-era reforms in Corpus Christi.2

Very few families in the area, except ranch tycoons like the Driscolls,

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Part IV: Texas and the New South

Edited by Richard B. McCaslin, Donald E. Chipman, and Andrew J. Torget University of North Texas Press PDF

The Roots of Southern Progressivism:

Texas Populists and the Rise of a

Reform Coalition in Milam County

Gregg Cantrell


n the introduction to his 1997 book, Grass-Roots Reconstruction in

Texas, Randolph B. Campbell noted that although Reconstruction had been the subject of intense academic scrutiny at the state and national levels, few scholars had “sought to determine how the issues of the era came home to people at the local level.” Campbell’s point about Reconstruction holds true for the subject of this essay: the political circumstances that gave rise to southern progressivism. In the past half-century, scholars have thoroughly delineated the contours of the region’s progressive movement from a policy standpoint. They have pointed out that while southern progressivism shared many features with its national counterpart, the movement in the South possessed certain regional characteristics that limited the scope of its reform, most notably that it took place within the newly solidified one-party system and that it would be, in the famous phrase of C. Vann Woodward, progressivism “for whites only.”1

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Editors’ Preface - Richard B. McCaslin, Donald E. Chipman, and Andrew J. Torget

Edited by Richard B. McCaslin, Donald E. Chipman, and Andrew J. Torget University of North Texas Press PDF

Editors’ Preface


his volume reflects a shared debt that many of us owe to the scholarly work of Randolph B. “Mike” Campbell. Among those whose work intersects with Texas, there are few whose legacy and influence loom as large as Campbell’s. Over the course of almost fifty years, his books, essays, journal articles, and public lectures have painted a nuanced portrait of the Texas past that has become a model for the field. Perhaps just as important, Campbell’s work as a teacher and mentor to both students and colleagues, and his leadership in shaping public memory throughout the Lone Star State, have embodied the ideal of what it means to be a professional historian. The essays presented here reflect the breadth and depth of his profound influence on the field, his colleagues, his students, and our modern understanding of the history of


Campbell’s career can, perhaps, best be understood as a bridge between two edges of the American South: Virginia and Texas. As he often points out, Campbell was born in Nelson County, Virginia, where he grew up in the rural, segregated South. His father toiled at various odd jobs to support his family—“working for a living,” as Campbell says— and he encouraged his son to get an education. When Campbell began taking classes at the nearby University of Virginia (UVA), his mother often sat with him in history courses, and she urged him to pursue graduate work in the field. After earning his doctoral degree in history from UVA in 1966, Campbell left Virginia for his first full-time job at North Texas

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Part I: Texas Identity

Edited by Richard B. McCaslin, Donald E. Chipman, and Andrew J. Torget University of North Texas Press PDF

Texas Identity: Alternatives to the Terrible Triplets

Walter L. Buenger

For more than a century Texas historians have nurtured three competing views on Texas identity. These terrible triplets, now well into a vital and vigorous old age, have a family resemblance and a similar effect on the study of the state. One stubbornly insists that Texas remains and always has been unique and exceptional. Another brusquely argues that Texas, at least since the early 19th century, has been southern and nothing except the 19th century matters much anyway. The third chimes in, often petulantly, that no, Texas has always been and remains western. A case can be made for all three positions, but not for all people and all times in the

Texas past. All three share the family traits of obscuring as much as they reveal, of being excessively focused on the period 1820–1900, of being inspired by present realities, and of ignoring change over time. Most terrible of all, the cacophony the three raise has grown boring and shows little promise of leading to fresh insights about the Texas past.1

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