A Readjuster Sighting

I came across my first reference to the Readjusters in a textbook. Of course, it’s Eric Foner’s, Give Me Liberty: An American History:

“For nearly a generation after the end of Reconstruction, despite fraud and violence, black southerners continued to cast ballots. In some states, the Republican Party remained competitive. In Virginia, a coalition of mostly black Republicans and anti-Redeemer Democrats formed an alliance known as the Readjuster movement (the name derived from their plan to scale back, or “readjust,” the state debt). They governed the state between 1879 and 1883.” (p. 651)

Textbooks are clearly reflections of the time in which they are published. As part of my own research on the Readjusters and William Mahone I surveyed 15 textbooks published for use in Virginia between 1900 and 1940. Only 4 mentioned Mahone and/or the Party and the analysis in each emphasized the dangers of black political control.

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