The Dunning School
From the late nineteenth century until World War I, a group of Columbia University students gathered under the mentorship of the renowned historian William Archibald Dunning (1857--1922). Known as the Dunning School, these students wrote the first generation of state studies on the Reconstruction -- volumes that generally sympathized with white southerners, interpreted radical Reconstruction as a mean-spirited usurpation of federal power, and cast the Republican Party as a coalition of carpetbaggers, freedmen, scalawags, and former Unionists.
Edited by the award-winning historian John David Smith and J. Vincent Lowery, The Dunning School focuses on this controversial group of historians and its scholarly output. Despite their methodological limitations and racial bias, the Dunning historians' writings prefigured the sources and questions that later historians of the Reconstruction would utilize and address. Many of their pioneering dissertations remain important to ongoing debates on the broad meaning of the Civil War and Reconstruction and the evolution of American historical scholarship.
This groundbreaking collection of original essays offers a fair and critical assessment of the Dunning School that focuses on the group's purpose, the strengths and weaknesses of its constituents, and its legacy. Squaring the past with the present, this important book also explores the evolution of historical interpretations over time and illuminates the ways in which contemporary political, racial, and social questions shape historical analyses.
historians, race, and the meaning of reconstruction
John W. Burgess, godfather of the Dunning school / Shepherd W. McKinley
William Archibald Dunning: flawed colossus of American letters / James S. Humphreys
James Wilford Garner and the dream of a two-party South / W. Bland Whitley
Ulrich B. Phillips: Dunningite or Phillipsian sui generis? / John David Smith
The steel frame of Walter Lynwood Fleming / Michael W. Fitzgerald
Ransack Roulhac and racism: Joseph Grégoire de Roulhac Hamilton and Dunning's questions of institution building and Jim Crow / John Herbert Roper Sr.
Paul Leland Haworth: the "black republican" in the old chief's court / J. Vincent Lowery
Charles W. Ramsdell: Reconstruction and the affirmation of a closed society / Fred Arthur Bailey
The not-so-strange career of William Watson Davis's The Civil War and reconstruction in Florida / Paul Ortiz
C. Mildred Thompson: a liberal among the dunningites / William Harris Bragg
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
Sc E 14-144
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