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"For a generation, scholarship on the Reconstruction era has rightly focused on the struggles of the recently enslaved for a meaningful freedom and defined its success or failure largely in those terms. Summers goes beyond this vitally important question, focusing on Reconstruction's need to form an enduring Union without sacrificing the framework of federalism and republican democracy. This book offers a fresh explanation for Reconstruction's demise and a case for its essential successes as well as its great failures. Indeed, this book demonstrates the extent to which the victors' aims in 1865 were met--and at what cost"-- Provided by publisher