November 17, 2006 Scholar to Speak on Republican Party and Reconstruction on Dec. 11

Charles W. Calhoun To Discuss His New Book About the Republican Ideological Underpinnings of Reconstruction

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Charles W. Calhoun, professor of history at East Carolina University, will discuss his new book, “Conceiving a New Republic: The Republican Party and the Southern Question, 1869-1900,” at noon on Monday, Dec. 11, in the West Dining Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

A book signing will follow the presentation, which is part of the Books & Beyond author series sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The Library’s Manuscript Division, home to the presidential papers of 23 American presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley, is cosponsoring the event. The program is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are required.

As the 2006 election saw a change in the political landscape, with the Republican Party ceding control of Congress after 12 years, so too did the election of 1874 usher in changes in Republican electoral fortunes, with the party yielding control of the House of Representatives after 16 years in power. Seen as the symbolic end of the Reconstruction period, 1874 is a watershed in Calhoun’s study, which “examines the ideological struggle among Republicans as they labored – and eventually failed – to reinvent the American Republic.” Using a wide array of published and primary sources, Calhoun argues for a reinterpretation of this controversial era in American history, one that he says saw Republicans abandon the struggle for civil rights for African-Americans.

Calhoun received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his master’s and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has produced several books on late 19th century American history, including “The Gilded Age: Perspectives and the Origins of Modern America” (2006), “Benjamin Harrison” (2005) and “Gilded Age Cato: The Life of Walter Q. Gresham” (1988), plus numerous scholarly articles and reviews.

The Library’s Manuscript Division, formally organized in 1897, is one of the nation’s preeminent repositories of original documents relating to American history and culture. The division’s holdings include more than 11,000 collections containing more than 58 million items. For further information on its collections, research and exhibits, visit

Established in 1977 as a public-private partnership, the Center for the Book uses the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books, reading and libraries. For information about its activities, national reading promotion networks and publications, and to view more than 60 of the public programs it has presented at the Library since 2000, visit


PR 06-216
ISSN 0731-3527