James Ford Rhodes: Difference between revisions

Copperhead father; Slavery issue
(Copperhead father; Slavery issue)
 
==Early life and education==
Cleveland was a center of the Western Reserve, heavily settled by New Englanders like his parents. His father Daniel P Rhodes was a Democrat and a friend [[Stephen A. Douglas]]. He opposed the Lincoln administration during the Civil War; Rhodes said he was a "[[Copperhead (politics)|Copperhead]]." That cause problems for his sister, who was finally allowed to marry the up and coming [[History of the United States Republican Party|Republican Party|Republican]] businessman [[Mark Hanna]]<ref> Thomas J. Pressly, ''Americans Interpret their Civil War'' (1954) p 169.</ref>
Born in Ohio, Rhodes attended [[New York University]], beginning in 1865. After graduation, he went to Europe, studying at the [[Collège de France]]. During his studies in Europe, he visited ironworks and steelworks. After his return to the United States, he investigated iron and coal deposits for his father.
 
Born in Ohio, Rhodes attended [[New York University]], beginning in 1865. After graduation, he went to Europe, studying at the [[Collège de France]]. During his studies in Europe, he visited ironworks and steelworks. After his return to the United States, he investigated iron and coal deposits for his father.
 
==Career==
In 1874, with his father, Rhodes started in the iron, coal, and steel industries at Cleveland. Having earned a considerable fortune in this business, he retired in 1885.
 
Rhodes moved to Boston for access to its libraries and supportive intellectual community. He devoted the rest of his life to historical research and writing United States history. Wrote was never politically active, any bounce between the two major parties in the reconstruction era he generally supported the Republican Party, but opposed by separate. In the 1880s he was a [[Bourbon Democrat]] who supported Grover Cleveland and favored low tariffs, despite his own connection with the iron and steel industry. Supported William McKinley in 1896, and Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. In 1912 he supported Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat. He Supported Wilson's position in support of the league of nations. Rhodes told his grandson that he started life" as a strong Democrat, then became a strong Republican, then a lukewarm Democrat, and now I suppose I am a lukewarm Republican." <ref>Pressly, ''Americans Interpret their Civil War'' p 171.</ref> His gyrations are important because one of the strongest features of his multi-volume history is the valuation of both political parties, written from a generally neutral position that sees both strengths and weaknesses in each party.
Rhodes moved to Boston for access to its libraries. He devoted the rest of his life to historical research and writing United States history. His brother-in-law was [[Mark Hanna]], a leader of the [[United States Republican Party|Republican Party]]. Rhodes developed his own political viewpoint.
 
His major work, ''History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850'', was published in seven volumes, 1893–1906; the eight-volume edition appeared in 1920. His single volume, ''History of the Civil War, 1861-1865'' (1918), earned him a [[Pulitzer Prize]] in History that year. (This work is available online at [http://www.bartleby.com/252/ ''History of the Civil War, 1861-1865] (1918).)
 
Rhodes focused on national politics. Working from primary sources of newspapers and published memoirs, Rhodes reconstructed the process by which major national decisions were made. He evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of all the major leaders. Rhodes emphasized that slavery and the anti-slavery movement were the chief causes of the Civil War. He detailed what he classified as corruption in the [[Reconstruction era of the United States|Reconstruction]] Republican governments in Washington, D.C., and the Southern states. He said that granting of unqualified suffrage to blacks after emancipation was a mistake and added to the problems during Reconstruction. Rhodes's interpretation of the role of slavery strongly influenced intellectual opinion and historiography. Unlike the first generation of historians, who had been personally deeply committed on the slavery issue, Rhodes approached it dispassionately. He argued that slavery indeed was the main cause of the war. What he meant was an abstract political-economic system that law voters and politicians into position. He paid relatively little attention to slaves themselves, focusing on how the politicians and the foreigners used the issue to their advantage. He argued:
: The judgment of posterity is made up: it was an unrighteous cause which the South defended by arms; and the tribunal of modern civilization, Calhoun and Davis must be held accountable for the misery which resulted from this appeal to the sword.<ref>Pressly, ''Americans Interpret their Civil War'' p 173.</ref>
By misery he referred to the casualties, deaths, and hardships during the war, not to be miseries of the slaves before the war. He argued it was an irrepressible conflict, that is an inevitable war by December 1860 that perhaps could have been delayed, but would happen sooner or later.<ref>Pressly, ''Americans Interpret their Civil War'' p 173.</ref> For Rhodes, slavery was practically the only cause of the war, and he ridiculed "[[Lost Cause]]" Southerners who justified rebellion as an exercise of the right of revolution in the face of Yankee oppression. He rejected the Calhoun notion of state sovereignty. The issue, he argued, was at the South fought to extend slavery – an institution condemned by ethics, Christianity, and the modern world.<ref>Pressly, ''Americans Interpret their Civil War'' p 172.</ref>
 
==Reception==
*[[Oxford University|Oxford]] and several United States universities gave him [[honorary degree]]s.
*[[James Ford Rhodes High School]] in Cleveland was named for him.
==Bibliography: Books by Rhodes==
 
==See also==
*[[James Ford Rhodes High School]]
 
==References==
{{Reflist}}
* Cruden, Robert. ''James Ford Rhodes: The Man, The Historian, and His Work'' (1961)
* [[Mark Anthony De Wolfe Howe, Jr.|Howe, M. A. De Wolfe]]. ''James Ford Rhodes: American Historian'' (1929)
* Raymond Curtis Miller. "James Ford Rhodes: A Study in Historiography" ''The Mississippi Valley Historical Review,'' (1929) Vol. 15, No. 4, 455-472 [http://www.jstor.org/stable/1897881 online at JSTOR]
* Lynch, John R., "Some Historical Errors of James Ford Rhodes" ''The Journal of Negro History'', vol.2/4 (October 1917).
 
==Books by Rhodes==
* ''History of the Civil War, 1861–1865'' (1918), one-volume version; Pulitzer Prize [http://www.bartleby.com/252/ online]
* ''History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 1'' [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99682517 online]
* ''Historical Essays'' (1909)
* ''Lectures on the American Civil War'' (1913), delivered at Oxford University in 1913.
* ''History of the Civil War, 1861-1865'' (1918), won the [[Pulitzer Prize for History]]; It is a completely rewritten history of the war.
 
==See also==
*[[James Ford Rhodes High School]]
 
==References==
{{Reflist}}
==Further reading==
* Cruden, Robert. ''James Ford Rhodes: The Man, The Historian, and His Work'' (1961)
* [[Mark Anthony De Wolfe Howe, Jr.|Howe, M. A. De Wolfe]]. ''James Ford Rhodes: American Historian'' (1929)
* Miller, Raymond Curtis Miller. "James Ford Rhodes: A Study in Historiography" ''The Mississippi Valley Historical Review,'' (1929) Vol. 15,#4 No. 4, 455-472 [http://www.jstor.org/stable/1897881 online at JSTOR]
* Lynch, John R., "Some Historical Errors of James Ford Rhodes" ''The Journal of Negro History'', vol.2/4 (October 1917).
* Pressly, Thomas J. Pressly, ''Americans Interpret their Civil War'' (1954) pp 166-you a81.
==External links==
* {{Gutenberg author | id=Rhodes,+James+Ford | name=James Ford Rhodes}}