James Ford Rhodes: Difference between revisions

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[[ImageFile:James Ford Rhodes, 1902.jpg|thumb|250px|Rhodes in 1902]]
'''James Ford Rhodes''' (May 1, 1848 – January 22, 1927), was an [[Americans|American]] [[industrialist]] and [[historian]] born in [[Cleveland, Ohio]]. After earning a fortune in the iron, coal, and steel industries by 1885, he retired from business. He devoted his life to historical research and publishing a seven-volume history of the United States beginning in 1850; his work was published from 1893-19061893–1906. He published an eighth volume in 1920. His work, ''History of the Civil War, 1861-18651861–1865'' (1918), won the second-ever [[Pulitzer Prize for History]] that year.
 
==Early life and education==
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. He was never politically active. In evaluating the two parties in the reconstruction era he generally supported the Republican Party. 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. He supported William McKinley in 1896, and Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. In 1912 he supported Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat. He supported Wilson's position calling for American entry in 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.
 
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, 1861-18651861–1865'' (1917), earned him a [[Pulitzer Prize]] in History in 1918.
 
==Historical approach==
 
Sharp criticism came from [[John R. Lynch]], a black leader in Mississippi's Reconstruction who had served in Congress. Lynch said:
:So far as the Reconstruction period is concerned, it is not only inaccurate and unreliable but it is the most biased, partisan and prejudiced historical work I have ever read....He believed it was a grave mistake to have given the colored men at the South the right to vote, and in order to make the alleged historical facts harmonize with his own views upon this point, he took particular pains to magnify the virtues and minimize the faults of the Democrats and to magnify the faults and minimize the virtues of the Republicans, the colored men especially.""<ref>{{cite journal |first=John R. |last=Lynch |title=Some Historical Errors of James Ford Rhodes |journal=The Journal of Negro History |volume=2 |issue=4 |year=1917 |pages=345–68345–368 [pp. 345, 353] |jstor=2713394 }}</ref>
 
Rhodes said that giving the vote to blacks was an attack on civilization. Lynch replied that the laws allowed time for transition away from the society that was built on slavery: "But for the adoption of the Congressional plan of Reconstruction and the subsequent legislation of the nation along the same line, the abolition of slavery through the ratification of the 13th Amendment would have been in name only, a legal and constitutional myth."<ref>Lynch p 363.</ref> Rhodes concluded that Reconstruction had failed. Lynch disagreed. While not all its goals had been accomplished, ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments made it a success, as all people of color were granted citizenship, which could not be restricted by race or color, and they were granted suffrage nationally. Lynch argued that, "The failure of the Reconstruction legislation was not due so much to the change of sentiment in the North as an unwise interpretation of these laws."<ref>Lynch p 364-65364–365.</ref>
 
==Legacy and honors==
*1900, Rhodes was elected a member of the [[American Antiquarian Society]].<ref>[http://www.americanantiquarian.org/memberlistr American Antiquarian Society Members Directory]</ref>
*1901, Rhodes was awarded the [[Loubat Prize]] of the [[Prussian Academy of Sciences|Berlin Academy of Sciences]].
*1910, he was awarded the gold medal of the [[National Institute of Arts and Letters]].
*[[Oxford University|Oxford]] and several United States universities gave him [[honorary degree]]s.
*[[James Ford Rhodes High School]] in Cleveland was named for him.
* ''History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 7'' [https://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=94138962 online]
* ''History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 8'' [https://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99566406 online]
* ''The McKinley and Roosevelt Administrations, 1897-19091897–1909'' (1922) [https://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=6404794 online]
* ''Historical Essays'' (1909)
* ''Lectures on the American Civil War'' (1913), delivered at Oxford University in 1913.
* ''History of the Civil War, 1861-18651861–1865'' (1918), won the [[Pulitzer Prize for History]]; It is a completely rewritten history of the war.
 
==References==
* {{Cite EB1922|wstitle=Rhodes, James Ford |short=x}}
 
{{American Historical Association presidents}}
{{AHA Presidents}}
{{PulitzerPrize HistoryAuthors 1917–1925}}
 
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