Five New Orleans Street Battles and the Rise and Fall of Radical Reconstruction

Uncivil War

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  • The violent power struggle in the Louisiana state government between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the demise of Reconstruction in 1877 sets the stage for James K. Hogues Uncivil War. The Unions victory left vague both the reintegration of ex-Confederate states and the status of freed slaves in postwar societysparking internal violence and resulting in Federal military intervention. According to Hogue, by a unique confluence of demographics, geography, and wartime events, New Orleans became a political epicenter and a critical battleground. Setting himself apart from other historians, Hogue contends that Reconstruction-era violence in the postwar South, particularly in Louisiana, evolved into a new civil war rather than intermittent massacres or race riots. In reality, clashing forces were increasingly well-organized, well-armed, and focused on winning or defending control over internal governmentsfitting, as Hogue points out, the classic definition of civil war.