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James Ford Rhodes
James Ford Rhodes
(May 1, 1848 – January 22, 1927), was an 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
United States
beginning in 1850; his work was published from 1893-1906. He published an eighth volume in 1920. His work, History of the Civil War, 1861-1865 (1918), won the second-ever Pulitzer Prize for History
Pulitzer Prize for History
that year.

Contents

1 Early life and education 2 Career 3 Historical approach 4 Reception 5 Legacy and honors 6 Bibliography: Books by Rhodes 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Early life and education[edit] 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." That caused problems for his sister, who was finally allowed to marry the up-and-coming Republican businessman-politician Mark Hanna.[1] 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[edit] In 1874, Rhodes entered his father's highly profitable iron, coal, and steel businesses at Cleveland. Having earned a considerable fortune, 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
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
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
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." [2] 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
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
Pulitzer Prize
in History that year. Historical approach[edit] Rhodes focused on national politics. Working from primary sources of newspapers and published memoirs, Rhodes tracked the process by which major national decisions were made. He evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of all the major leaders. He detailed the corruption he found in the 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] Wrote treated slavery as a calamity for the South, but not a personalized time for white Southerners – he thought they deserved sympathy rather than censure. The South was associated with slavery because of a long chain of events going back centuries. Rhodes downplayed the importance of the abolitionist movement, instead focusing on mainstream leaders such as Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
for his promoting a deeper nationalism. Pressley says, "it was Webster's principle of 'Liberty and Union' which won in the Civil War, not Garrison's principle of 'no union with slaveholders.'[6] Reception[edit] Rhodes joined the American Historical Association
American Historical Association
and was elected its president in 1899 for a one-year term. Sharp criticism came from John R. Lynch, a black leader in Mississippi's Reconstruction who has 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.""[7]

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."[8] 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."[9] Legacy and honors[edit]

1900, Rhodes was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society.[10] 1901, Rhodes was awarded the Loubat Prize of the Berlin Academy of Sciences. 1910, he was awarded the gold medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Oxford and several United States
United States
universities gave him honorary degrees. James Ford Rhodes High School
James Ford Rhodes High School
in Cleveland was named for him.

Bibliography: Books by Rhodes[edit]

History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 (1918), one-volume version; Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
online History of the United States
United States
from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 1 online History of the United States
United States
from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 2 online History of the United States
United States
from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 3 History of the United States
United States
from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 4 History of the United States
United States
from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 5 History of the United States
United States
from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 6 online History of the United States
United States
from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 7 online History of the United States
United States
from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 8 online The McKinley and Roosevelt Administrations, 1897-1909 (1922) 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
Pulitzer Prize
for History; It is a completely rewritten history of the war.

References[edit]

^ Thomas J. Pressly, Americans Interpret their Civil War (1954) p 169. ^ Pressly, Americans Interpret their Civil War p 171. ^ Pressly, Americans Interpret their Civil War p 173. ^ Pressly, Americans Interpret their Civil War p 173. ^ Pressly, Americans Interpret their Civil War p 172. ^ Pressly, Americans Interpret their Civil War p 175. ^ Lynch, John R. (1917). "Some Historical Errors of James Ford Rhodes". The Journal of Negro History. 2 (4): 345–68 [pp. 345, 353]. JSTOR 2713394.  ^ Lynch p 363. ^ Lynch p 364-65. ^ American Antiquarian Society
American Antiquarian Society
Members Directory

Further reading[edit]

Cruden, Robert. James Ford Rhodes: The Man, The Historian, and His Work (1961) Howe, M. A. De Wolfe. James Ford Rhodes: American Historian
Historian
(1929) Miller, Raymond Curtis (1929). "James Ford Rhodes: A Study in Historiography". The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 15 (4): 455–472. JSTOR 1897881.  Lynch, John R. (1917). "Some Historical Errors of James Ford Rhodes". The Journal of Negro History. 2 (4). JSTOR 2713394.  Pressly, Thomas J. Pressly, Americans Interpret their Civil War (1954) pp 166-you a81.

External links[edit]

Works by James Ford Rhodes
James Ford Rhodes
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about James Ford Rhodes
James Ford Rhodes
at Internet Archive James Ford Rhodes
James Ford Rhodes
at Find a Grave  "Rhodes, James Ford". Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
(12th ed.). 1922. 

v t e

Presidents of the American Historical Association

1884–1900

Andrew Dickson White
Andrew Dickson White
(1884-85) George Bancroft
George Bancroft
(1886) Justin Winsor
Justin Winsor
(1887) William Frederick Poole
William Frederick Poole
(1888) Charles Kendall Adams
Charles Kendall Adams
(1889) John Jay (1890) William Wirt Henry (1891) James Burrill Angell
James Burrill Angell
(1892-93) Henry Adams
Henry Adams
(1893-94) George Frisbie Hoar
George Frisbie Hoar
(1895) Richard Salter Storrs
Richard Salter Storrs
(1896) James Schouler (1897) George Park Fisher (1898) James Ford Rhodes
James Ford Rhodes
(1899) Edward Eggleston
Edward Eggleston
(1900)

1901–1925

Charles Francis Adams Jr.
Charles Francis Adams Jr.
(1901) Alfred Thayer Mahan
Alfred Thayer Mahan
(1902) Henry Charles Lea
Henry Charles Lea
(1903) Goldwin Smith
Goldwin Smith
(1904) John Bach McMaster
John Bach McMaster
(1905) Simeon Eben Baldwin
Simeon Eben Baldwin
(1906) J. Franklin Jameson (1907) George Burton Adams (1908) Albert Bushnell Hart
Albert Bushnell Hart
(1909) Frederick Jackson Turner
Frederick Jackson Turner
(1910) William Milligan Sloane
William Milligan Sloane
(1911) Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
(1912) William Archibald Dunning (1913) Andrew C. McLaughlin
Andrew C. McLaughlin
(1914) H. Morse Stephens
H. Morse Stephens
(1915) George Lincoln Burr
George Lincoln Burr
(1916) Worthington C. Ford (1917) William Roscoe Thayer
William Roscoe Thayer
(1918-19) Edward Channing (1920) Jean Jules Jusserand
Jean Jules Jusserand
(1921) Charles Homer Haskins
Charles Homer Haskins
(1922) Edward Potts Cheyney
Edward Potts Cheyney
(1923) Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
(1924) Charles McLean Andrews
Charles McLean Andrews
(1924-25)

1926–1950

Dana Carleton Munro
Dana Carleton Munro
(1926) Henry Osborn Taylor (1927) James Henry Breasted
James Henry Breasted
(1928) James Harvey Robinson
James Harvey Robinson
(1929) Evarts Boutell Greene (1930) Carl L. Becker (1931) Herbert Eugene Bolton
Herbert Eugene Bolton
(1932) Charles A. Beard
Charles A. Beard
(1933) William Dodd (1934) Michael Rostovtzeff
Michael Rostovtzeff
(1935) Charles Howard McIlwain (1936) Guy Stanton Ford (1937) Laurence M. Larson (1938) William Scott Ferguson (1939) Max Farrand
Max Farrand
(1940) James Westfall Thompson (1941) Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. (1942) Nellie Neilson (1943) William Linn Westermann
William Linn Westermann
(1944) Carlton J. H. Hayes (1945) Sidney Bradshaw Fay (1946) Thomas J. Wertenbaker
Thomas J. Wertenbaker
(1947) Kenneth Scott Latourette
Kenneth Scott Latourette
(1948) Conyers Read (1949) Samuel Eliot Morison
Samuel Eliot Morison
(1950)

1951–1975

Robert Livingston Schuyler (1951) James G. Randall (1952) Louis R. Gottschalk (1953) Merle Curti (1954) Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
(1955) Dexter Perkins (1956) William L. Langer (1957) Walter Prescott Webb
Walter Prescott Webb
(1958) Allan Nevins
Allan Nevins
(1959) Bernadotte Everly Schmitt (1960) Samuel Flagg Bemis (1961) Carl Bridenbaugh (1962) Crane Brinton (1963) Julian P. Boyd (1964) Frederic C. Lane (1965) Roy Franklin Nichols (1966) Hajo Holborn (1967) John K. Fairbank (1968) C. Vann Woodward
C. Vann Woodward
(1969) Robert Roswell Palmer (1970) David M. Potter (1971) Joseph Strayer (1971) Thomas C. Cochran (1972) Lynn Townsend White Jr. (1973) Lewis Hanke (1974) Gordon Wright (1975)

1976–2000

Richard B. Morris (1976) Charles Gibson (1977) William J. Bouwsma (1978) John Hope Franklin (1979) David H. Pinkney (1980) Bernard Bailyn (1981) Gordon A. Craig
Gordon A. Craig
(1982) Philip D. Curtin (1983) Arthur S. Link (1984) William H. McNeill (1985) Carl Neumann Degler (1986) Natalie Zemon Davis
Natalie Zemon Davis
(1987) Akira Iriye (1988) Louis R. Harlan (1989) David Herlihy (1990) William Leuchtenburg (1991) Frederic Wakeman (1992) Louise A. Tilly (1993) Thomas C. Holt (1994) John Henry Coatsworth (1995) Caroline Bynum (1996) Joyce Appleby (1997) Joseph C. Miller (1998) Robert Darnton
Robert Darnton
(1999) Eric Foner
Eric Foner
(2000)

2001–Present

William Roger Louis (2001) Lynn Hunt (2002) James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson
(2003) Jonathan Spence (2004) James J. Sheehan
James J. Sheehan
(2005) Linda K. Kerber (2006) Barbara Weinstein (2007) Gabrielle M. Spiegel (2008) Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
(2009) Barbara D. Metcalf (2010) Anthony Grafton
Anthony Grafton
(2011) William Cronon
William Cronon
(2012) Kenneth Pomeranz
Kenneth Pomeranz
(2013) Jan E. Goldstein (2014) Vicki L. Ruiz (2015) Patrick Manning (2016) Tyler E. Stovall (2017) Mary Beth Norton (2018)

v t e

Pulitzer Prize for History
Pulitzer Prize for History
(1917–1925)

Jean Jules Jusserand
Jean Jules Jusserand
(1917) James Ford Rhodes
James Ford Rhodes
(1918) Justin H. Smith (1920) William Sowden Sims
William Sowden Sims
and Burton J. Hendrick (1921) James Truslow Adams
James Truslow Adams
(1922) Charles Warren (1923) Charles Howard McIlwain (1924) Frederic L. Paxson (1925)

Complete list (1917–1925) (1926–1950) (1951–1975) (1976–2000) (2001–2025)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 54391833 LCCN: n82108865 ISNI: 0000 0001 2280 1851 GND: 137031831 SUDOC: 099860651 BNF: cb145712522 (data) NLA: 35450069 NKC: mub2015874

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