Doris Kearns Goodwin Intentionally Misleads About the History of Race — Larry Koler

 

I’m reading Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. It’s a good book overall, but I came across the quote below and simply could not believe it.

From Page 321:

In addition, southern Republicans had never forgiven Roosevelt for the unprecedented dinner invitation extended the previous fall to the black educator Booker T. Washington. At the time, the vehement reaction in the South had stunned and saddened Roosevelt. Newspaper editorials throughout the region decried the president’s attempt to make a black man the social equal of a white man by sharing the same dinner table. “Social equality with the Negro means decadence and damnation,” announced one southern official. “The action of President Roosevelt in entertaining that n****r will necessitate our killing a thousand n*****s in the South before they will learn their place,” declared South Carolina’s Ben Tillman. For disaffected Republicans in both North and South, Mark Hanna promised deliverance from Roosevelt’s wrongheadedness.

South Carolina’s Ben Tillman was a Democrat, a southern Democrat. How many southern white racist Republicans were there at that time, I wonder? Which ones were upset with him about the dinner invitation?

Why would Goodwin spend all this time on “southern Republicans,” then have a despicable quote from a Democratic governor of South Carolina mixed in with these items – and not tell us that the racist in this discussion was a Democrat? Low-information people are at the mercy of these despicable tactics and they are taught to hate Republicans more than Democrats and especially in the history of race.

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  1. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    James Of England:

    It didn’t have to be that way. When they were disenfranchised from the general election vote, the GOP could have perfectly respectably disenfranchised them from the party, too. I’m kind of proud of our party for taking the high road on that decision.

    This is so important — and your way of characterizing this is what should be told about the history of the Republicans. This is heroic. It wasn’t until I read Grant by Edward Jean Smith that I realized what forces were at work that caused the northern Republicans to disengage from the south — they were exhausted and no matter what was done nothing seemed to change. Grant was depressed about it and he held out through his presidency but it all fell apart after him. All the newly freed black Republicans were left to the tender mercies of the racist sore losers — all of whom were in the Democratic Party. And the northern Democrats welcomed these animals back into their party and made common cause with them — so little concern was there in the treatment of blacks in the south.

    • #31
  2. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Albert Arthur:

    Leslie Watkins:

    I think she made a really bad error. A good copyeditor would have queried that. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s corrected in a later edition.

    If I could just quibble with you a little: Even a lousy copy editor would have queried that.

     Yes, this smacks of a deliberate revision to look this way. Either that or it was decided early on in the writing of the book to carefully lay these facts out so that the lie could be told.

    • #32
  3. Dr Steve Member
    Dr Steve
    @DrSteve

    I am a historian, and usually don’t use wikipedia. But maybe DKG should, since it took 1/32 of a minute to find the following (although I think it is likely this is a deliberate misdirection by DKG . . . note she doesn’t actually say Tillman IS a disaffected Republican; she just doesn’t say he was a radical, racist Democrat): 

    “It was at the Hamburg Massacre of 1876 that Ben Tillman came of age. As the commander of Edgefield County’s Sweetwater Sabre Club, a paramilitary unit dedicated to terrorizing Republican officeholders in South Carolina, the 29-year-old Tillman, with his red-shirted troopers, participated in the Hamburg Riot on July 8, an occasion marked by the murder of a number of black militiamen who had conducted a celebratory parade through the mostly black town of Hamburg, South Carolina, four days earlier.”

    • #33
  4. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    “South Carolina’s Ben Tillman was a Democrat”

    Well technically that’s true, but all of the really racist Democrats eventually became Republicans. You know, like Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd . . . oh wait!

    PS. I hate to admit this but did anyone else glance quickly at this picture and assume the post had something to do with Johnny Winter?

    • #34
  5. user_1083060 Inactive
    user_1083060
    @dfp21

    Democrats who aren’t total dolts know their party’s history of slavery, KKK, segregation, and continuing race hustling. To rationalize their association what that crowd they must, MUST, lie about Republicans.

    • #35
  6. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    I am curious to know how Goodwin handles the split in the Republican party in 1912 and how accurately she portrays why good friends of TR like Elihu Root and Henry Cabot Lodge repudiated his vision of an autocratic government believing it contravened the Constitution and ended up supporting Taft.  See, for instance, Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition by Jean Yarbrough and this piece I wrote on Elihu Root’s Princeton lectures in which he explains quite eloquently where TR went astray.

    • #36
  7. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Tillman ran for office on the Democrat ticket, but his heart and passion were with the Grange and the Populist Party, or the populist wing of the Democrat Party. We as Republicans have to acknowledge that the Dixiecrat wing of the Democrat Party was eagerly embraced by Goldwater and Nixon, and brought into our party. So in a “truthiness” test DKG was not totally wrong. Look at clowns like Broun running in the Georgia primary before we deny it.

    • #37
  8. tabula rasa Inactive
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    Slight digression:  Is there anyone besides me who just doesn’t find Teddy Roosevelt very interesting?  I have two bios of Roosevelt (not Goodwin’s) and just can’t work up enough interest to get through them.

    • #38
  9. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    tabula rasa:

    Slight digression: Is there anyone besides me who just doesn’t find Teddy Roosevelt very interesting? I have two bios of Roosevelt (not Goodwin’s) and just can’t work up enough interest to get through them.

     Well he was kind of an unsubtle guy who went charging through life like a bull in a china shop!

    • #39
  10. user_11047 Inactive
    user_11047
    @barbaralydick

    Albert Arthur:

    Leslie Watkins:

    I think she made a really bad error. A good copyeditor would have queried that. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s corrected in a later edition.

    If I could just quibble with you a little: Even a lousy copy editor would have queried that.

     If I could just quibble with you a little: How many copy editors, good and lousy, have a real grasp of history?  Sadly for a long time now, too many teachers, TAs, and college profs in most every discipline indoctrinate (read: pass along the party line) rather than teach.

    • #40
  11. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    tabula rasa:

    Slight digression: Is there anyone besides me who just doesn’t find Teddy Roosevelt very interesting? I have two bios of Roosevelt (not Goodwin’s) and just can’t work up enough interest to get through them.

     I found the third volume of the Morris trilogy on TR to be quite enjoyable.  He is a very good writer and is terrific in capturing personalities and the adventurous side of TR, like his African safari and the exploration of the Amazon.  Unfortunately, Morris does not like or understand political philosophy or governance theory so his discussion of these is a bit of a hash and kind of cartoonish.  I’ll also admit that by the end I found TR to be a tiring personality.

    • #41
  12. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Petty Boozswha:

    Tillman ran for office on the Democrat ticket, but his heart and passion were with the Grange and the Populist Party, or the populist wing of the Democrat Party. We as Republicans have to acknowledge that the Dixiecrat wing of the Democrat Party was eagerly embraced by Goldwater and Nixon, and brought into our party. So in a “truthiness” test DKG was not totally wrong. Look at clowns like Broun running in the Georgia primary before we deny it.

     So, she was partially right, eh? You know: in all truthiness. I expect that this word is like real truth as opposed to the smear that I’m talking about. Is that right?
    Liberals love to talk all about the Republican “Southern Strategy” while ignoring the 150 year Democratic Party Southern Strategy. I think — if they know anything at all about the history — they just see the Dems as the party that is slowly getting better all the time and the Republicans as still prone to slip back into the racist, segregating, Jim Crow past — that they had nothing to do with except trying to remove it.

    • #42
  13. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    I do not endorse “truthiness” I just point out that it exists and probably explains why DKG and her editors missed, what to us, is a glaring error. Race is still an explosive issue in this country, and one of the many reasons we Republicans lose elections is because we don’t get the 15-20 per cent of the black vote that we should on ideological grounds. If a new Jack Kemp came along and forthrightly admitted we were opportunistic and just plain morally wrong to pursue Nixon’s “southern strategy” we might start to get some of those voters back. Chris Christie was making inroads in that area before he imploded.

    • #43
  14. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    I loved that movie. I’ve read a lot about Lincoln over the years and Daniel Day-Lewis brought him to life. Also, Sally Field was a great casting choice for Mary Todd Lincoln — she actually stole some of the scenes she was in.

    That movie had its problems too. I think the state of Connecticut was upset that its representatives were wrongly portrayed as pro-slavery.  I remember trying to look up the Missouri representative’s name, but he was a fictional character who did not exist.  Politicians like Francis Preston Blair and Schuyler Colfax also seemed to be portrayed by much older or different-looking actors, etc.

    • #44
  15. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Republicans had no chance in the general elections for any electoral votes to go to the president from their states but they could have a say in who is Republican nominee elected in the primaries by the number of their Republican delegates.

    Herbert Hoover finally broke through about a quarter century later in Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Florida, but that might have been due to suspicion of Tammany Hall and Catholic connections for Al Smith and his anti-prohibitionist leanings as women were just starting to vote more regularly.  South Carolina still went over 90% for the Democrat that year.  

    If you think the country is divided now, look at TR’s election of 1904.  Only 4 states had a difference between winner and loser of less than 10% — Maryland, 0.02%; Kentucky, 2.69%; Missouri, 3.90%; and Delaware, 9.94%.

    • #45
  16. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Petty Boozswha:

    Tillman ran for office on the Democrat ticket, but his heart and passion were with the Grange and the Populist Party, or the populist wing of the Democrat Party. We as Republicans have to acknowledge that the Dixiecrat wing of the Democrat Party was eagerly embraced by Goldwater and Nixon, and brought into our party. So in a “truthiness” test DKG was not totally wrong. Look at clowns like Broun running in the Georgia primary before we deny it.

     I don’t know if you’re being serious, but no, almost all Dixiecrats returned to the Democratic Party after 1948, and most of them stayed there. If by “Dixiecrat” you mean contemporaries of Nixon that were not loyal Democrats, so Harry Byrd, George Wallace, etc., then again you’ll find that most of their sojourns from the Democratic party were temporary. Orval Faubus could still get an appreciative crowd at the Democratic National Convention at the end of his life, despite being a byword for racism and depravity, much as Wilson, Truman, etc., are still embraced by Democrats today.
    Republicans started winning the votes of younger Southerners under Ike. More Southern Democrats died than converted.

    • #46
  17. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    kylez:

    Between the last few days, suddenly America is awash with proof of racism. Convenient, isn’t it?

    Every freaking week, if not everyday, there is something, no matter how trivial or innocent. It being Sunday, we have a new week ahead of us to find out who’s racist.

     and now, it still being sunday here on the left coast, i go on yahoo and see we have a featured article about the “racial problems” of The Jungle Book, and how we are going to have a new movie to “fix it.” can’t wait. 

    i like this line from the article: “While filmmakers initially tried to sidestep perceptions of racism with King Louie by casting an Italian-American singer (Louis Prima) in the role rather than Louis Armstrong, whom the part was originally written for, the character still strongly violated the ethos of social progress.

    • #47
  18. user_1030767 Inactive
    user_1030767
    @TheQuestion

    It really galls me that Democrats eternally benefit from Jim Crow.  They pass the Jim Crow laws to get the segregationist vote, then when segregation becomes unpopular, they start claiming to be the civil rights party and put Jim Crow on the Republicans, who never supported Jim Crow.  And most people just accept it.   Democrat politicians just need to be confronted and confounded at every turn.

    • #48
  19. Crabby Appleton Inactive
    Crabby Appleton
    @CrabbyAppleton

    tabula rasa:

    Slight digression: Is there anyone besides me who just doesn’t find Teddy Roosevelt very interesting? I have two bios of Roosevelt (not Goodwin’s) and just can’t work up enough interest to get through them.

     
    I’ve read a number of bios and histories of the period and as an individual, as a personality, as a CHARACTER, I find him fascinating as heck.  Whether you consider him hagiographically (is that a word?) or demonologicaly, the man was uniquely American.

    • #49
  20. user_30416 Member
    user_30416
    @LeslieWatkins

    Albert Arthur:

    Leslie Watkins:

    I think she made a really bad error. A good copyeditor would have queried that. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s corrected in a later edition.

     

    If I could just quibble with you a little: Even a lousy copy editor would have queried that.

     You would think … but you can be assured that the manuscript was copyedited by someone, likely a young person who knows no history before 1963. (Italics indicates a correction. I had written past before.)

    • #50
  21. twvolck Inactive
    twvolck
    @twvolck

    East Tennessee was a Republican area.  Could there have been a Republican newspaper editor there who deplored TR inviting Booker T. Washington to dinner?  That would not be shocking.  Goodwin’s statement requires substantiation, and she doesn’t give any, but outside of East Tennessee (and Kentucky), Republicans were thin on the ground in the South, and white Republicans thinner still.

    • #51
  22. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    1.  The Democrats of TR’s era were actively hostile to blacks.  Mainstream Republicans were relatively indifferent.  That’s why the dinner with Booker T raised negative reaction from all Dems and some R’s and that’s why Goodwin is so deceptive in the wording of that paragraph.

    2.  Political terms change over time.  Democrats do not always equal liberal/progressive and Reps do not always equal conservative over decades plus you can get interesting mixtures.

    3.  From the late 1890s well into the 20th century many Southern Democrats were populist statists.  Though uncomfortable with federal action, except when it directly benefited them like the TVA, they enthusiastically supported state action against personal property (white and black) as long as it gained them political cachet with their white constituents.

    4.  During the legal battles of the 1940s to 1960s to end segregation and in the passage of the 64 Civil Rights Act and 65 Voting Rights Act, those Republicans most actively in support of those efforts were the folks we (myself included) routinely excoriate here on Ricochet – RINOs or liberal Republicans.  The emerging and revived conservative movement was mostly absent from this struggle.

    • #52
  23. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Crabby Appleton 2.0:

    tabula rasa:

    Slight digression: Is there anyone besides me who just doesn’t find Teddy Roosevelt very interesting? I…. just can’t work up enough interest to get through them.

    I’ve read a number of bios and histories of the period and as an individual, as a personality, as a CHARACTER, I find him fascinating as heck. Whether you consider him hagiographically (is that a word?) or demonologicaly, the man was uniquely American.

     He’s the Young Adult Fiction version of a President. Reading TR history always reminds me of coming of age narratives, as the protagonist constantly discovers new things and draws broad conclusions from them, but never develops nuance or a serious understanding of a subject that doesn’t involve personal exertion. Andrew Jackson approaches the bold strokes and bright lines aspects, but even he was keener to get into the weeds of things. McCain might have been similar.
    Still, if you want Action! Adventure! Justice being done! Justice being brushed to one side after discovering that it is controversial!, TR is fun. If you like nerdy political analysis, join (the other) TR and me studying Florence Harding’s salvation of America.

    • #53
  24. tabula rasa Inactive
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    James Of England:

    He’s the Young Adult Fiction version of a President. Reading TR history always reminds me of coming of age narratives, as the protagonist constantly discovers new things and draws broad conclusions from them, but never develops nuance or a serious understanding of a subject that doesn’t involve personal exertion.

    ***********

    Tabula Rasa:

    James:  Well said.  Perhaps it’s because I was born without the gene that causes men to climb vertical cliffs and jump out of airplanes, I just don’t “get” TR.  He seemed so studiously “larger-than-life.”

    Now his son, General Ted Roosevelt, who played a major part of the Utah Beach landing (despite arthritis and a serious heart condition) was a truly brave and admirable man.  He seems so much more genuine. 

    But, then, as I said earlier, I’ve never been able to make it through a complete bio of TR.

    To get back to the main point of this thread, I’ve re-read the paragraph in question.  It seems clear that the reference to Tillman (party unknown) into a paragraph whose subject was the evil Republicans was intentional (if not, then it was horribly incompetent).

    • #54
  25. user_1032405 Coolidge
    user_1032405
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Mr. Dart – no dispute to your cited statistics, but be advised Ms. Goodwin is referring to TR, not FDR. Her choice not to identify the racist she quotes as a Democrat exemplifies the deliberate effort by Democrats to hide their racist lineage.

    The information you share helps to reinforce just how deep-seated this pernicious heritage is. Decades after TR, the Democratic Party of FDR was no less the party of racism and segregation.

    • #55
  26. user_188825 Member
    user_188825
    @WadeMoore

    Mark:

     The emerging and revived conservative movement was mostly absent from this struggle.

     The conservative movement at this time was tiny and had enough on it’s plate just staying alive…

    • #56
  27. RightinChicago Member
    RightinChicago
    @

    Google her name and “Doris Kearns Goodwin plagiarism” pops up second, by the time you type  D-O-R.  

    I absolutely expect this from a serial plagiarist.

    • #57
  28. Mr. Dart Inactive
    Mr. Dart
    @MrDart

    Albert Arthur:

    Mr. Dart:

    “How many southern white racist Republicans were there at that time, I wonder? Which ones were upset with him about the dinner invitation?”

    There were almost no Republicans of any stripe voting in South Carolina when FDR won his first term. The recorded vote for 1932 showed FDR winning 98.03% of the popular vote. In FDR’s elections the best showing a Republican had was Dewey’s 4.5% There were essentially no Republicans in South Carolina during that period. The D’s always got over 95% of the popular vote in Presidential elections.

    Doris doesn’t have a clue.

    Ahem. Teddy. Not Franklin.

     Sorry.  Teddy Roosevelt got 2,554 votes in the entire state of SC in 1904.
    Doris doesn’t have a clue.

    • #58
  29. J Flei Inactive
    J Flei
    @Solon

    Thank you Larry.  This kind of intellectual honesty is why I am a conservative.  I have not seen many left-wingers acknowledge, let alone condemn, this kind of thing.

    • #59
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