Carl H. Moneyhon, PhD


Carl Moneyhon is Professor Emeritus at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He was born in Brownwood, Texas, and raised on the family ranch in Mason, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in History (1967) and an M.A. in History (1968). He went on to study at the University of Chicago with John Hope Franklin and earned his Ph.D. (1973).

His books on Texas include The Union League and Biracial Politics in Reconstruction Texas (2021), George T. Ruby: Champion of Equal Rights in Reconstruction Texas (2020), Edmund J. Davis: Civil War General, Republican Leader, Reconstruction Governor (2010), Texas after the Civil War: The Struggle of Reconstruction(2004), Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of the Civil War in Texas (1998), and Republicanism in Reconstruction Texas (1980).

In addition he has published numerous articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles on Texas topics.


The Union League and Biracial Politics in Reconstruction Texas

The Republican Union League of America played a major role in the Southern Reconstruction that followed the American Civil War. A secret organization introduced into Texas in 1867 to mobilize newly enfranchised black voters, it was the first political body that attempted to secure power by forming a biracial coalition. Originally intended by white Unionists simply to marshal black voters to their support, it evolved into an organization that allowed blacks to pursue their own political goals. It was abandoned by the state’s Republican Party following the 1871 state elections.

From the beginning the use of the league by the Republican party proved controversial. While its opponents charged that its white leadership simply manipulated ignorant blacks to achieve power for themselves, ultimately encouraging racial conflict, the League not only educated blacks in their new political rights but also protected them in the exercise of those rights. It gave blacks a voice in supporting the legislative program of Gov. Edmund J. Davis, helping him to push through laws aimed at the maintenance of law and order, securing basic civil rights for blacks, and the creation of public schools.

Ultimately, its success and its secrecy provoked hostile attacks from political opponents, leading the party to stop using it. Nonetheless, the Union League created a legacy of black activism that lasted throughout the nineteenth century and pushed Texas toward a remarkably different world from the segregated and racist one that developed after the league disappeared.

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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