James Ford Rhodes


James Ford Rhodes

James Ford Rhodes (1 May 184822 January 1927), was an American industrialist and historian born in Cleveland, Ohio.

He attended New York University beginning in 1865. He also attended 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.

In 1874, with his father, he started in the iron, coal, and steel industries at Cleveland. Having earned a considerable fortune, he retired in 1885, moved to Boston for its libraries, and devoted himself to writing history. His brother in law was Mark Hanna, a dominant leader of the Republican Party, but Rhodes himself was a Bourbon Democrat. Fact|date=April 2008

His major work, "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850" appeared in seven volumes, 1893-1906; the eight-volume edition appeared in 1920. The one-volume version [http://www.bartleby.com/252/ "History of the Civil War, 1861-1865 (1918)] , which is online, earned him a Pulitzer Prize in History in 1918.

His work focuses on national politics. Using newspapers and published memoirs, Rhodes meticulously reconstructed the process by which major national decisions were made. He carefully evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of all the major leaders, and is typically well regarded for his lack of bias. However, his factual assertions from "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850" were challenged by contemporary black Southerners like John Lynch from Mississippi who witnessed Mississippi's Reconstruction first-hand(Lynch 1917). According to Congressman Lynch, "the reader of Mr. Rhodes' history cannot fail to see that 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" (Lynch 1917, 353). In book VI, pp.35-40 Mr. Rhodes stated " [Thaddeus] Stevens' Reconstruction Acts, ostensibly in the interest of freedom, were an attack on civilization... [and] did not show wise constructive statesmanship in forcing unqualified Negro Suffrage on the South" (Rhodes 1920.) To this assertion, Congressman Lynch responded "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" (Lynch 1917, 363.) Rhodes emphasized slavery and anti-slavery as causes of the Civil War, and bemoaned the corruption of the Reconstruction Republican governments in Washington and the Southern states.

He was awarded the Loubat Prize of the Berlin Academy of Sciences (1901) and the gold medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1910). Oxford and many American universities gave him honorary degrees.

References

* Cruden, Robert. "James Ford Rhodes: The Man, The Historian, and His Work" (1961)
* Howe, M. A. De Wolfe. "James Ford Rhodes: American Historian" (1929)
* Raymond Curtis Miller. "James Ford Rhodes: A Study in Historiography" "The Mississippi Valley Historical Review," (1929) Vol. 15, No. 4, 455-472 [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0161-391X(192903)15%3A4%3C455%3AJFRASI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-S online at JSTOR]
* Lynch, John R., "Some Historical Errors of James Ford Rhodes" "The Journal of Negro History", vol.2/4 (October 1917).

Books by Rhodes

* "History of the Civil War, 1861–1865" (1918), one-volume v ersion; Pulitzer Prize [http://www.bartleby.com/252/ online]
* "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 1" [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99682517 online]
* "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 2" [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=72303423 online]
* "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 3"
* "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 4"
* "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 5"
* "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 6" [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=24644891 online]
* "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 7" [http://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" [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99566406 online]
* "The McKinley and Roosevelt Administrations, 1897-1909" (1922) [http://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.

ee also

*James Ford Rhodes High School

External links

*


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