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Robert S. Levine foregrounds the viewpoints of Black Americans on Reconstruction in his absorbing account of the struggle between the great orator Frederick Douglass and President Andrew Johnson.When Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency after Abraham Lincoln's assassination, the country was on the precipice of radical change. Johnson, seemingly more progressive than Lincoln, looked like the ideal person to lead the country. He had already cast himself as a "Moses" for the Black community, and African Americans were optimistic that he would pursue aggressive federal policies for Black equality.Despite this early promise, Frederick Douglass, the country's most influential Black leader, soon grew disillusioned with Johnson's policies and increasingly doubted the president was sincere in supporting Black citizenship.

About the Author

Robert S. Levine

Robert S. Levine is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. He works in nineteenth-century American literary and cultural studies with a special interest in Herman Melville and Frederick Douglass. His website is go.umd.edu/robertslevine

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