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Stanford Historian Reexamines United States’ Reconstruction, Gilded Age in New Book

Oct 19 2017

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We are pleased to share an interview with the Stanford historian Richard White, who co-founded the Bill Lane Center for the American West in 2005. His new book, “The Republic for Which it Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896,” has just been published by the Oxford University Press. The full article is available on the Stanford News Service.

By Alex Shashkevich

The issues of inequality and divisiveness that the United States faces today share many parallels with a period of time after the Civil War which also faced rising inequality, heavy immigration and partisan deadlock.

Richard White

Richard White (Photo by Jesse White)

Between the end of the war in 1865 and the start of the 20th century, a time that encompasses two periods historians call the Reconstruction era and the Gilded Age, the newly united, post-slavery U.S. saw rapid and disorienting technological change and the country’s largest wave of migration, as well as weak presidents, corruption and bribery.

Stanford historian Richard White analyzes that historical period in his new book The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896, which is the latest installment in Oxford University Press’ multi-volume series on narrative history of the United States. White argues that the seeds of the modern U.S. were planted during this time period and that a better understanding of the societal and political struggles of the time could shed light on issues being debated today.

Stanford News Service interviewed White about his research.

Read the full interview