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Henry W. Blair’s Campaign to Reform America

Henry W. Blair's Campaign to Reform America

From the Civil War to the U.S. Senate

by Gordon B. McKinney

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

246 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 11 b&w photos

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780813140872
  • Published: January 2013



In the years immediately following the Civil War, the nation's leaders called desperately for reform as they struggled to rebuild a society scarred by death and mass destruction. Recognizing America's need for enlightened leadership, Republican senator Henry Blair (1834--1920) of New Hampshire embarked on an ambitious crusade to enact dramatic progressive changes.

Henry W. Blair's Campaign to Reform America follows Blair's remarkable political career. At the heart of his efforts was a push to improve the nation's system of public education, but his reform programs addressed a wide range of issues, including legal rights, economic rights, women's suffrage, and racial equality. He consistently supported black voting rights, introduced an antilynching bill in 1894, and worked as a lobbyist with the NAACP at the age of eighty.

In this long-overdue biography, Gordon B. McKinney sheds light on the brilliant career of a man who maintained a strong commitment to reform, liberty, and equality through a formative period in the nation's history. McKinney deftly demonstrates that, despite the social and economic challenges of the time, Senator Blair defended moral reform in a hostile climate and affirmed that the federal government had an important and active role to play in improving American society.