ABOUT THIS BOOK
How a proponent of the New South creed could move easily to advocate the nationalistic foreign and domestic policies often associated with Theodore Roosevelt
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American life took on contradictions that were later to surface with considerable poignancy. While many publicists and politicians foresaw an America of harmony and great opportunity, they also clung tenaciously to such doctrines as Anglo-Saxon racial superiority and the righteousness of liberal capitalism-notions that worked to defeat the progress they espoused. Here is a study of one of those persons, Hannis Taylor.
For a number of reasons Taylor’s life is uniquely useful for the historian interested in the paradoxes of American life at the turn of the century. Unlike many others of the era who have been examined through biography, Taylor pursued the multifaceted career of practicing attorney, constitutional historian, journalist, diplomat, and ever-aspiring politician. Hence he had occasion to write and speak on almost every intellectual and popular issue of the period. His record serves as a microcosm of many of the contradictions spanning American thought during that time. Further, Taylor was a Southerner. Before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1902, Taylor had grown up in a North Carolina torn by the Civil War and had taken an active role in Alabama affairs during the three decades following Reconstruction. His life shows how a proponent of the New South creed could move easily to advocate the nationalistic foreign and domestic policies often associated with Theodore Roosevelt. Finally, from a humanistic standpoint Taylor's life permits a study in human strivings for achievement. American historiography gravitates to the successful; here is an account of a more common stereotype, the man who worked relentlessly at becoming a noted American by supporting popular causes and who failed tragically.