Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Mark W. Summers


Many historians have failed to consider seriously the role of the Brooks-Baxter War of 1874 in ending Reconstruction in Arkansas. Of those who have, they have not examined participants in the conflict nor attempted a robust study to determine who fought in the conflict. This thesis examines the soldiers and officers of the rival armies of Joseph Brooks and Elisha Baxter. It surveys the participants' class, race, professions, places of birth, and especially places of residence at the time of the conflict. This analysis of the Brooks-Baxter War reaffirms other historians' work on the fall of Reconstruction, while finding unique characteristics to Arkansas's redemption, like substantial support from white Arkansans for upholding Reconstruction and instances of black Arkansans supporting the redeemer army of Elisha Baxter. It concludes that Arkansas redemption was typical of other redemptions in the South in the mid-1870s, insofar as the powerful role that the state Democratic Party and Democratic elites played in ending Reconstruction in the state. The Brooks-Baxter War shows, however, that redemption in Arkansas had a more moderate face in that explicit, naked white supremacist rhetoric was not as apparent in the overthrow of Reconstruction there as in some other Deep Southern states.

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