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Religion in the Gilded Age: A Review of Richard White's The Republic for Which It Stands

Benjamin J. Wetzel

The following review appeared in the spring 2018 edition of the American Catholic Studies Newsletter.

White, Richard. The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

"For a while," Richard White observes in a bibliographical essay at the end of The Republic for Which It Stands, "the Gilded Age became the flyover country of American history, but at other times it has loomed large" (874).  White is correct, and at this particular moment the late 19th century seems to be making a comeback.  In October 2017, Ron Chernow (whose biography of Alexander Hamilton was the inspiration for the eponymous musical) released Grant, a 1,074-page biography of the Civil War general who served as president from 1869 to 1877.  One month later, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank criticized the Republican tax plan with the headline, "Welcome to the New Gilded Age.…

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