Birkner describes McCormick's life and times. He looks at McCormick's scholarly apprenticeship, the origins of his interest in a new political history, and his contributions to the study of American politics before the Civil War. McCormick's concern for elucidating political machinery was fused with a fundamental skepticism about American democracy as run by and for the people. Through use of oral history, McCormick tells his own story. Then, through their exchanges, Birkner challenges some of McCormick's scholarly arguments and elicits responses that help to shed light on his subject's theory of politics.
Edited by esteemed historians Patrick Cox and Kenneth Hendrickson, this collection includes insightful, cross-generational examinations of pivotal individuals who interpreted our history. On these pages, the contributors chart the progression from Eugene C. Barker’s groundbreaking research to his public confrontations with Texas political leaders and his fellow historians. They look at Walter Prescott Webb’s fundamental, innovative vision as a promoter of the past and Ruthe Winegarten’s efforts to shine the spotlight on minorities and women who made history across the state. Other essayists explore Llerena Friend delving into an ambitious study of Sam Houston, Charles Ramsdell courageously addressing delicate issues such as racism and launching his controversial examination of Reconstruction in Texas, Robert Cotner—an Ohio-born product of the Ivy League—bringing a fresh perspective to the field, and Robert Maxwell engaged in early work in environmental history.