A scalawag may be a nogoodnik or even a paskudnyak, but in the subtitle of Benjamin Ginsberg’s brisk, informed “Moses of South Carolina: A Jewish Scalawag during Radical Reconstruction” from Johns Hopkins University Press, “scalawag” has a more precise historical meaning.
Applied after the Civil War to Southern whites who joined political forces with freed slaves and carpetbaggers (profiteering Northerners who arrived in the South), these scalawags were often despised. Yet few were loathed as lastingly as Franklin J. Moses, Jr., son of a South Carolina judge, Franklin J. Moses Sr. (born Israel Moses). After serving in the Confederate army in the Civil War, the younger Moses was elected Representative and later Governor in Charleston.
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