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The political violence of Reconstruction, especially as directed at African Americans, initially occasioned national alarm and federal intervention. As Reconstruction progressed, however, literary tactics emerged that rendered acts of terror as discrete and disorganized, and thus as posing no threat to the nation state. Eventually dominating the domain of genteel print, literary and journalistic narratives adopted a number of strategies that rendered racial violence routine and even normative, portraying white southerners as besieged victims of the Reconstruction government forced to resort to violence in order to protect Anglo-Saxon prerogatives. Although the rhetoric of the “bloody shirt,” along with literary interventions by Mark Twain and Albion Tourgée, sought to foreground the continued threat of racial violence to the nation state and its citizens, this ascendant narrative increasingly controlled the “facts” of Reconstruction. By the early twentieth century, historians and novelists had consolidated the lessons of Reconstruction in ways conducive to an expansionist white nationalism.