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The Sequel of Appomattox, A Chronicle of the Reunion of the States by Walter Lynwood Fleming

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"considered no man free who had to work for a living." Few Negroes would
contract for more than three months and none for a period beyond January 1,
1866, when they expected a division of lands among the ex-slaves. In spite of
the regulations, most worked on oral agreements. In 1866 nearly all employers
threw overboard the written contract system for labor and permitted oral
agreements. Some states had passed stringent laws for the enforcing of
contracts, but in Alabama, Governor Patton vetoed such legislation on the
ground that it was not needed. General Swayne, the Bureau chief for the state,
endorsed the Governor's action and stated that the Negro was protected by his
freedom to leave when mistreated, and the planter, by the need on the part of
the Negro for food and shelter. Negroes, he said, were afraid of contracts
and, besides, contracts led to litigation.

In order to safeguard the civil rights of the Negroes, the Bureau was given
authority to establish courts of its own and to supervise the action of state
courts in cases to which freedmen were parties. The majority of the assistant
commissioners made no attempt to let the state courts handle Negro cases but
were accustomed to bring all such cases before the Bureau or the provost
courts of the army. In Alabama, quite early, and later in North Carolina,
Mississippi, and Georgia, the wiser assistant commissioners arranged for the
state courts to handle freedmen's cases with the understanding that
discriminating laws were to be suspended. General Swayne in so doing declared
that he was "unwilling to establish throughout Alabama courts conducted by
persons foreign to her citizenship and strangers to her laws." The Bureau
courts were informal affairs, consisting usually of one or two administrative
officers. There were no jury, no appeal beyond the assistant commissioner, no
rules of procedure, and no accepted body of law. In state courts accepted by
the Bureau, the proceedings in Negro cases were conducted in the same manner
as for the whites.

The educational work of the Bureau was at first confined to cooperation with
such Northern religious and benevolent societies as were organizing schools
and churches for the Negroes. After the first year, the Bureau extended
financial aid and undertook a system of supervision over Negro schools. The
teachers employed were Northern whites and Negroes in about equal numbers.
Confiscated Confederate property was devoted to Negro education, and in
several states the assistant commissioners collected fees and percentages of
the Negroes' wages for the benefit of the schools. In addition the Bureau
expended about six million dollars.

The intense dislike which the Southern whites manifested for the Freedmen's
Bureau was due in general to their resentment of outside control of domestic
affairs and in particular to unavoidable difficulties inherent in the
situation. Among the concrete causes of Southern hostility was the attitude of
some of the higher officials and many of the lower ones toward the white
people. They assumed that the whites were unwilling to accord fair treatment
to the blacks in the matter of wages, schools, and justice. An official in
Louisiana declared that the whites would exterminate the Negroes if the Bureau
were removed. A few months later General Fullerton in the same State reported
that trouble was caused by those agents who noisily demanded special
privileges for the Negro but who objected to any penalties for his lawlessness
and made of the Negroes a pampered class. General Tillson in Georgia predicted
the extinction of the "old time Southerner with his hate, cruelty, and
malice." General Fisk declared that "there are some of the meanest,
unsubjugated and unreconstructed rascally revolutionists in Kentucky that
curse the soil of the country . . . a more select number of vindictive,
pro-slavery, rebellious legislators cannot be found than a majority of the
Kentucky legislature." There was a disposition to lecture the whites about
their sins in regard to slavery and to point out to them how far in their
general ignorance and backwardness they fell short of enlightened people.

The Bureau courts were frequently conducted in an "illegal and oppressive
manner," with "decided partiality for the colored people, without regard to
justice." For this reason they were suspended for a time in Louisiana and
Georgia by General Steedman and General Fullerton, and cases were then sent
before military courts. Men of the highest character were dragged before the
Bureau tribunals upon frivolous complaints, were lectured, abused, ridiculed,
and arbitrarily fined or otherwise punished. The jurisdiction of the Bureau
courts weakened the civil courts and their frequent interference in trivial
matters was not conducive to a return to normal conditions.

The inferior agents, not sufficiently under the control of their superiors,
were responsible for a great deal of this bad feeling. Many of them held
radical opinions as to the relations of the races, and inculcated these views
in their courts, in the schools, and in the new Negro churches. Some were
charged with even causing strikes and other difficulties in order to be bought
off by the whites. The tendency of their work was to create in the Negroes a
pervasive distrust of the whites.

The prevalent delusion in regard to an impending division of the lands among
the blacks had its origin in the operation of the war-time confiscation laws,
in some of the Bureau legislation, and in General Sherman's Sea Island order,
but it was further fostered by the agents until most blacks firmly believed
that each head of a family was to get "40 acres and a mule." This belief
seriously interfered with industry and resulted also in widespread swindling
by rascals who for years made a practice of selling fraudulent deeds to land
with red, white, and blue sticks to mark off the bounds of a chosen spot on
the former master's plantation. The assistant commissioners labored hard to
disabuse the minds of the Negroes, but their efforts were often neutralized by
the unscrupulous attitude of the agents.

As the contest over reconstruction developed in Washington, the officials of
the Bureau soon recognized the political possibilities of their institution.
After midyear of 1866, the Bureau became a political machine for the purpose
of organizing the blacks into the Union League, where the rank and file were
taught that reenslavement would follow Democratic victories. Nearly all of the
Bureau agents aided in the administration of the reconstruction acts in 1867
and in the organization of the new state and local governments and became
officials under the new regime. They were the chief agents in capturing the
solid Negro vote for the Republican party.

Neither of the two plans for guiding the freedmen into a place in the social
order--the "Black Laws" and the Freedmen's Bureau--was successful. The former
contained a program which was better suited to actual conditions and which
might have succeeded if it had been given a fair trial. These laws were a
measure of the extent to which the average white would then go in "accepting
the situation" so far as the blacks were concerned. And on the whole the
recognition of Negro rights made in these laws, and made at a time when the
whites believed that they were free to handle the situation, was remarkably
fair. The Negroes lately released from slavery were admitted to the enjoyment
of the same rights as the whites as to legal protection of life, liberty, and
property, as to education and as to the family relation, limited only by the
clear recognition of the principles of political inferiority and social
separation. Unhappily this legislation was not put to the test of practical
experience because of the Freedmen's Bureau; it was nevertheless skillfully
used to arouse the dominant Northern party to a course of action which made
impossible any further effort to treat the race problem with due consideration
to actual local conditions.

Much of the work of the Freedmen's Bureau was of only temporary benefit to
both races. The results of its more permanent work were not generally good.
The institution was based upon the assumption that the Negro race must be
protected from the white race. In its organization and administration it was
an impossible combination of the practical and the theoretical, of opportunism
and humanitarianism, of common sense and idealism. It failed to exert a
permanently wholesome influence because its lesser agents were not held to
strict accountability by their superiors. Under these agents the alienation of
the two races began, and the ill feelings then aroused were destined to
persist into a long and troubled future.


The soldiers who fought through the war to victory or to defeat had been at
home nearly two years before the radicals developed sufficient strength to
carry through their plans for a revolutionary reconstruction of the Southern
states. At the end of the war, a majority of the Northern people would have
supported a settlement in accordance with Lincoln's policy. Eight months later
a majority, but a smaller one, would have supported Johnson's work had it been
possible to secure a popular decision on it. How then did the radicals gain
the victory over the conservatives? The answer to this question is given by
James Ford Rhodes in terms of personalities: "Three men are responsible for
the Congressional policy of Reconstruction: Andrew Johnson, by his obstinacy
and bad behavior; Thaddeus Stevens, by his vindictiveness and parliamentary
tyranny; Charles Sumner, by his pertinacity in a misguided humanitarianism."
The President stood alone in his responsibility, but his chief opponents were
the ablest leaders of a resolute band of radicals.

Radicalism did not begin in the Administration of Andrew Johnson. Lincoln had
felt its covert opposition throughout the war, but he possessed the faculty of
weakening his opponents, while Johnson's conduct usually multiplied the number
and the strength of his enemies. At first the radicals criticized Lincoln's
policy in regard to slavery, and after the Emancipation Proclamation they
shifted their attack to his "ten percent" plan for organizing the state
governments as outlined in the Proclamation of December 1863. Lincoln's course
was distasteful to them because he did not admit the right of Congress to
dictate terms, because of his liberal attitude towards former Confederates,
and because he was conservative on the Negro question. A schism among the
Republican supporters of the war was with difficulty averted in 1864, when
Fremont threatened to lead the radicals in opposition to the "Union" party of
the President and his conservative policy.

The breach was widened by the refusal of Congress to admit representatives
from Arkansas and Louisiana in 1864 and to count the electoral vote of
Louisiana and Tennessee in 1865. The passage of the Wade-Davis reconstruction
bill in July 1864, and the protests of its authors after Lincoln's pocket veto
called attention to the growing opposition. Severe criticism caused Lincoln to
withdraw the propositions which he had made in April 1865, with regard to the
restoration of Virginia. In his last public speech, he referred with regret to
the growing spirit of vindictiveness toward the South. Much of the opposition
to Lincoln's Southern policy was based not on radicalism, that is, not on any
desire for a revolutionary change in the South, but upon a belief that
Congress and not the executive should be entrusted with the work of
reorganizing the Union. Many congressional leaders were willing to have
Congress itself carry through the very policies which Lincoln had advocated,
and a majority of the Northern people would have endorsed them without much
caring who was to execute them.

The murder of Lincoln, the failure of the radicals to shape Johnson's policy
as they had hoped, and the continuing reaction against the excessive expansion
of the executive power added strength to the opposition. But it was a long
fight before the radical leaders won. Their victory was due to adroit tactics
on their own part and to mistakes, bad judgment, and bad manners on the part
of the President. When all hope of controlling Johnson had been given up,
Thaddeus Stevens and other leaders of similar views began to contrive means to
circumvent him. On December 1, 1865, before Congress met, a caucus of radicals
held in Washington agreed that a joint committee of the two Houses should be
selected to which should be referred matters relating to reconstruction. This
plan would thwart the more conservative Senate and gain a desirable delay in
which the radicals might develop their campaign. The next day at a caucus of
the Union party the plan went through without arousing the suspicion of the
supporters of the Administration. Next, through the influence of Stevens,
Edward McPherson, the clerk of the House, omitted from the roll call of the
House the names of the members from the South. The radical program was then
adopted and a week later the Senate concurred in the action of the House as to
the appointment of a Joint Committee on Reconstruction.

On the issues before Congress both Houses were split into rather clearly
defined factions: the extreme radicals with such leaders as Stevens, Sumner,
Wade, and Boutwell; the moderate Republicans, chief among whom were Fessenden
and Trumbull; the administration Republicans led by Raymond, Doolittle, Cowan,
and Dixon; and the Democrats, of whom the ablest were Reverdy Johnson,
Guthrie, and Hendricks. All except the extreme radicals were willing to
support the President or to come to some fairly reasonable compromise. But at
no time were they given an opportunity to get together. Johnson and the
administration leaders did little in this direction and the radicals made the
most skillful use of the divisions among the conservatives.

Whatever final judgment may be passed upon the radical reconstruction policy
and its results, there can be no doubt of the political dexterity of those who
carried it through. Chief among them was Thaddeus Stevens, vindictive and
unscrupulous, filled with hatred of the Southern leaders, bitter in speech and
possessing to an extreme degree the faculty of making ridiculous those who
opposed him. He advocated confiscation, the proscription or exile of leading
whites, the granting of the franchise and of lands to the Negroes, and in
Southern states the establishment of territorial governments under the control
of Congress. These states should, he said, "never be recognized as capable of
acting in the Union . . . until the Constitution shall have been so amended as
to make it what the makers intended, and so as to secure perpetual ascendancy
to the party of the Union."

Charles Sumner, the leader of the radicals in the Senate, was moved less than
Stevens by personal hostility toward the whites of the South, but his sympathy
was reserved entirely for the blacks. He was unpractical, theoretical, and not
troubled by constitutional scruples. To him the Declaration of Independence
was the supreme law, and it was the duty of Congress to express its principles
in appropriate legislation. Unlike Stevens, who had a genuine liking for the
Negro, Sumner's sympathy for the race was purely intellectual; for the
individual Negro he felt repulsion. His views were in effect not different
from those of Stevens. And he was practical enough not to overlook the value
of the Negro vote. "To my mind," he said, "nothing is clearer than the
absolute necessity of suffrage for all colored persons in the disorganized
states. It will not be enough if you give it to those who read and write; you
will not, in this way, acquire the voting force which you need there for the
protection of unionists, whether white or black. You will not secure the new
allies who are essential to the national cause." A leader of the second rank
was his colleague Henry Wilson, who was also actuated by a desire for the
Negro's welfare and for the perpetuation of the Republican party, which he
said contained in its ranks "more of moral and intellectual worth than was
ever embodied in any political organization in any land . . . created by no
man or set of men but brought into being by Almighty God himself . . . and
endowed by the Creator with all political power and every office under
Heaven." Shellabarger of Ohio was another important figure among the radicals.
The following extract from one of his speeches gives an indication of his
character and temperament: "They [the Confederates] framed iniquity and
universal murder into law . . . . Their pirates burned your unarmed commerce
upon every sea. They carved the bones of the dead heroes into ornaments, and
drank from goblets made out of their skulls. They poisoned your fountains, put
mines under your soldiers' prisons; organized bands whose leaders were
concealed in your homes; and commissions ordered the torch and yellow fever to
be carried to your cities and to your women and children. They planned one
universal bonfire of the North from Lake Ontario to the Missouri."

Among the lesser lights may be mentioned Morton and Wade, both bluff, coarse,
and ungenerous, and thoroughly convinced that the Republican party had a
monopoly of loyalty, wisdom, and virtues, and that by any means it must gain
and keep control; Boutwell, fanatical and mediocre; and Benjamin Butler, a
charlatan and demagogue. As a class the Western radicals were less troubled by
humanitarian ideals than were those of the East and sought more practical
political results.

The Joint Committee on Reconstruction which finally decided the fate of the
Southern states was composed of eight radicals, four moderate Republicans, and
three Democrats. As James Gillespie Blaine wrote later, "it was foreseen that
in an especial degree the fortunes of the Republican party would be in the
keeping of the fifteen men who might be chosen." This committee was divided
into four subcommittees to take testimony. The witnesses, all of whom were
examined at Washington, included army officers and Bureau agents who had
served in the South, Southern Unionists, a few politicians, and several former
Confederates, among them General Robert E. Lee and Alexander H. Stephens. Most
of the testimony was of the kind needed to support the contentions of the
radicals that Negroes were badly treated in the South; that the whites were
disloyal; that, should they be left in control, the Negro, free labor, the
nation, and the Republican party would be in danger; that the army and the
Freedmen's Bureau must be kept in the South; and that a radical reconstruction
was necessary. No serious effort, however, was made to ascertain the actual
conditions in the South. Slow to formulate a definite plan, the Joint
Committee guided public sentiment toward radicalism, converted gradually the
Republican Congressmen, and little by little undermined the power and
influence of the President.

Not until after the new year was it plain that there was to be a fight to the
finish between Congress and the President. Congress had refused in December
1865, to accept the President's program, but there was still hope for a
compromise. Many conservatives had voted for the delay merely to assert the
rights of Congress; but the radicals wanted time to frame a program. The
Northern Democrats were embarrassingly cordial in their support of Johnson and
so also were most Southerners. The moderates were not far away from the
position of the President and the administration Republicans. But the radicals
skillfully postponed a test of strength until Stevens and Sumner were ready.
The latter declared that a generation must elapse "before the rebel
communities have so far been changed as to become safe associates in a common
government. Time, therefore, we must have. Through time all other guarantees
may be obtained; but time itself is a guarantee."

To the Joint Committee were referred without debate all measures relating to
reconstruction, but the Committee was purposely making little
progress--contented merely to take testimony and to act as a clearing house
for the radical "facts" about "Southern outrages" while waiting for the tide
to turn. The "Black Laws" and the election of popular Confederate leaders to
office in the South were effectively used to alarm the friends of the Negroes,
and the reports from the Bureau agents gave support to those who condemned the
Southern state governments as totally inadequate and disloyal.

So apparent was the growth of radicalism that the President, alarmed by the
attitude of Sumner and Stevens and their followers, began to fear for the
Constitution and forced the fight. The passage of a bill on February 6, 1866,
extending the life of the Freedmen's Bureau furnished the occasion for the
beginning of the open struggle. On the 19th of February, Johnson vetoed the
bill, and the next day an effort was made to pass it over the veto. Not
succeeding in this attempt, the House of Representatives adopted a concurrent
resolution that Senators and Representatives from the Southern states should
be excluded until Congress declared them entitled to representation. Ten days
later the Senate also adopted the resolution.

Though it was not yet too late for Johnson to meet the conservatives of
Congress on middle ground, he threw away his opportunity by an intemperate and
undignified speech on the 22d of February to a crowd at the White House. As
usual when excited, he forgot the proprieties and denounced the radicals as
enemies of the Union and even went so far as to charge Stevens, Sumner, and
Wendell Phillips with endeavoring to destroy the fundamental principles of the
government. Such conduct weakened his supporters and rejoiced his enemies. It
was expected that Johnson would approve the bill to confer civil rights upon
the Negroes, but, goaded perhaps by the speeches of Stevens, he vetoed it on
the 27th of March. Its patience now exhausted, Congress passed the bill over
the President's veto. To secure the requisite majority in the Senate,
Stockton, Democratic Senator from New Jersey, was unseated on technical
grounds, and Senator Morgan, who was "paired" with a sick colleague, broke his
word to vote aye--for which Wade offensively thanked God. The moderates had
now fallen away from the President, and at least for this session of Congress,
his policies were wrecked. On the 16th of July, the supplementary Freedmen's
Bureau Act was passed over the veto, and on the 24th of July Tennessee was
readmitted to representation by a law the preamble of which asserted
unmistakably that Congress had assumed control of reconstruction.

Meanwhile the Joint Committee on Reconstruction had made a report asserting
that the Southerners had forfeited all constitutional rights, that their state
governments were not in constitutional form, and that restoration could be
accomplished only when Congress and the President acted together in fixing the
terms of readmission. The uncompromising hostility of the South, the Committee
asserted, made necessary adequate safeguards which should include the
disfranchisement of the white leaders, either Negro suffrage or a reduction of
white representation, and repudiation of the Confederate war debt with
recognition of the validity of the United States debt. These terms were
embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment, which was adopted by Congress and sent
to the States on June 13, 1866.

In the congressional campaign of 1866, reconstruction was almost the sole
issue. For success the Administration must gain at least one-third of one
house, while the radicals were fighting for two-thirds of each House. If the
Administration should fail to make the necessary gain, the work accomplished
by the Presidents would be destroyed. The campaign was bitter and extended
through the summer and fall. Four national conventions were held: the National
Union party at Philadelphia made a respectable showing in support of the
President; the Southern Unionists, guided by the Northern radicals met at the
same place; a soldiers' and sailors' convention at Cleveland supported the
Administration; and another convention of soldiers and sailors at Pittsburgh
endorsed the radical policies. A convention of Confederate soldiers and
sailors at Memphis endorsed the President, but the Southern support and that
of the Northern Democrats did not encourage moderate Republicans to vote for
the Administration. Three members of Johnson's Cabinet--Harlan, Speed, and
Dennison--resigned because they were unwilling to follow their chief further
in opposing Congress.

The radicals had plenty of campaign material in the testimony collected by the
Joint Committee, in the reports of the Freedmen's Bureau, and in the bloody
race riots which had occurred in Memphis and New Orleans. The greatest blunder
of the Administration was Johnson's speechmaking tour to the West which he
called "Swinging Around the Circle." Every time he made a speech he was
heckled by persons in the crowd, lost his temper, denounced Congress and the
radical leaders, and conducted himself in an undignified manner. The election
returns showed more than a two-thirds majority in each House against the
President. The Fortieth Congress would therefore be safely radical, and in
consequence the Thirty-ninth was encouraged to be more radical during its last

Public interest now for a time turned to the South, where the Fourteenth
Amendment was before the state legislatures. The radicals, taunted with having
no plan of reconstruction beyond a desire to keep the Southern States out of
the Union, professed to see in the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment a
good opportunity to readmit the States on a safe basis. The elections of 1866
had pointed to the ratification of the proposed amendment as an essential
preliminary to readmission. But would additional demands be made upon the
South? Sumner, Stevens, and Fessenden were sure that Negro suffrage also must
come, but Wade, Chase, Garfield, and others believed that nothing beyond the
terms of the Fourteenth Amendment would be asked.

In the Southern legislatures there was little disposition to ratify the
amendment. The rapid development of the radical policies during 1866 had
convinced most Southerners that nothing short of a general humiliation and
complete revolution in the South would satisfy the dominant party, and there
were few who wished to be "parties to our own dishonor." The President advised
the States not to accept the amendment, but several Southern leaders favored
it, fearing that worse would come if they should reject it. Only in the
legislatures of Alabama and Florida was there any serious disposition to
accept the amendment; and in the end all the unreconstructed States voted
adversely during the fall and winter of 1866-67. This unanimity of action was
due in part to the belief that, even if the amendment were ratified, the
Southern states would still be excluded, and in part to the general dislike of
the proscriptive section which would disfranchise all Confederates of
prominence and result in the breaking up of the state governments. The example
of unhappy Tennessee, which had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and had been
readmitted, was not one to encourage conservative people in the other Southern

The rejection of the amendment put the question of reconstruction squarely
before Congress. There was no longer a possibility of accomplishing the
reconstruction of the Southern states by means of constitutional amendments.
Some of the Border and Northern states were already showing signs of
uneasiness at the continued exclusion of the South. But if the Constitutional
Amendment had failed, other means of reconstruction were at hand, for the
radicals now controlled the Thirty-ninth Congress, from which the Southern
representatives were excluded, and would also control the Fortieth Congress.

Under the lead of Stevens and Sumner, the radicals now perfected their plans.
On January 8,1867, their first measure, conferring the franchise upon Negroes
in the District of Columbia, was passed over the presidential veto, though the
proposal had been voted down a few weeks earlier by a vote of 6525 to 35 in
Washington and 812 to 1 in Georgetown. In the next place, by an act of January
31, 1867, the franchise was extended to Negroes in the territories, and on
March 2, 1867, three important measures were enacted: the Tenure of Office Act
and a rider to the Army Appropriation Act--both designed to limit the power of
the President--and the first Reconstruction Act. By the Tenure of Office Act,
the President was prohibited from removing officeholders except with the
consent of the Senate; and by the Army Act he was forbidden to issue orders
except through General Grant or to relieve him of command or to assign him to
command away from Washington unless at the General's own request or with the
previous approval of the Senate. The first measure was meant to check the
removal of radical officeholders by Johnson, and the other, which was secretly
drawn up for Boutwell by Stanton, was designed to prevent the President from
exercising his constitutional command of the army.

The first Reconstruction Act declared that no legal state government existed
in the ten unreconstructed states and that there was no adequate protection
for life and property. The Johnson and Lincoln governments in those States
were declared to have no legal status and to be subject wholly to the
authority of the United States to modify or abolish. The ten states were
divided into five military districts, over each of which a general officer was
to be placed in command. Military tribunals were to supersede the civil courts
where necessary. Stevens was willing to rest here, though some of his less
radical followers, disliking military rule but desiring to force Negro
suffrage, inserted a provision in the law that a State might be readmitted to
representation upon the following conditions: a constitutional convention must
be held, the members of which were elected by males of voting age without
regard to color, excluding whites who would be disfranchised by the proposed
Fourteenth Amendment; a constitution including the same rule of suffrage must
be framed, ratified by the same electorate, and approved by Congress; and
lastly, the legislatures elected under this constitution must ratify the
proposed Fourteenth Amendment, after which, if the Fourteenth Amendment should
have become a part of the Federal Constitution, the State should be readmitted
to representation.

In order that the administration of this radical legislation might be
supervised by its friends, the Thirty-ninth Congress had passed a law
requiring the Fortieth Congress to meet on the 4th of March instead of in
December as was customary. According to the Reconstruction Act of the 2nd of
March, it was left to the state government or to the people of a state to make
the first move towards reconstruction. If they preferred, they might remain
under military rule. Either by design or by carelessness no machinery of
administration was provided for the execution of the act. When it became
evident that the Southerners preferred military rule, the new Congress passed
a Supplementary Reconstruction Act on the 23d of March designed to force the
earlier act into operation. The five commanding generals were directed to
register the blacks of voting age and the whites who were not disfranchised,
to hold elections for conventions, to call the conventions, to hold elections
to ratify or reject the constitutions, and to forward the constitutions, if
ratified, to the President for transmission to Congress.

In these reconstruction acts the whole doctrine of radicalism was put on the
way to accomplishment. Its spread had been rapid. In December 1865, the
majority of Congress would have accepted with little modification the work of
Lincoln and Johnson. Three months later the Civil Rights Act measured the
advance. Very soon the new Freedmen's Bureau Act and the Fourteenth Amendment
indicated the rising tide of radicalism. The campaign of 1866 and the attitude
of the Southern states swept all radicals and most moderate Republicans
swiftly into a merciless course of reconstruction. Moderate reconstruction had
nowhere strong support. Congress, touched in its amour propre by presidential
disregard, was eager for extremes. Johnson, who regarded himself as defending
the Constitution against radical assaults, was stubborn, irascible, and
undignified, and with his associates was no match in political strategy for
his radical opponents.

The average Republican or Unionist in the North, if he had not been brought by
skillful misrepresentation to believe a new rebellion impending in the South,
was at any rate painfully alive to the fear that the Democratic party might
regain power. With the freeing of the slaves, the representation of the South
in Congress would be increased. At first it seemed that the South might divide
in politics as before the war, but the longer the delay the more the Southern
whites tended to unite into one party acting with the Democrats. With their
eighty-five representatives and a slight reaction in the North, they might
gain control of the lower House of Congress. The Union-Republican party had a
majority of less than one hundred in 1866, and this was lessened slightly in
the Fortieth Congress. The President was for all practical purposes a Democrat
again. The prospect was too much for the very human politicians to view
without distress. Stevens, speaking in support of the Military Reconstruction
Bill, said:

"There are several good reasons for the passage of this bill. In the first
place, it is just. I am now confining my argument to Negro suffrage in the
rebel states. Have not loyal blacks quite as good a right to choose rulers and
make laws as rebel whites? In the second place, it is necessary in order to
protect the loyal white men in the seceded states. With them the blacks would
act in a body, and it is believed that in each of these states, except one,
the two united would form a majority, control the states, and protect
themselves. Now they are the victims of daily murder. They must suffer
constant persecution or be exiled. Another good reason is that it would insure
the ascendancy of the union party .... I believe . . . that on the continued
ascendancy of that party depends the safety of this great nation. If impartial
suffrage is excluded in the rebel states, then every one of them is sure to
send a solid rebel electoral vote. They, with their kindred Copperheads of the
North, would always elect the President and control Congress."

The laws passed on the 2d and the 23d of March were war measures and
presupposed a continuance of war conditions. The Lincoln-Johnson state
governments were overturned; Congress fixed the qualifications of voters for
that time and for the future; and the President, shorn of much of his
constitutional power, could exercise but little control over the military
government. Nothing that a state might do would secure restoration until it
should ratify the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. The war
had been fought upon the theory that the old Union must be preserved; but the
basic theory of the reconstruction was that a new Union was to be created.


From the passage of the reconstruction acts to the close of Johnson's
Administration, Congress, working the will of the radical majority, was in
supreme control. The army carried out the will of Congress and to that body,
not to the President, the commanding general and his subordinates looked for

The official opposition of the President to the policy of Congress ceased when
that policy was enacted into law. He believed this legislation to be
unconstitutional, but he considered it his duty to execute the laws. He at
once set about the appointment of generals to command the military districts
created in the South,* a task calling for no little discretion, since much
depended upon the character of these military governors, or "satraps," as they
were frequently called by the opposition. The commanding general in a district
was charged with many duties, military, political, and administrative. It was
his duty to carry on a government satisfactory to the radicals and not too
irritating to the Southern whites; at the same time he must execute the
reconstruction acts by putting old leaders out of power and Negroes in.
Violent opposition to this policy on the part of the South was not looked for.
Notwithstanding the "Southern outrage" campaign, it was generally recognized
in government circles that conditions in the seceded states had gradually been
growing better since the close of the war. There was in many regions, to be
sure, a general laxity in enforcing laws, but that had always been
characteristic of the newer parts of the South. The Civil Rights Act was
generally in force, the "Black Laws" had been suspended, and the Freedmen's
Bureau was everywhere caring for the Negroes. What disorder existed was of
recent origin and in the main was due to the unsettling effects of the debates
in Congress and to the organization of the Negroes for political purposes.

* The first five generals appointed were Schofield, Sickles. Pope, Ord, and
Sheridan. None of these remained in his district until reconstruction was
completed. To Schofield's command in the first district succeeded in turn
Stoneman, Webb, and Canby; Sickles gave way to Canby, and Pope to Meade; Ord
in the fourth district was followed by Gillem, McDowell, and Ames; Sheridan,
in the fifth, was succeeded by Griffen, Mower, Hancock, Buchanan, Reynolds,
and Canby. Some of the generals were radical; others, moderate and tactful.
The most extreme were Sheridan, Pope, and Sickles. Those most acceptable to
the whites were Hancock, Schofield, and Meade. General Grant himself became
more radical in his actions as he became involved in the fight between
Congress and the President.

Military rule was established in the South with slight friction, but it was
soon found that the reconstruction laws were not sufficiently clear on two
points: first, whether there was any limit to the authority of the five
generals over the local and state governments and, if so, whether the limiting
authority was in the President; and second, whether the disfranchising
provisions in the laws were punitive and hence to be construed strictly.
Attorney-General Stanbery, in May and June 1867, drew up opinions in which he
maintained that the laws were to be considered punitive and therefore to be
construed strictly. After discussions in cabinet meetings, these opinions
received the approval of all except Stanton, Secretary of War, who had already
joined the radical camp. The Attorney-General's opinion was sent out to the
district commanders for their information and guidance. But Congress did not
intend to permit the President or his Cabinet to direct the process of
reconstruction, and in the Act of July 19, 1867, it gave a radical
interpretation to the reconstruction legislation, declared itself in control,
gave full power to General Grant and to the district commanders subject only
to Grant, directed the removal of all local officials who opposed the
reconstruction policies, and warned the civil and military officers of the
United States that none of them should "be bound in his action by any opinion
of any civil officer of the United States." This interpretive legislation gave
a broad basis for the military government and resulted in a severe application
of the disfranchising provisions of the laws.

The rule of the five generals lasted in all the States until June 1868, and
continued in Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, and Georgia until 1870. There had
been, to be sure, some military government in 1865, subject, however, to the
President, and from 1865 to 1867 the army, along with the Freedmen's Bureau,
had exerted a strong influence in the government of the South, but in the
regime now inaugurated the military was supreme. The generals had a superior
at Washington, but whether it was the President, General Grant, or Congress
was not clear until the Act of July 19, 1867 made Congress the source of

The power of the generals most strikingly appeared in their control of the
state governments which were continued as provisional organizations. Since no
elections were permitted, all appointments and removals were made from
military headquarters, which soon became political beehives, centers of
wirepulling and agencies for the distribution of spoils. At the outset civil
officers were ordered to retain their offices during good behavior, subject to
military control. But no local official was permitted to use his influence
ever so slightly against reconstruction. Since most of them did not favor the
policy of Congress, thousands were removed as "obstacles to reconstruction."
The Governors of Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas were
displaced and others appointed in their stead. All kinds of subordinate
offices rapidly became vacant. New appointments were nearly always
carpetbaggers and native radicals who could take the "ironclad" oath. The
generals complained that there were not enough competent native "loyalists" to
fill the offices, and frequently an army officer was installed as governor,
treasurer, secretary of state, auditor, or mayor. In nearly all towns, the
police force was reorganized, and former Federal soldiers were added to the
force, while the regular troops were used for general police purposes and for
rural constabulary.

Over the administration of justice the military authorities exercised a close
supervision. Instructions were sent out to court officers covering the
selection of juries, the suspension of certain laws, and the rules of evidence
and procedure. Courts were often closed, court decrees set aside or modified,
prisoners released, and many cases reserved for trial by military commission.
Some commanders required juries to admit Negro members and insisted that all
jurors take the "ironclad" test oath. There was some attempt at regulating the
Federal courts but without much success.

Since the state legislatures were forbidden to meet, much legislation was
enacted through military orders. Stay laws were enacted, the color line was
abolished, new criminal regulations were promulgated, and the police power was
invoked in some instances to justify sweeping measures, such as the
prohibition of whisky manufacture in North Carolina and South Carolina. The
military governors levied, increased, or decreased taxes and made
appropriations which the state treasurers were forced to pay, but they
restrained the radical conventions, all of which wished to spend much money.
According to the Act of March 23, 1867, the generals and their appointees were
to be paid by the United States, but in practice the running expenses of
reconstruction were paid by the state treasurers.

Any attempt to favor the Confederate soldiers was frowned upon. Laws providing
wooden legs and free education for crippled Confederates were suspended.
Militia organizations and military schools were forbidden. No uniform might be
worn, no parades were permitted, no memorial and historical societies were to
be organized, and no meeting of any kind could be held without a permit. The
attempt to control the press resulted in what one general called "a horrible
uproar." Editors were forbidden to express themselves too strongly against
reconstruction; public advertising and printing were awarded only to those
papers actively supporting reconstruction. Several newspapers were suppressed,
a notable example being the "Tuscaloosa Independent Monitor", whose editor,
Ryland Randolph, was a picturesque figure in Alabama journalism and a leader
in the Ku Klux Klan.

The military administration was thorough and, as a whole, honest and
efficient. With fewer than ten thousand soldiers, the generals maintained
order and carried on the reconstruction of the South. The whites made no
attempt at resistance, though they were irritated by military rule and
resented the loss of self-government. But most Southerners preferred the rule
of the army to the alternative reign of the carpetbagger, scalawag, and Negro.
The extreme radicals at the North, on the other hand, were disgusted at the
conservative policy of the generals. The apathy of the whites at the beginning
of the military reconstruction excited surprise on all sides. Not only was
there no violent opposition, but for a few weeks there was no opposition at
all. The civil officials were openly unsympathetic, and the newspapers voiced
dissent not untouched with disgust; others simply could not take the situation
seriously because it seemed so absurd; many leaders were indifferent, while
others among them, Generals Lee, Beauregard, and Longstreet, and Governor
Patton--without approving the policy, advised the whites to cooperate with the
military authorities and save all they could out of the situation. General
Beauregard, for instance, wrote in 1867: "If the suffrage of the Negro is
properly handled and directed, we shall defeat our adversaries with their own
weapons. The Negro is Southern born. With education and property
qualifications he can be made to take an interest in the affairs of the South
and in its prosperity. He will side with the whites."

Northern observers who were friendly to the South or who disapproved of this
radical reconstruction saw the danger more clearly than the Southerners
themselves, who seemed not to appreciate the full implication of the
situation. In this connection the New York "Herald" remarked:

"We may regard the entire ten unreconstructed Southern States, with possibly
one or two exceptions, as forced by a secret and overwhelming revolutionary
influence to a common and inevitable fate. They are all bound to be governed
by blacks spurred on by worse than blacks - white wretches who dare not show
their faces in respectable society anywhere. This is the most abominable phase
barbarism has assumed since the dawn of civilization. It was all right and
proper to put down the rebellion. It was all right perhaps to emancipate the
slaves . . . . But it is not right to make slaves of white men even though
they may have been former masters of blacks. This is but a change in a system
of bondage that is rendered the more odious and intolerable because it has
been inaugurated in an enlightened instead of a dark and uncivilized age."

The political parties rapidly grouped themselves for the coming struggle. The
radical Republican party indeed was in process of organization in the South
even before the passage of the reconstruction acts. Its membership was made up
of Negroes, carpetbaggers, or Northern men who had come in as speculators,
officers of the Freedmen's Bureau and of the army, scalawags or Confederate
renegades, "Peace Society" men,* and Unionists of Civil War times, with a few
old Whigs who could not yet bring themselves to affiliate with the Democrats.
At first it seemed that a respectable number of whites might be secured for
the radical party, but the rapid organization of the Negroes checked the
accession of whites. In the winter and spring of 1866-67, the Negroes near the
towns were well organized by the Union League and the Freedmen's Bureau and
then, after the passage of the reconstruction acts, the organizing activities
of the radical chieftains shifted to the rural districts. The Union League was
greatly extended; Union League conventions were held to which local whites
were not admitted; and the formation of a black man's party was well on the
way before the registration of the voters was completed. Visiting statesmen
from the North, among them Henry Wilson of Massachusetts and "Pig Iron" Kelley
of Pennsylvania, toured the South in support of the radical program, and the
registrars and all Federal officials aided in the work.

* See "The Day of the Confederacy", by Nathaniel W. Stephenson (in "The
Chronicles of America"), p. 121, footnote.

The whites, slow to comprehend the real extent of radicalism, were finally
aroused to the necessity of organizing, if they were to influence the Negro
and have a voice in the conventions. The old party divisions were still
evident. With difficulty a portion of the Whigs was brought with the Democrats
into one conservative party during the summer and fall of 1867, though many
still held aloof. The lack of the old skilled leadership was severely felt. In
places where the white man's party was given a name, it was called "Democratic
and Conservative," to spare the feelings of former Whigs who were loath to
bear the party name of their quondam opponents.

The first step in the military reconstruction was the registration of voters.
In each State a central board of registrars was appointed by the district
commander and a local board for every county and large town. Each board
consisted of three members--all radicals--who were required to subscribe to
the "ironclad" oath. In several states one Negro was appointed to each local
board. The registrars listed Negro voters during the day, and at night worked
at the organization of a radical Republican party. The prospective voters were
required to take the oath prescribed in the Reconstruction Act, but the
registrars were empowered to go behind the oath and investigate the
Confederate record of each applicant. This authority was invoked to carry the
disfranchisement of the whites far beyond the intention of the law in an
attempt to destroy the leadership of the whites and to register enough Negroes
to outvote them at the polls. For this purpose the registration was continued
until October 1, 1867, and an active campaign of education and organization
carried on.

At the close of the registration, 703,000 black voters were on the rolls and
627,000 whites. In Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, and
Mississippi there were black majorities, and in the other States the blacks
and the radical whites together formed majorities. The white minorities
included several thousand who had been rejected by the registrars but restored
by the military commanders. Though large numbers of blacks were dropped from
the revised rolls as fraudulently registered, the registration statistics,
nevertheless, bore clear witness to the political purpose of those who
compiled them.

Next followed a vote on the question of holding a state convention and the
election of delegates to such a convention if held--a double election. The
whites, who had been harassed in the registration and who feared race
conflicts at the elections, considered whether they ought not to abstain from
voting. By staying away from the polls, they might bring the vote cast in each
State below a majority and thus defeat the proposed conventions for, unless a
majority of the registered voters actually cast ballots either for or against
a convention, no convention could be held. Nowhere, however, was this plan of
not voting fully carried out, for, though most whites abstained, enough of
them voted (against the conventions, of course) to make the necessary majority
in each State. The effect of the abstention policy upon the personnel of the
conventions was unfortunate. In every convention there was a radical majority
with a conservative and all but negligible minority. In South Carolina and
Louisiana, there were Negro majorities. In every State except North Carolina,
Texas, and Virginia, the Negroes and the carpetbaggers together were in the
majority over native whites.

The conservative whites were of fair ability; the carpetbaggers and scalawags
produced in each convention a few able leaders, but most of them were
conscienceless political soldiers of fortune; the Negro members were
inexperienced, and most of them were quite ignorant, though a few leaders of
ability did appear among them. In Alabama, for example, only two Negro members
could write, though half had been taught to sign their names. They were
barbers, field hands, hack drivers, and servants. A Negro chaplain was elected
who invoked divine blessings on "unioners and cusses on rebels." It was a sign
of the new era when the convention specially invited the "ladies of colored
members" to seats in the gallery.

The work of the conventions was for the most part cut and dried, the abler
members having reached a general agreement before they met. The constitutions,
mosaics of those of other states, were noteworthy only for the provisions made
to keep the whites out of power and to regulate the relations of the races in
social matters. The Texas constitution alone contained no proscriptive clauses
beyond those required by the Fourteenth Amendment. The most thoroughgoing
proscription of Confederates was found in the constitutions of Mississippi,
Alabama, and Virginia; and in these states the voter must also purge himself
of guilt by agreeing to accept the "civil and political equality of all men"
or by supporting reconstruction. Only in South Carolina and Louisiana were
race lines abolished by law.

The legislative work of the conventions was more interesting than the
constitution making. By ordinance the legality of Negro marriages was dated
from November 1867, or some date later than had been fixed by the white
conventions of 1865. Mixed schools were provided in some States; militia for
the black districts but not for the white was to be raised; while in South
Carolina it was made a penal offense to call a person a "Yankee" or a
"nigger." Few of the Negro delegates demanded proscription of whites or social
equality; they wanted schools and the vote. The white radicals were more
anxious to keep the former Confederates from holding office than from voting.
The generals in command everywhere used their influence to secure moderate
action by the conventions, and for this they were showered with abuse.

As provided by the reconstruction acts, the new constitutions were submitted
to the electorate created by those instruments. Unless a majority of the
registered voters in a State should take part in the election, the
reconstruction would fail and the State would remain under military rule. The
whites now inaugurated a more systematic policy of abstention and in Alabama,
on February 4, 1868, succeeded in holding the total vote below a majority.
Congress then rushed to the rescue of radicalism with the act of the 11th of
March, which provided that a mere majority of those voting in the State was
sufficient to inaugurate reconstruction. Arkansas had followed the lead of
Alabama, but too late; in Mississippi the constitution was defeated by a
majority vote; in Texas the convention had made no provision for a vote; and
in Virginia the commanding general, disapproving of the work of the
convention, refused to pay the expenses of an election. In the other six
States the constitutions were adopted.*

* Except in Texas, the work of constitution making was completed between
November 5, 1867, and May 18, 1868.

These elections gave rise to more violent contests than before. They also were
double elections, as the voters cast ballots for state and local officials and
at the same time for or against the constitution. The radical nominations were
made by the Union League and the Freedmen's Bureau, and nearly all radicals
who had been members of conventions were nominated and elected to office. The
Negroes, expecting now to reap some benefits of reconstruction, frequently
brought sacks to the polls to "put the franchise in." The elections were all
over by June 1868, and the newly elected legislatures promptly ratified the
Fourteenth Amendment.

It now remained for Congress to approve the work done in the South and to
readmit the reorganized states. The case of Alabama gave some trouble. Even
Stevens, for a time, thought that this state should stay out; but there was
danger in delay. The success of the abstention policy in Alabama and Arkansas
and the reviving interest of the whites foreshadowed white majorities in some
places; the scalawags began to forsake the radical party for the
conservatives; and there were Democratic gains in the North in 1867. Only six
states, New York and five New England States, allowed the Negro to vote, while
four states, Minnesota, Michigan, Kansas, and Ohio, voted down Negro suffrage
after the passage of the reconstruction acts. The ascendancy of the radicals
in Congress was menaced. The radicals needed the support of their radical
brethren in Southern States and they could not afford to wait for the
Fourteenth Amendment to become a part of the Constitution or to tolerate other
delay. On the 22d and the 25th of June, acts were therefore passed admitting
seven states, Alabama included, to representation in Congress upon the
"fundamental condition" that "the constitutions of neither of said States
shall ever be so amended or changed as to deprive any citizens or class of
citizens of the United States of the right to vote in said State, who are
entitled to vote by the constitution thereof herein recognized."

The generals now turned over the government to the recently elected radical
officials and retired into the background. Military reconstruction was thus
accomplished in all the States except Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas.


While the radical program was being executed in the South, Congress was
engaged not only in supervising reconstruction but in subduing the Supreme
Court and in "conquering" President Johnson. One must admire the efficiency of
the radical machine. When the Southerners showed that they preferred military
rule as permitted by the Act of the 2nd of March, Congress passed the Act of
the 23d of March which forced the reconstruction. When the President ventured
to assert his power in behalf of a considerate administration of the
reconstruction acts, Congress took the power out of his hands by the law of
the 19th of July. The Southern plan to defeat the new state constitutions by
abstention was no sooner made clear in the case of Alabama than Congress came
to the rescue with the Act of March 11, 1868.

Had it seemed necessary, Congress would have handled the Supreme Court as it
did the Southerners. The opponents of radical reconstruction were anxious to
get the reconstruction laws of March 1867, before the Court. Chief Justice
Chase was known to be opposed to military reconstruction, and four other
justices were, it was believed, doubtful of the constitutionality of the laws.
A series of conservative decisions gave hope to those who looked to the Court
for relief. The first decision, in the case of ex parte Milligan, declared
unconstitutional the trials of civilians by military commissions when civil
courts were open. A few months later, in the cases of Cummings vs. Missouri
and ex parte Garland, the Court declared invalid, because ex post facto, the
state laws designed to punish former Confederates.

But the first attempts to get the reconstruction acts before the Supreme Court
failed. The State of Mississippi, in April 1867, brought suit to restrain the
President from executing the reconstruction acts. The Court refused to
interfere with the executive. A similar suit was then brought against
Secretary Stanton by Georgia with a like result. But in 1868, in the case of
ex parte McCardle, it appeared that the question of the constitutionality of
the reconstruction acts would be passed upon. McCardle, a Mississippi editor
arrested for opposition to reconstruction and convicted by military
commission, appealed to the Supreme Court, which asserted its jurisdiction.
But the radicals in alarm rushed through Congress an act (March 27, 1868)
which took away from the Court its jurisdiction in cases arising under the
reconstruction acts. The highest court was thus silenced.

The attempt to remove the President from office was the only part of the
radical program that failed, and this by the narrowest of margins. During the
spring and summer of 1866, there was some talk among politicians of impeaching
President Johnson, and in December a resolution was introduced by
Representative Ashley of Ohio looking toward impeachment. Though the committee
charged with the investigation of "the official conduct of Andrew Johnson"
reported that enough testimony had been taken to justify further inquiry, the
House took no action. There were no less than five attempts at impeachment
during the next year. Stevens, Butler, and others were anxious to get the
President out of the way, but the majority were as yet unwilling to impeach
for merely political reasons. There were some who thought that the radicals
had sufficient majorities to ensure all needed legislation and did not relish
the thought of Ben Wade in the presidency.* Others considered that no just
grounds for action had been found in the several investigations of Johnson's
record. Besides, the President's authority and influence had been much
curtailed by the legislation relating to the Freedmen's Bureau, tenure of
office, reconstruction, and command of the army, and Congress had also refused
to recognize his amnesty and pardoning powers.

* Senator Wade of Ohio was President pro tempore of the Senate and by the act
of 1791 would succeed President Johnson if he were removed from office.

But the desire to impeach the President was increasing in power, and very
little was needed to provoke a trial of strength between the radicals and the
President. The drift toward impeachment was due in part to the legislative
reaction against the executive, and in part to Johnson's own opposition to
reconstruction and to his use of the patronage against the radicals. Specific
grievances were found in his vetoes of the various reconstruction bills, in
his criticisms of Congress and the radical leaders, and in the fact, as
Stevens asserted, that he was a "radical renegade." Johnson was a Southern
man, an old-line State Rights Democrat, somewhat anti-Negro in feeling. He
knew no book except the Constitution, and that he loved with all his soul.
Sure of the correctness of his position, he was too stubborn to change or to
compromise. He was no more to be moved than Stevens or Sumner. To overcome
Johnson's vetoes required two-thirds of each House of Congress; to impeach and
remove him would require only a majority of the House and two-thirds of the

The desired occasion for impeachment was furnished by Johnson's attempt to get
Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War, out of the Cabinet. Stanton held
radical views and was at no time sympathetic with or loyal to Johnson, but he
loved office too well to resign along with those cabinet members who could not
follow the President in his struggle with Congress. He was seldom frank and
sincere in his dealings with the President, and kept up an underhand
correspondence with the radical leaders, even assisting in framing some of the
reconstruction legislation which was designed to render Johnson powerless. In
him the radicals had a representative within the President's Cabinet.

Wearied of Stanton's disloyalty, Johnson asked him to resign and, upon a
refusal, suspended him in August 1867, and placed General Grant in temporary
charge of the War Department. General Grant, Chief Justice Chase, and
Secretary McCulloch, though they all disliked Stanton, advised the President
against suspending him. But Johnson was determined. About the same time he
exercised his power in removing Sheridan and Sickles from their commands in
the South and replaced them with Hancock and Canby. The radicals were furious,
but Johnson had secured at least the support of a loyal Cabinet.

The suspension of Stanton was reported to the Senate in December 1867, and on
January 13, 1868, the Senate voted not to concur in the President's action.
Upon receiving notice of the vote in the Senate, Grant at once left the War
Department and Stanton again took possession. Johnson now charged Grant with
failing to keep a promise either to hold on himself or to make it possible to
appoint some one else who would hold on until the matter might be brought into
the courts. The President by this accusation angered Grant and threw him with
his great influence into the arms of the radicals. Against the advice of his
leading counselors, Johnson persisted in his intention to keep Stanton out of
the Cabinet. Accordingly on the 21st of February he dismissed Stanton from
office and appointed Lorenzo Thomas, the Adjutant General, as acting Secretary
of War. Stanton, advised by the radicals in Congress to "stick," refused to
yield possession to Thomas and had him arrested for violation of the Tenure of
Office Act. The matter now was in the courts where Johnson wanted it, but the
radical leaders, fearing that the courts would decide against Stanton and the
reconstruction acts, had the charges against Thomas withdrawn. Thus failed the
last attempt to get the reconstruction laws before the courts. On the 22nd of
February, the President sent to the Senate the name of Thomas Ewing, General
Sherman's father-in-law, as Secretary of War, but no attention was paid to the

On February 24, 1868, the House voted, 128 to 47, to impeach the President "of
high crimes and misdemeanors in office." The Senate was formally notified the
next day, and on the 4th of March the seven managers selected by the House
appeared before the Senate with the eleven articles of impeachment. At first
it seemed to the public that the impeachment proceedings were merely the
culmination of a struggle for the control of the army. There were rumors that
Johnson had plans to use the army against Congress and against reconstruction.
General Grant, directed by Johnson to accept orders from Stanton only if he
were satisfied that they came from the President, refused to follow these
instructions. Stanton, professing to fear violence, barricaded himself in the
War Department and was furnished with a guard of soldiers by General Grant,
who from this time used his influence in favor of impeachment. Excited by the
most sensational rumors, some people even believed a new rebellion to be

The impeachment was rushed to trial by the House managers and was not ended
until the decision was taken by the votes of the 16th and 26th of May. The
eleven articles of impeachment consisted of summaries of all that had been
charged against Johnson, except the charge that he had been an accomplice in
the murder of Lincoln. The only one which had any real basis was the first,
which asserted that he had violated the Tenure of Office Act in trying to
remove Stanton. The other articles were merely expansions of the first or were
based upon Johnson's opposition to reconstruction or upon his speeches in
criticism of Congress. Nothing could be said about his control of the
patronage, though this was one of the unwritten charges. J. W. Schuckers, in
his life of Chase, says that the radical leaders "felt the vast importance of
the presidential patronage; many of them felt, too, that, according to the
maxim that to the victors belong the spoils, the Republican party was
rightfully entitled to the Federal patronage, and they determined to get
possession of it. There was but one method and that was by impeachment and
removal of the President."

The leading House managers were Stevens, Butler, Bingham, and Boutwell, all
better known as politicians than as lawyers. The President was represented by
an abler legal array: Curtis, Evarts, Stanbery, Nelson, and Groesbeck.
Jeremiah Black was at first one of the counsel for the President but withdrew
under conditions not entirely creditable to himself.

The trial was a one-sided affair. The President's counsel were refused more
than six days for the preparation of the case. Chief Justice Chase, who
presided over the trial, insisted upon regarding the Senate as a judicial and
not a political body, and he accordingly ruled that only legal evidence should
be admitted; but the Senate majority preferred to assume that they were
settling a political question. Much evidence favorable to the President was
excluded, but everything else was admitted. As the trial went on, the country
began to understand that the impeachment was a mistake. Few people wanted to
see Senator Wade made President. The partisan attitude of the Senate majority
and the weakness of the case against Johnson had much to do in moderating
public opinion, and the timely nomination of General Schofield as Secretary of
War after Stanton's resignation reassured those who feared that the army might
be placed under some extreme Democrat.

As the time drew near for the decision, every possible pressure was brought by
the radicals to induce senators to vote for conviction. To convict the
President, thirty-six votes were necessary. There were only twelve Democrats
in the Senate, but all were known to be in favor of acquittal. When the test
came on the 16th of May, seven Republicans voted with the Democrats for
acquittal on the eleventh article. Another vote on the 26th of May, on the
first and second articles, showed that conviction was not possible. The
radical legislative reaction was thus checked at its highest point and the
presidency as a part of the American governmental system was no longer in
danger. The seven Republicans had, however, signed their own political death
warrants; they were never forgiven by the party leaders.

The presidential campaign was beginning to take shape even before the
impeachment trial began. Both the Democrats and the reorganized Republicans
were turning with longing toward General Grant as a candidate. Though he had
always been a Democrat, Nevertheless, when Johnson actually called him a liar
and a promise breaker, Grant went over to the radicals and was nominated for
President on May 20, 1868, by the National Union Republican party. Schuyler
Colfax was the candidate for Vice President. The Democrats, who could have won
with Grant and who under good leadership still had a bare chance to win,
nominated Horatio Seymour of New York and Francis P. Blair of Missouri. The
former had served as war governor of New York, while the latter was considered
an extreme Democrat who believed that the radical reconstruction of the South
should be stopped, the troops withdrawn, and the people left to form their own
governments. The Democratic platform pronounced itself opposed to the
reconstruction policy, but Blair's opposition was too extreme for the North.
Seymour, more moderate and a skillful campaigner, made headway in the
rehabilitation of the Democratic party. The Republican party declared for
radical reconstruction and Negro suffrage in the South but held that each
Northern State should be allowed to settle the suffrage for itself. It was not
a courageous platform, but Grant was popular and carried his party through to

The returns showed that in the election Grant had carried twenty-six States
with 214 electoral votes, while Seymour had carried only eight States with 80
votes. But an examination of the popular vote, which was 3,000,000 for Grant
and 2,700,000 for Seymour, gave the radicals cause for alarm, for it showed
that the Democrats had more white votes than the Republicans, whose total
included nearly 700,000 blacks. To insure the continuance of the radicals in
power, the Fifteenth Amendment was framed and sent out to the States on
February 26, 1869. This amendment appeared not only to make safe the Negro
majorities in the South but also gave the ballot to the Negroes in a score of
Northern States and thus assured, for a time at least, 900,000 Negro voters
for the Republican party.

When Johnson's term ended and he gave place to President Grant, four states
were still unreconstructed--Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi, in which the
reconstruction had failed, and Georgia, which, after accomplishing
reconstruction, had again been placed under military rule by Congress. In
Virginia, which was too near the capital for such rough work as readmitted
Arkansas and Alabama into the Union, the new constitution was so severe in its
provisions for disfranchisement that the disgusted district commander would
not authorize the expenditure necessary to have it voted on. In Mississippi a
similar constitution had failed of adoption, and in Texas the strife of party
factions, radical and moderate Republican, had so delayed the framing of the
constitution that it had not come to a vote.

The Republican politicians, however, wanted the offices in these States, and
Congress by its resolution of February 18, 1869, directed the district
commanders to remove all civil officers who could not take the "ironclad" oath
and to appoint those who could subscribe to it. An exception, however, was
made in favor of the scalawags who had supported reconstruction and whose
disabilities had been removed by Congress.

President Grant was anxious to complete the reconstruction and recommended to
Congress that the constitutions of Virginia and Mississippi be re-submitted to
the people with a separate vote on the disfranchising sections. Congress, now
in harmony with the executive, responded by placing the reconstruction of the
three states in the hands of the President, but with the proviso that each
state must ratify the Fifteenth Amendment. Grant thereupon fixed a time for
voting in each state and directed that in Virginia and Mississippi the
disfranchising clauses be submitted separately. As a result, the constitutions
were ratified but proscription was voted down. The radicals secured control of
Mississippi and Texas, but a conservative combination carried Virginia and
thus came near keeping the state out of the Union. Finally, during the early
months of 1870 the three states were readmitted.

With respect to Georgia a peculiar condition of affairs existed. In June 1868,
Georgia had been readmitted with the first of the reconstructed States. The
state legislature at once expelled the twenty-seven Negro members, on the
ground that the recent legislation and the state constitution gave the Negroes
the right to vote but not to hold office. Congress, which had already admitted
the Georgia representatives, refused to receive the senators and turned the
state back to military control. In 1869-70, Georgia was again reconstructed
after a drastic purging of the legislature by the military commander, the
reseating of the Negro members, and the ratification of both the Fourteenth
and Fifteenth Amendments. The state was readmitted to representation in July
1870, after the failure of a strong effort to extend for two years the
carpetbag government of the state.

Upon the last states to pass under the radical yoke, heavier conditions were
imposed than upon the earlier ones. Not only were they required to ratify the
Fifteenth Amendment, but the "fundamental conditions" embraced, in addition to
the prohibition against future change of the suffrage, a requirement that the
Negroes should never be deprived of school and office-holding rights.

The congressional plan of reconstruction had thus been carried through by able
leaders in the face of the opposition of a united white South, nearly half the
North, the President, the Supreme Court, and in the beginning a majority of
Congress. This success was due to the poor leadership of the conservatives and
to the ability and solidarity of the radicals led by Stevens and Sumner. The
radicals had a definite program; the moderates had not. The object of the
radicals was to secure the supremacy in the South by the aid of the Negroes
and exclusion of whites. Was this policy politically wise? It was at least
temporarily successful. The choice offered by the radicals seemed to lie
between military rule for an indefinite period and Negro suffrage; and since
most Americans found military rule distasteful, they preferred to try Negro
suffrage. But, after all, Negro suffrage had to be supported by military rule,
and in the end both failed completely.


The elections of 1867-68 showed that the Negroes were well organized under the
control of the radical Republican leaders and that their former masters had
none of the influence over the blacks in political matters which had been
feared by some Northern friends of the Negro and had been hoped for by such
Southern leaders as Governor Patton and General Hampton. Before 1865 the
discipline of slavery, the influence of the master's family, and of the
Southern church had sufficed to control the blacks. But after emancipation
they looked to the Federal soldiers and Union officials as the givers of
freedom and the guardians of the future.

From the Union soldiers, especially the Negro troops, from the Northern
teachers, the missionaries and the organizers of Negro churches, from the
Northern officials and traveling politicians, the Negroes learned that their
interests were not those of the whites. The attitude of the average white in
the South often confirmed this growing estrangement. It was difficult even for
the white leaders to explain the riots at Memphis and New Orleans. And those
who sincerely wished well for the Negro and who desired to control him for the
good of both races could not possibly assure him that he was fit for the
suffrage. For even Patton and Hampton must tell him that they knew better than
he and that he should follow their advice.

The appeal made to freedmen by the Northern leaders was in every way more
forceful, because it bad behind it the prestige of victory in war and for the
future it could promise anything. Until 1867, the principal agency in bringing
about the separation of the races had been the Freedmen's Bureau which, with
its authority, its courts, its rations, clothes, and its "forty acres and a
mule," did effective work in breaking down the influence of the master. But to
understand fully the almost absolute control exercised over the blacks in
1867-68 by alien adventurers, one must examine the workings of an oath-bound
society known as the Union or Loyal League. It was this order, dominated by a
few radical whites, which organized, disciplined, and controlled the ignorant
Negro masses and paralyzed the influence of the conservative whites.

The Union League of America had its origin in Ohio in the fall of 1862, when
the outlook for the Union cause was gloomy. The moderate policies of the
Lincoln Administration had alienated those in favor of extreme measures; the
Confederates had won military successes in the field; the Democrats had made
some gains in the elections; the Copperheads* were actively opposed to the
Washington Government; the Knights of the Golden Circle were organizing to
resist the continuance of the war; and the Emancipation Proclamation had
chilled the loyalty of many Union men, which was everywhere at a low ebb,
especially in the Northern cities. It was to counteract these depressing
influences that the Union League movement was begun among those who were
associated in the work of the United States Sanitary Commission. Observing the
threatening state of public opinion, members of this organization proposed
that "loyalty be organized, consolidated and made effective."

* See "Abraham Lincoln and the Union", by Nathaniel W. Stephenson (in "The
Chronicles of America"), pp. 156-7, 234-5.

The first organization was made by eleven men in Cleveland, Ohio, in November
1862. The Philadelphia Union League was organized a month later, and in
January 1863, the New York Union League followed. The members were pledged to
uncompromising and unconditional loyalty to the Union, to complete
subordination of political views to this loyalty, and to the repudiation of
any belief in state rights. The other large cities followed the example of
Philadelphia and New York, and soon Leagues, connected in a loose federation,
were formed all through the North. They were social as well as political in
their character and assumed as their task the stimulation and direction of
loyal Union opinion.

As the Union armies proceeded to occupy the South, the Union League sent its
agents among the disaffected Southern people. Its agents cared for Negro
refugees in the contraband camps and in the North. In such work the League
cooperated with the various Freedmen's Aid Societies, the Department of Negro
Affairs, and later with the Freedmen's Bureau. Part of the work of the League
was to distribute campaign literature, and many of the radical pamphlets on
reconstruction and the Negro problem bore the Union League imprint. The New
York League sent out about seventy thousand copies of various publications,
while the Philadelphia League far surpassed this record, circulating within
eight years four million five hundred thousand copies of 144 different
pamphlets. The literature consisted largely of accounts of "Southern outrages"
taken from the reports of Bureau agents and similar sources.

With the close of the Civil War the League did not cease its active interest
in things political. It was one of the first organizations to declare for
Negro suffrage and the disfranchisement of Confederates; it held steadily to
this declaration during the four years following the war; and it continued as
a sort of bureau in the radical Republican party for the purpose of
controlling the Negro vote in the South. Its representatives were found in the
lobbies of Congress demanding extreme measures, endorsing the reconstruction
policies of Congress, and condemning the course of the President. After the
first year or two of reconstruction, the Leagues in the larger Northern cities
began to grow away from the strictly political Union League of America and
tended to become mere social clubs for members of the same political belief.
The eminently respectable Philadelphia and New York clubs had little in common
with the leagues of the Southern and Border States except a general adherence
to the radical program.

Even before the end of the war the League was extending its organization into
the parts of the Confederacy held by the Federal forces, admitting to
membership the army officers and the leading Unionists, though maintaining for
the sake of the latter "a discreet secrecy." With the close of the war and the
establishment of army posts over the South, the League grew rapidly. The
civilians who followed the army, the Bureau agents, the missionaries, and the
Northern teachers formed one class of membership; and the loyalists of the
hill and mountain country, who had become disaffected toward the Confederate
administration and had formed such orders as the Heroes of America, the Red
String Band, and the Peace Society, formed another class. Soon there were
added to these the deserters, a few old line Whigs who intensely disliked the
Democrats, and others who decided to cast their lot with the victors. The
disaffected politicians of the up-country, who wanted to be cared for in the
reconstruction, saw in the organization a means of dislodging from power the
political leaders of the low country. It has been estimated that thirty
percent of the white men of the hill and mountain counties of the South joined
the Union League in 1865-66. They cared little about the original objects of
the order but hoped to make it the nucleus of an anti-Democratic political

But on the admission of Negroes into the lodges or councils controlled by
Northern men the native white members began to withdraw. From the beginning
the Bureau agents, the teachers, and the preachers had been holding meetings
of Negroes, to whom they gave advice about the problems of freedom. Very early
these advisers of the blacks grasped the possibilities inherent in their
control of the schools, the rationing system, and the churches. By the spring
of 1866, the Negroes were widely organized under this leadership, and it
needed but slight change to convert the Negro meetings into local councils of
the Union League.* As soon as it seemed likely that Congress would win in its
struggle with the President the guardians of the Negro planned their campaign
for the control of the race. Negro leaders were organized into councils of the
League or into Union Republican Clubs. Over the South went the organizers,
until by 1868 the last Negroes were gathered into the fold.

* Of these teachers of the local blacks, E. L. Godkin, editor of the New York
Nation, who had supported the reconstruction acts, said: "Worse instructors
for men emerging from slavery and coming for the first time face to face with
the problems of free life than the radical agitators who have undertaken the
political guidance of the blacks it would be hard to meet with."

The native whites did not all desert the Union League when the Negroes were
brought in. Where the blacks were most numerous the desertion of whites was
general, but in the regions where they were few some of the whites remained
for several years. The elections of 1868 showed a falling off of the white
radical vote from that of 1867, one measure of the extent of loss of whites.
From this time forward the order consisted mainly of blacks with enough whites
for leaders. In the Black Belt the membership of native whites was discouraged
by requiring an oath to the effect that secession was treason. The
carpetbagger had found that he could control the Negro without the help of the
scalawag. The League organization was soon extended and centralized; in every
black district there was a Council; for the state there was a Grand Council;
and for the United States there was a National Grand Council with headquarters
in New York City.

The influence of the League over the Negro was due in large degree to the
mysterious secrecy of the meetings, the weird initiation ceremony that made
him feel fearfully good from his head to his heels, the imposing ritual, and
the songs. The ritual, it is said, was not used in the North; it was probably
adopted for the particular benefit of the African. The would-be Leaguer was
informed that the emblems of the order were the altar, the Bible, the
Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the flag
of the Union, censer, sword, gavel, ballot box, sickle, shuttle, anvil, and
other emblems of industry. He was told to the accompaniment of clanking chains
and groans that the objects of the order were to preserve liberty, to
perpetuate the Union, to maintain the laws and the Constitution, to secure the
ascendancy of American institutions, to protect, defend, and strengthen all
loyal men and members of the Union League in all rights of person and
property, to demand the elevation of labor, to aid in the education of
laboring men, and to teach the duties of American citizenship. This
enumeration of the objects of the League sounded well and was impressive. At
this point the Negro was always willing to take an oath of secrecy, after
which he was asked to swear with a solemn oath to support the principles of
the Declaration of Independence, to pledge himself to resist all attempts to
overthrow the United States, to strive for the maintenance of liberty, the
elevation of labor, the education of all people in the duties of citizenship,
to practice friendship and charity to all of the order, and to support for
election or appointment to office only such men as were supporters of these
principles and measures.

The council then sang "Hail, Columbia!" and "The Star Spangled Banner," after
which an official lectured the candidates, saying that though the designs of
traitors had been thwarted, there were yet to be secured legislative triumphs
and the complete ascendancy of the true principles of popular government,
equal liberty, education and elevation of the workmen, and the overthrow at
the ballot box of the old oligarchy of political leaders. After prayer by the
chaplain, the room was darkened, alcohol on salt flared up with a ghastly
light as the "fire of liberty," and the members joined hands in a circle
around the candidate, who was made to place one hand on the flag and, with the
other raised, swear again to support the government and to elect true Union
men to office. Then placing his hand on a Bible, for the third time he swore
to keep his oath, and repeated after the president "the Freedmen's Pledge":
"To defend and perpetuate freedom and the Union, I pledge my life, my fortune,
and my sacred honor. So help me God!" "John Brown's Body" was then sung, the
president charged the members in a long speech concerning the principles of
the order, and the marshal instructed the neophyte in the signs. To pass one's
self as a Leaguer, the "Four L's" had to be given: (1) with right hand raised
to heaven, thumb and third finger touching ends over palm, pronounce
"Liberty"; (2) bring the hand down over the shoulder and say "Lincoln"; (3)
drop the hand open at the side and say "Loyal"; (4) catch the thumb in the
vest or in the waistband and pronounce "League." This ceremony of initiation
proved a most effective means of impressing and controlling the Negro through
his love and fear of secret, mysterious, and midnight mummery. An oath taken
in daylight might be forgotten before the next day; not so an oath taken in
the dead of night under such impressive circumstances. After passing through
the ordeal, the Negro usually remained faithful.

In each populous precinct there was at least one council of the League, and
always one for blacks. In each town or city there were two councils, one for
the whites, and another, with white officers, for the blacks. The council met
once a week, sometimes oftener, nearly always at night, and in a Negro church
or schoolhouse. Guards, armed with rifles and shotguns, were stationed about
the place of meeting in order to keep away intruders. Members of some councils
made it a practice to attend the meetings armed as if for battle. In these
meetings the Negroes listened to inflammatory speeches by the would-be
statesmen of the new regime; here they were drilled in a passionate conviction
that their interests and those of the Southern whites were eternally at war.

White men who joined the order before the Negroes were admitted and who left
when the latter became members asserted that the Negroes were taught in these
meetings that the only way to have peace and plenty, to get "the forty acres
and a mule," was to kill some of the leading whites in each community as a
warning to others. In North Carolina twenty-eight barns were burned in one
county by Negroes who believed that Governor Holden, the head of the State
League, had ordered it. The council in Tuscumbia, Alabama, received advice
from Memphis to use the torch because the blacks were at war with the white
race. The advice was taken. Three men went in front of the council as an
advance guard, three followed with coal oil and fire, and others guarded the
rear. The plan was to burn the whole town, but first one Negro and then
another insisted on having some white man's house spared because "he is a good
man." In the end no residences were burned, and a happy compromise was
effected by burning the Female Academy. Three of the leaders were afterwards

The general belief of the whites was that the ultimate object of the order was
to secure political power and thus bring about on a large scale the
confiscation of the property of Confederates, and meanwhile to appropriate and
destroy the property of their political opponents wherever possible. Chicken
houses, pigpens, vegetable gardens, and orchards were visited by members
returning from the midnight conclaves. During the presidential campaign of
1868, the North Carolina League sent out circular instructions to the blacks
advising them to drill regularly and to join the militia, for if Grant were
not elected the Negroes would go back to slavery; if he were elected, the
Negroes were to have farms, mules, and offices.

As soon as possible after the war the Negroes had supplied themselves with
guns and dogs as badges of freedom. They carried their guns to the League
meetings, often marching in military formation, went through the drill there,
marched home again along the roads, shouting, firing, and indulging in boasts
and threats against persons whom they disliked. Later, military parades in the
daytime were much favored. Several hundred Negroes would march up and down the
streets, abusing whites, and shoving them off the sidewalk or out of the road.
But on the whole, there was very little actual violence, though the whites
were much alarmed at times. That outrages were comparatively few was due, not
to any sensible teachings of the leaders, but to the fundamental good nature
of the blacks, who were generally content with mere impudence.

The relations between the races, indeed, continued on the whole to be friendly
until 1867-68. For a while, in some localities before the advent of the
League, and in others where the Bureau was conducted by native magistrates,
the Negroes looked to their old masters for guidance and advice; and the
latter, for the good of both races, were most eager to retain a moral control
over the blacks. They arranged barbecues and picnics for the Negroes, made
speeches, gave good advice, and believed that everything promised well.
Sometimes the Negroes themselves arranged the festival and invited prominent
whites, for whom a separate table attended by Negro waiters was reserved; and
after dinner there followed speeches by both whites and blacks.

With the organization of the League, the Negroes grew more reserved, and
finally became openly unfriendly to the whites. The League alone, however, was
not responsible for this change. The League and the Bureau had to some extent
the same personnel, and it is frequently impossible to distinguish clearly
between the influence of the two. In many ways the League was simply the
political side of the Bureau. The preaching and teaching missionaries were
also at work. And apart from the organized influences at work, the poor whites
never laid aside their hostility towards the blacks, bond or free.

When the campaigns grew exciting, the discipline of the order was used to
prevent the Negroes from attending Democratic meetings and hearing Democratic
speakers. The leaders even went farther and forbade the attendance of the
blacks at political meetings where the speakers were not endorsed by the
League. Almost invariably the scalawag disliked the Leaguer, black or white,
and as a political teacher often found himself proscribed by the League. At a
Republican mass meeting in Alabama, a white Republican who wanted to make a
speech was shouted down by the Negroes because he was "opposed to the Loyal
League." He then went to another place to speak but was followed by the crowd,
which refused to allow him to say anything. All Republicans in good standing
had to join the League and swear that secession was treason--a rather stiff
dose for the scalawag. Judge (later Governor) David P. Lewis, of Alabama, was
a member for a short while but he soon became disgusted and published a
denunciation of the order. Albion W. Tourgee, the author, a radical judge, was
the first chief of the League in North Carolina and was succeeded by Governor
Holden. In Alabama, Generals Swayne, Spencer, and Warner, all candidates for
the United States Senate, hastened to join the order.

As soon as a candidate was nominated by the League, it was the duty of every
member to support him actively. Failure to do so resulted in a fine or other
more severe punishment, and members who had been expelled were still
considered under the control of the officials. The League was, in fact, the
machine of the radical party, and all candidates had to be governed by its
edicts. As the Montgomery Council declared, the Union League was "the right
arm of the Union-Republican party in the United States."

Every Negro was ex colore a member or under the control of the League. In the
opinion of the League, white Democrats were bad enough, but black Democrats
were not to be tolerated. It was almost necessary, as a measure of personal
safety, for each black to support the radical program. It was possible in some
cases for a Negro to refrain from taking an active part in political affairs.
He might even fail to vote. But it was actually dangerous for a black to be a
Democrat; that is, to try to follow his old master in politics. The whites in
many cases were forced to advise their few faithful black friends to vote the
radical ticket in order to escape mistreatment. Those who showed Democratic
leanings were proscribed in Negro society and expelled from Negro churches;
the Negro women would not "proshay" (appreciate) a black Democrat. Such a one
was sure to find that influence was being brought to bear upon his dusky
sweetheart or his wife to cause him to see the error of his ways, and
persistent adherence to the white party would result in his losing her. The
women were converted to radicalism before the men, and they almost invariably
used their influence strongly in behalf of the League. If moral suasion failed
to cause the delinquent to see the light, other methods were used. Threats
were common and usually sufficed. Fines were levied by the League on
recalcitrant members. In case of the more stubborn, a sound beating was
effective to bring about a change of heart. The offending party was "bucked
and gagged," or he was tied by the thumbs and thrashed. Usually the sufferer
was too afraid to complain of the way he was treated.

Some of the methods of the Loyal League were similar to those of the later Ku
Klux Klan. Anonymous warnings were sent to obnoxious individuals, houses were
burned, notices were posted at night in public places and on the houses of
persons who had incurred the hostility of the order. In order to destroy the
influence of the whites where kindly relations still existed, an "exodus
order" issued through the League directed all members to leave their old homes
and obtain work elsewhere. Some of the blacks were loath to comply with this
order, but to remonstrances from the whites the usual reply was: "De word done
sent to de League. We got to go." For special meetings the Negroes were in
some regions called together by signal guns. In this way the call for a
gathering went out over a county in a few minutes and a few hours later nearly
all the members in the county assembled at the appointed place.

Negroes as organizing agents were inclined to go to extremes and for that
reason were not so much used. In Bullock County, Alabama, a council of the
League was organized under the direction of a Negro emissary, who proceeded to
assume the government of the community. A list of crimes and punishments was
adopted, a court with various officials was established, and during the night
the Negroes who opposed the new regime were arrested. But the black sheriff
and his deputy were in turn arrested by the civil authorities. The Negroes
then organized for resistance, flocked into the county seat, and threatened to
exterminate the whites and take possession of the county. Their agents visited
the plantations and forced the laborers to join them by showing orders
purporting to be from General Swayne, the commander in the state, giving them
the authority to kill all who resisted them. Swayne, however, sent out
detachments of troops and arrested fifteen of the ringleaders, and the League
government collapsed.

After it was seen that existing political institutions were to be overturned
in the process of reconstruction, the white councils of the League and, to a
certain extent, the Negro councils were converted into training schools for
the leaders of the new party soon to be formed in the state by act of
Congress. The few whites who were in control were unwilling to admit more
white members to share in the division of the spoils; terms of admission
became more stringent, and, especially after the passage of the reconstruction
acts in March 1867, many white applicants were rejected. The alien element
from the North was in control and as a result, where the blacks were numerous,
the largest plums fell to the carpetbaggers. The Negro leaders--the
politicians, preachers, and teachers--trained in the League acted as
subordinates to the whites and were sent out to drum up the country Negroes
when elections drew near. The Negroes were given minor positions when offices
were more plentiful than carpetbaggers. Later, after some complaint, a larger
share of the offices fell to them. The League counted its largest white
membership in 1865-66, and after that date it steadily decreased. The largest
Negro membership was recorded in 1867 and 1868. The total membership was never
made known. In North Carolina the order claimed from seventy-five thousand to
one hundred and twenty-five thousand members; in states with larger Negro
populations the membership was probably quite as large. After the election of
1868, only the councils in the towns remained active, many of them transformed
into political clubs, loosely organized under local political leaders. The
plantation Negro needed less looking after, and except in the largest towns he
became a kind of visiting member of the council in the town. The League as a
political organization gradually died out by 1870.*

* The Ku Klux Klan had much to do with the decline of the organization. The
League as the ally and successor of the Freedmen's Bureau was one of the
causes of the Ku Klux movement, because it helped to create the conditions
which made such a movement inevitable. As early as 1870 the radical leaders
missed the support formerly given by the League, and an urgent appeal was sent
out all over the South from headquarters in New York advocating its
reestablishment to assist in carrying the elections of 1870.

The League had served its purpose. It had enabled a few outsiders to control
the Negro by separating the races politically and it had compelled the Negroes
to vote as radicals for several years, when without its influence they would
either not have voted at all or would have voted as Democrats along with their
former masters. The order was necessary to the existence of the radical party
in the Black Belt. No ordinary political organization could have welded the
blacks into a solid party. The Freedmen's Bureau, which had much influence
over the Negroes, was too weak in numbers to control the Negroes in politics.
The League finally absorbed the personnel of the Bureau and turned its
prestige and its organization to political advantage.


Reconstruction in the state was closely related to reconstruction in the
churches and the schools. Here also were to be found the same hostile
elements: Negro and white, Unionist and Confederate, victor and vanquished.
The church was at that time an important institution in the South, more so
than in the North, and in both sections more important than it is today. It
was inevitable, therefore, that ecclesiastical reconstruction should give rise
to bitter feelings.

Something should be said of conditions in the churches when the Federal armies
occupied the land. The Southern organizations had lost many ministers and many
of their members, and frequently their buildings were used as hospitals or had
been destroyed. Their administration was disorganized and their treasuries
were empty. The Unionists, scattered here and there but numerous in the
mountain districts, no longer wished to attend the Southern churches.

The military censorship in church matters, which continued for a year in some
districts, was irritating, especially in the Border States and in the Union
districts where Northern preachers installed by the army were endeavoring to
remain against the will of the people. Mobs sometimes drove them out; others
were left to preach to empty houses or to a few Unionists and officers, while
the congregation withdrew to build a new church. The problems of Negro
membership in the white churches and of the future relations of the Northern
and Southern denominations were pressing for settlement.

All Northern organizations acted in 1865 upon the assumption that a reunion of
the churches must take place and that the divisions existing before the war
should not be continued, since slavery, the cause of the division, had been
destroyed. But they insisted that the reunion must take place upon terms named
by the "loyal" churches, that the Negroes must also come under "loyal"
religious direction, and that tests must be applied to the Confederate sinners
asking for admission, in order that the enormity of their crimes should be
made plain to them. But this policy did not succeed. The Confederates objected
to being treated as "rebels and traitors" and to "sitting upon stools of
repentance" before they should be received again into the fold.

Only two denominations were reunited--the Methodist Protestant, the northern
section of which came over to the southern, and the Protestant Episcopal, in
which moderate counsels prevailed and into which Southerners were welcomed
back. The Southern Baptists maintained their separate existence and
reorganized the Southern Baptist Convention, to which came many of the Baptist
associations in the Border States; the Catholics did not divide before 1861
and therefore had no reconstruction problems to solve; and the smaller
denominations maintained the organizations which they had before 1861. A
Unionist preacher testified before the Joint Committee on Reconstruction that
even the Southern Quakers "are about as decided in regard to the
respectability of secession as any other class of people."

Two other great Southern churches, the Presbyterian and the Methodist
Episcopal, grew stronger after the Civil War. The tendency toward reunion of
the Presbyterians was checked when one Northern branch declared as "a
condition precedent to the admission of southern applicants that these confess
as sinful all opinions before held in regard to slavery, nullification,
rebellion and slavery, and stigmatize secession as a crime and the withdrawal
of the southern churches as a schism." Another Northern group declared that
southern ministers must be placed on probation and must either prove their
loyalty or profess repentance for disloyalty and repudiate their former
opinions. As a result several Presbyterian bodies in the South joined in a
strong union, to which also adhered the synods of several Border States.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was confronted with conditions similar
to those which prevented the reunion of the Presbyterians. The Northern
church, according to the declaration of its authorities, also came down to
divide the spoils and to "disintegrate and absorb" the "schismatic" Southern
churches. Already many Southern pulpits were filled with Northern Methodist
ministers placed there under military protection; and when they finally
realized that reunion was not possible, these Methodist worthies resolved to
occupy the late Confederacy as a mission field and to organize congregations
of blacks and whites who were "not tainted with treason." Bishops and
clergymen charged with this work carried it on vigorously for a few years in
close connection with political reconstruction.

The activities of the Northern Methodists stimulated the Southern Methodists
to a quick reorganization. The surviving bishops met in August 1865, and bound
together their shaken church. In reply to suggestions of reunion they asserted
that the Northern Methodists had become "incurably radical," were too much
involved in politics, and, further, that they had, without right, seized and
were still holding Southern church buildings. They objected also to the way
the Northern church referred to the Southerners as "schismatics" and to the
Southern church as one built on slavery and therefore, now that slavery was
gone, to be reconstructed. The bishops warned their people against the
missionary efforts of the Northern brethren and against the attempts to
"disintegrate and absorb" Methodism in the South. Within five years after the
war, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was greatly increased in numbers
by the accession of conferences in Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia, Missouri, and
even from above the Ohio, while the Northern Methodist Church was able to
organize only a few white congregations outside of the stronger Unionist
districts, but continued to labor in the South as a missionary field.*

*The church situation after the war was well described in 1866 by an editorial
writer in the "Nation" who pointed out that the Northern churches thought the
South determined to make the religious division permanent, though "slavery no
longer furnishes a pretext for separation." "Too much pains were taken to
bring about an ecclesiastical reunion, and irritating offers of reconciliation
are made by the Northern churches, all based on the assumption that the South
has not only sinned, but sinned knowingly, in slavery and in war. We expect
them to be penitent and to gladly accept our offers of forgiveness. But the
Southern people look upon a 'loyal' missionary as a political emissary, and
'loyal' men do not at present possess the necessary qualifications for
evangelizing the Southerners or softening their hearts, and are sure not to
succeed in doing so. We look upon their defeat as retribution and expect them
to do the same. It will do no good if we tell the Southerner that 'we will
forgive them if they will confess that they are criminals, offer to pray with
them, preach with them, and labor with them over their hideous sins.'"

But if the large Southern churches held their white membership and even gained
in numbers and territory, they fought a losing fight to retain their black
members. It was assumed by Northern ecclesiastics that whether a reunion of
whites took place or not, the Negroes would receive spiritual guidance from
the North. This was necessary, they said, because the Southern whites were
ignorant and impoverished and because "the state of mind among even the best
classes of Southern whites rendered them incapable . . . of doing justice to
the people whom they had so long persistently wronged." Further, it was also
necessary for political reasons to remove the Negroes from Southern religious

For obvious reasons, however, the Southern churches wanted to hold their Negro
members. They declared themselves in favor of Negro education and of better
organized religious work among the blacks, and made every sort of
accommodation to hold them. The Baptists organized separate congregations,
with white or black pastors as desired, and associations of black churches. In
1866 the Methodist General Conference authorized separate congregations,
quarterly conferences, annual conferences, even a separate jurisdiction, with
Negro preachers, presiding elders, and bishops--but all to no avail. Every,
Northern political, religious, or military agency in the South worked for
separation, and Negro preachers were not long in seeing the greater advantages
which they would have in independent churches.

Much of the separate organization was accomplished in mutual good will,
particularly in the Baptist ranks. The Reverend I. T. Tichenor, a prominent
Baptist minister, has described the process as it took place in the First
Baptist Church in Montgomery. The church had nine hundred members, of whom six
hundred were black. The Negroes received a regular organization of their own
under the supervision of the white pastors. When a separation of the two
bodies was later deemed desirable, it was inaugurated by a conference of the
Negroes which passed a resolution couched in the kindliest terms, suggesting
the wisdom of the division, and asking the concurrence of the white church in
such action. The white church cordially approved the movement, and the two
bodies united in erecting a suitable house of worship for the Negroes. Until
the new church was completed, both congregations continued to occupy jointly
the old house of worship. The new house was paid for in large measure by the
white members of the church and by individuals in the community. As soon as it
was completed, the colored church moved into it with its pastor, board of
deacons, committees of all sorts, and the whole machinery of church life went
into action without a jar. Similar accommodations occurred in all the states
of the South.

The Methodists lost the greater part of their Negro membership to two
organizations which came down from the North in 1865--the African Methodist
Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Zion. Large
numbers also went over to the Northern Methodist Church. After losing nearly
three hundred thousand members, the Southern Methodists came to the conclusion
that the remaining seventy-eight thousand Negroes would be more comfortable in
a separate organization and therefore began in 1866 the Colored Methodist
Episcopal Church, with bishops, conferences, and all the accompaniments of the
parent Methodist Church, which continued to give friendly aid but exercised no
control. For many years the Colored Methodist Church was under fire from the
other Negro denominations, who called it the "rebel," the "Democratic," the
"old slavery" church.

The Negro members of the Cumberland Presbyterians were similarly set off into
a small African organization. The Southern Presbyterians and the Episcopalians
established separate congregations and missions under white supervision but
sanctioned no independent Negro organization. Consequently the Negroes soon
deserted these churches and went with their own kind.

Resentment at the methods employed by the Northern religious carpetbaggers was
strong among the Southern whites. "Emissaries of Christ and the radical party"
they were called by one Alabama leader. Governor Lindsay of the same state
asserted that the Northern missionaries caused race hatred by teaching the
Negroes to regard the whites as their natural enemies, who, if possible, would
put them back in slavery. Others were charged with teaching that to be on the
safe side, the blacks should get into a Northern church, and that "Christ died
for Negroes and Yankees, not for rebels."

The scalawags, also, developed a dislike of the Northern church work among the
Negroes, and it was impossible to organize mixed congregations. Of the
Reverend A. S. Lakin, a well-known agent of the Northern Methodist Church in
Alabama, Nicholas Davis, a North Alabama Unionist and scalawag, said to the Ku
Klux Committee: "The character of his [Lakin's] speech was this: to teach the
Negroes that every man that was born and raised in the Southern country was
their enemy, that there was no use trusting them, no matter what they said--if
they said they were for the Union or anything else. 'No use talking, they are
your enemies.' And he made a pretty good speech, too; awful; a hell of a one;
. . . inflammatory and game, too . . . . It was enough to provoke the devil.
Did all the mischief he could . . . I tell you, that old fellow is a hell of
an old rascal."

For a time the white churches were annoyed by intrusions of strange blacks set
on by those who were bent on separating the races. Frequently there were feuds
in white or black congregations over the question of joining some Northern
body. Disputes over church property also arose and continued for years. Lakin,
referred to above, was charged with "stealing" Negro congregations and uniting
them with the Cincinnati Conference without their knowledge. The Negroes were
urged to demand title to all buildings formerly used for Negro worship, and
the Constitutional Convention of Alabama in 1867 directed that such property
must be turned over to them when claimed.

The agents of the Northern churches were not greatly different from other
carpetbaggers and adventurers taking advantage of the general confusion to
seize a little power. Many were unscrupulous; others, sincere and honest but
narrow, bigoted, and intolerant, filled with distrust of the Southern whites
and with corresponding confidence in the blacks and in themselves. The
missionary and church publications were quite as severe on the Southern people
as any radical Congressman. The publications of the Freedmen's Aid Society
furnish illustrations of the feelings and views of those engaged in the
Southern work. They in turn were made to feel the effects of a merciless
social proscription. For this some of them cared not at all, while others or
their families felt it keenly. One woman missionary wrote that she was
delighted when a Southern white would speak to her. A preacher in Virginia
declared that "the females, those especially whose pride has been humbled, are
more intense in their bitterness and endeavor to keep up a social ostracism
against Union and Northern people." The Ku Klux raids were directed against
preachers and congregations whose conduct was disagreeable to the whites.
Lakin asserted that while he was conducting a great revival meeting among the
hills of northern Alabama, Governor Smith and other prominent and sinful
scalawag politicians were there "under conviction" and about to become
converted. But in came the Klan and the congregation scattered.

Smith and the others were so angry and frightened that their good feelings
were dissipated, and the devil reentered them, so that Lakin said he was never
able to "get a hold on them" again. For the souls lost that night he held the
Klan responsible. Lakin told several marvelous stories of his hairbreadth
escapes from death by assassination which, if true, would be enough to ruin
the reputation of northern Alabama men for marksmanship.

The reconstruction ended with conditions in the churches similar to those in
politics: the races were separated and unfriendly; Northern and Southern
church organizations were divided; and between them, especially in the border
and mountain districts, there existed factional quarrels of a political
origin, for every Northern Methodist was a Republican and every Southern
Methodist was a Democrat.

The schools of the South, like the churches and political institutions, were
thrown into the melting pot of reconstruction. The spirit in which the work
was begun may be judged from the tone of the addresses made at a meeting of
the National Teachers Association in 1865. The president, S. S. Greene,
declared that "the old slave States are to be the new missionary ground for
the national school teacher." Francis Wayland, the former president of Brown
University, remarked that "it has been a war of education and patriotism
against ignorance and barbarism." President Hill of Harvard spoke of the "new
work of spreading knowledge and intellectual culture over the regions that sat
in darkness." Other speakers asserted that the leading Southern whites were as
much opposed to free schools as to free governments and "we must treat them as
western farmers do the stumps in their clearings, work around them and let
them rot out"; that the majority of the whites were more ignorant than the
slaves; and that the Negro must be educated and strengthened against "the
wiles, the guile, and hate of his baffled masters and their minions." The New
England Freedmen's Aid Society considered it necessary to educate the Negro
"as a counteracting influence against the evil councils and designs of the
white freemen."

The tasks that confronted the Southern States in 1865-67 were two: first, to
restore the shattered school systems of the whites; and second, to arrange for
the education of the Negroes. Education of the Negro slave had been looked
upon as dangerous and had been generally forbidden. A small number of Negroes
could read and write, but there were at the close of the war no schools for
the children. Before 1861, each state had developed at least the outlines of a
school system. Though hindered in development by the sparseness of the
population and by the prevalence in some districts of the Virginia doctrine
that free schools were only for the poor, public schools were nevertheless in
existence in 1861. Academies and colleges, however, were thronged with
students. When the war ended, the public schools were disorganized, and the
private academies and the colleges were closed. Teachers and students had been
dispersed; buildings had been burned or used for hospitals and laboratories;
and public libraries had virtually disappeared.

The colleges made efforts to open in the fall of 1865. Only one student
presented himself at the University of Alabama for matriculation; but before
June 1866, the stronger colleges were again in operation. The public or
semi-public schools for the whites also opened in the fall. In the cities
where Federal military authorities had brought about the employment of
Northern teachers, there was some friction. In New Orleans, for example, the
teachers required the children to sing Northern songs and patriotic airs. When
the Confederates were restored to power, these teachers were dismissed.

The movement toward Negro education was general throughout the South. Among
the blacks themselves there was an intense desire to learn. They wished to
read the Bible, to be preachers, to be as the old master and not have to work.
Day and night and Sunday they crowded the schools. According to an observer,*
"not only are individuals seen at study, and under the most untoward
circumstances, but in very many places I have found what I will call 'native
schools,' often rude and very imperfect, but there they are, a group, perhaps,
of all ages, trying to learn. Some young man, some woman, or old preacher, in
cellar, or shed, or corner of a Negro meeting-house, with the alphabet in
hand, or a town spelling-book, is their teacher. All are full of enthusiasm
with the new knowledge the book is imparting to them."

* J. W. Alvord, Superintendent of Schools for the Freedmen's Bureau, 1866.

Not only did the Negroes want schooling, but both the North and the South
proposed to give it to them. Neither side was actuated entirely by altruistic
motives. A Hampton Institute teacher in later days remarked: "When the combat
was over and the Yankee school-ma'am followed in the train of the northern
armies, the business of educating the Negroes was a continuation of
hostilities against the vanquished and was so regarded to a considerable
extent on both sides."

The Southern churches, through their bishops and clergy, the newspapers, and
prominent individuals such as J. L. M. Curry, John B. Gordon, J. L. Orr,
Governors Brown, Moore, and Patton, came out in favor of Negro education. Of
this movement General Swayne said: "Quite early . . . . the several religious
denominations took strong ground in favor of the education of the freedmen.
The principal argument was an appeal to sectional and sectarian prejudice,
lest, the work being inevitable, the influence which must come from it be
realized by others; but it is believed that this was but the shield and weapon
which men of unselfish principle found necessary at first." The newspapers
took the attitude that the Southern whites should teach the Negroes because it
was their duty, because it was good policy, and because if they did not do so
some one else would. The "Advertiser" of Montgomery stated that education was
a danger in slavery times but that under freedom ignorance became a danger.
For a time there were numerous schools taught by crippled Confederates and by
Southern women.

But the education of the Negro, like his religious training, was taken from
the control of the Southern white and was placed under the direction of the
Northern teachers and missionaries who swarmed into the country under the
fostering care of the Freedmen's Bureau, the Northern churches, and the
various Freedmen's Aid Societies. In three years the Bureau spent six million
dollars on Negro schools and everywhere it exercised supervision over them.
The teachers pursued a policy akin to that of the religious leaders. One
Southerner likened them to the "plagues of Egypt," another described them as
"saints, fools, incendiaries, fakirs, and plain business men and women." A
Southern woman remarked that "their spirit was often high and noble so far as
the black man's elevation was concerned, but toward the white it was bitter,
judicial, and unrelenting." The Northern teachers were charged with ignorance
of social conditions, with fraternizing with the blacks, and with teaching
them that the Southerners were traitors, "murderers of Lincoln," who had been
cruel taskmasters and who now wanted to restore servitude.

The reaction against Negro education, which began to show itself before
reconstruction was inaugurated, found expression in the view of most whites
that "schooling ruins a Negro." A more intelligent opinion was that of J. L.
M. Curry, a lifelong advocate of Negro education:

"It is not just to condemn the Negro for the education which he received in
the early years after the war. That was the period of reconstruction, the
saturnalia of misgovernment, the greatest possible hindrance to the progress
of the freedmen . . . . The education was unsettling, demoralizing, [and it]
pandered to a wild frenzy for schooling as a quick method of reversing social
and political conditions. Nothing could have been better devised for deluding
the poor Negro and making him the tool, the slave of corrupt taskmasters.
Education is a natural consequence of citizenship and enfranchisement . . . of
freedom and humanity. But with deliberate purpose to subject the Southern
States to Negro domination, and secure the States permanently for partisan
ends, the education adopted was contrary to commonsense, to human experience,
to all noble purposes. The curriculum was for a people in the highest degree
of civilization; the aptitude and capabilities and needs of the Negro were
wholly disregarded. Especial stress was laid on classics and liberal culture
to bring the race per saltum to the same plane with their former masters, and
realize the theory of social and political equality. A race more highly
civilized, with best heredities and environments, could not have been coddled
with more disregard of all the teachings of human history and the necessities
of the race. Colleges and universities, established and conducted by the
Freedmen's Bureau and Northern churches and societies, sprang up like
mushrooms, and the teachers, ignorant, fanatical, without self-poise,
proceeded to make all possible mischief. It is irrational, cruel, to hold the
Negro, under such strange conditions, responsible for all the ill consequences
of bad education, unwise teachers, reconstruction villainies, and partisan

* Quoted in "Proceedings of the Montgomery Conference on Race Problems"
(1900), p. 128.

Education was to be looked upon as a handmaid to a thorough reconstruction,
and its general character and aim were determined by the Northern teachers.
Each convention framed a more or less complicated school system and undertook
to provide for its support. The Negroes in the conventions were anxious for
free schools; the conservatives were willing; but the carpetbaggers and a few
mulatto leaders insisted in several States upon mixed schools. Only in
Louisiana and South Carolina did the constitutions actually forbid separate
schools; in Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas the question was left
open, to the embarrassment of the whites. Generally the blacks showed no
desire for mixed schools unless urged to it by the carpetbaggers. In the South
Carolina convention, a mulatto thus argued in favor of mixed schools: "The
gentleman from Newberry said he was afraid we were taking a wrong course to
remove these prejudices. The most natural method to effect this object would
be to allow children when five or six years of age to mingle in schools
together and associate generally. Under such training, prejudice must
eventually die out; but if we postpone it until they become men and women,
prejudice will be so established that no mortal can obliterate it. This, I
think, is a sufficient reply to the argument of the gentleman."

The state systems were top-heavy with administrative machinery and were
officered by incompetent and corrupt officials. Such men as Cloud in Alabama,
Cardozo in Mississippi, Conway in Louisiana, and Jillson in South Carolina are
fair samples of them. Much of the personnel was taken over from the Bureau
teaching force. The school officials were no better than the other

The first result of the attempt to use the schools as an instrument of
reconstruction ended in the ruin of several state universities. The faculties
of the Universities of North Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama were made
radical and the institutions thereupon declined to nothing. The Negroes,
unable to control the faculty of the University of South Carolina, forced
Negro students in and thus got possession. In Louisiana the radical
legislature cut off all funds because the university would not admit Negroes.
The establishment of the land grant colleges was an occasion for corruption
and embezzlement.

The common schools were used for radical ends. The funds set aside for them by
the state constitutions or appropriated by the legislatures for these schools
seldom reached their destination without being lessened by embezzlement or by
plain stealing. Frequently the auditor, or the treasurer, or even the
legislature diverted the school funds to other purposes. Suffice it to say
that all of the reconstruction systems broke down financially after a brief

The mixed school provisions in Louisiana and South Carolina and the
uncertainty of the educational situation in other States caused white children
to stay away from the public schools. For several years the Negroes were
better provided than the whites, having for themselves both all the public
schools and also those supported by private benevolence. In Mississippi,
Louisiana, and South Carolina the whites could get no money for schoolhouses,
while large sums were spent on Negro schools. The Peabody Board, then recently
inaugurated,* refused to cooperate with school officials in the mixed school
states and, when criticized, replied: "It is well known that we are helping
the white children of Louisiana as being the more destitute from the fact of
their unwillingness to attend mixed schools."

* To administer the fund bequeathed by George Peabody of Massachusetts to
promote education in the Southern States. See "The New South", by Holland
Thompson (in "The Chronicles of America").

As was to be expected, the whites criticized the attitude of the school
officials, disapproved of the attempts made in the schools to teach the
children radical ideas, and objected to the contents of the history texts and
the "Freedmen's Readers." A white school board in Mississippi, by advertising
for a Democratic teacher for a Negro school, drew the fire of a radical editor
who inquired: "What is the motive by which this call for a 'competent
Democratic teacher' is prompted? The most damning that has ever moved the
heart of man. It is to use the vote and action of a human being as a means by
which to enslave him. The treachery and villainy of these rebels stands
without parallel in the history of men."

A Negro politician has left this account of a radical recitation in a Florida
Negro school:

After finishing the arithmetic lesson they must next go through the catechism:

"Who is the 'Publican Government of the State of Florida?" Answer: "Governor

"Who made him Governor?" Answer: "The colored people."

"Who is trying to get him out of his seat?" Answer: "The Democrats, Conover,
and some white and black Liberal Republicans."

"What should the colored people do with the men who is trying to get Governor
Starns out of his seat?" Answer: "They should kill them." . . . .

This was done that the patrons, some of whom could not read, would be
impressed by the expressions of their children, and would be ready to put any
one to death who would come out into the country and say anything against
Governor Starns.

The native white teachers soon dropped out of Negro schools, and those from
the North met with the same social persecution as the white church workers.
The White League and Ku Klux Klan drove off obnoxious teachers, whipped some,

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