Imágenes de páginas


by the President's proclamation." These resolutions also repudiated “the doctrine advanced by some, that the socalled seceding States have ceased to be States of and in the Union, and have become territories thereof, or stand in the relation of foreign powers at war therewith.”

But besides political declarations, the Democratic theory found other ways of expression in Congress. From the very commencement of the war, many of the leaders of the party were confident that hostilities could be brought to an end and peaceful relations restored by a convention of States, and several attempts were made to induce Congress to consider favorably some such plan. As early as July 15, 1861, only eleven days after the convening of the extra session of Congress, Benjamin Wood introduced a resolution in the House, which recommended that the governors of the several States “convene their legislatures for the purpose of calling an election to select two delegates from each Congressional district, to meet in general convention at Louisville, in Kentucky, on the first Monday in September next; the purpose of the said convention to be to devise measures for the restoration of peace to our country.”

Again at the opening of the second session on December 4, 1861, joint resolutions were introduced by Mr. Saulsbury, in the Senate,to appoint Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Roger B. Taney, Edward Everett, Geo. M. Dallas, Thomas Ewing, Horace Binney, Reverdy Johnson, John J. Crittenden, George E. Pugh, and R. W. Thompson, “commissioners on the part of Congress, to confer with a like number of commissioners to be appointed by the States ” in rebellion,

For a very able discussion of the “Efforts at Compromise, 1860–61," see Frederic Bancroft's article in Political Science Quarterly, vi, pp. 401-423.

Congressional Globe, ist Session, 37th Congress, p. 129. 3 Ibid., ad Session, 37th Congress, part i, p. 8.

“ for the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the Constitution.” The resolutions also provided that when the several States should have appointed their commissioners, hostilities should cease, “and not be renewed unless said commission shall be unable to agree,” or “ agreement shall be rejected either by Congress or by the aforesaid States.”

One year later, December 2, 1862, a third attempt' was made by Mr. Davis, who submitted a joint resolution in the Senate (S. 104), proposing a convention from all the States to devise means for the reconstruction of the Union, and on May 30, 1864, Mr. Lazear submitted in the House, resolutions which were to authorize the President to "adopt or agree upon some plan upon which the decision of the great body of the people north and south may be secured upon the question of calling a convention composed of delegates from all the States, to which shall be referred the settlement of all questions now dividing the southern States from the rest of the Union, with a view to the restoration of the several States to the places they were intended to occupy in the Union."

During the later years of the war, after hope of success had begun to die out, some of the Southern States looked very favorably upon the plan; but nothing approximating such a convention resulted.?

4. At the beginning of his term of office, President Lincoln held the then prevailing belief in the supremacy of the States in all matters not directly under federal control, and as a matter of course believed that at the cessation of hostilities each State should immediately resume its old relations to the government, its local matters untouched by the central

1 Senate Journal, 3d Session, 37th Congress, p. 24.

2 See Pollard's Lost Cause Regained, pp. 44-57, for a discussion of the growth of Southern sentiment favoring measures of peace.

administration. But the ability of Lincoln to modify his own beliefs on any subject as his experience widened was never better manifested than on this very question, and had he lived to control the administration through the period of reconstruction, it is not unreasonable to suppose that his attitude would have undergone still greater change. As the magnitude of the struggle became more apparent, he began to deliberate upon the advisability of striking at the root of the evil, despite the blow it struck at state liberty, and the two proclamations of September 22, 1862, and January 1, 1863, mark the basis of the executive plan of reconstruction. The Pierpoint government of Virginia had been recognized in 1861, but its recognition was in harmony with the early attitude of Congress towards the States, and involved no questions which could show a distinct executive policy.

In 1862, after the capture of New Orleans, a military governor of Louisiana was appointed, many persons in the vicinity of New Orleans were enrolled as citizens of the United States, and two districts elected representatives to Congress, under the provisions of the old state constitution.3 In this case there was a distinct development of the executive policy. Here was a military governor, appointed by the President and so an instrument of the Executive, interfering with the civil government of the State, controlling elections, deciding what districts were entitled to elections, and fixing the date of election. This was very different from simple restoration, with its theory that the national government must in no way interfere with the State govern

It is improbable that he ever modified his views as to the continued existence of the States—views which were essentially those of his successor, though less dogmatically asserted. See Hurd, Theory of Our National Existence, and Index; Pollard, Lost Cause Regained, 65.

2 Cooper, American Politics, pp. 141-3.
* Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, ii, 36.

ments. And when the two members elect, Messrs. Flanders and Hahn, presented themselves for admission into the House of Representatives, the Democrats, consistently with their belief in restoration, which up to that time had met with no serious opposition, opposed their admission strongly. In the discussion which arose, Mr. Voorhees well expressed the difference in theory between the Democratic view and that which was ultimately to be adopted. The problem was stated by him as follows :: “If the Southern Confederacy is a foreign power, an independent nationality to-day, and you have conquered back the territory of Louisiana, you may then substitute a new system of laws in the place of the laws of that State. You may then supplant her civil institutions by institutions made anew for her by the proper authority of this Government—not by the executive, but by the legislative branch of the Government, assisted by the Executive simply to the extent of signing his name to the bills of legislation.” “But if the theory we have been proceeding upon here, that this Union is unbroken; that no States have sundered the bonds that bind us together; that no successful disunion has yet taken place—if that theory is still to prevail in these halls, then this can not be done. You are as much bound to uphold the laws of Louisiana in all their extent and in all their parts, as you are to uphold the laws of Pennsylvania or New York, or any other State whose civil policy has not been disturbed.”

The strong appeal to remain true to the theory first maintained by Congress, did not succeed in shutting the Louisianians out, and for one month, February to March, 1863, they were recognized as members. The later refusal to admit members from insurrectionary States was due, not to a supposed inconsistency with restoration proper, but to dislike of the presidential policy.

Congressional Globe, 3d Session, 37th Congress, part i, p. 834.

[ocr errors]

And now with emancipation still another element entered into the question, and in the future reconstruction, Congress was of necessity forced to follow to a certain extent a new path laid out by the President. A State after January, 1863, in order to resume its former relations, must at least make one change in its institutions, and perfect restoration could no longer be considered. True, a large minority opposed the emancipation policy of the President, and their discontent took expression in resolutions such as Mr. Conway introduced into the House on December 15, 1862, in which he says that “the seceded States can only be put down, if at all, by being regarded as out of constitutional relations with the Union,” implying, of course, the inability of the President to extinguish their local institutions. But such resolutions were never considered, while resolutions endorsing the policy of the President were agreed to.'

The next step in the development of the President's policy was the formation of a definite program, which States wishing to be restored to equal rights with the loyal States should follow. This plan of reconstruction, called by him at a later period the “ Louisiana plan,” was officially announced by the proclamation of December 8, 1863, and the annual message to Congress of the same date defended the stand taken. This proclamation granted amnesty to all citizens (excepting certain specified classes 3) who would take an

House Journal, 3d Session, 37th Congress, pp. 69, 70.

? Cooper, American Politics, bk. i, pp. 141-3. On Lincoln's plan of Recon. struction, Cf. Gillet, Democracy in the United States, pp. 297-9; Pollard, Lost Cause Regained, 65, which claims that Lincoln could have successfully carried out his policy had he lived, but does not sustain the statement; Cox, Three Decades, etc., pp. 336–345; Wilson, Rise and Fall of the Slave Power, iii, 519-20; Scott, Reconstruction during the Civil War, 267 ff.

3 These excepted classes were: (1) Confederate civil and diplomatic officers; (2) Confederates who had left U. S. judicial positions; (3) officers above colonel in army and lieutenant in navy; (4) those who had formerly been U. S. Con

« AnteriorContinuar »