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inating spirit it had ever known. For twenty years he labored ceaselessly in it on behalf of the negro race. He hated slavery with all the hot intensity of his nature; and he urged the emancipation proclamation as right, just and expedient. He had initiated the Fourteenth Amendment and carried it through. He had formulated the policy of Congress in its four great reconstruction acts, and, to the last moment of his life, he believed that no measure which could be carried out against the southern people could be too severe.
The grand passion of his life,—the amelioration of the condition of the negro race,-he sought to carry out and make permanent after his death by providing in his will that his estate should become a fund for the care and education of negro children. He selected for his burial place a quiet and secluded spot at Lancaster, where persons of any race might be laid to rest; choosing his grave, as he declared, in the epitaph which he wrote for his tomb, that he might be enabled to illustrate in his death the principle which he had advocated throughout a long life,—the equality of men before their Creator. To this uncompromising, political Puritan must be accredited, above any other man, the authorship and the ultimate adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The amendment established the citizenship of the negro and was intended to secure him the benefits of his freedom. But it still left him without the right to vote. Its supporters had hoped that the southern States would be induced to grant him this right because of the increased representation they would thereby secure in Congress.
1 He was born at Peacham (Danville), Caledonia County, Vermont, April 4, 1793, and died in Washington, D, C., August 11, 1868.
2 Slaughter-House cases, 13 Wallace, 36.
THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT A DISAPPOINTMENT. 405
This hope was not realized and the Republicans determined to take away from the States the power to discriminate against any citizen of the United States, as a voter, on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.
1 U. S. v. Reese, 92 U. S. 214; U. S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 555. CHAPTER IV.
FAILURE OF A SUFFRAGE AMENDMENT IN CONGRESS.
The Fourteenth Amendment practically placed the reconstruction measures of Congress beyond repeal. Its adoption had been accomplished by the enfranchisement of the negro and the disfranchisement of most of the white voters in the South. North and South it had been opposed by the Democratic party, whose hostility almost completely disarmed by the operation of the reconstruction measures in the South and by Republican votes in the North, was yet able to delay its adoption and to continue the struggle against it over two years. Its supporters had expected that it would operate as an inducement to the former slaveholding States to admit the negro to the suffrage, and increase their representation in Congress proportionately.
The Republicans soon discovered that they had no foundation for this belief. The South felt that it had been coerced into adopting the amendment, and that the negro had been made the tool in its coercion. All the hostility to the measure, expressed in its early and prompt rejection by the southern States, awakened and was hurled against the negro as soon as it was ratified. The southern people preferred to have their number of representatives in Congress cut down rather than be compelled to live under negro rule. The prospect throughout the South was one of bitter and ceaseless violation of the amendment. At the North, where it was of slight practical importance,
1 It will be remembered that it was passed by Congress on the 16th of June, 1866, and was proclaimed by the Secretary of State, July 8, 1868.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: 1868.
opposition was limited to the Democratic party. The race, long enslaved, but now suddenly enfranchised, was not transformed into an object of hatred by it as at the South. Democratic opposition at the North was mostly speculative, abstract, impersonal; at the South it was concentrated in the hatred, the fear, the loathing of negro rule. Opposition to negro suffrage in Ohio and New Jersey fairly showed the attitude of the Democratic party elsewhere at the North. The southern States, in making their recent constitutions, had omitted the word "white,' which, until 1868, was in common use in the Union, as descriptive of the elector. The word remained in the northern constitutions and in the revulsion of political sentiment likely to follow so radical a regime as that enforced by Congress during the last four years, it was not probable that it would be obliterated. Clearly the great issue of the extension of the suffrage to the negro was not yet settled.
The time for another Presidential election had come, and, at Chicago, on the twenty-first of May, 1868, the Republicans nominated General Grant and Schuyler Colfax, on a platform which congratulated the country on the assured success of the reconstruction policy of Congress, as shown by the adoption, in the majority of the States lately in rebellion, of constitutions that secured equal civil and political rights to all persons irrespective of race. The public safety required the maintenance of equal suffrage for all loyal men at the South; but the question of suffrage in the loyal States, it was declared, properly belonged to their people to settle. In July, at New York, the Democratic party nominated Horatio Seymour and Francis P. Blair, on a platform which declared the reconstruction acts of Congress “usurpative and unconstitutional, revolutionary and void.” The control of
THE ISSUE AND THE VOTE.
the suffrage belonged exclusively to the States, and any attempt by Congress to deprive a State of this right was a flagrant usurpation of power and could find no warrant in the Constitution.
The two great parties thus stood pitted against each other on the issues of suffrage extension,--and for the first time the question was of the source and control of the right to vote. In the Presidential election, which occurred on the third of November, 1868, Virginia, Mississippi and Texas took no part, and by a concurrent resolution, Congress decided that the nine electoral votes of Georgia should not be counted so as essentially to change the result.1 Happily the great majority, for Grant and Colfax, in the electoral college and their popular vote made the vote of Georgia of no vital importance in the election.2 Both Houses of Congress continued Republican by large majorities. The result of the election was considered proof that the majority of the voters of the country approved the reconstruction policy of Congress, and encouraged the Republican leaders to place beyond repeal that part of their policy which yet remained unsettled.
1 This was the Edmunds resolution, proposed February 6, 1869, agreed to by the Senate, 33 to 11, on the 8th; Globe, p. 978; and by the House, on the same day, by 98 to 17, 107 not voting; Globe, p. 972. It treated the vote of Georgia in the same way as that of Missouri, in 1820. See my Constitutional History of the American People, 1776-1850, Vol. I, p. 103.
2 The electoral vote of Grant and Colfax was 214, of Seymour and Blair, 80; 34 States not voting; 23 electoral votes were not cast. The popular vote stood 3,150,071 for Grant and Colfax; 2,709,613 for Seymour and Blair.
3 In the 40th Congress, the Senate stood 42 Republicans and 11 Democrats; the House, 143 Republicans and 49 Democrats. In the 41st Congress, now elected, the House stood 170 Republicans to 73 Democrats; in the Senate there were 61 Republicans to 11 Democrats.