1867-1869 Republican Congressional Committee.

The policy of Congress in reference to the restoration of the Union online

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Whereas no legal State governments or adequate protection for liTe or property
DOW exists in the rebel States of Virtiiia, North Carulina, South Carolina,
Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas ; and
•whereas it is necessary that peace and good order should be enforced in said
States until loyal and republican State governments can be legally established :
Therefore —

Be it enacted hy the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled, That said rebel Sratcs shall be divided into
military oistricts and made subject to the military authori'j' of the United States,
as hen inafter prescribed, and tor that purpose Virginia sh;ill constitute the first
district; North Carolina and South Carolina the second district; Georgia, Ala-
bama, and Florida the third district; Mississippi and Arkansas the fourth district;
and Louisiana and Texas the fifth district.

Sec. 2. And he it further enacted. That it shall be the duty of the President to
SBsign to the command of each of said d stricts an oflicer of the army, not, below
the rank o' brigadier general, and to detail a sufiicient military force to enable such
officer to perform his duties and enforce his authority within the district to which
he is assigned.

Sec. 3- And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of each oflScer
assigned as aioresnid to protect all persons in their rights of person and property,
to suppress insurrection, disorder, and violence, and to punish, or cause to be
punished, all disiutbtrs of the public peace and criminals, and to this end he may
allow 1( cal civil iiibuaals to take jurisdiction of and try otft-nders, or, when in hia
judgmeuiii may be necessary for ibe trial of offenders, he shall have power lo or,
ganize military commissions or tiibunals (or thai purpose; and all interference
under color of St>ite authority with the exercise of military authority under this
act shall be null and void.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, ThRt all persons put under military arrest by
virtue of ihis aci sljall be tried wiibout unnecessary debiy. and no cruel or unusual
punishment sball be inflic'ed ; ai.d no sentence of any military commission or tri-
bunal heruby authorized, affecting the life or liberty ot any person, sh;ill be executed
until it is approved tiy the ofljcer in command of the district, and the laws and regu-
lations for the governmunt of the army shall not be affected by this act, Except in so

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far as they conflict with its pmviMon : ProHded, That no sentence of dfath under
the provisions of this act shall be carried into iffect without the approval of the

Skc 5. And be it further enacted, That Avhen the people of anyone of said rebel
States fchall have formed a con&tilu'ion of goven ment in conforojiiy with the Con;
stilutiori uf the Uuiied States in all TfFpects, framed by a convention of de'egates
elected by the male citizens of said State twen'y one years Old and upward, of
whatever race, color, or previous condition, who have been resident in sail State
ioi one year previous to the day of such election, except such as may he diftfran-
chised for participation in the rebellion or for felony at common law, and when
euch constitution shall provide that the elective franchise shall be enjoyed by all
such per^OD8 as have the qualifications herein s'aed for electors of delegates, and
when i-uth constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the persons voting on the
cjueslion ot ratification who are qualified as electors for delegates, and when such
const! uiion shall have been submitted to Conaress for examination and approval,
and Congress shall have approved the same, and when said State, by a vote of its
legislature elected under the said constitution, sbuU have adopted the amendment
to lh( Constitution of the Uni'ed Slates, propof^ed by the thirty-ninth Congress, and
known as article fourteen, and when said arti« le shall have become a part of the
ConS'tiiuiion of the Uni'ed States, said State shall be declared entitled to represen-
tation in Congress, and Senators and Representatives shall be admitted therefrom
on their tik ng the oaths prescribed by law, and then and thereafter the preceding
Bections of this act shall be inoperative in said State : Provided, That no person
excluded from the privilege of holding office by said proposed amendment to the
Constitution of the United S ates shall be eligible to election as a member of the
conventicin to frame a constitution for any of said rebel States, nor shall any such
person vote for members of su( h convention.

Sec. 6. Andbe it further enacted. That until the people of said rebel States shall
be by law admitted to reprt sentation in the Congress of the United States, any civil
governments which may exist therein shall be deemed provisional only, and in all
respects subject to the paramount authority of the United States at any time to
abolish, modify, control, or supersede the same ; and in all elections to any office
under such provisional governments all persons shall be entitled to vote, and none
others, who are eniith d to vote under the provisions of the fifth section of this act;
and BO person shall be eligible to any (fiice under any such provisional govern-
ments who would be disqualified from holding ofiice under the provisions of the
third article of said constitutional amendment.

Speaker of the House of Representativei.
' President of the Senate pro tempore.

In the House of Bepbesektatives of the United States,

II arch 3, 1867.

The President of the United States having returned to the House of Representa-
tives, in wlu,(h it orginated, the bill entitled " An act to provide for the more effi-
cient governmtnt of the rebel States," with his objections thereto, the House of

'*• : Woet. Bea. Hlat. 8oe.


Representatives proceeded in pursuance of the Constitution to reconsider the s&,me;

ReKolved^ That the said bill do pass, two4hirds of the House of Representatives
agretiog to pass the same.

Attest: EDWARD Mcpherson, CZ^A:.

In the Senate of the United States, March 2, 1807.

The Senate having proceedi d in piireu-mce of the Constitution to reconsider the
bill entitled "An act to provide for the m<^re efficient government of the rebel
States," returned to the House of Representatives by the President of the United
States with his objections, and sent l)y the House of Representatives to the Senate,
with the ni' ssage of the President returning the bill ;

Eesolved, That the bill do pass, two-thirds of the Senate agreeing to pass the

Attest* J. W. FORNEY, Secretary.

AN ACT suppletncntary to an act entitled "An act to provide for the more effi-
cient government cf the rebel States," pa&sed March two, eighteen hundred and
sixty seven, and to facilitate restoration.

Be a enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of
Ameitca in. Congress assembled^ That before the first day of September, eighteen
hundred and sixty-seven, the commanding general in each district defined by an
act entitled "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel
Slates," passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, shall cause a
registra'ion to be made of the male ciiizens of ttie United States, twenty-one years
of age and upwards, resident in each cc unty or parish in the State or States included
in his district, which registration sball include only those persons who are qualified
to vote tor delegates by the act aforesaid, and who shall have taken and subscribed

the following oatjji or affirmation: "I, , do solemnly swear, (or

affirm,) in ihe presence of Almighty God, that I am a citizen of the State of ;

that I IiHve resided in said State tor months next preceding this day, and

now reside iu the county of , or the parish cf , in said State, (as the

case may be ;) that I am twenty. ou" years old ; that I have not been distranchised
for participation in any rebellion or civil war against the United States, nor for
felony committed against the laws of any State or of the United Stales: that I
have U' ver been a m<'mber of any Stale legisUmre, nor held any executive or judi-
cial office in any State, and afterwards engaged'in insurrection or rebellion against
the United States or given aid or comfort to ihe enemies thereof ; that I have never
taken mu oaih as a member of Congress of the United States, or as an efficer of the
United States, or as a membtr of aoy Siaie legislature, or as an executive or judi-
cial officer of any Slate, to support the Consliiuiion of the United States, and after-
wards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United Statts, orgiven aid or
comfort to the enemies thereof; ibat I will tailhfully support the Consliiuiion and
obey the laws of the United Spates, and will, to the bisi of my ability, encourage
others so to do, so help me God;" which otah or affirmation may be administered
by any register jug officer.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That, after the completion of the registration
hereby provided tor iu uny S'lite, sit such time and places therein hs th^ command-
ing ger era) shall appoint and direct, of wh'ch at least thirty d^j's' public notice
shall be given, an election shall be held of delegates to a convention for the purpose
of ei'fat)lis»hiog a constituiion and civil government for such State loyal to the
Union, said conveniion in each S'ate, except, V rginia, to consist of the same num-
ber of members as the most numerous branch of the State legislature of such State
in the >« ar eighteen hundred aud sixty, to he apportioned amonc the sevrral dis'
tricts, counties, or parishes of such State by the commanding general, giving to
each represt-ntation in the ratio of voters registe'cd as aforesaid as nearly as may
be. The convention in Virginia shall consist of the same number of members as
represented the terri'ory now constituting Virgiuia in the most numerous branch
of the li gislature of said State in the year eighteen hundred and sixty, to be appor-
tioned as aforesaid.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That at said election the registered voters of
each State shall vote for or against a convemioa to form a cons>itution therefor
under this act. Thosw voting in favor of such a convention shall have written or
printed on the ballots by which they vote for delegates, as aforesaid, the words
" For a convention," and those voting against such a convention shall have writ-
ten or prin ed on such ballots the words " Against, a convention." The persons
appointed to superintend said election, and to make return of the votes given
thereat, as herein provided, shall count and make return of the votes given for and
against a convention ; and the commanding general to whom the same shall have
been returned shall ascertain and declare the total vote in each State for and against
a convention. If a majority of the votes given cm that questien shall be for a con-
vention, then such convention shall be held as hereinafter providi d ; but if a ma-
jority of said votes st-all be against a convention, then no such convention shall be
held under this act : Provided, That such convention shall not be held unless a ma-
jority of all such registered voters shall have voted on the question of holding £uch

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted. That the commanding general of each district
shall appoint as many boards of registration as may be necessary, consis'ing of
three loyal officers or persons, to make, and complete the registration, superintend
the election, and make return to him of the votes, lists of voters, and of the persons
eleced as delegates by a plurality of the votes cast at said election ; and upon
receiving said returns he shall open 'he same, ascertain the jsersons elected as dele-
gates according to the returns of the officers ■R-ho conducted said election, and make
proclamation thereof; and if a majoritv of the votes given on that question shall
be for a convention, the commanding general, within sixty days from the date of
election, shall notify ihe delegates to asst mble in convention, at a time and place to
be mentioned in the not fication, and said cooventioD, when organizi-d, shall pro-
ceed to frame a constiuj'ion and 'civil government according to the provisions of
this act and the act to which it is supplementary ; and when the same shall have
been so framed, said consti'ution shall be submitted by the convention for ratifica-
tion 'o the persons registered under the provisions of this act at an election to be
conouced by the officers or persons appointed or to be appointed by the command-
ing general, as hereinbefore provided, aud to be held after the expiraton of thirty
days flora the date of notice thereof, to be given by said convention; and th«
returns thereof shall be made to the commanding general of the district.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That if, according to said returns, the consti-
tution shfill be ratified by a majoiiiy ot tne votes of the registered electors quali-


fled as tefpin specified, (-ast at said election, (at least one half of all the registered
votere roting upon theqms'ion of such raiifica'ion ) the president, j)f ihe coaven-
tien pliall transmit a copy of the same, duly certifi'd, to the President of ihe United
States, who sh-ill forthwith iran^mit the eamo to Congress, if ihen in 8^sisiorl, and
if not in session, then immedinttly upon its next assembling ; and it ii shall,
moreover, appear to Congress that the election whs one at whirb all the registered
and quiilitit d t-ltctors in the State had an opportuniiy to vote ireely and wiihoot
restraint, fear, or the iLfluence of fraud, and if the Congress shnll he saii^fi<d that
such constiiu'ion meets the approval of a majority of all the qunlifl. d eh-ciors in
the StH-e. and it the said constitution shall be declartd by Cougrtsi to be in con-
formiiy wi'h the provisions of the act to which this is supp'.tmentavy, and the
other provisions ot said act shall have been complied with, and the said consiitu*
tion shdll be approved by Coogreas, the Stite shall be declared entitled to reprC'
sentaiion, and senators and representatives shall be admitted iheretrom as therein

Sec. fi. And be it further enacted, That all elections in the States mentioned in
the said "Act to provide for the more elficient government of the rebel Sates,'*
shall, during the operation of said act, be by ballot ; and all officers making the
said regisiration of voters and conducting said elections shall, beore entering upon
the discharge of their duties, take and subscribe the oaih pr» scribed by the act ap-
proved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty two, tniitled "An act to prescribe
an ot'h of ofllce :" Provided, That if any person shall knowingy and falsely take
and subS' ribe any oath in this act prescribed, such person so oflVnding and being
thereof duly convicted, shall be subject to the pains, penalties, and disabilities
■whit h by law are provided for the punishment of the crime of willul and corrupt

Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That all expenses incurred by the several com-
manding general.4, or by virtue of any orders l^su^d, or appointments made, by
them, under or by virtue of this act, shall be paid out of any moneys in the trea-
sury not otherwise appropriat»d.

8bc. 8. And be it further enacted, That the convention for each State shall pre-
scribe the fees, salary, and compensation to be paid to all del' g^ti-s and other
offictrrs and agents herein authorized or necessary to carry into effeco the purposes
of this act not herein otherwise provided for, and shall provide for the levy and
collection of such taxes on the properly in sUch State as may bo necessary to pay
the same.

Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That the word article, in the sixth section of
the act to which this is supplementary, shall be construed to mean section.

In the House of RErRESENTATivEs op the United States,

March 23, 1867.
The President of the United States having returned to the House of Representa-
tives, in which it originated, the bill entitled "'An act suppleniemary to an act
entitled 'An act to provide for the more eflicient government, of the reOel States,'
passed March two, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and to tacilitaie n sioraMon,"
■with his ot)jections thereto, the House of Representatives proceeded, in pursuance
of the Constitution, to reconsider the same, and resolved that the sa'd bill do pass,
two thirds of the House of Representatives agreeing to pass the same.

Attest: ED WD Mcpherson,

Clerk of JIouBo of Rcprescntalivea.

In thb Senate op the United States,

March 23, 1867.
The Senate having proceeded, in pursuance of the Constitution, to reconsider the
bill entitled " An act suppkmeutary to an act entitled 'An act lo provide for the
more efficient government of the rebel States,' passed March two, eighteen hun-
dred and sixty seven, and to facilitate restoration," returned to ibe House of Rep-
resentatives hy the President of the United States, -with his objections, and sent
by the House of Representatives to the Senate, V9iih the naesssge of the President
returning the bill, resolved that the bill do pass, fwo-thirds of the Senate agreeing
to pas9 the same* \

Attest : J. w. FORNEY,


The preceding acts of Congress were designed, as measures of beneficence and
restoration, and not of revenge or punishment. They are measures looking to the
restoration of the Union in the spirit of justice end upon the basis of equality.
Slavery has passed avpay, and it only remains to destroy its spirit and to crush the
institutions which it established and nurturtd. The Republican party expects and
desires the restoration of the Union, but upon such terms and condi ions only as
shall render it impossible for its enemies to renew the civil war or to involve the
country in eeciional strife. It will be true to Its friends in the South without
regard to color or previous condition. The Republican party is the party of free-
dom and progress. It is its purpose to aid in securing for the South freedom of
speech, a free press, and a system of free schools. These desirable results will be
sought through the action of Congress as far as possible ; but our main reliance
must be upon the wisdom and virtue of the perple of the respective States. By the
acts of the 2d of March, and of the 23d of March, 18G7, provision is made for the
enjoyment of the right of voting by all mnle citizens, twenty-one years of age,
except, those who have been convicted of felony and a small class of rebtls who
are excluded from office by the third article of the proposed amendment to the
Constitution of the United States.

The negroes of the South by the measures of the Republican party, as ex-
pressed in thcseactsof Congress, are elevated to the full and equal rights of citizens of
the States to which they belong, and of the country which hereafter will recognize
no distinctions on account of race or color. The nation is indebted to the negro
race for services rendeied during the late war ; the negro race is indebted to the
country, controlled in its policy by the Republican party, for the emancipation of
the race from slavery, and now, by these acts of Congress, for its elevation to a
position of equality. From these reciprocal services arise mutual obligations and

The nation can no longer hesitate. It will at once, and freely, concede to the
colored race every political and public right that is enjoyed by any cLiss of citi-
Bens. The negroes, on thtir side, cannot hteitate to support the party and the
principles hy whose labors and icfluence their redemption has been accomplished.
Thus, by this natural and necessary union of forces in the South and throughout
the whole country, peace, progress, and orosperity aro secured.

Nor is (here in these sugges ions any faod for hostility between the races. The
wants of a black man and the wacts of a white man are precisely the same ; their
interests are the same. Especially is this true of the laboring classes. The labor-
ing man, whether white or black, needs the protection of law. He needs the
ballot as the means by which he secures equal laws and the just administration of
them. By the ballot he rebukes or rejects unfaithful public servants. By the
ballot he arraigns and condemns corrupt or tyrannical judges. By the ballot he
organizes and maintains schools for the education of his children, and inspires the
police and magistrates with due respect for his personal and family rights. While the
measures of Congress extend this great right to a new and numerous class of men,
there is no invasion of the rights of others. The white people of the South, with
a few exceptions, comparatively, are to enjoy just and equal political rights
and privileges. Freedom has given to the North unexampled prosperity and
constantly increasing wealth and power. Freedom and free institu'ions will
secure for the South the same results ; but there must be co operation of
the races, and there must be co operation upon the principles which prevail in the
North, and to which the Republican party is fully committed. For more thau two
hundred years the slaveholding aristocracy of the South orginated its policy and
controlled its destinies. The result is seen in its exhausted and barren fields, in the
condition of its laboring people, white and black, in the rela'ive poverty of the
inhabitants of all classes, in the absence of public schools, of commerce, of manufac-
tures and of an enlightened system of agriculture. We then earnestly invite and
implore the people of the South of all classes, first, to accept the plan of universal
8uff"rage as the basis of political, educational, and industrial prosperity and power.
The black man will soon prove that he ia more to the State as a citizen than he
was as a slave. The laborer, whether black or white, with education and culture,
will elevate and enrich the community, which, in his ignorance, he dishonored and

Secondly, upon the basis of universal suffrage we urge the people of the South to
direct their efforts to the tstabliBhment and maintenance of a system of public
schools for the education of the children of all classes.

Finally, public policy should stimulate the laboring people to become land-hold-
ers. The owners of large estates should divide and subdivide their lands and sell
them at reasonable rates to those who need them and who can improve them. In
the South there is land enough for all, and all who desire should be permitted to
obtain homes. This, a common human right, cannot be denied with sulety to


society. Id tb« se measures of justice we expect and shall welcome the aid of many
wh6 formerly were slaveholders and participated in the rebellion.

By the acts ht^rewith presented, it will be seen that Congress reserves to itself
full aud unrestricted right of judgment whenever a State presents itself for admis-
sion into the Union. That right will be exercised fairly and generously A^en.'^ut
yet in the interest- of peace and loyalty.

Certain conditions precedent are laid down in the laws. These must be met ;
but beyond these conditions Congress must be satisfied also that the people of the
proposed States, respectively, are and are likely to be loyal to the Union by decisive
and tru8tw<irtriy majorities; that the instituiions are framed upon the basis of
equali y, aud that ihey will from year to year and from age to age contribute to the
peace, piogre&s, and prosperity of the States and of the country.

If the people of the Slates lately in rebellion shall cheerfully and in good faith
reorganize their governments upon the principles of the laws passed by Congress,
there will then remain no causes of diiference between the various sec ions of the
country. The Republican party is hostile to slavery and opposed to its spirit and
purposes. If the spirit of slavery ia permitted to control the institutions and civili-
zation of the South, there can be no restoration of the Union in fact if there should


Online Library1867-1869 Republican Congressional CommitteeThe policy of Congress in reference to the restoration of the Union → online text (page 1 of 2)