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THE

HIS TORT OF NORTH AMERICA

Francis Newton Thorpe^ Ph. D.

Fellow, and Professor (18851898} of American Constitutional History
University of Pennsylvania, Editor



ANDREW JOHNSON

From the painting by E. F. Andrews, in the Corcoran Gallery,
Washington.



THE HISTORY OF NORTH AMERICA
VOLUME SIXTEEN THE RECONSTRUC
TION PERIOD



BY

PETER JOSEPH HAMILTON

Author of: The Colonization of the South ; Rambles in Historic Lands]
Colonial Mobile; Mobile, in Historical Towns of the South series 5
Rights and Duties in Time of War, contributed to Taylor s Inter
national Law. Compiler of: Code of Mobile. Joint compiler of:
Code of Alabama, 1886; ErickeW s Digest of Alabama Decisions,
etc., etc.



PRINTED AND PUBLISHED FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONI.} BT

GEORGE EARRIE & SONS, PHILADELPHIA



COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY GEORGE BARRIE & SONS
Entered at Stationers Hall, London.



DEDICATED



,TO

THE MEMORY OF MY FATHER,
PETER HAMILTON,

WHO, BORN IN PENNSYLVANIA OF ENGLISH PARENTAGE AND EDUCATED

AT PRINCETON, SPENT A USEFUL AND INSPIRING LIFE

OF FIFTY YEARS IN ALABAMA.



187159



Y



EDITOR S INTRODUCTION

RECONSTRUCTION is the name given to the decade fol
lowing the Civil War. In most minds the word associates
itself with one dominant act, the elevation of the negro
race, in America, to civil and political equality with the
white race. This change was a revolution in thought and
in government: it came suddenly, imperiously and irrev
ocably. If by an act of thought one could eliminate the
negro race from American history, it would be impossible
to conceive of a period of "reconstruction" in the order of
events on this continent.

Reconstruction thus taking its meaning from the presence
of the negro race in America, and from the relation of
that race to the white race, it follows that the history of
reconstruction coincides with the course of events which
determined the relation between the two races.

So long as slavery continued in America, the ameliora
tion of the condition of the negro was individual and excep
tional, not general and regular. Many restrictions, other
than those inseparable from a state of slavery, limited the
extension of the suffrage to the negro. Even in free States
in which it was legally possible, as in New York before
1868, for the negro to become a voter, public sentiment was
hostile to the innovation. Despite all sentiment favorable
to the extension to the negro of civil and political rights
possessed by white men, the mind of the American people,



v i THE RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD

down to 1860, was fixed in the conviction that the status
of the negro was inferior to the status of the w r hite man.

Ten years later, the negro race was entitled by the con
stitutions and laws of the land to all the civil and political
rights of the white race. This startling innovation, un
paralleled in history, constitutes the essential quality of
reconstruction.

It is evident that it is easier to fix the initial than the
final date of this change. The secession of South Carolina,
in December, 1860, may be accepted as the act which pre
cipitated reconstruction. Followed by other slaveholding
States, South Carolina unintentionally began a movement
which has wrought a revolution, not only in the status of
the negro race, but also in the conception of sovereignty, of
Federal relations, of industry, of citizenship, and of nation
ality in America.

In a larger sense than that compassed by the popular con
ception of reconstruction, the change which it embodied car
ried with it a reorganization of civil and political affairs in
America. The present volume concentrates attention upon
the South as a country in process of civil and political re
habilitation. It introduces the reader to a conquered country,
in the grasp of a hostile conqueror. The war which fol
lowed secession is described as "a war for southern inde
pendence." The conqueror imposed conditions upon the
conquered, chief of \vhich, embodied in the thirteenth, four
teenth and fifteenth amendments to the Constitution, were
the abolition of slavery, the repudiation of all obligations
incurred in aid of secession and rebellion, and the admission
of the negro race to civil and political equality \vith the
white race.

The history of the adjustment and the attempt at adjust
ment, under these conditions, at the South, from the cessa
tion of the war till the inauguration of President Hayes,
and the early acts of his administration, that is, from 1865
to 1877, is the theme of the present volume. It carries the
reader to the South and keeps him there. It describes many



EDITOR S INTRODUCTION vii

scenes of aggressive administration ; it portrays the submis
sion of the white race of the South, for a time, to the dom
ination of the black race, sustained by Federal troops. It
puts before the reader, in no unmistakable way, the senti
ments and convictions of southern white men during this
period of domination. It is a picture of the South under
reconstruction.

To the great value of such a narrative all men anxious to
know truth will agree. A period of war, followed by an
even more bitter period of civil and political reconstruction,
a reorganization of society destructive of established
ideals, affords a dramatic theme. It is practically impossible
for one whose experience has been wholly in the North to
know the meaning of reconstruction. Only they who are
of the South can weigh and measure all that the term
implies. Whence it follows, that an historical work which
like the present volume, is written by a southerner whose
inheritance by birth and training imparts restraint, equity
and accuracy to his treatment of the theme, and that nice
sense of toleration which marks the mind with wide sym
pathies, is a notable contribution to an obscure, a contro
versial, a difficult subject.

It is only within a few years that the reconstruction period
has become the subject of critical investigation. The stu
pendous change in the status of the negro race, made by con
stitutions and laws from 1865 to 1870 required, for their
understanding, a calmer mind than was possible for the
mass of the American people at the time. The Congresses
w r hich enacted the great reconstruction laws, and which
passed and submitted to the people the thirteenth, four
teenth and fifteenth amendments, were led by statesmen, of
whom Abraham Lincoln was chief. His attitude toward
reconstruction, in its initial stage, was unequivocably ex
pressed by his advocacy of the thirteenth amendment, which
passed by Congress, February I, 1865, received the ratifi
cation of twenty States before his death. He suggested to
Louisiana a conservative trial of negro suffrage. His policy



viii THE RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD

toward the former Confederate States is known to have been
liberal : but its practical operation must always remain a
matter of speculation.

Lincoln s assassination made Congressional reconstruction
severe; the South was the chief sufferer because of his
death. Its sufferings were the greater because of the hos
tility between Congress and President Johnson. Recon
struction, because of these calamities, became a military
rather than a civil procedure.

Yet it is the very suffering of the South, during the
reconstruction period which, dwelt upon insistently by his
torians, may mislead the student of American history. The
white race, North and South, with few individual excep
tions, has always looked upon the negro as an inferior race.
The white people of the South have never believed that the
negro is capable of exercising civil or political rights with a
white man s understanding. This conviction is practically
as strong to-day as it was during the reconstruction period.
Because of this conviction, North and South, the profound
significance of reconstruction, in the evolution of represen
tative government in America, is obscure to most men. In
born racial hostility makes most readers of the literature on
reconstruction prejudiced. The sympathies of the white
man will ever be, in the last resort, with his own race. The
sympathies of the reader at the present time, now more than
forty years after the abolition of slavery, will lie with his
race.

But there is a larger meaning to reconstruction. That
radical readjustment of civil and political forces necessitated
by the civil war was obedient to industrial and moral ends.
Despite all adverse criticism of the entire policy of recon
struction as formulated by laws of Congress and by amend
ments to the Constitution, the essential process of reconstruc
tion was organic and humane. It was a national, and not
merely a sectional reorganization. It was part of the gen
eral and ever slowly developing definition of the rights of
men. It raised the white race as well as the black, in



EDITOR S INTRODUCTION [ x

America, to a higher plane. It aided in formulating the
true conception of representative government, of free insti
tutions, of free labor, of an equitable, strong and sane na
tionality. It conduced to a more perfect understanding of
the proposition that ours is a government of laws and not
of men. It extended the privileges as it made clearer the
definition of citizenship. It helped to dissipate the obscuri
ties which so long had made difficult the administration of
government because of the confusion of State and Federal
functions. It recognized the supremacy of the immortal
doctrine, "all men are created equal."

He who laments the admission of the negro race to the
civil and political privileges of the white race, in America,
forgets the awful responsibility for the black race which was
lifted from the shoulders of the white by this act of recon
struction. He who blames the Congresses of 1865-1870,
for the "blunder" of negro citizenship must remember that
self-protection is the first law of nature, and that, in prac
tical government, the class which cannot protect itself by
actual participation in the government soon has no rights
which any other class respects.

It was undoubtedly a perilous choice which the states
men of reconstruction days made, when, deliberately, by
laws and constitutions, they submitted to the American
people the whole question of negro suffrage and that suffrage
was granted. But the peril was far less than the denial of
the privilege and the retention of the negro race in an
anomalous condition, which, however it might in theory
trend toward freedom and citizenship, was bound, in prac
tice, to sink the race back into slavery.

Reconstruction is a word whose full meaning in America
cannot be known for many years, perhaps for centuries.
The ebb and flow of civil affairs are yet too imperfectly
understood to warrant any anticipation of the final decision
on the exercise of the suffrage by the negro in America.
The destiny of the negro is in the hands of his race. He
has been given full civil and political rights. If he proves



x THE RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD

himself equal to the responsibility thus conferred upon him,
the conclusion is clear. Equally clear is the conclusion if he
proves faithless and unequal : he will be eliminated from
citizenship.

Whatever the consequence, whether of the civil and polit
ical elevation of the race, or of an alignment of it or of
any portion of it below the status of an elector, one effect
of reconstruction must continue to strengthen : namely, the
union and cooperation of the white race, in America, in
active administration of those principles of government laid
down by the Fathers, and slowly defining themselves with
the development of the nation.

FRANCIS NEWTON THORPE.



AUTHOR S PREFACE

THE plan of this work does not admit of footnotes and,
in addition to authorities named in the text, reference should
be made to the many biographies as well as to statutes,
reports and other public documents, State and Federal.
Many papers of the period are made accessible in Fleming s
Documents Relating to Reconstruction, and among mono
graphs Herbert s Solid South, Fleming s Alabama, Garner s
Mississippi, Reynolds s South Carolina, and DeWitt s Im
peachment of Andrew Johnson, and the essays in the At
lantic Monthly should be specially mentioned. The essays
of Wm. A. Dunning are always suggestive, and I trust it
is no breach of propriety to say that the Constitutional His
tory of the United States, by Francis Newton Thorpe, fur
nishes a study and often the words of the debates and re
solves of the State conventions which is essential to any
understanding of the period.

P. J. HAMILTON.



XI



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGES

EDITOR S INTRODUCTION v-x

AUTHOR S PREFACE xi

INTRODUCTION 3-22

Influences tending toward sectionalism. The Constitu
tion and the national spirit. Proposed constitutional
amendment to quiet the slavery issue. The scope of re
construction. Complex problems. Main steps in recon
struction: Abolition of slavery; negro citizenship; a
national standard for suffrage.

I THE PROSTRATE SOUTH 23-41

Suspension of civil laws after the war. Imprisonment of
civil officials. Condition of agriculture and transportation.
Destruction of private property. The condition of the
church. The freedman s vain expectations. Industrial
situation. The plight of Charleston. Problems of South
ern reorganization.

II STATE REORGANIZATION UNDER LINCOLN . 43-71

The Hampton Roads Conference. Divergent aspirations
of North and South. The Crittenden resolutions. Steps
in the reorganization of Virginia. West yirginia refuses
to secede. The Western counties usurp the government
of Virginia. Congress recognizes West Virginia. The
Pierpoint (West Virginia) government removes to Alex
andria. It adopts the Thirteenth Amendment for Vir
ginia. Makes Richmond its seat. Reorganization measures
in Tennessee. The mountain counties refuse to support
the Confederacy. The State under military government.

xiii



xiv THE RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD

CHAPTER PAGES

A legislature elected. Military rule in Louisiana. Elec
tions for Congress. A new constitution. Civil govern
ment inaugurated. Congress refuses to admit the State s
representatives. Reorganization in Arkansas. Adoption
of a new constitution. Congress refuses admission to the
State s representatives. Lincoln issues amnesty proclama
tion and plan of reorganization. The Wade-Davis recon
struction measure. Lincoln s counter proposal. Manifesto
of Wade and Davis. Lincoln s message of 1864. Lincoln
and Congress at odds over reconstruction. The death of
Lincoln.

III THE RESTORATION UNDER JOHNSON . . 73-96

Some characteristics of Andrew Johnson. His bitterness
toward the Southern leaders. The president s policy.
Proclamation of amnesty and pardon. The Pierpoint gov
ernment recognized for Virginia. Reorganization plan
for North Carolina. Provisional governor appointed. The
constitutional conventions of Mississippi, Alabama, South
Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Their
legislatures ratify the Thirteenth Amendment. Restora
tion of the Union.

IV FEDERAL REGULATION OF THE FREEDMEN . 97-123

The negro refugees. Problem of their support and em
ployment. The Freedmen s Home Farm for Mississippi.
Legislation respecting abandoned property. The occupa
tion of plantations and the employment of freedmen.
Establishment of the Freedmen s Bureau. Regulations as
to labor contracts. Operation of the new system. Local
regulations concerning freedmen. The reports of Gen
erals Schurz and Grant on the condition of the freedmen.

V SOUTHERN ATTEMPTS AT RECONSTRUCTION 125-151

The problem of agricultural labor. Attitude of the "poor
whites" to the freedmen. Difficulties presented by South
ern civilization. \/Mixed results of the influence of the
Freedmen s Bureau. State legislation as to freedmen.
The master and apprentice law of Mississippi. Legisla
tion concerning vagrants. As to civil rights of freedmen.
Legislation of South Carolina concerning freedmen. Pro
vision for infirm colored people. Vagrancy laws. Va
grancy laws of Virginia. General Terry s order prohib-



CONTENTS xv

CHAPTER PAGES

iting their enforcement in the case of freedmen. The lib
eral laws of North Carolina as to freedmen. The legisla
tion of Alabama. Civil rights of freedmen. Vagrancy
laws. Master and apprentice act. Fundamental principle
of Southern legislation as to freedmen. The chief statu
tory applications of this principle. Northern resentment
against the legislation of Mississippi. Basic difference be
tween the Northern and Southern view of race relation in
the South.

I THE RECONSTRUCTION LEGISLATION . 153-1-86

Lincoln s reorganization and Johnson s restoration. Dif
ferences between Lincoln and his Cabinet. Stanton s plan
of military government for Virginia and North Carolina.
The Pierpoint government recognized by Johnson s Cab
inet as that of Virginia. Johnson s plan of reconstruction
for North Carolina and other States. Lincoln s view of
emancipation. His plan of compensation for abolition of
slavery opposed by the Cabinet. His view as to negro
suffrage. Sumner s radical abolition and reconstruction
views. Other radical leaders Wade, Morton, and Ste
vens. Congress takes up inquiry into the condition of the
late Confederate States. Southern Confederate States
barred from representation in Congress. Republican
supremacy as a motive in reconstruction measures. Pro
posals of the Reconstruction Committee. Johnson halts the
radicalism of Congress by his vetoes. The Freedmen s
jCBureau bill. The Civil Rights bill. Report and recom
mendations of the Reconstruction Committee. Fourteenth
Amendment. Restoration of Tennessee to Federal rela
tions. President and Congress drift apart. Johnson rails
against the radical leaders. Negro franchise enacted for
the District of Columbia. Congress places the Southern
States under military government. Requisites to Con
gressional representation of the "rebel states." Triumph
of Congress over President Johnson.

VII THE ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE PRESI
DENT 187-220

Resume of Johnson s principles as to restoration. His
steadfast purpose. Irreconcilable opposition of the radical
leaders. Resolutions to impeach the president. The ju
diciary committee resolves against impeachment. Breach



xvi THE RECONSTRUCriON PERIOD

CHAPTER PAGES

between Secretary Stanton and the president. Another
impeachment resolution. Stanton s suspension and removal.
The Senate supports Stanton and he regains his office.
The president is charged with preparing for a military
coup. The House resolves on impeachment proceedings.
Articles of impeachment reported. Efforts to secure a ma
jority for conviction Nebraska is admitted into the
Union ; Wade s fight for the admission of Colorado. The
power of the chief justice in the impeachment proceedings.
The scope of the impeachment. The trial procedure.
Arguments for conviction. The defense. The House
managers supreme effort to secure conviction. Acquittal
of President Johnson. Stanton resigns. The president s
conduct till the close of his term. Estimate of Johnson s
influence and course.

VIII A STUDY IN RACE TENDENCIES . . 221-251

The negro as viewed by extremists. A new problem in
civilization. A glance at the past of the black race. The
African slave trade. Social conditions among the Afri
cans. Religion and morality. Industries. Mission work.
The foundation of Liberia. The negro in America.
Changes following his migration. Slave importation.
Domestic slave trade. Relations between master and slave.
Negro uprisings. Abolition societies and the new ideal
of the negro. First effects of emancipation. Problem of
the mixed race. Influence of Fred Douglass. Negro suf
frage the new goal. Condition of the mass of Southern
negroes. The place of the Freedmen s Bureau. The
Anglo-Saxon South. Its political and social unity. Agri
culture. Transportation. Effect of slave labor on South
ern development. Culture. Education. Politics. Litera
ture. Possibilities of Reconstruction. Consternation of the
whites. The many-sided outlook. Advent of Northerners.
The Scalawag. The coming of the Carpetbagger.

IX MILITARY ADMINISTRATION IN THE SOUTH 253-284

Southern military districts. Status of the civil govern
ments of the South. Assumed powers of District com
manders. Regulations against assemblages of citizens.
Congress nullifies the operation of the Black Codes. Pro
hibits white militia forces in Southern States. Super
vision of civil officials. Suspension of elections. Removal
of civil officers by the military commanders. Congress



CONTENTS xvii

CHAPTER PAGES

validates such removals. Civil law created by military
authority. Code of laws provided by General Sickles for
the second district. Civil decrees in other districts. Con
flict between the Federal court and the military authority
in North Carolina. Military supervision as to taxation.
Military regulations against race discrimination by com
mon carriers. Orders as to jurors qualifications. Military
authority over the civil courts. Suspected conspiracy of
negroes to seize lands. Military attempt to regulate the
press. Congress strengthens the powers of the district
commanders and destroys the supervising power of the
attorney-general. Changes in commands of the military
districts. General Hancock supports the authority of the
civil courts. Resume of the operations of the military ad
ministration.

X POLITICAL RECONSTRUCTION AT THE SOUTH 285-317

Regulations for registration. Test oath for electors. Elec
tion for constitutional convention. Popular vote on consti- #
tution. Proceedings in Alabama. A constitution adopted.
The white man s movement. The constitution fails to
secure the necessary popular vote. A radical legislature.
Struggle in Congress for the admission of Alabama. Ala
bama s representatives admitted to Congress. The pro
cedure in Louisiana. In North Carolina. Adoption of a
constitution. The State admitted to representation in
Congress. Main principles of the new constitution of
South Carolina. The State admitted to representation in
Congress. Georgia adopts a constitution with an inad
missible clause. It is repealed by the legislature. The
State s Congressmen admitted. The steps in reconstruc
tion of Florida. The State restored to representation in
Congress. The proceedings in Arkansas. The State re
stored to representation in Congress. Virginia fails to
vote on the proposed constitution. Mississippi s turbulent
constitutional convention. The constitution lost on a pop
ular vote. A constitution adopted in Texas, but not sub
mitted. Some practical results of political reconstruction.

XI CIVIL MISRULE IN THE CAROLINAS . . 319-337

The legislature of North Carolina. State aid to rail
roads. Misuse of the public funds. Military rule. A
Democratic legislature elected. Governor Holden removed
on impeachment proceedings. The legislature of South



xviii THE RECONSTRUCTION PERIOD

CHAPTER PAGES

Carolina. Its majority membership. Intimidation of the
electorate. State aid to railroads. Misuse of public funds.
An experiment in creating a race of tenant farmers. A
corrupt land commission. Expensive financiering. Ex
travagance of the legislature. The color line in judicial
matters. A reform movement.

XII CIVIL ADMINISTRATION IN GEORGIA, ALA

BAMA AND FLORIDA 339-367

Inauguration of the new government in Georgia. Ejection
of negro members of the legislature. The Senators re
fused seats in Congress. The legislature rejects the
Fifteenth Amendment. Its members required to take a
test oath. Military rule reestablished. State railroad aid.
School fund corruption. Georgia s senators admitted.
Democrats secure the legislature. The Alabama legis
lature. The worst element in control. Pernicious polit
ical legislation. Manipulation of the election returns.
Reckless railroad endorsement. Bribery of legislators.
Financial disaster of Mobile and other towns. Education
and the school system. A dual legislature. Alabama s
dark period. The situation in Florida. General corrup
tion among officials. The influence of Bureau Commis
sioner Osborn. Prominence of the negro in politics. A
race war. Railroad legislation. Misuse of public funds.
The rule of the Osborn Ring. Factional quarrels among
the radicals.

XIII PERSONAL RULE IN ARKANSAS AND LOUIS

IANA 369-382

The Arkansas government of 1868. Refunding the public
debt. Two governors. A new constitution. The Demo
crats gain control. Results of reconstruction. Membership
of the Louisiana legislature. How Governor Warmoth
secured his power. The Metropolitan Police. Education.



Online LibraryGuy Carleton LeeThe History of North America (Volume 16) → online text (page 1 of 48)