George Oberkirsh Seilhamer.

History of the Republican party (Volume 1) online

. (page 35 of 61)
Online LibraryGeorge Oberkirsh SeilhamerHistory of the Republican party (Volume 1) → online text (page 35 of 61)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


bered when the great expounder of the Constitution is deposed from
the high place he once held in the minds of men. It is the era of Lin-
coln, not that of Jackson, that has the first place in American his-
tory.



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE EPOCH.

REPUBLICAN PLATFORM OF 1872.

The Republican party of the United States, assembled in National
Convention in the City of Philadelphia on the fifth and sixth days of
June, 1872, again declares its faith, appeals to its history, and an-
nounces its position upon the questions before the country.

During eleven years of supremacy it has accepted with grand
courage the solemn duties of the time. It suppressed a gigantic
rebellion, emancipated four millions of slaves, decreed the equal cit-
izenship of all, and established universal suffrage. Exhibiting un-
paralleled magnanimity, it criminally punished no man for political
offenses, and warmly welcomed all who proved loyalty by obeying
the laws and dealing justly with their neighbors. It has steadily de-
creased with firm hand the resultant disorders of a great war, and
initiated a wise and humane policy toward the Indians. The Pacific
Railroad and similar vast enterprises have been generously aided and
successfully conducted, the public lands freely given to actual set-
tlers, immigration protected and encouraged, and a full acknowledg-
ment of the naturalized citizen's rights secured from European pow-
ers. A uniform national currency has been provided, repudiation
frowned down, the national credit sustained under the most extraor-
dinary burdens, and new bonds negotiated at lower rates. The rev-
enues have been carefully collected and honestly applied. Despite
annual large reductions of the rates of taxation, the public debt has
been reduced during General Grant's Presidency at the rate of a
hundred millions a year. Great financial crises have been avoided,
and peace and plenty prevail throughout the land. Menacing foreign
difficulties have been peacefully and honorably composed, and the
honor and pow r er of the nation kept in high respect throughout the
world. This glorious record of the past is the party's best pledge for
the future. We believe the people will not intrust the government to
any party or combination of men composed chiefly of those who have
resisted every step of this beneficent progress.

2. The recent amendments to the National Constitution should be
cordially sustained because they are right, not merely tolerated be-
cause they are law, and should be carried out according to their spirit
by appropriate legislation, the enforcement of which can safely be
intrusted only to the party that secured these amendments.

3. Complete liberty and exact equality in the enjoyment of all civil,
political, and public rights should be established and effectually



320 HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

maintained throughout the Union by efficient and appropriate State
and Federal legislation. Neither the law nor its administration
should admit any discrimination in respect of citizens by reason of
race, creed, color, or previous condition of servitude.

4. The National Government should seek to maintain honorable
peace with all nations, protecting its citizens everywhere, and sym-
pathizing with all the peoples who strive for greater liberty.

5. Any system of the civil service under which the subordinate
positions of the Government are considered rewards for mere party
zeal is fatally demoralizing, and we therefore favor a reform of the
system by laws which shall abolish the evils of patronage and make
honesty, efficiency, and fidelity the essential qualifications for public
positions, without practically creating a life-tenure of office.

6. We are opposed to further grants of the public lands to corpora-
tions and monopolies, and demand that the national domain be set
apart for free homes for the people.

7. The annual revenue, after paying current expenditures, pen-
sions, and the interest on the public debt, should furnish a moderate
balance for the reduction of the principal, and that revenue, except so
much as may be derived from a tax upon tobacco and liquors, should
be raised by duties upon importations, the details of which should be
so adjusted as to aid in securing remunerative wages to labor, and
promote the industries, prosperity, and growth of the whole country.

8. We hold in undying honor the soldiers and sailors whose valor
saved the Union. Their pensions are a sacred debt of the nation, and
the widow's and orphans of those who died for their country are en-
titled to the care of a generous and grateful people. We favor such
additional legislation as will extend the bounty of the Government
to all soldiers who were honorably discharged, and who, in the line
of duty, became disabled, without regard to the length of service or
cause of such discharge.

9. The doctrine of Great Britain and other European pow r ers con-
cerning allegiance " Once a subject always a subject " having at
last, through the efforts of the Republican party, been abandoned,
and the American idea of the individual right to transfer allegiance
having been accepted by European nations, it is the duty of our Gov-
ernment to guard with jealous care the rights of adopted citizens
against the assumption of unauthorized claims of their former gov-
ernments, and we urge continued careful encouragement and pro-
tection of voluntary immigration.

10. The franking privilege ought to be abolished and the way pre-
pared for a speedy reduction in the rates of postage.

11. Among the questions which press for attention is that which



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE EPOCH. 321

concerns the relations of capital and labor, and the Republican party
recognizes the duty of so shaping legislation as to secure full protec-
tion and the amplest field for capital, and for labor, the creator of
capital, the largest opportunities and a just share of the mutual
profits of these two great servants of civilization.

12. We hold that Congress and the President have only fulfilled
an imperative duty in their measures for the suppression of violent
and treasonable organizations in certain lately rebellious regions,
and for the protection of the ballot-box; and therefore they are en-
titled to the thanks of the nation.

13. We denounce repudiation of the public debt, in any form or dis-
guise, as a national crime. We witness with pride the reduction of
the principal of the debt, and of the rates of interest upon the balance,
and confidently expect that our excellent national currency will be
perfected by a speedy resumption of specie payment.

14. The Republican party is mindful of its obligations to the loyal
women of America for their noble devotion to the cause Of freedom.
Their admission to wider spheres of usefulness is viewed with satis-
faction; and the honest demand of any class of citizens for additional
rights should be treated with respectful consideration.

15. We heartily approve the action of Congress in extending am-
nesty to those lately in rebellion, and rejoice in the growth of peace
and fraternal feeling throughout the land.

16. The Republican party proposes to respect the rights reserved
by the people to themselves as carefully as the powers delegated by
them to the States and to the Federal Government. It disapproves
of the resort to unconstitutional laws for the purpose of removing
evils by interference with the rights not surrendered by the people
to either the State or the National Government.

17. It is the duty of the general Government to adopt such meas-
ures as may tend to encourage and restore American commerce and
shipbuilding.

18. We believe that the modest patriotism, the earnest purpose,
the sound judgment, the practical wisdom, the incorruptible integ-
rity, and the illustrious services of Ulysses S. Grant have commended
him to the hearts of the American people, and with him at our head
we start to-day upon a new march to victory.

19. Henry Wilson, nominated for the Vice-Presidency, known to
the whole land from the early days of the great struggle for liberty
as an indefatigable laborer in all campaigns, an incorruptible legis-
lator, and representative man of American institutions, is worthy
to associate with our great leader and share the honors which we
pledge our best efforts to bestow upon them.



322 HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

LIBERAL REPUBLICAN PLATFORM, 1872.

The Administration now in power had rendered itself guilty of
wanton disregard of the laws of the land, and of usurping powers not
granted by the Constitution; it has acted as if the laws had binding
iorce only for those who were governed, and not for those who govern.
It has thus struck a blow at the fundamental principles of Constitu-
tional Government and the liberties of the citizen.

The President of the United States has openly used the powers and
opportunities of his high office for the promotion of personal ends.

He has kept notoriously corrupt and unworthy men in places of
power and responsibility, to the detriment of the public interest.

He has used the public service of the Government as a machinery of
corruption and personal influence, and has interfered with tyrannical
arrogance in the political affairs of States and municipalities.

He has rewarded with influential and lucrative places men who had
acquired his favor by valuable presents, thus stimulating the de-
moralization of our political life by his conspicuous example.

He has shown himself deplorably unequal to the task imposed upon
him by the necessities of the country, and culpably careless of the
responsibilities of his high office.

The partisans of the Administration, assuming to be the Kepublican
party and controlling its organization, have attempted to justify such
wrongs and palliate such abuses to the end of maintaining partisan
ascendancy.

They have stood in the way of necessary investigations and indis-
pensable reforms, pretending that no serious fault could be found
with the present administration of public affairs, thus seeking to blind
the eyes of the people.

They have kept alive the passions and resentments of the late civil
war, to use them for their own advantage; they have resorted to ar
bitrary measures in direct conflict with the organic law, instead of
appealing to the better instincts and latent patriotism of the Southern
people, by restoring to them those rights the enjoyment of which is
indispensable to a successful administration of their local affairs, and
would tend to revive a patriotic and hopeful national feeling.

They have degraded themselves and the name of their party, once
justly entitled to the confidence of the nation, by a base sycophancy
to the dispenser of executive power and patronage, unworthy of Ke-
publican freemen; they have sought to silence the voice of just
criticism and stifle the moral sense of the people, and to subjugate
public opinion by tyrannical party discipline.

They are striving to maintain themselves in authority for selfish



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE EPOCH. 323

ends by an unscrupulous use of the power which rightfully belongs
to the people, and should be employed only in the service of the
country.

Believing that an organization thus led and controlled can no
longer be of service to the best interests of the Republic, we have
resolved to make an independent appeal to the sober judgment, con-
science, and patriotism of the American people.

We, the Liberal Republicans of the United States, in National
Convention assembled at Cincinnati, proclaim the following prin-
ciples as essential to just government:

1. We recognize the equality of all men before the law, and hold
that it is the duty of Government, in its dealings with the people, to
mete out equal and exact justice to all, of whatever nativity, race,
color, or persuasion, religious or political.

2. We pledge ourselves to maintain the union of these States, eman-
cipation, and enfranchisement, and to oppose any reopening of the
questions settled by the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth
Amendments of the Constitution.

3. We demand the immediate and absolute removal of all disabili-
ties imposed on account of the rebellion which was finally subdued
seven years ago, believing that universal amnesty will result in com-
plete pacification in all sections of the country.

4. Local self-government, with impartial suffrage, will guard the
rights of all citizens more securely than any centralized power. The
public welfare requires the supremacy of the civil over the military
authority, and the freedom of the person under the protection of the
habeas corpus. We demand for the individual the largest liberty con-
sistent with public order, for the State self-government, and for the
nation a return to the methods of peace and the Constitutional limita-
tions of power.

5. The civil service of the Government has become a mere instru-
ment of partisan tyranny and personal ambition, and an object of
selfish greed. It is a scandal and reproach upon free institutions, and
breeds a demoralization dangerous to the perpetuity of Republican
Government. We, therefore, regard a thorough reform of the civil
service as one of the most pressing necessities of the hour; that hon-
esty, capacity, and fidelity constitute the only valid claims to public
employment; that the offices of the Government cease to be a matter
of arbitrary favoritism and patronage, and that public station shall
become again a post of honor. To this end it is imperatively required
that no President shall be a candidate for re-election.

6. We demand a system of Federal taxation which shall not un-
necessarily interfere with the industry of the people, and which shall



324 HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

provide the means necessary, to pay the expenses of the Government,
economically administered; the pensions, the interest on the public-
debt, and a moderate reduction annually of the principal thereof;
and recognizing that there are in our midst honest but irreconcilable
differences of opinion with regard to the respective systems of pro-
tection and free trade, we remit the discussions of the subject to the
people in their Congressional districts, and the decision of Congress
thereon, wholly free from executive interference or dictation.

7. The public credit must be sacredly maintained, and we denounce
repudiation in every form and guise.

8. A speedy return to specie payments is demanded alike by the
highest considerations of commercial morality and honest govern-
ment.

9. We remember with gratitude the heroism and sacrifices of the
soldiers and sailors of the Republic, and no act of ours shall ever de-
tract from their justly earned fame or the full rewards of their
patriotism.

10. We are opposed to all further grants of lands to railroads or
other corporations. The public domain should be held sacred to
actual settlers.

11. We hold that it is the duty of the Government in its intercourse
with foreign nations to cultivate the friendships of peace by treating
with all on fair and equal terms, regarding it alike dishonorable to
demand what is not right or to submit to what is wrong.

12. For the promotion and success of these vital principles and
the support of the candidates nominated by this Convention, we in-
vite and cordially welcome the co-operation of all patriotic citizens
without regard to previous political affiliations.

SUPPLEMENTARY CIVIL RIGHTS BILL.

The first conviction under the act was in Philadelphia, in Febru-
ary, 1876. Fields Cook, pastor of the Third Baptist Colored Church
of Alexandria, Virginia, was refused sleeping and eating accommo-
dations at the Bingham House by Upton S. Newcomer, one of its
clerks; and upon the trial of the case, in the United States District
Court, John Cadwalader, Judge, instructed the jury as follows:

" The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United
States makes all persons born or naturalized in the United States,
and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, citizens of the United States,
and provides that no State shall make or enforce any law which shall
abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;
nor shall any State . . . deny to any person within its jurisdic-
tion the equal protection of the laws. This amendment expressly



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE EPOCH. 325

gives to Congress the power to enforce it by appropriate legislation.
An Act of Congress of March 1, 1875, enacts that all persons within
the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and
equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and
privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters and
other places of public amusement, subject only to the conditions and
limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of
every race and color, and makes it a criminal offense to violate these
enactments by denying to any citizen, except for reasons by law ap-
plicable to citizens of every race and color . . . the full enjoy-
ment of any accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges
enumerated. As the law r of Pennsylvania had stood until the 22d of
March, 1867, it was not wrongful for innkeepers or carriers by land
or water to discriminate against travelers of the colored race to such
an extent as to exclude them from any part of the inns or public con-
veyances which w r as set apart for the exclusive accommodation of
white travelers. The Legislature of Pennsylvania, by an act of the 22d
of March, 1867, altered the law in this respect as to passengers on
railroads. But the law of the State was not changed as to inns by
any act of the State Legislature. Therefore, independently of the
amendment of the Constitution of the United States and of the act of
Congress now in question, the conduct of the defendant on the occa-
sion in question might, perhaps, have been lawful. It is not necessary
to express an opinion on this point, because the decision of the case
depends upon the effect of this act of Congress. I am of the opinion
that under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution the enact-
ment of this law was within the legislative power of Congress, and
that we are bound to give effect to the act of Congress according to
its fair meaning. According to this meaning of the act I am of
opinion that if this defendant, being in charge of the business of re-
ceiving travelers in this inn, and of providing necessary and proper
accommodations for them in it, refused such accommodations to the
witness, Cook, then a traveler, by reason of his color, the defendant
is guilty in manner and form as he stands indicted. If the case de-
pended upon the unsupported testimony of this witness alone, there
might be some reason to doubt whether this defendant was the person
in charge of this part of the business. But under this head the ad-
ditional testimony of Mr. Annan seems to be sufficient to remove all
reasonable doubt. If the jury are convinced of the defendant's iden-
tity they w 7 ill consider whether any reasonable doubt of his conduct
or motives in refusing the accommodations to Fields Cook can exist.
The case appears to the Court to be proved; but this question is for the
jury, not for the Court. If the jury have any reasonable doubt, they



326 HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

should find the defendant not guilty; otherwise they will find him
guilty.

The jury brought in a verdict of guilty, March 1, 1876, and the Court
imposed a fine of




THE PERIOD OF REACTION.
I.

REVOLUTION IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

The Forty-fourth Congress Michael C. Kerr, Speaker Noteworthy
Changes in Both Houses Failure of the Amnesty Bill Andrew
Johnson Again in the Senate New Members in the Forty-fifth
Congress Failure of the Army Appropriation Bill in the Forty-
fourth Congress The Use of Troops at the Polls Coinage of
the Silver Dollar Organization of the Forty-sixth Congress
Changes in the Senate and House of Representatives A Power-
less Democratic Majority.

HE period of reaction set in with a Republican reverse in
1874 as marked as the Republican victory in 1872. There
were premonitions of the coming political revolution in
1873, when William Allen was elected Governor of Ohio
over Edwin F. Noyes, the Republican candidate, and when General
Dix was beaten for Governor of New York by Samuel J. Tilden. But
the completeness of the reaction was not fully appreciated until the
44th Congress met, March 6, 1875. The House of Representatives
was organized by the election of Michael C. Kerr, of Indiana, as
Speaker, by 173 votes, to 106 for Mr. Blaine, a result that was a com-
plete reverse of the relative strength of parties in the preceding Con-
gress. The ascendency thus gained in the House by the Democrats
was maintained without interruption for six years; and in the 46th
Congress the Democratic party, for the first time since 1856, was in
control of both Houses of Congress. Mr. Kerr had served ten years
in the House when he was chosen Speaker. He was an able man, but
one who never cared to make a display of his strength. His health
at the time of his election was much impaired, and it was not often
that he w r as able to occupy the chair. His death occurred August 19,
1870, during the recess. His successor in the Speakership was Samuel
J. Randall, of Pennsylvania, who was afterward elected Speaker of
the 45th and 46th Congresses. Mr. Randall had entered the 38th Con-
gress, and served continuously during the intervening thirteen years.
He was a strong partisan, but a fairminded presiding officer, and he
was as popular w r ith the House as either of his predecessors.

In a Congress that contained so many new men there was a number
who had already attained, or were destined to attain, prominence in



328 HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

Democratic leadership. In the Senate there were altogether ten new
Democratic Senators who were successors of Kepublicans: William
W. Eaton, of Connecticut; Francis Kernan, of New York; William A.
Wallace, of Pennsylvania; Joseph E. McDonald, of Indiana; Francis
M. Cockrell, of Missouri; Allen T. Caperton, of West Virginia; Robert
E. Withers, of Virginia; Charles W. Jones, of Florida; Samuel B.
Maxey, of Texas, and Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee. William Pink-
ney Whyte came from Maryland. In the House the Democratic mem-
bership was equally noteworthy. Among those from the North were :
Frank Jones, of New Hampshire; Charles P. Thompson and Chester
W. Chapin, of Massachusetts; Abram S. Hewitt and Scott Lord, of
New York; George A. Jenks and W T illiam S. Stenger, of Pennsylvania;
John A. McMahon, of Ohio; Alpheus S. W T illiams, of Michigan; Will-
iam Pitt Lynde, of Wisconsin; and Carter H. Harrison, William M.
Springer, William A. J. Sparks, and John V. LeMoyne, of Illinois.
Three Representatives from the South had served in Congress before
the war: Alfred M. Scales, of North Carolina, 1857-9; John I). C. At-
kins, of Tennessee, 1857-9; and Otho R. Singleton, of Mississippi, 1853-
61. Thomas L. Jones, of Kentucky, had also served in the House.
The new Southern representative Democrats w r ere: J. Randolph
Tucker and John Goode, Jr., of Virginia; Charles R. Faulkner, of West
Virginia; Joseph C. S. Blackburn and Milton J. Dunham, of Ken-
tucky; Washington C. Whitthorne, of Tennessee; Benjamin H. Hill,
of Georgia; Charles E. Hooker, of Mississippi; Randall E. Gibson and
E. John Ellis, of Louisiana, and John H. Reagan, of Texas. Of these,
Tucker had been Attorney-General of his State, Goode a member of
the Confederate Congress, Faulkner a conspicuous Confederate, Hill
a member of the Confederate Senate, and Reagan Confederate Post-
master-General. These men were typical of the Democratic repre-
sentation from the South during the rest of the century.

Among the Republicans who entered Congress for the first time in
1875 were: Henry W. Blair, of New Hampshire; Charles H. Joyce, of
Vermont; William W. Crapo, Julius H. Seelye, and Henry L. Pierce, of
Massachusetts; Martin I. Townsend, Elbridge G. Lapham, Lyman
K. Bass and Simeon B. Chittenden, of New York; Winthrop W. Ketch-
urn, of Pennsylvania, and Gen. Thomas J. Henderson, of Illinois. In
the Senate were Gen. A. E. Burnside, of Rhode Island; Henry L.
Dawes, of Massachusetts; Isaac P. Christiancy of Michigan; Angus
Cameron, of Wisconsin; Samuel J. R. McMillan, of Minnesota, and
Newton Booth, of California. Of the men conspicuous in Recon-
struction very few remained.

The work of the 44th Congress was almost wholly devoted to
political issues and to the questions growing out of the disputed



Online LibraryGeorge Oberkirsh SeilhamerHistory of the Republican party (Volume 1) → online text (page 35 of 61)