Weston Arthur Goodspeed.

The province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) online

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by the constitution of 1865 on ex-confederates and others been
removed at the time.

The victory of 1868 was destined to be the last triumph which
the Republican party was to gain in Missouri for many years
in a state election, but neither Democrats nor Republicans could
have foretold this at the time. In his inaugural message to the
legislature in January, 1869, Governor McClurg recommended
several changes in the state constitution, among them the removal
of all the disfranchising |)rovisions which the war had inserted
in it. McClurg had been against these all along. His prede-
cessor Governor Fletcher had also been opposed to them. The
legislature, overwhelmingly Republican in bcjlb I^ranches, but
affected b\ the altered feeling of the lime, submitted sc^veral
amendmeiil . to the; people oi the state at the general election
i\ -12



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X-iV



178 THE PROVINCE AND THE STATES.

■ on Novoniljer 8, 1870, on the same day as that on which a gov-
ernor and state ot^cers were to be chosen. These amendments
proposed to abohsh tlie test oath for voters, to dispense with the
•-■ oath of loyalty for jurors, to render the oath no longer neces-
sary as a condition precedent to the holding of oftice under the
•' state government or in private corporations, and to remove the
political disabilities attached to the ex-slaves, while other amend-
i' ments related to banks, to corporations, to courts and to educa-
'■'■■ tion.

'1'- On this issue of the restoration of the ballot to ex-confeder-
ates and others shut out by the test oath ami other restrictions,
-': the dominant party si)lit. In the Republican state convention
' '. which met in the house of representatives hall in Jefferson City
y- on August 31, 1870, what was called the "radical" section of
M the party declared in favor of "re-enfranchising those justly dis-
r franchised for participation in the late rebellion as soon as it
can be done with safety to the state." What was called the
iv. "liberal" section of the party demanded re-enfranchisement imme-
>i! diately. Wlien the "radicals" carried the convention fur their
1 :•.■ resolutit)n the "liberals,", to tlie number of about 250 delegates,
^'^^ withdrew from the convention and went to the senate chamber,
under the lead of Senator Scluirz and IJenjamin Ciratz lirown,
and noniinatetl a ticket headed by T-niwu for governor and
J. J. Gravelly for lieutenant governor. The "radicals" renomi-
nated Governor iMcChug, and for lieutenant governor they put
up A. J. Harlan.

Among Ihiisr wiio left tiir l\i|>ubHean \rA\i\ in liie sciiism of
1870 was Charles 1'. Johnson, of St. I.ouis, who had been chair-
man of the emancipation committee of his branch of the legis-
lature in 1863; who, while remaining in the party, had opposed
the proscriptive features of the Drake constitution ; who was
in the legislature in 1865-66; who served as circuit attorney, first
by appointment of Governor Fletcher and then by election by
the Rci)ublicans in 1868; and who, two years after the separa-
tion of 1870, was elected lieutenant governor on the ticket with
Woodson in the fusion between the Democrats and the Liberal
Republicans on the state ticket.

The Democrats, who were far in the minority under the dis-
franchising clauses of the constitution, saw ihiir salvation in this
<livisi(M. among their enemies, declined to put up a ticket of
their .,.,1; in 1870, and threw llieir support to tlie "liberals." The
coaliti. 11 ;,we])t the state, carried all the amendments, and elected
Ihowu by a majority of .11,917. 'J'lie aggregate vote on gov-



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RECONSTRUCTION IN MISSOURI.



179



crnor in 1870 was 166,625, or only about 1,000 in excess of
tliat of i860 for president, although the census showed that the
state's population had expanded 539,000 during^ the decade. To
congress, four Democrats, three "radical" Republicans and two
"liberals" were chosen. The coalition also gained control of the
legislature.

The amendment abolishing the test oath had 127,000 votes in
its favor and only 16,000 against it. With the adoption of the
amendments virtually all the proscriptive legislation incited by
the war was swept away.

By the election of 1870 the Republican party, which practi-
cally dominated Missouri during the days of the Gamble-IIall
convention, from 1861 to Governor Fletcher's entrance in 1865
into power, and which absolutely ruled it during Fletcher's and
McClurg's terms, was removed from office, and it has never car-
ried the state since except for minor oflicers in 1894.

In the suffrage provisions of the constitution of 1865, the
Republicans of Missouri made a grave mistake. Framed while
the war was still raging, and in a state which had seen war's
horrors in peculiarly savage sh:\\w, the things which incited the
mistake are, of course, plain. 'J'he mistake's social effects, how-
ever, convulsed the state at the time, and its partisan conse-
quences have been felt through every minute of all the years
which have passed since. I'assion commonly is a bad counsellor,
and ]Kission blazed holler in those days than it ever did before
ov afUrward in tlu- Ifuiled .Stales. In such volc.mic limes as
those luodcr.iliou would ha\e been easier in itieaehmeut llian in
piacliee, but moderation in i8()5 would have saved the cuncpier-
ors' i>arty from the disruption which assailed it immediately
afterward, would have held such conservatives as Brown, Glover,
Broadhead and Johnson in the party, though probably Blair and
others would have been lost in any case, and would, perhaps with
occasional intermissions of Democratic rule, have retained Repub-
lican sway in Missouri to this hour.



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l8o THE PROVINCE AND THE STATES.



CHAPTER XVIII



.iun:„, .. u -v.i; ',nv



The Democratic Party's Return to Power



FOR ]\Iissouri tlie year 1870 was as notable industrially and
economically as it was politically. The census sliowetl
that the state's population, which was 1,182,012 in i860,
had grown to 1,721,295 in 1870, an increase of 539,283. The
true value of the state's i)roperty was placed at a little over five
hundred one million dollars in i860, and this had expanded to
one billion two himdred eighty-four million nine hundred twenty-
two thousand eight hundred ninety-seven dollars, considerably
more than doubling in the decade. While the state's per capita
wealth had been four hundred twenty-four dollars in i860, it
was seven hundred fcirty-six dollars W\\ years later. Consider-
ing the deslruelioii of life and propert)' in the state during the
four years of war and the demoralization which had resulted
therefrom, and which pn^jected itself into the half a dozen years
immediately following the surrender of the last of the confed-
erate soldiers in the state, these were surjirising gains. The popu-
lation increase \Yas altogether in the white element. The 118,071
negro population found in the state in 1870 represented a falling
off of over 400 from i860, which is partly accounted for by the
escape of slaves from the state to the free region during the war
days. Relatively to the whites, there has been a steady decline
in the negro ingredient of the population in Missouri to this
day. From the eighth ])lace among the thirty-three states in
i860, Missouri had advanced to the fifth among thirty-seven
states in 1870.

A 111 larger luoporlionatc gain, however, had been made in
Missoiui'.s |)rincii)al city during the decade. .St. I,ouis' popula-
tion li.ul inrrcascd from 160,773 in i8()() to 310,^)4 in 1870. The



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RETURM TO PO]VRR OF MISSOURI DEMOCRACY. i8i

only cities ahead of it were New York, Philadelphia, and Brook-
lyn, (.'hicat^o, however, whieh was just helow St. Louis in 1870, ■
}^-ot ahead of St. l.ouis in the next few \ears, and has heen increas-
ing its lead since then.

J'ractieally all of tin.-, increase had come since the middle of
1865. lmmii.;ratii)n from the l^astern .•stales anil from Europe
flowed into .Missouri in a laiL;e \olume in the three or four years
immediately precedin^^■ 1870. 'idie farms which had heen aban-
doned during the war were reoccupieil, and vast tracts of wild
lantls were put under cultivation. Villages that had been wholly
or partly destroyed during that conllict were rebuilt, and some
of the larger towns had expanded into cities. All the elements
of the state's population were giving their attention to the pro-
motion of her interests and i)rosperity.

In time and conditions of service Governor Brown was more
fortunate than were his forerunners during the preceding decade
and a half. The issues were less disturbing to the peace of the.
state than they had been since the beginning of the Kansas
territorial troubles in the term of Gov. Sterling Price. The gov-
ernor was a man of ability, experience and character. A Ken-
tuckian by birth, he was one of Missouri's earliest Free Soilers
and Republicans, edited the Missouri Doiiocrat for a few years,
served for a short time in the army, and was sent to the senate
in the middle of the war, and was there until 18^7, three years
before his election as governor, at which dale he was forty-five
years of age.

The r.iilway issue came up in a very embanassing way dur-
ing (iovi'rutir Brown's administration. Previdus to the war the
state guaranteed the jjayment of bonds issued to the railways
to the amount of twenty-three million seven hundred one thou-
sand dollars, the companies agreeing to pay the interest on their
bonds as it accrued. All except the Hannibal and St. Joseph
defaulted in the payment, and the roads were sold by the state
soon after the war, together with 1,824,000 acres of land wliich
had been granted to some of them by congress, the debt at that
time due to the state by them being thirty-one million seven hun-
dred thirty-five thousand eight hundred forty dollars. The
sales realized only six million one hundred thirty-one thousand
four hundred ninety-six (Udlars, leaving a net hxss to the state
of twent', live million six hundred four thousand three hundred
forly-f,,Pi dnlbirs.

But .1 l.ir ^ri'ahr raihoad bnrdi'ii was impending. Within
a few )'.ais after the war's close lifteen million dollars had bei'u



l82 THE PROVINCE AND THE STATES.

siibscriljcd by the counties of tlic state to aid in Ijuilding railroads,
and county courts, at the bidchng of two-thirds of the voters,
were permitted to issue bonds binding the counties to the pay-
ment of tliese sums. As a large portion of tlie persons who
would have to pa)' the taxes were disfranchised under the opera-
tion of the constitution of 1865, and as the spirit of speculation,
especially in railroad building, was particularly wild at that
time in many Western states, there was a reckless prodigality in
voting bonds in Missouri which inllicted serious burdens on the
peojjle su])se(|uentlv. In most cases only a very small ])art of
the proposed roads weie built. In ^onie cases none were built.
As the I'niled States supreme court held that these bonds, or
such of them as had been sold to presumably innocent i)urchasers
before maturity, should be paid, heavy debts were satKUed upon
many of the counties.

An outbreak took ])lace as a conse(pience at (lun City, in Cass
couiil}', on April 24. iSjJ, in which a large bod)' ui mahl-ced men
stopjied a railroad train and killed three men who were aboard
of it — J. C. Ste])henson, one of the county judges; James C.
Cline, county attorney, and Thomas K. Detro, one of Cline's
sureties — wdio had been parties to the issue of bonds in that
county. Governor Brown called out the militia, order was
restored in the county, but all atteniiils to identify and bring the
guilty i)ersons to justice failed. Litigation on account of the
bonds lasted for years. In mo.^t cases comi)romises were event-
ually reached and paymenls were made, but some of these debts
are ,slill onlstaiiding.

Meaiiwlule .some slirnni,; i>olitics was developing iu Missouri,
esjieciall)' that which gave Messrs. Schurz and Urown's Liberal
Re])ublican movement a national status. The resignation of the
Radical Republican Charles D. Drake from the senate gave the
Democratic le^i^islature in 1871 a chance to elect his successor,
and it chose General Blair, who was then one of the legislature's
members. This was Blair's last office. He served to the end
of the term, in 1873, was a candidate for renomination, but was
defeated by Lewis V. Bogy, who had been a pro-slavery Demo-
crat during slavery days, and died in 1875, just fourteen years
within about one month after the demise at Wilson's Creek of
his illustrious co-worker in the national cause, Nathaniel Lyon.
Blair's mrm(jrial, standing with Benton's as Missouri's two con-
tribution-, to the great figures of the connnonwealths in Statuary
iiall, in ll.r n.ilional capilol, shows {hv r(};ard in which the ^'cat
L'nionisI cbieflain is lnld by bis compalriols in his state.



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RETURN TO POWER OF MISSOURI DEMOCRACY. 183

The Liberal Republican schism of 1870 was considered by
some RepnbHcans at the time to be oidy a temjjorary division
in tlieir party. The l(jgic of their position, however, forced Gov-
ernor r>r(-wn and his associates into an alliance with the Demo-
cratic l>arty, which in the case of some of them became perma-
nent, although Senator Schurz for a time a few }ears later was
back in the Republican party. There was a difference of sen-
timent between the two sections of the jiarty which' was certain
to create a gulf between them, and to widen it after it was made.
The Brown antl Schurz element were hostile to the harsher pro-
visions of the reconstruction scheme as it had been developed by
the legislation of 1867-70. As the Republicans supplemented
them by new legislation in the same direction in 1871, the Kuklux
act, the seceders were compelk-d to seek new alTiliations.

At a gathering ui Liberal Jvepublicans in Jefferson City on
January 24, 1872, a call was issued to all pi'rsons in the United
States who favored the ideas there set forth to send delegates
[ to a convention to be held at Cincinnati on May I, to nominate

candidates for president and vice president. This broadened Mis-
souri's Liberal Republican movement into a great force in national
politics.

The convention at Cincinnati, (jf which Senator Schurz was
made permanent chairman, opposetl the reopening of the ques-
tions Settled by the three war amendments, demanded universal
amnesty, imi>artial suffrage, local self-govermneut, the main-
tenance of the writ of habeas ei)rpus, ami civil seivice reform,
and straddled the larilf because of Ibe nece>>ily of bringing as
many Republicans as jios.sible into tlu' alli;mce willi the Demo-
crats which was seen to be essential if the movement was to
have any chance of success. The majority of the Missouri dele-
gates wanted Governor Brown for president, but Horace Greeley
was selected for that post, and Brown was put in the second place
on the ticket. The Democrats, in national convention in Balti-
more in July, accepted the Liberal Reiniblican ticket and plat-
form, but in the election the Re|)ublican candidates, Grant and
Wilson, swept tlie country.

In Missouri the coaliticni was heavily in the preponderance.
Greeley and I'rown, with a vole of 151,434, had a lead of 3.2,238
over the Grant ticket. For state officers there was a fusion
between the Liberal Republicans and the Democrats, the latter
getting the . ludidates for governor, treasurer, auditor, attorney
geni-ral and jii lyes of the supreme com I, while the Liberal Rei)ub-
licans got tlie lieutenant govern(^r, secretary of slate and regis-



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lg4' '■ THE PROVINCE AND THE STATES.

tcr of lands, Silas W'oodsoii, of lUiohanan ci unity, Ixiiif,' the
nominee for governor, and Charles 1'. Johnson, of St. Louis,
io\- lieutenant !4r)\ernor. I'^x-Sen. Jolni V>. Henderson was
nominated for {^on x'lnor hy the l\i]iuhlicans. The entire fusion
ticket was elected, Woodson's lead ^^\\^\■ 1 Untlerson being 35,442.
Of the thirtetii congressmen to which Missouri was entitled under
the apportionment hased on the census of 1870 (she had nine
congressmen under the i860 census allotment), the Democrats
elected nine and the Re|)uhlicans four. The Democrats and
their allies gained a majority in each hranch of the legislature.
Two constitutional amendments were ratified at the same elec-
tion, one increasing the number of supreme court justices from
three to five, and the other stipulating that no part of the school
fund should be investetl in the stocks or bonds of any other state,
or in those of any county, city, town or corporation.

The number of votes cast for governor in 1872, 279,000, was
112,000 in excess of the poll of 1870. Some of this immense
gain was, of course, due to the increase in the population in the
interval, but by far the larger part of it represented the number
of disfranchised persons who were restored to full citizenship by
the removal in 1870 of the proscrijjtive provisions of the constitu-
tion of 1865.

Liberal Re])ul)licanism, as such, did not figure in an>- snbseiiuent
canvass in Missouri. A few of its adherents drifted back to the
Republicans before the election for governor in 1874, but most
of them, excejit in the case of tlu- (Germans, had merged them-
.selves perniaiunllv in the I )emocracv by that lime. The year
iSyj is n. .table in i\l i..soin i':. annds fiom the fact that it placed
the democratic |)aiiy a.^ain in the ascendant in the state, and
it has remained so till the i)resent time except that the Repub-
licans in 1894 elected the minor state officers and most of the
congressmen. Governor Brown, wdio never held another polit-
ical post after he stepped down in Jefiferson City at the beginning
of 1873, resumed the practice of the law in St. Louis, remained
a Democrat to the end of his days, and died in 1885.

Silas Woodson was born in Kentucky, practiced law there and
served in its legislature several years, and was a comparatively
recent arrival in Missouri, settling in the slate, at St. Joseph,
in 1854, the year of the repeal of the Missouri compromise.
Elected a circuit judge in 1860, he served through the war
period, .'.as (diairman of the nemocratie stale' convention of 1872,
and in ila' dradloik lnlwciii seveial aspiranls, was nominated
for gov- i.ior. As he was the first Democrat elected to the gov-



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RirrURN- TO POWER OF MISSOURI DEMOCRACY. 185

vrnorship since Claiborne F. Jackson in i860, and as his entrance
into office signalized the return of the Democratic party to a
buay in the state which was dcstinetl to last for a third of a cen-
tury at least, he, on that account, has a distinguished place in
Missouri's annals.

Hut Ciovernor Woodson had troubles such as beset none of his
[)redecessors since Hancock Jackson, the lieutenant g-overnor who
went to the executive office early in 1857 on the resignation of
Trusten Polk when the latter entered the senate. The losses
(luring the war, supplemented by the wild sixculation of the
\ears immediately afterward, particularly the e.\cessi\'e railroad
building, precipitated a financial crash in 1873. This was more
extensive than the panic of 1857, kisted a longer time, and did
more damage. 'T<uns" on banks took place, mills closed or
rcduced their working time, wages were cut, and tens of thou-
santls of persons in Missouri were thrown out of employment.

One of the immediate effects of the panic of 1873 was the
rai)id extension of the Patrons of Husbandry (whose members'
were popularly called Grangers, from the granges, or lodges, of
which it was composed), founded jn 1867 to enable farmers to
purchase their supplies at first hand, to advance their education
and to promote their general interests. 'J'his order, which had
three-fourths of its strength in agricullm-al communities, ([uickly
(juachupled in numbers as a consequence of the crash of 1873,
and had 1,500,000 members in 1875, when at the height of its
])Ower. It was strong in Missouri, and though it never gained
the potency there that it won in Illinois, Wisconsin and other
slates in which it incited extreme legislation cutting down rail-
roatl rates, it im])elletl Governor Woodson to urge a large reduc-
tion in the expenditures for the support of state and county
offices, and it infiuenced the legislature to carry out his recom-
mendations in that direction. Though much of the Granger
legislation was subsequently repealed, an ultimate effect of it
was to induce congress to enact the interstate commerce law of
1887.

An important act of the legislature in 1873 was the establish-
ment of the Sonlheast Mis.sonri Normal school at Cape Girar-
(l>au. This was one of (he evideiurs ol \W v\Wu>Mn\ of edu-
cation which began in Missouri soon after the close of the war.
Pritchelt C(Jlege was organized in (Glasgow in i8r>K. ily act
of the le;;l lature the State Agricultin-al college ^vas located at
('•-luml,: , lu iS;,', atid Ihr School of Mines an. I M.lalhnKy was
placed a. I'olla in the .same year. In 1873 Drury cc>llege and



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in 1875 Park Cdlkj^c were opened, tlie f(n-iner in Sprini^rfu-liJ and
'" '- llic latter in l^irkville.

r'.y far tlie most iinijorlant piece of leyislalion of Governor

Woodson's lime was the act of 1874 to autliorize a vote of the

people to decide wheiher or not a convention should he held

to revise and amend tlie l^rake constitution, the vote to take place

'H;>i on Novemher 3, 1874, the same day as that on which state ol'li-

" cers were to be chosen.

.In the campaign of 1874 the Democrats had Charles Hardin,
'•' ^''- of Audrain county, as their candidate for governor, and Nor-
'■'• '■■'■'- mail j. ( olman, ol .Si. ] ,,,iiis, for lieutenant goveruor. The Repul)-
licans did not participate in the canxass under their own name,
but joined the Grangers and other elements of the oi)positiou
to the Democracy. The coalition called itself the People's party,
or the Reform party, but the Reijublicans composed its chief
ingredient, and for governor it put up William Gentry, a promi-
nent farmer of Pettis county.

The Democrats swept the state, electing their entire state ticket
by large majorities, their lead on governor being 37,462. In
the vote on the (jui'stion of holding a convenli(jn the majority
for the convention was only 283. The aggregate vote on that
issue was only 222,315, which was 39,000 below that on gov-
ernor, wdiich itself was 18,000 less than the vote cast on gover-
nor two years earlier, when Woodson was chosen. 'I'he assured
supremacy of the Democrats caused a diminution of interest
on their side as well as on that of their oiiponents, Hardin's vole
in 1871 beim; more (h.m 7,000 below Woodson's, allhongh the
popid.ilioii ol l\w :,|aU- w.is rapidly iuci easiiii;. The Democrats
elected every one iA the stale's thirteen member^ of congress,
one of whom was Richard P. liland, first elected in 1872, and
obtained a large majority in each branch of the legislature. A
surprising decline in Republican strength was shown in that can-
vass, as well as in the special election for members of the con-
vention which took place a little less than three months later, in
\vhich they chose only one-tenth of the delegates.

Charles li. Hardin was a Kentuckian by birth, but was taken
to Missouri at an early age by his parents, served in the legis-
lature several years before the war as a Whig, became a Democrat
in the war period, was a Unionist at that time, was in the legisla-
ture again after the war, and was fifty-four years of age at the
time of his election as governor in 1874.

'J1i<- KiMslalun's lirsl iinporlant task in Governor I larilin's



Online LibraryWeston Arthur GoodspeedThe province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) → online text (page 19 of 53)