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Vol. i European Background of American 
History, by Edward Potts Chey- 
ney, A.M., Prof. Hist. Univ. of Pa. 

" 2 Basis of American History, by 
Livingston Farrand, M.D., Prof. 
Anthropology Columbia Univ. 

" 3 Spain in Ameri ca, by Edward Gay- 
lord Bourne, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Yale Univ. 

" 4 England in America, by Lyon Gar 
diner Tyler, LL.D., President 
William and Mary College. 

" 5 Colonial Self -Government, by 
Charles McLean Andrews, Ph.D., 
Prof. Hist. Johns Hopkins Univ. 


Vol. 6 Provincial America, by Evarts 
Boutell Greene, Ph.D., Prof. Hist, 
and Dean of College, Univ. of 111. 
" 7 France in America, by Reuben 
Gold Thwaites, LL.D., Sec. Wis 
consin State Hist. Soc. 

Vol. 8 Preliminaries of the Revolution, 
by George Elliott Howard, Ph.D., 
Prof. Hist. Univ. of Nebraska. 
9 The American Revolution, by 
Claude Halstead VanTyne.Ph.D., 
Prof. Hist. Univ. of Michigan. 
10 The Confederation and the Consti 
tution, by Andrew Cunningham 
McLaughlin, A.M., Head Prof. 
Hist. Univ. of Chicago. 


VoLn The Federalist System, by John 
Spencer Bassett, Ph.D., Prof. 
Am. Hist. Smith College. 

" 12 The Jeffersonian System, by Ed 
ward Channing, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Harvard Univ. 

** 13 Rise of American Nationality, by 
Kendric Charles Babcock, Ph.D., 
Pres. Univ. of Arizona. 
1 14 Rise of the New West, by Freder 
ick Jackson Turner, Ph.D., Prof. 
Am. Hist. Univ. of Wisconsin. 

* 1$ Jacksonian Democracy, by Will 
iam MacDonald, LL.D., Prof. 
Hist. Brown Univ. 


VoL 16 Slavery and Abolition, by Albert 
Bushnell Hart, LL.D., Prof. Hist. 
Harvard Univ. 

Vol.i; Westward Extension, by George 
Pierce Garrison, Ph.D., Prof. 
Hist. Univ. of Texas. 

" 1 8 Parties and Slavery, by Theodore 
Clarke Smith, Ph.D., Prof. Am. 
Hist. Williams College. 

" 19 Causes of the Civil War, by Admiral 
French Eiisor Chadwick, U.S.N., 
recent Pres. of Naval War Col. 

" 20 The Appeal to Arms, by James 
Kendall Hosiner, LL.D., recent 
Librarian Minneapolis Pub. Lib. 

" 21 Outcome of the Civil War, by 
James Kendall Hosmer,LL.D., re 
cent Lib. Minneapolis Pub. Lib. 


Vol. 22 Reconstruct! on, Political and Eco 
nomic, by William Archibald Dun 
ning, Ph.D., Prof. Hist, and Politi 
cal Philosophy Columbia Univ. 
11 23 National Development, by Edwin 
Erie Sparks, Ph.D., Prof. Hist. 
Univ. of Chicago. 

24 National Problems, by Davis R. 
Dewey, Ph.D., Professor of Eco 
nomics, Mass. Inst. of Technology. 
41 25 America the World Power, by 
John H. Latane, Ph.D., Prof. 
Hist. Washington and Lee Univ. 
" 26 Ideals of American Government, 
by Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D., 
Prof. Hist. Harvard Univ. 



Charles Francis Adams, LL.D., President 
Samuel A. Green, M.D., Vice- President 
James Ford Rhodes, LL.D., ad Vice-President 
Edward Channing, Ph.D., Prof. History Harvard 

Worthington C. Ford, Chief of Division of MSS. 

Library of Congress 


Reuben G. Thwaites, LL.D., Secretary and Super 

Frederick J. Turner, Ph.D., Prof, of American His 
tory Wisconsin University 

James D. Butler, LL.D., formerly Prof. Wisconsin 

William W. Wight, President 

Henry E. Legler, Curator 


William Gordon McCabe, Litt.D., President 

Lyon G. Tyler, LL.D., Pres. of William and Mary 


Judge David C. Richardson 
J. A. C. Chandler, Professor Richmond College 
Edward Wilson James 


Judge John Henninger Reagan, President 
George P. Garrison, Ph.D., Prof, of History Uni 
versity of Texas 
Judge C. W. Raines 
Judge Zachary T. Fullmore 













Copyright, 1907, by HARPER & BROTHERS. 










JOHNSON (1865) 35 

STRUCTION (1865-1866) 51 


RECONSTRUCTION (1866-1867). .... 71 

(1866-1868) 85 


(1867-1868) ^ ... 109 



(1865-11869) 136 


(1865-1873) 151 


(1869-1872) 174 


FAILURE (1870-1872) 190 




THE SOUTH (1870-1873) 203 

TION IN THE NORTH (1869-1873) . . . 220 

xv. THE " TIDAL WAVE" OF 1874 238 


(1865-1875) 252 


IN THE SOUTH (1874-1875) 266 


1876) 281 

xix. THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN (1876) . . . 294 

xx. THE DISPUTED COUNT (1876) 309 

xxi. THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION (1877) .... 323 



MR. GLADSTONE once let fall an expression 
about the difference between "war and a state 
of war." The phrase might almost be applied to 
the condition of the United States before and after 
the surrender of the southern armies described in 
the previous volume of this series (Hosmer, Out 
come of the Civil War)] for from 1865 to 1877, the 
field of the present volume, Federal troops remained 
in the South, almost as garrisons in a hostile coun 
try. Yet it must never be forgotten that when 
the guns were once silenced no person was deprived 
of life or property because of his connection with 
the Confederacy. The North also had its recon 
struction, and in the process suffered terribly from 
unfit officials, the plundering of public treasuries, 
and the degradation of civic standards. 

To the mind of Professor Dunning, reconstruction 
appears, therefore, not to be simply a process ap 
plied by the victorious section to the defeated; but 
a realignment of national powers, a readjustment 
of political forces, a slow recovery from the wounds 
inflicted on the body politic by four years of civil 
war. In chapters i. and ii., he points out the three 


elements in the South which had to be reckoned 
with the whites, the negroes, and the state govern 
ments. In chapters iii. to v., he sketches the rival 
policies of president and Congress. The process of 
reconstruction is the subject of chapters vi. and vii. 
The author then turns (chapters ix. and x.) to the 
domestic and international conditions of the country 
from the Civil War to 1873. In chapter xi. he de 
scribes the climax of Reconstruction in negro suffrage. 
Here the volume enters on the period of awakening, 
both North and South, first dealing with the bad po 
litical, economic, and social condition (chapters xii. 
to xiv. and xviii.) Then, in three chapters, xv. to 
xvii. , he accounts for the upheaval in the South and 
the destruction of negro suffrage. The last three 
chapters of text, xix. to xxi. , are devoted to the pres 
idential struggle of 1876, culminating in the Electoral 
Commission of 1877. The Critical Essay reveals a 
wealth of hitherto undigested material. 

The purpose of the volume is to show that Recon 
struction, with all its hardships and inequities, was 
not deliberately planned as a punishment and hu 
miliation for those formerly in rebellion, though the 
spirit of retribution had its part. It was an effort, 
clumsy and partisan, yet in the main honestly meant 
to make provision for the inevitable consequences 
of the Civil War; though it failed it left a state of 
things out of which has slowly grown the conscious 
ness of a national harmony far stronger and more 
lasting than that before the war. 


TN a short history of the period covered by this 
I volume the chief problem is that of just propor 
tion as to affairs in the two lately warring sections. 
Many things contributed to keep conditions in the 
South in the forefront of contemporaneous interest; 
and the historian cannot but feel the influence of 
this fact. Moreover, few episodes of recorded his 
tory more urgently invite thorough analysis and ex 
tended reflection than the struggle through which 
the southern whites, subjugated by adversaries of 
their own race, thwarted the scheme which threat 
ened permanent subjection to another race. From 
the point of view of social and political science in 
general, the South bulks largest in the history of 
reconstruction. But our point of view in the 
present volume is different. We must regard the 
period as a step in the progress of the American 
nation. In this aspect the North claims our 
principal attention. The social, economic, and po 
litical forces that wrought positively for progress 
are to be found in the record, not of the vanquished, 
but of the victorious section. In this record there 
is less that is spectacular, less that is pathetic, and 


more that seems inexcusably sordid than in the 
record of the South ; but moral and dramatic values 
must not have greater weight in the writing than 
they have had in the making of history. Our 
narrative, therefore, while it may seem to slight the 
picturesque details of Ku-Klux operations and car 
pet-bag legislation and fraud, will be found, I trust, 
to present in something like their true relations the 
facts and forces which, manifested chiefly in the 
politics of the North and West, transformed the 
nation from what it was in 1865 to what it was in 

The appearance of Dr. James Ford Rhodes s last 
two volumes, covering the years 1866-1877, i* 1 time 
to be used in the final revision of my manuscript, is 
a mercy the greatness of which cannot in a preface 
be adequately expressed. To Dr. Paul Leland Ha- 
worth, sometime lecturer in history at Columbia 
University, I am under deep obligation for assist 
ance in the preparation of the maps and for sug 
gestions on the later chapters of the text. Mr. 
William Watson Davis, University Fellow in History 
at Columbia, has rendered invaluable service in 
reading all the proof and verifying the references. 
Finally, it is due in large measure to the diplomacy, 
resourcefulness, and tact of the editor, Professor 
Hart, if the volume has assumed in any degree the 
special character suited to the requirements of the 







WITH the capitulation of Johnston s army to 
General Sherman on April 26, 1865, the last 
possibility of successful organized resistance by the 
South to the United States government disappeared. 
The scattered remnants of the Confederate military 
power had little inclination and less ability to check 
the flood of Federal invasion that was spreading 
over all the regions hitherto untouched by the de 
vastation of war. One after another the southern 
commanders made their submission to the con 
querors, and by the end of May the authority of 
the United States met no shadow of opposition 
from the Potomac to the Rio Grande. To the peo 
ple of the North this meant that their passionate 
demand of 1861 had been realized the Union was 
preserved ; to the people of the South it meant that 
their bitterest forebodings of that year had come 


true they were subjugated by an alien power. 
Thus no more in the return of peace than in the in 
ception and progress of hostilities was there any 
harmony between the sections, or probability of 
harmony, as to the meaning of the situation. In 
such ineradicable divergence of opinion and feeling 
is to be found the key not only to the genesis of the 
Civil War, but also to the problems of reconstruction. 
If the northern point of view be taken, and the 
assumption be made that the Union had been pre 
served, the most casual survey of the country in 
April and May of 1865 reveals conditions, social, ec 
onomic, and political, which are as different as the 
liveliest fancy could well imagine from those which 
characterized the Union of 1860. Four years of 
desperate warfare had left a deep impress upon both 
the general structure and the particular institutions 
of the people s life. The questions which engaged 
the attention of both central and state governments 
when Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency were 
widely different from those which were the core of 
discussion in the last peaceful days under James 
Buchanan. North of Mason and Dixon s line and 
the Ohio River the transformations wrought by the 
war were not always immediately present to the eye, 
for they were veiled by an external conformity to 
old customs and ideals ; but in the border states, and 
in the ravaged territory of the Confederacy, the 
ancient social structure lay in obvious and irre 
mediable ruin. 


Only in a very narrow sense, then, was it true that 
the Union had been preserved. The territorial in 
tegrity of the nation had been maintained, but this 
was practically all. In the four years of convulsion 
through which this end was attained forces had been 
generated which rendered impossible a recurrence 
to ante-bellum conditions. The initial steps in the 
readjustment after the termination of hostilities were 
guided by the wide-spread northern belief that the 
old Union had been maintained; the final steps in 
reconstruction revealed with unmistakable clearness 
the truth of the southern view that a new Union had .- - 
been created. 

The problems which demanded solution from 
those in authority in May of 1865 centred about 
the conditions which the war left in the three 
strongly differentiated sections of the country: (i) 
the free states of the North, including the Pacific 
slope; (2) the border slave states; (3) the conquered 
region of the South. For the northern states the 
first requirement was to get rid as rapidly as pos 
sible of the military regime which the exigencies of 
the war had developed. Nearly a million men of 
the volunteer army were to be restored to civil life; 
the elaborate organization of the provost-marshal- 
general s bureau, which had brought the operations 
of recruiting and conscription into every congres 
sional district of the North, must be dissolved; the 
multifarious activities of the war department through 
which the armies and navies were supplied with 


food, clothing, and equipment must be curtailed; 
and the administration of justice must be restored 
to those channels from which it had been diverted 
by the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and ( 
the practical if not technical substitution of martial* 
for civil law. 1 Further, as the excessive demands 
upon the treasury diminished a reduction and read 
justment of taxation must be entered upon, with 
all the far-reaching economic and social consequences 
which comprehensive operations of this kind involve. 

The North enjoyed on the whole a considerable 
degree of industrial and commercial prosperity dur 
ing the war. By the end of the four years of con 
flict the effects of the violent displacement of capital 
and labor at the outbreak of hostilities had dis 
appeared, and the productive forces of the land 
were entirely adjusted to the new conditions. For 
the industries wrecked by the war, such as cotton 
manufacture and the merchant marine, compensa 
tion had been found in the demands created by the 
needs of warfare, and also in the opening up of the 
oil- fields of Pennsylvania and the mines ^of Nevada 
and Colorado. 

This last - mentioned development had a potent 
influence on what was perhaps the greatest of the 
non-political problems with which thoughtful men 
were occupied in 1865 that of establishing railway 

1 Cf. Hosmer, Outcome of the Civil War (Am. Nation, XXI.), 
chap. i. ; Dunning, Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction, 
37 et seq. 


connection ^between the Mississippi Valley and the 
Pacific coast. When secession became an accom 
plished fact in 1 86 1, it was apparent to every one 
that a transcontinental railway was indispensable to 
the maintenance of the national unity. 1 By the 
end of the war, lines were pushing westward over 
the Indian-ravaged plains of Kansas and eastward 
through the gigantic mountain barriers of Califor 
nia. But progress was slow: private capital and 
energy were fearful of the future where more than 
a thousand miles of uninhabited territory had to 
be crossed; and the form and amount of aid which 
the government should give to the great enterprise 
had not been fixed in a form which the promoters 
regarded as definitive. The construction of the 
Pacific Railway was destined to be the core of some 
of the most intricate entanglements of both politics 
and administration throughout the period of recon 

When we turn to the border slave states, we find 
at the close of the war, as during its continuance, a 
situation peculiar to those regions. In each of these 
states a very considerable minority of the people had 
favored secession, and each had contributed thou 
sands of soldiers to the ranks of the Confederate army. 
Each had also been the theatre of military opera 
tions carried on by the regular armies, and had suf 
fered the inevitable consequences of that fact; but 

1 Cf. Hosmer, Appeal to Arms, 174; Hosmer, Outcome of the Civil 
War, 1.33 (Am. Nation, XX., XXL). 


much more disastrous and demoralizing had been 
the incidents, especially in Missouri and Kentucky, 
of the irregular warfare of raiders and guerilla bands 
which continued till the last flicker of life in the 
Confederate cause. In these border states, where 
sentiment was so much divided in respect to the 
war, the conflict assumed a fratricidal character; 
neighborhoods and families fell asunder and fur 
nished armed supporters to both sides. The bitter 
ness and hatred engendered by the loss of life and 
property affected the schools, the churches, and the 
commonest relations of business. Moreover, in ad 
dition to the feeling which separated Union from 
Confederate sympathizers, a serious divergence of 
sentiment divided the Unionist majority itself into 
two intensely hostile factions over the abolition of 
slavery; and on this issue the radicals triumphed 
before the end of the war in Missouri and Maryland, 
the conservatives in Kentucky. 1 But the party 
strife was continued on the question of the treat 
ment of southern sympathizers. Disfranchisement 
of this class was provided for by more or less rigor 
ous measures in all the border states; and Missouri 
ratified, in June, 1865, a new constitution which, 
through an exceedingly stringent test-oath, denied 
to such persons not only the right to vote and hold 
office, but also the right to act as trustee, to practise 
law, and "to teach or preach or solemnize marriages. " 2 

1 Hosmer, Outcome of the Civil War (Am. Nation, XXL), 223. 

2 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1865, art. Missouri. 


A final element in the complex of animosities, 
faction, and dissension which distracted the border 
states was the presence of the United States mili 
tary authority. For months after the collapse of 
the Confederacy the Federal commanders continued 
to supplement, assist, or override at discretion the 
administrative and judicial procedure of the state 
government. The most serious effects of this ele 
ment of confusion were manifested in Kentucky, 
where martial law, proclaimed by President Lincoln, 
July 5, 1864, was not withdrawn till October 12, 
1865. As the conservatives of this state success 
fully resisted to the end every effort to abolish sla 
very, and as the commander of the military depart 
ment, General Palmer, was an energetic promoter 
of emancipation, the status of the blacks was a 
source of grave conflict between the state and the 
Federal authority. 1 

As we cross the line into the territory of the de 
funct Confederacy, we find at first conditions like 
those in the border states, with the evils greatly 
aggravated. In Tennessee, in particular, the fierce 
animosities of fratricidal strife formed the greatest 
obstacle to the restoration of peace and order. As 
compared with this social factor, the more distinc 
tively economic and political elements in the situa 
tion were of secondary importance. But when we 
reach the heart of the Confederacy, the cotton states 

1 For the chief documents in this controversy, see Am. Annual 
Gyclop., 1865, art. Kentucky. 


proper, it is hard to say that any one feature was 
more significant than the rest , where jdiaos was 
universal. Save in those districts where the Union 
arms established themselves long before the .termina 
tion of hostilities principally New Orleans and its 
vicinity there was no disharmony among the white 
population: all had committed themselves, actively 
or passively, to a cause that was lost, and all awaited 
in uniform humiliation and dejection the fate that 
should come to them from he will of the conqueror. 

The problem of reconstruction in these states in 
volved on the one hand the question of mere exist 
ence, how to provide the necessities of life for the 
population, and on the other hand the vital question 
of civilized existence, how to constitute governments 
adequate to the social needs. For in none of the 
rebel states did the war leave either an economic or 
ganization that could carry on the ordinary opera 
tions of production, or a political organization that 
could hold society together. 1 

During the continuance of hostilities the military 
and naval operations of the Union forces almost 
destroyed the commercial system of the South, and 
thus reduced the life of even the well-to-do classes 
to a pitifully primitive almost barbarous level. 
Of mere food there was produced an abundance in 
all the regions in which the slaves remained at work. 
But along the lines of Federal invasion, and about 
the points of permanent occupation by Union gar- 

1 Cf. Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., u. 


risons, the policy of emancipation was systemati 
cally carried out, with the result that great masses 
of blacks, withdrawn from their wonted routine, 
wasted away in idleness, want, and disease within 
the Union lines; 1 while their former masters eked 
out a precarious existence from the wreck of their 
farms and plantations, or betook themselves as refu 
gees to the still uninvaded parts of the South. With 
the collapse of the Confederacy all the slaves be 
came free, and the strange and unsettling tidings of 
emancipation Were carried to the remotest corners 
of the land. As the full meaning of this news was 
grasped by the freedmen, great numbers of them 
abandoned their old homes, and, regardless of crops 
to be cultivated, stock to be cared for, or food to 
be provided, gave themselves up to testing their 
freedom. They wandered aimjess but happy through 
the country, found endless delight in hanging about 
the towns and Union camps, and were fascinated 
by the pursuit of the white man s culture in the 
schools which optimistic northern philanthropy was 
establishing wherever it was possible^ 2 

While the negro population, whose labor was so 
indispensable a factor in the productive system, was 
thus occupied, the returning Confederate soldiers 
and the rest of the white population devoted them 
selves with desperate energy to the procurement of 

1 Cf. Peirce, Freedmen s Bureau (Univ. of Iowa, Studies, III.), 
chap. i. 

8 Cf. Fleming, Civil War and Reconstruction in Ala., 269. 


what must sustain the life of both themselves and 
their former slaves. From many a family that had 
lived in luxury came pitiful cries for the humblest 
food ; and in many regions where nature would have 
responded bounteously to slight human effort, the 
only thing that interposed between the population 
and famine was the commissary department of the 
Union army. 1 

While the disorganization of the labor system was 
the fundamental factor in the economic and social 
situation in the South, all the other familiar effects 
of protracted war contributed to the total of misery. 
Railways and bridges were destroyed ; the many fac 
tories which had been developed, on however primi 
tive a scale, to supply the needs of the Confederate 
armies, were reduced to wreckage or ashes ; the Con 
federate and state securities and currency which rep 
resented so considerable a share of Southern capital 
had only the usefulness and value of souvenirs in 
a glutted market. Yet with all these drawbacks 
there would have been a way clear to prompt re 
covery if the whole population, black as well as 
white, could have resumed at once the familiar 
methods of production. The price of cotton was 
fabulously high, and the South might have entered 
with happy prospects into the business of meeting 
the world s demand for this commodity. But be 
fore such economic results were to be attained the 
South was destined to pass through a social and 

1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1865, p. 393. 


political struggle of such intensity as only race an 
tagonism can produce. 

If the problem of adjusting the blacks to a useful 
place and function in the southern economy was the 
first that demanded solution, the problem of civil 
government in each state was not far behind in im 
portance. Indeed, it seemed to many men of the 
time, in both North and South, that the lack of state 
governments was responsible for much that was 
most distressful in the situation/ For when the din 
of arms finally ceased, there was no civil authority 
claiming to be the state in either North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Missis 
sippi, or Texas; and in the other four states of the 
Confederacy, except Tennessee, the organizations 
which, by grace of the president of the United States, 
claimed to represent the respective commonwealths 
could only by an excess of courtesy be recognized as 
worthy of the dignity to which they made pre 

President Lincoln had taken up the subject of 
restoring civil government in the seceded states with 
his characteristic conservatism and caution. The 
basis of his policy was the belief that there existed 
in every one of those states an element among the 
people which was still loyal in feeling to the Union. 
This element, he expected, would rise to the sur 
face as the military power of the Confederacy was 
overcome, and might then be utilized to organize a 
civil government which the government at Wash- 


ington could properly recognize.^ During 1862, as 
the Union forces gained footholds in Tennessee, 
North Carolina, and Louisiana, the president ap 
pointed military governors in each of those states, 
whose express duty it was to stimulate the reappear 
ance of the loyal element of the population. 1 The 
experiment came to naught in North Carolina, 2 but 
in Tennessee, largely through the courage and tenac 
ity of Andrew Johnson, and in Louisiana, through 
.the ruthless rigor with which Butler and Banks 
maintained the Federal grip on New Orleans, a 
body of inhabitants, more respectable perhaps in 
numbers tlfan in social or intellectual position, were 
firmly attached to the Union cause. In Arkansas 
during 1863 a like situation was created, in conse 
quence of the fall of Vicksburg and the general 
weakness of the Confederate military power in the 

By December of this year Mr. Lincoln became 
convinced that the existing loyal population re 
quired considerable accessions from the rebel ranks 
in order to assume the character of a political people 
for the respective states. /^Accordingly he issued his 
proclamation of- December 8, 1863, offering pardon 
and the restoration of property to all who would 
take a prescribed oath y/ and announcing that he 
would recognize as the true government of any of 
the seceded states, except Virginia, such organiza- 

1 Hosmer, Outcome of the Civil War (Am. Nation, XXL), 134. 

2 Hamilton, Reconstruction in N. C., 89. 


tions as might be effected by the citizens taking the 
oath, if they should be equal in number to one- 
tenth of the voting population of the state in i860. 1 

Under the plan of reorganization thus presented, 
constitutional conventions were held and govern 
ments set up, during 1864, in Tennessee, Louisiana, 
and Arkansas. These were duly recognized by the 
president as the true governments of their respective 
states: but the actual authority which they exer 
cised was of course strictly limited to the regions 
that were within the Union military lines; and in 
Congress itself neither Senate nor House admitted 
to their seats the members chosen under the auspices 
of the new governments. In Virginia the frag 
mentary organization which remained when West 
Virginia was formed by the Unionists of the Old 
Dominion 2 was still going through the motions of 
state government at Alexandria, snubbed by Con 
gress, flouted by the redoubtable Butler in the ad 
ministration of his military authority, and admitted 
to be farcical" by President Lincoln himself, who 
nevertheless unflinchingly sustained it as the only 
logical nucleus for ultimate development into real 
power and efficiency. 3 

These four states, then, differed from the other 
seven that had seceded in possessing, when hos- 

1 The particular exceptions and qualification embodied in the 
proclamation are here omitted : text in Richardson, Messages and 
Papers, VI., 213. 

2 Hosmer, Appeal to Arms (Am. Nation, XX.), 50. 

3 McCarthy, Lincoln s Plan of Reconstruction, 129 et seq. 



tilities ceased, the semblance at least of governments 
loyal to the Union. That this fact simplified on the 
whole the problem of reconstruction is more than 
doubtful. In Tennessee, indeed, where the Unionist 
element had always been numerically very strong, 
the new government had a substantial popular basis, 
and the situation was much like that in the border 
states; in a less degree this was true in Arkansas; 
but in Virginia and Louisiana the governments which 
Lincoln had recognized were destitute of respect or 
influence among the great mass of the people which 
they claimed to govern, and the task of extending 
their authority over their states promised to be 
even more difficult than that of organizing entirely 
new systems in the other members of the Confed 

To recapitulate, the progress of the American 
nation in the decade succeeding the Civil War was 
to be involved in the solution of as complex prob 
lems as ever taxed the capacity of government. In 
the North the dangerous encroachments of militar 
ism on the domain of civil polity were to be ter 
minated, and the tremendous financial burdens left 
by the war were to be diminished and readjusted so 
as to be bearable. In the border states the passions 
and feuds of a divided society were to be curbed 
till time could bring tolerance and reunion. In the 
South a wholly new social and political structure 
was to be built out of the wreckage of that which 
conquest had destroyed, and the foundation must 


be laid by some distinct determination of the rights 
and duties of the freedmen and by the construction 
of state governments. 

Finally, by the side of these problems of internal 
policy, and somewhat in the background, lay cer 
tain questions of foreign relations, which now and 
then were forced ominously to the front in the 
surgings of public opinion. Great Britain had won 
no high favpr in either North or South by her policy 
during the war, and the French forces in Mexico 
were an incontrovertible expression of Napoleon s 
malevolent disposition. With the fall of the Con 
federacy it became a seriously debated question in 
all the political circles of the North whether it would 
not be well, before reducing the military and naval 
establishment, to have a settlement of the grievances 
which the European powers had so recklessly heaped 
up against themselves. Only the imperative and 
absorbing demands of the home situation prevented 
a crisis in foreign relations ; and at each particularly 
troublesome period in the process of reconstruction 
there was an access of urging by influential men that 
the president should find a way out through an ag 
gressive movement against Great Britain or against 
the French in Mexico. 



FLAGRANT war ended, as it had begun, when 
Congress was not in session, and when the ex 
ecutive department of the government, therefore, 
must assume all the responsibility of dealing with 
the new situation. The man who took up the exer 
cise of the chief executive power on April 15, 1865, 
was not the man whom any important element of 
the people in either North or South would have 
deliberately chosen for the task. Andrew Johnson 
had been nominated for the vice-presidency at Balti 
more, in 1864, under the influence of two ideas which 
pervaded the convention namely, that the Repub 
lican party had given up its identity and become 
merged in the Union party; and that the Union 
party was not sectional, but included South as well 
as North in its membership. Born in North Caro 
lina, a resident during all his mature life of Tennessee, 
and an unfaltering supporter throughout his public 
career of the ante-bellum Democracy, Mr. Johnson, 
on the ticket with Lincoln, served excellently as a 
symbol of the party transformation which the war 


had effected; but few of -the party which elected 
him vice-president would have judged it wise to in 
trust the difficult task of reconstruction to a man 
whose antecedents were southern, slave-holding, and 
ultra - state - rights Democratic ; while the northern 
Copperheads and the -southern secessionists alike re 
garded him with all the scorn which is excited by 
an apostate. 

The new president was not, however, of a tem 
perament to be affected by, even if conscious of, 
the consternation which his accession to power pro 
duced. I The same integrity of purpose, force of 
will, and rude intellectual force, which had raised 
him from the tailor s bench in a mountain hamlet 
to leadership in Tennessee, sustained him when he 
confronted the problems of the national adminis 
tration. He felt in reference to the future just as 
he had felt as to the past when, at the simple cere 
mony of his induction into the presidency, he had 
said : * The duties have been mine, the consequences 
are God s." l The complacent self-sufficiency which 
was manifest in this, as in very many other of his 
public addresses, was, however, a quality of speech 
rather than of character in the new president. Posi 
tive, aggressive, and violent in controversy, fond of 
the fighting by which his convictions must be 
maintained, he nevertheless, in the formation of 
his opinions on great questions of public policy, 
was as diligent as any man in seeking and weigh- 
1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1865, p. 800. 


ing the views of all who were competent to aid 

The first six weeks of Johnson s administration 
were dominated by the emotions which the assassina 
tion of his predecessor excited in all parts of the land. 
At Washington affairs fell largely tinder the direc 
tion of the secretary of war, whose total loss of self- 
control in the crisis contributed to intensify the 
panicky and vindictive feeling that prevailed. The 
idea that leading Confederates were concerned in 
Booth s plot not only led to the offer of large re 
wards for the capture of Jefferson Davis, Jacob 
Thompson, Clement C. Clay, and others, 1 but also 
strengthened the hands of those who were de 
manding that the conquered people as a whole 
should receive harsh treatment. Mr. Johnson him 
self had, in the fierce days of his struggle for the 
Union cause in Tennessee, repeatedly proclaimed 
his belief that the leaders of secession should receive 
severe punishment. In the first weeks of his presi 
dency this policy was emphasized by the iteration 
and reiteration, as was his habit, of the pregnant 
phrases: "Treason is a crime and must be made 
odious"; " Traitors must be punished." As the hot 
pursuit of the scattered and fleeing Confederate 
leaders brought more and more of them into the 
hands of the troops, it seemed as if the great drama 
of secession was about to end in a series of execu 
tions for treason. Even the surrendered and paroled 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 307. 


generals were marked for exemplary punishment, 
especially Robert E. Lee, lawyers advising the presi 
dent that the immunity guaranteed by the terms of 
surrender ceased with the end of the war. 1 

When, however, the excitement caused by the 
assassination of Mr. Lincoln subsided, and the sus 
picions that Davis and his associates had been con 
cerned in the deed were seen by sane minds to be 
unfounded, conservative northern sentiment began 
to show alarm at the vindictive course to which the 
president seemed tending. General Grant met the 
suggestion of Lee s arrest with so peremptory a 
negative as to render impossible further proceed 
ings on that line. 2 Moreover, the general atmos 
phere of the White House at Washington was quite 
different from that of the state-house at Nashville, 
and the advice which was given to Mr. Johnson by 
most of his constitutional advisers was of another 
quality than that which he had been wont to receive 
from the embittered and revengeful Unionists of 
Tennessee. He had gladly retained all the mem 
bers of Mr. Lincoln s cabinet, and in them he found 
persisting that distaste for proscription which Booth s 
victim had made no attempt to conceal. 3 Especial 
ly was this feeling manifest after the return of Sew- 
ard to duty in May; 4 for the secretary of state har- 

1 Opinion of Benjamin F. Butler, dated April 25, 1865, in MS., 
Johnson Papers. * Badeau, Grant in Peace, 26. 

3 Welles s account of Lincoln s last cabinet meeting, in Galaxy, 
April, 1872; cf. Rhodes, United States, V., 138. 

4 Bancroft, Seward, II., 446. 


bored no resentments in politics, and the weight of 
his influence could not have failed, under the cir 
cumstances, to be very great. Acoordingly, though 
many prominent Confederates were kept in strict 
confinement, and were treated in some cases with 
much more rigor and harshness than was necessary, 
the policy of bringing them to trial and punishment 
gradually was abandoned. 

That Mr. Johnson willingly gave up this policy in 
the case of Jefferson Davis is more than doubtful. 1 
But the obstacles in the way of any procedure that 
offered the slightest hope of conviction assumed a 
formidable character from the outset. From every 
influential quarter in the North came, as soon as 
hostilities had ceased, urgent demands that military 
tribunals should be suppressed and that the admin 
istration of justice should be left to the ordinary 
courts. 2 Nevertheless, the conspirators associated 
with John Wilkes Booth were tried and convicted in 
June by a military commission. 3 Public opinion, 
under the tension of the great tragedy, condoned 
this proceeding, though there was some criticism of 
it. Wirz, the Confederate commander at Ander- 
sonville, charged with the abuse and murder of 
Union prisoners, was brought to the gallows No 
vember 10 by the same sort of tribunal; 4 in this case 

1 Cf. McCulloch, Men and Measures, 410. 

* See MS. letters from Henry Winter Davis (May 13), David 
Dudley Field (June 8), Thomas Ewing (July 4), and others, in 
Johnson Papers. Rhodes, United States, V., 156. 

4 Report of the trial in House Exec. Docs., 40 Cong., 2 Sess., VIII. 


the procedure was questioned, if not strongly con 
demned, by all conservative men. That such a 
method should be employed in the case of Davis or 
other distinguished prisoners, civilian or military, 
became impossible as soon as public opinion assumed 
its normal calmness. On the other hand, every 
project that was suggested for securing a convic 
tion of these men before a civil court was rejected 
as either unconstitutional or impracticable by the 
best legal advice that the administration could 
procure. 1 

The prisoners of state who were put in rigorous 
confinement under the influence of the demand for 
harsh treatment included Jefferson Davis and Alex 
ander H. Stephens, president and vice-president of 
the defunct Confederacy, Reagan, Seddon, Camp 
bell, and Mallory, of the late Confederate cabinet, 
half a dozen of the state governors under the Con 
federacy, and a number of other prominent men. 
While these political leaders were being made to 
feel the bad, and expect the worst, consequences 
of failure in civil war, the military forces of both 
conquered and conquering sections were being dis 
solved and blended in the general population. Within 
four days after the surrender of Lee s army recruit 
ing was suspended in the North. As the other Con 
federate organizations successively made their sub 
mission, and it became clear that no prolongation of 

1 Cf. DeWitt, "Vice-President Andrew Johnson," in Southern 
Hist. Assoc., Publications, July, 1905. 


the struggle was to be feared, plans for the reduction 
of the military establishment were put in operation 
in every direction. 

The efficiency of the machinery of the war depart 
ment under Secretary Stanton was as well exhibited 
in this process as it had been in the progress of hos 
tilities. First in importance of the tasks undertaken 
was the mustering out of the great volunteer army, 
amounting in April to about one million men. Of 
these over eight hundred thousand had, by Novem 
ber 15, been transported to their homes, paid off, and 
returned to civil life. 1 At the same time the pro 
duction and purchase of supplies were stopped, and 
vast stocks of material were disposed of. Between 
April 20 and November 8, 1865, the quartermas 
ter-general s bureau sold property amounting to 
$ T 3357345- From 128,840 horses and mules was 
realized $7,500,000; 83 locomotives and 1009 cars 
brought $1,500,000; 2500 buildings were vacated 
and ordered sold; and 83,887 wage-earners were dis 
charged by that bureau alone. 2 

Throughout the summer and autumn of 1865 the 
railway and steamboat lines were full of returning 
soldiers. Into every hamlet, however remote, came 
sooner or later some bearer of personal experience 
in the great conflict, now seeking to assume or resume 
the vocation of civil life. The " old soldier " became 
a significant social type, and left a clear impress on 
the popular life and character of the time. It is 

1 Sec. of War, Report, 1865, p. 28. Ibid., 40. 


difficult to detect, however, any economic influence 
of the great and sudden change in the North during 
the mi4dle of 1865. The abrupt transfer of nearly 
a million able-bodied men from destructive to pro 
ductive occupation, with the simultaneous curtail 
ment and extinction of many large industries, might 
have been expected to make itself conspicuously felt 
in business and finance. But hardly a ripple was 
manifest on the placid surface of economic life. The 
readjustment of forces proceeded so peacefully as 
to leave no sign. 

Doubtless no small influence in the placidity of 
the North was attributable to the absence of any 
thing like such a condition in the South. Nothing 
could be more striking than the difference between 
the prosperous and cheerful milieu to which the 
northern soldier returned and the hopeless condi 
tions which greeted his late antagonist of the South. 
While the veterans of Grant s and Sherman s armies 
were being transported to their homes with every 
provision for their comfort that forethought could 
suggest, those who had followed Lee and Johnston 
were slowly and painfully making their way, chief 
ly on foot, through ravaged and poverty-stricken 
regions that offered them little cheer save the bene 
dictions of the inhabitants. Some one hundred and 
seventy-four thousand surrendered Confederate sol 
diers were paroled by the Union authorities, 1 and 

1 War Records, Serial No. xai, p. 832; Sec. of War, Report, 1865, 
pt. i., p. 45- 


over sixty thousand were discharged from northern 
prison camps during the summer. These men 
represented in a great measure the most useful 
elements of the population, but the situation which 
they found when they reached their homes was, as 
a rule, destitute of all opportunity for usefulness. 
Capital, labor, currency all were either lacking 
or so transformed as to require unfamiliar meth 
ods of employment. Many an officer whose word 
had in March been law for a thousand men was 
in May toiling at the humblest manual labor, in 
order to procure the little United States currency 
that would command the necessities of life for his 

In those regions where any cotton had escaped 
the ravages of war the high price of this commodity 
offered an attractive promise of financial salvation 
to the lucky owners. But marketing the cotton 
was difficult and often impossible in the disorganized 
condition of the country ; and, moreover, the title to 
much of it was, under the now rigorously applied 
war legislation of Congress, subject to dispute. 
Treasury agents and army officers were very active 
in seizing all that could in any way be made to bear 
the taint of service, either actual or promised, to the 
Confederate cause. Extensive fraudulent opera 
tions of corrupt officials and rapacious speculators 
wrested from the owners much that was free from 
such taint. And, finally, the tax of three cents per 
pound, which confronted any one who got his cotton 


safely through these other perils, cut down materi 
ally his much-needed proceeds. 1 

It was felt on all hands that the most effective 
means of promoting the revival of the South, and 
putting it in the way of sustaining its population, 
would be the prompt removal of the restrictions on 
trade which the war had involved. Accordingly 
the president began this process immediately on the 
cessation of hostilities, and continued it as rapidly 
as conditions seemed to warrant. As early as April 
29, 1865, he ordered the discontinuance of restric 
tions on domestic trade in all parts of the rebel 
territory east of the Mississippi River, so far as that 
territory was within the Union military lines. 2 By 
proclamations of May 22 and June 13 this removal 
of restrictions was made general east of the Missis 
sippi save as to contraband of war; and on June 
24 the trans-Mississippi region was put on the same 
footing. As to foreign commerce, the blockade estab 
lished by President Lincoln was rescinded by procla 
mation of June 23, and on July i all the ports of the 
South were thrown open to trade, except in contra 
band , which remained under prohibition till August 29. 

When the barriers were thus thrown down which 
had made intercourse between the two sections for 
four years illegal, there was a wide-spread resump- 

1 On the whole matter of the trade in cotton, see Fleming, 
Reconstruction in Ala., 284 et seq.; Fleming, Documentary Hist, 
of Reconstruction, I., 25-33 ; Rhodes, United States, V., 281 et seq. 

2 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 333. 


tion of both social and business relations between 
the people who had so recently been enemies. Not 
without hesitation, suspicion, awkwardness, and des 
perate efforts to avoid those dangerous topics which 
were uppermost in all men s minds, old friendships 
were renewed, old connections were looked up with 
a view to re-establishment. Not a few southerners 
came promptly North to find opportunities which 
they despaired of ever seeing in their own section, 
and which well-disposed northern acquaintances 
were not slow to put in their way. The most pro 
nounced movement, however, was from North to 
South, under the operation of the commercial in 
stinct. A host of traders kept up with, or far pre 
ceded, the opening of railways and steamer lines 
into the long-closed regions. Many capitalists also 
sought in the conquered and stricken country profit 
able investment for their wealth. 1 Especially in 
viting seemed the cotton plantations which could 
now be bought at ridiculously low prices from their 
resourceless owners. Sharp-witted officers and even 
privates in the Union armies, having noted the op 
portunities in neighborhoods which their duties made 
familiar, sent their friends or returned themselves 
to take advantage of their observations. The ex 
perience of this first body of northern immigrants 
proved almost uniformly unfortunate, despite the 
exceptionally low prices which they paid for their 

1 Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., 135 et seq.; Fleming, Re 
construction in Ala., 321. 


land. Their failure was largely due to unfamiliarity 
with the peculiarities of the crop which they sought 
to raise. Other causes contributed greatly, how 
ever, to render their success impossible, and among 
these were the social and political conditions under 
which they were obliged to live. 

The disbandment of the great armies, and the 
restoration of intercourse between the sections, was 
only a little step towards a general peace basis. Civil 
government had yet to be instituted in the conquered 
region, and the status of the freedmen had to be fixed 
on some clear foundation of law. Pending the es 
tablishment of civil government under some plan of 
reconstruction, the preservation of order and the 
supervision of such fragments of local administra 
tive machinery as still existed were entirely in the 
hands of the United States army. Each of the late 
ly hostile states constituted a military department, 
whose commander, with headquarters at the capital 
or chief town, controlled affairs through garrisons 
and properly distributed posts. During the sum 
mer of 1865 the need of considerable bodies of troops 
everywhere disappeared. Isolated crimes, such as 
inevitably accompany war and social disorganization, 
were often reported, and in some regions bands of 
outlaws operating on a large scale required sup 
pression ; but in general that part of the people 
who had sustained the Confederacy fully acknowl 
edged their subjugation, and made no sign of op 
position to the power which was over them. 


Nevertheless, in one important respect resent 
ment did take on a serious aspect among the 
whites. As the withdrawal of troops to be mus 
tered out proceeded, the forces remaining in the 
South showed an ever - increasing proportion of 
negro regiments. The use of these troops was due 
in part to the fact that their desire to leave the 
service was, to say the least, not urgent, while the 
opposite was generally the case with the white vol 
unteers; and in part to a deliberate purpose to em 
phasize the completeness of the catastrophe which 
the war had brought upon the South. Protests 
against the presence of the black troops began very 
early from the southern whites, and the demoraliz 
ing effects of such garrisons, and especially of small 
posts in rural districts, where discipline was not the 
most rigorous, became more and more evident as 
time went on. 1 

Side by side with the general authority exercised 
by the department commanders, and gradually sup 
planting it in importance, was the jurisdiction and 
far -reaching control assumed by the Freedmen s 
Bureau. This institution was created by an act of 
March 3, 1865, to give unity and central organiza 
tion to the various conflicting systems which had 
grown up for the care of the freedmen during the 
war. 2 Under the provisions of the act the bureau 

1 Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 47. 

2 Peirceg Freedmen s Bureau (Univ. of Iowa, Studies, III.) 
chaps, i., ti. 


was to have charge of all matters pertaining to 
refugees, freedmen, and abandoned lands in states 
which had been the theatre of war,. Through a 
commissioner, assistant commissioners, superintend 
ents, and local agents, the interests of the former 
slaves (for it was this class that the act was chiefly 
intended to provide for) were to be looked after 
wherever the power of the United States extend 
ed. When the Confederacy collapsed practically the 
whole territory in which slavery had existed became 
thus the field for the operations of the bureau. 
During the summer of 1865 ^s organization was 
completed 1 and its influence became promptly mani 
fest both in the South, where its agents assumed a 
conspicuous place in the work of social readjustment, 
and in the North, where the reports of its activities 
contributed much to shape public opinion on the 
serious political issues which were impending. 

The most general summary of the functions as 
sumed by the bureau shows how intimate its con 
nection was with the movement towards social re 
organization. It assigned abandoned land to the 
freedmen and promoted the acquisition of other 
lands by lease or purchase ; it supervised the chari 
table relief and educational enterprises which were 
being carried on among the blacks; it exercised 
jurisdiction over controversies in which freedmen 

1 All the official papers concerning the organization and early 
work are in House Exec. Docs., 39 Cong., i Sess., No. 70; see also 
Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., chap. v. 



were involved, either with one another or with the 
whites ; it took charge of family relations among the 
blacks, and strove to create a sense of the sanctity 
of marriage where such an idea had but a shadowy, 
if any, existence; finally, and most important of all, 
it took cognizance of all arrangements through 
which the whites sought to secure the labor of the 
freedmen, guaranteed the latter against any sug 
gestion of slavery, and saw to it that the laborer 
should not be the victim of oppression, either as to 
the kind and duration of his labor or as to the 
amount of his wages. The bureau assumed, in short, 
a general guardianship of the emancipated race, 
and, backed by the paramount military force of the 
"United States, undertook to play a determining r61e 
in the process of reorganizing southern society. 

The orders and instructions issued by General 
Howard, the head of the bureau, for carrying out 
this comprehensive programme, were characterized 
almost uniformly by moderation and good judg 
ment. Much the same may be said of the directions 
that emanated from the assistant commissioners for 
their respective states, though here in some cases a 
tendency appeared to lecture the southern whites 
on the sinfulness of slavery and on their general 
depravity, and to address to the freedmen pious 
homilies and moral platitudes obviously above their 
intelligence, and designed for the latitude of New 
England and the Western Reserve. Assistant Com 
missioner Whittlesey, of North Carolina, for ex- 


ample, solemnly informed the white men of that 
state that "the school house, the spelling book and 
the Bible will be found better preservers of peace 
and good order than the revolver and the bowie 
knife"; 1 and General Saxton assured the freedmen 
of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida that "labor 
is ennobling to the character and, if rightly directed, 
brings to the k, borer all the comforts and luxuries of 
life " ; that " falsehood and theft should not be found 
in freedom they are the vices of slavery"; and 
that "cotton is a regal plant and the more carefully 
it is cultivated, the greater will be the crop." 2 

While such vagaries were rare among the higher 
officials, the local agents, whose function it was to 
apply the general policy of the bureau to concrete 
cases, displayed, of course, the greatest diversity of 
spirit and ability. It was from these lower officials 
that the southern whites formed their general esti 
mate of the character and value of the institution, 
while the people of the North were guided more by 
the just and practical policy outlined in the orders 
from headquarters. However much tact and prac 
tical good sense the local agent was able to bring 
to the performance of his delicate duties, he in most 
cases, being a northern man, was wholly unable to 
take a view of the situation that could make him 
agreeable to the whites of the neighborhood. He 
saw in both freedman and former master qualities 

1 House Exec. Docs., 39 Cong., i Sess., No. 70, p. 2. 
*lbid., p. 92. 


which the latter could never admit. Hence the 
working of the bureau, with its intrusion into the 
fundamental relationships of social life, engendered 
violent hostility from the outset on the part of the 
whites. The feeling was enhanced by the conduct of 
the ignorant, unscrupulous, and deliberately oppres 
sive agents who were not rare. As soon, therefore, 
as it became established, the burear# took the form, 
to the southern mind, of a diabolical device for the 
perpetuation of the national government s control 
over the South, and for the humiliation of the 
whites before their former slaves. 

The bureau, however, was by the terms of the law 
but a transitional institution, limited in its exist 
ence to one year after the end of the war. Its 
functions were not well correlated by the law with 
those of the regular military authority, and at first 
the two species of armed rule caused some confusion 
in the process of social rehabilitation. Before this 
situation was cleared up a third species of authority 
was installed in every state by the president s policy 
of restoring civil government. This policy, which 
was to become the centre of so terrible a political 
storm, must now be examined in detail. 




TN confronting the problem of restoring civil gov- 
lernments in the South, President Johnson was 
under no necessity of devising a solution. That al 
ready applied by Lincoln in three of the states was 
ready to the hand of his successor. 1 Indeed, the 
draught of a proclamation for instituting the proc 
ess of restoration in the other states had been sub 
mitted by Secretary Stanton to the cabinet, and 
was discussed in the last meeting before the assassi 
nation. 2 Accordingly, Johnson took up the work at 
the precise point where Lincoln had left it. First, 
in order to dispose of the idea that the state gov 
ernments which had exercised authority under the 
Confederacy might be permitted to continue their 
functions, the military commanders were ordered to 
prevent any attempt of the old legislatures to meet, 
and such of the governors as could be caught, in 
cluding Brown, of Georgia, Clark, of Mississippi, 
Magrath, of South Carolina, Vance, of North Caro- 
1 See above, p. 15. * Gorham, Stanton, II., 241. 


lina, and Watts, of Alabama, were consigned to 
prison. This left only military government in seven 
of the rebel states. As to Virginia, an executive 
order of President Johnson, dated May 9, 1865, 
formally recognized Francis H. Peirpoint as gov 
ernor of the state; 1 and without formal declarations 
governors Brownlow, of Tennessee, Wells, of Louis 
iana, and Murphy, of Arkansas, the official heads of 
the organizations created under Lincoln s adminis 
tration and with his aid, were assumed to be the 
chiefs of legitimate governments, and were encour 
aged to extend their authority throughout the terri 
tory included within their respective state limits. 

Having thus provided for the four common 
wealths which were far advanced on the road to res 
toration, Johnson proceeded to carry out Lincoln s 
project for the remaining seven. The new condi 
tions produced by the end of hostilities gave occa 
sion for some slight modifications of the amnesty pro 
gramme. Attorney-General Speed having furnished 
an opinion that a new proclamation was necessary 
to supersede those of Mr. Lincoln, 2 Johnson s sub 
stitute was issued on May 29, 1865.* The oath 
which it prescribed as a condition of pardon differed 
from Lincoln s in requiring an unqualified instead 
of a qualified pledge to support all laws and decrees 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 337; cf. above, p. 15. 
*For Speed s opinion, see War Records, Serial No. 126, p. 5. 
Text in Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 310; also 
Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, 1., 168. 


touching slavery ; and it excepted from the privilege 
of the amnesty six classes of persons in addition to 
those excepted by Lincoln, the most significant of 
the new classes being that of persons worth twenty 
thousand dollars or more. 

On the same day the reorganization of North Car 
olina was begun by a proclamation J appointing W. 
W. Holden provisional governor, and directing him 
to assemble a constitutional convention of delegates 
chosen by the loyal part of the people of the state, 
and to exercise all powers necessary to enable that 
part of the people to organize a republican form of 
government such as the United States might con 
stitutionally guarantee. The test of loyalty pre 
scribed was the taking of the oath embodied in the 
amnesty proclamation. Only such persons as should 
have taken that oath might participate, either as 
electors or as elected, in the process of reorganiza 
tion, and, moreover, only such as were qualified 
voters under the laws of the state that had been 
in force immediately before the pretended seces 

The only feature of this project which excited 
much discussion among the advisers of the president, 
official and other, was that fixing the qualifications 
for voting. Radical senators and representatives 
insistently urged the importance of including the 
freedmen in the reorganizing electorates, and the 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 312; Fleming, Docu 
mentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 171. 


cabinet was evenly divided on this question. 1 Chief- 
Justice Chase, who travelled during May along the 
whole Atlantic coast from Washington to Key West, 
sent back a stream of letters representing that both 
the conditions and the opinions that obtained in the 
South favored reorganization through negro suf 
frage. 2 But Johnson had none of the brilliant illu 
sions that beset the chief - justice and the other 
radicals as to the political capacity of the blacks, 
and he lacked, moreover, the audacity of conception 
which found constitutional warrant for a determina 
tion of suffrage qualifications by executive decree. 
His decision, therefore, was for leaving the reor 
ganization to the old white electorate. The pos 
sibility and the desirability of a later extension of 
the suffrage by degrees to the freedmen, through 
action of the new state governments themselves, he 
did not question. 3 

The North Carolina proclamation, in addition to 
its directions for the organization of a state govern 
ment, embodied formal commands to the Federal 
heads of departments to resume the performance of 
their duties within the limits of the state: the treas 
ury was to begin the collection of taxes; the post- 
office was to renew its service ; and the district courts 
and marshals were to take up the administration 

1 Cf. Rhodes, United States, V., 524, and his authorities. 

1 These letters of Chase are in the MS., Johnson Papers ; cf . also 
Schuckers, Chase, 520. 

Despatch to Governor Sharkey, Garner, Reconstruction in 
Miss., 84. 


of justice. Side by side, thus, with the military 
authority of the United States was to be put in op 
eration, as fast as the offices could be manned, the 
regular processes of civil government so far as these 
fell within the Federal sphere. 

At intervals from June 13 to July 13 proclamations 
identical in tenor with that affecting North Caro 
lina named provisional governors and re-established 
the Federal administration in the remaining six 
states of the Confederacy. The provisional gov 
ernors, as soon as they were installed in power, 
proceeded first to revive the local administrative 
authorities, which had been dormant since the sup 
pression of the old state governments. County and 
municipal officials who had ceased to act when the 
United States troops took possession of a state 
were ordered to resume their functions, taking the 
amnesty oath as a part of their qualification. Next 
the provisional governor took the necessary steps 
for the election and assembling of a constitutional 
convention. The first of these bodies to complete 
its work was that of Mississippi, which adjourned 
August 24, and the last to finish was that of Texas, 
on April 6, 1866; all the other conventions held their 
sessions during September and October, 1865. 

The first function of these conventions was to 
signify by formal public acts the acceptance by the 
respective states of the results of the war. Through 
the provisional governors it was ascertained what 
the president would regard as an adequate expres- 


sion of such acceptance. Following the suggestions 
thus procured, the conventions first declared the 
invalidity of the ordinances of secession, South 
Carolina and Georgia by repealing, Florida by an 
nulling, and the rest by proclaiming null and void 
the obnoxious acts. 1 Next slavery was declared 
abolished forever. Finally, the state debts con 
tracted in aid of the war against the United States 
government were repudiated, except in South Caro- 
lina. 2 Having performed these essential duties, the 
conventions made such modifications in the old state 
constitutions as the new situation required, and 
then adjourned sine die, leaving to the legislatures, 
for which provision was duly made, the task of 
further promoting the social reorganization. Dur 
ing October and November elections were held in 
most of the states, and governors and legislatures 
under the new constitutions were chosen. The legis 
latures, when they met as they did very prompt 
ly in most cases were confronted with the sugges 
tion, scarcely less imperative than a command, 
that they ratify the Thirteenth Amendment. This 
requirement also was satisfied by all except Miss 
issippi. 3 By the end of the year the provisional 
governors had been relieved of their offices in all the 
states but Texas, and the civil governments that had 

1 On the import of these various forms, see Garner, Recon 
struction in Miss., 91. 

1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1865, p. 761 et seq. 
1 Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., 120. 


been organized under their direction were in the full 
exercise of their functions. 

This restoration of self-government was not, how 
ever, accompanied as yet by the withdrawal of mili 
tary authority. December i the president revoked 
the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus for all the 
United States except the states of the former Confed 
eracy, Kentucky, the District of Columbia, and the 
territories of Arizona and New Mexico. 1 On April 2, 
1866, he formally declared the rebellion at an end in 
all the seceded states except Texas. 2 When the proc 
ess of reorganization had at last been completed in 
that state, the president proclaimed, August 20, 1866, 
the complete restoration of peace, order, tranquillity, 
and civil authority throughout the United States. 3 

At the date of this official announcement that 
peace and tranquillity had been restored, the coun 
try was in fact convulsed with a political conflict 
only less demoralizing than the conflict of arms 
which it followed. The causes of this situation are 
to be found in currents of public and party feeling 
that were set in motion by the progress of the ad 
ministration s policy in the South. President John 
son, at his accession to power, manifested, as we 
have seen, no little sympathy with some beliefs which 
were characteristic of the radical wing of the Union 
party. 4 As his policy was developed by the ap- 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 333. 

* Ibid., 429. * Ibid., 434. 

4 See above, p. 20; cf. Rhodes, United States. V., 521 et seq. 


pointment of the provisional governors, his radical 
leanings became continually less conspicuous; till 
by midsummer those politicians who had had the 
brightest hopes were in despair of any settlement 
that would realize their chief aims. These aims in 
cluded the proscription of the Confederate leaders, 
extensive confiscation of plantations in the South, 
the enfranchisement of the freedmen and the post 
ponement of political reorganization in the states 
till the continued ascendency of the Union party 
could be insured. 1 As the administration s policy 
was unfolded, it was obviously incompatible with 
every item of this programme. What hope of pro 
scription was held out by the numerous exceptions 
from the privilege of amnesty, was extinguished by 
the liberal issue of special pardons to individuals 
who applied. 2 Confiscation was stopped short by 
the attorney-general s opinion that property which 
had been seized by the Federal authorities under 
the confiscation acts must be restored to the par 
doned owners. 3 Negro suffrage was doomed by the 
franchise provisions of Johnson s proclamations; and 
the haste with which reorganization was pressed to 
completion in state after state filled the radicals, 
and not a few others as well, with gloomy forebod 
ings of a reunited Democracy sweeping the Union 
men out of their control of the national government. 

1 Cf. Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 137-153. 

2 Cf. Elaine, Twenty Years of Congress, II., 76; Bancroft, 
Seivard, II., 448. 3 McPherson, Hist, of the Rebellion, 148. 


The president, when once his purpose of mak 
ing examples of certain leaders had been forced into 
the background, pushed energetically the policy of 
mercy, conciliation, and an immediate restoration 
of the old Union and the old constitutional relations. 
Involved in the policy was a clear and promising 
scheme of party readjustment. The radicals of the 
Union party he had no hope of pleasing, or desire 
to please, and these he could dispense with. But the 
great mass of conservative men in that party he and 
his advisers believed they could hold by the policy 
they had adopted ; and the loss of support from the 
radicals could be compensated by the adhesion of 
Democrats, who, very early in Johnson s adminis 
tration, began to manifest approval of his views. 1 
In the South, when party life should be renewed, it 
could be anticipated that gratitude would bring a 
large following to the president s support. Thus 
there was fair promise of an administration party 
which, strong in both sections of the reunited nation, 
would be opposed only by impotent sectional fac 
tions the radicals and remnants of the Copper 
head Democracy in the North, and in the South the 
fragments of irreconcilable secessionism. 

That there was good ground for the president s hope 
in this matter seemed demonstrated by the approv 
ing interest with which the progress of reorganiza 
tion in the South was followed in the North. The 

1 Letters of Senator Dixon, of Conn. (May 5), and Montgomery 
Blair (June 16), in MS.i Johnson Papers. 


general tone of public opinion was clearly favorable. 1 
Yet every manifestation of the social and political 
feeling that prevailed among the conquered people 
was closely watched by both official and unofficial 
agencies of northern opinion; and when it became 
evident that some of the restored states would be 
ready for admission to the national councils as soon 
as Congress should assemble in December, 1865, the 
bearing of the situation on party politics stimulated the 
most careful scrutiny of the conditions in the South. 
The men whom Mr. Johnson appointed to super 
vise reorganization, the provisional governors, were 
all chosen because of their record as opponents of 
secession either before or during the war. They 
were mostly former Whigs, and they represented a 
discredited minority in the population of every 
southern state. The same was true of the con 
trolling element in the various state conventions. 
While amnesty and pardon and a returning interest 
in politics enabled considerable numbers of active 
secessionists to serve as delegates, they in no state 
took the lead in the actual work of the convention. 
But each further step in the process of reorganiza 
tion brought, to the front an increasing proportion 
of those who had been conspicuous in the military 
or civil service of the Confederacy. Thus the new 
ly chosen governor of South Carolina had been a 
Confederate senator ; the governor of Mississippi had 
been a brigadier-general in the Confederate army; 

1 Rhodes, United States, V., 533. 


a late major-general in that army was elected a 
congressman in Alabama; and the legislature of 
Georgia elected as United States senator no less dis 
tinguished a personage than Stephens, late vice- 
president of the Confederacy. Such facts had a 
very disquieting effect in the North. Yet they were 
to the South normal and inevitable; for the sup 
porters of the Confederate cause embraced not only 
the great majority numerically of the population, 
but also the best that it could offer in the way of 
political experience and ability. The opponents of 
secession embodied none of the qualities which could 
enable them long to possess the confidence of the 
electorate. But in the North the reappearance of 
the ex-Confederates in politics was widely proclaimed 
and felt to be a mere gratuitous exhibition of con 
tumacy and impenitence by those in whom quite 
the opposite spirit would be decent and appropriate. 
The other feature of the southern situation in 
respect to which the interest and scrutiny of the 
North were most keen, was the attitude of the new 
governments and the white population in general \ 
towards the freedmen. Through the summer of 
1865 many sporadic instances of friction between 
blacks and whites were reported, mostly from the 
towns, where the idle and vicious of both races were 
numerous, or from the rural regions where the class 
of poor whites predominated, with their ingrained 
antipathy to the negroes. Northern newspaper cor 
respondents of radical leanings dwelt at length 


upon the tone of contempt for the blacks, and of in 
difference towards their fate, which pervaded the 
conversation of even the more intelligent classes of 
the southern whites. 1 This signified to the bearers 
of the anti-slavery tradition that while emancipa 
tion might be recognized by the whites as an im 
mutable fact, liberty in all its fulness would not be 
conceded to the freedmen. 

During the autumn the. demoralization of the 
blacks resulting from their sudden freedom reached 
its maximum. From every part of the South came 
complaints that the negroes were refusing to make 
contracts for labor in the next planting season, and 
were manifesting a hope and a purpose of appropri 
ating the land of their former masters. There was 
revealed a wide-spread belief among the blacks that 
at New Years the United States government would 
endow every former slave with a farming outfit, the 
normal measure of which was to be "forty acres 
and a mule." The obvious source of this idea was 
the activity of the Freedmen s Bureau, that mysteri 
ous Providence which had inspired its wards with an 
unbounded confidence in the wonder-working capac 
ity of the power which it represented. Though the 
officials of the bureau strove energetically to destroy 
the misleading belief of the freedmen and to counter 
act its baneful influence, 2 it long persisted in one 

1 Andrews, South since the War, 25, 87, 100 et passim. 
* See circular letter of Commissioner Howard, November 1 1, 
1865, House Exec. Docs., 39 Cong., i Sess., No. 70, p. 198. 


form or another and played its part in forcing the 
races asunder. 

The uneasiness among the blacks during the 
autumn gave rise to corresponding uneasiness and 
fear among the whites, and in a number of states, 
where Federal troops were too few to provide ade 
quate protection, local militia companies were formed 
by the whites for the purpose. This caused bad feel 
ing at the North, being represented as a movement to 
reconstitute Confederate army organizations for the 
purpose of oppressing the negroes and Union men. 1 

But in spite of all the difficulties which his policy 
involved, and all the evidence which appeared that 
it would meet with strong opposition in Congress 
when that body assembled, the president pursued 
unflinchingly the line which he conceived had been 
marked out for him by the Constitution. He took 
great pains to keep himself informed as to the trend 
of conditions and sentiment among the whites of 
the jSouth. Besides the unsolicited information with 
he was deluged, he received extended re- 
certain persons whom he had designated 
specifically to travel through the southern states, 
investigate the situation, and keep him informed in 
regard to it. 

Such reports were furnished by Henry M. Watter- 
son, a Kentucky journalist, by General Carl Schurz, 
a well-known Republican politician and army officer, 
and by Benjamin C. Truman, a New York journal- 

1 Cf. Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., 99 et seq. 



ist. Watterson and Truman found conditions gen 
erally to be such as to justify the policy which the 
president was carrying out: the influential classes of 
whites had accepted in good faith their defeat, and 
could be depended upon to maintain loyal state 
governments; the freedmen, while greatly demoral 
ized and subject to abuse at the hands of vicious and 
low-class whites, would receive substantial justice 
through the better classes, and in time would settle 
quietly into that position in southern society to 
which their usefulness and ability entitled them; 
and finally, enfranchisement of the blacks was so 
bitterly opposed by all classes of whites that it would, 
if insisted upon, lead to far worse evils than could 
ever exist without it. General Schurz, on the other 
hand, found no influential class in the South whose 
loyalty was more than reluctant submission to 
overwhelming force, or who could be depended upon 
to conduct state governments in accordance with 
the dictates of a national spirit; found the freedmen 
and Unionist whites the victims of a brutal ferocity 
which only the display of national force could re 
strain; was convinced that the whites would retain, 
through some system of peonage, all the incidents of 
servitude save the chattel ownership; and, finally,, 
declared that negro suffrage was the only means 
through which a degree of order could be secured 
which would permit the withdrawal of the national 
authority and the assumption of full control by the 
state governments. 


President Johnson does not seem to have contem 
plated any more formal report from these various 
agents than the despatches and letters which they 
sent from different points when on their travels. 1 
But Schurz was so impressed with the importance of 
his own views that, after his return in October from 
his three months trip, he insisted, despite the presi 
dent s intimation that it was not necessary, upon 
embodying them in a long, skilfully constructed 
and fully documented report, which was sent to the 
president. This paper, the existence of which was 
well known to the radicals, with whom Schurz 
affiliated, was promptly called for by the Senate 2 
when Congress met, and became at once a leading 
item in the case which was made up for the public 
against the president s policy. To counteract its in 
fluence Johnson sent with it a brief report by Gen 
eral Grant of impressions gained on a short tour 
through some of the southern states in November. 
Grant s ideas went wholly to support the president s 
policy. Some months later, April 6, 1866, when Tru 
man had completed his thirty-one weeks of south 
ern travel, he also prepared a formal summary 
of his conclusions, which was duly transmitted to 
Congress. 3 This paper traversed Schurz s opinions, 
which it was obviously written to controvert, and 

1 Most of the letters exist only in MS. in the Johnson Papers. 

8 Senate Exec. Docs., 39 Cong., i Sess., No. 2 ; numerous extracts 
from the report in Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, 
I., passim. 8 Senate Exec. Docs., 39 Cong., i Sess., No. 43- 


brought to the support of the president s policy a 
better balanced judgment and a saner philosophy 
than the radical champion had displayed. 

By the time Truman s report was written, how 
ever, the question of policy towards the South had 
passed the point where either testimony as to facts or 
sober estimates of philosophy played a leading part. 
Sectional passion and partisan political emotion had 
taken the first place; and this had come to pass 
through the spirit which attended the proceedings 
in Congress. 




THE Congress which assembled on December 4, 
1865, was the product of the elections at which 
the Union party, with Lincoln and Johnson, had 
been victorious in I864. 1 In both House and Senate 
the Democrats had but small delegations. Among 
the majority there prevailed, of course, the same 
variety and uncertainty of opinion about recon 
struction that were prevalent among the people at 
large ; but the initiative in action was taken by the 
opponents of the president s policy, and was skil 
fully employed to commit the two houses to an 
attitude of hostility. Led by Thaddeus Stevens, 
of Pennsylvania, the most uncompromising of radi 
cals, the majority in the House of Representatives 
denied to the members-elect from the rebel states 
even the recognition usually accorded to claimants 
for seats, and pressed through a resolution, to which 
the Senate promptly agreed, creating a joint com- 

1 See Hosmer, Outcome of the Civil War (Am. Nation, XXL), 
chap. ix. 


mittee of fifteen on the condition of the states of the 
late Confederacy, with authority to report whether 
any of them were entitled to be represented in either 
house of Congress. 1 Thus originated the famous 
reconstruction committee, which was to play so 
conspicuous a part in the political drama now be 
ginning; and thus was announced the congressional 
purpose that the organizations which had been 
created by the president in the South should not 
receive immediate, perhaps not eventual, recogni 
tion as legitimate state governments. 

The chief motive in determining this attitude of 
Congress was, not a definite rejection of Johnson s 
view as to restoration, but a purpose to assert the 
right of Congress to a decisive voice in the matter. 
It was to the esprit de corps of the legislature, as 
against the overgrown pretensions of the executive, 
that the most effective appeals were made by the 
radical leaders, Stevens and Sumner. These men 
could not have carried with them a majority of 
either house probably not a majority of the non- 
Democratic members in either for a proposition to 
discard the president s plan; but for a proposition 
to hold it in abeyance till Congress could formulate 
an independent judgment on the question involved, 
it was easy to win a decisive majority. ^The mes 
sage which President Johnson sent to the two houses 
on December 5 was an exceedingly strong and judi- 

1 Elaine, Twenty Years of Congress, II., 112, 126; Rhodes, 
United States, V., 545. 


cious presentation of the principles, both of law and -\ 
expediency, on which his proceedings in the South j 
had been based; and the reception of the document 
throughout the land indicated clearly that no hasty 
breach with the president would be approved by 
public opinion. 1 Hence the shrewd resolution of 
his adversaries to hold the main issue in suspense 
under cover of insistence on the legislative preroga 

Pending the formulation by the joint committee of 
some definite policy in reference to the readmission 
of the states, an effective appeal to northern senti 
ment was made by giving all possible prominence to 
the question as to the apportionment of representa 
tives. Slavery perished finally in the United States 
through the formal announcement by Secretary 
Seward, December 18, 1865, that the Thirteenth 
Amendment, having been ratified by twenty-seven 
states, constituting three-fourths of the whole num- 
ber, was regularly in force. 2 Thereupon the con 
stitutional provision which excluded two-fifths of 
the slaves from the population by which the num 
ber of representatives in Congress for any state was 
determined became of no effect, and each of the 
former slave states was entitled to an increase of 
members. That the result of the war should be 
an accession of influence in Congress to the South, 

1 The message was written by George Bancroft. See Dunning, 
in Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, November, 1905. 
* McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 6. 


was a proposition which few northerners could con 
template with entire equanimity. From the open 
ing of the session, therefore, a readjustment of the 
basis of apportionment became a central topic of 
discussion; 1 and the radicals were gratified to find 
in this an effective justification for postponing the 
readmission of the southern states. 

But this matter of the increase of southern rep 
resentation, like that of asserting the legislative 
authority against the executive, had its effect more 
among the politicians in and out of Congress than 
among the masses of northern voters. The latter 
were much more deeply and generally moved by the 
attitude of the new southern legislatures towards 
the freedmen. Whatever differences of opinion 
there had been in the North as to the relation of 
slavery to the war, and as to the manner and means 
of abolition, there was but a negligible element of 
the northern people who did not feel and express 
great satisfaction that the troublesome institution 
was gone. For decades it had been persistently 
preached that slavery was the source of all our 
national ills; hence the adoption of the Thirteenth 
Amendment was felt to be necessarily the inaugura 
tion of a grateful and permanent relief from the 
eternal African in politics. Indignation and anger 
were therefore widely manifested when the radicals 
not only asserted, but were able to present plausible 
proofs of their assertion, that the southern legis- 

1 Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, II., 129. 


la tares, even while ratifying the Thirteenth Amend 
ment, were enacting laws which preserved the sub 
stance though avoiding the name of slavery. 

Legislation to bring some degree of order out of 
the existing social and industrial chaos was nat 
urally the earliest task undertaken by the govern 
ments organized under the president s guidance. Of 
this necessary legislation the chief requirement was 
that the status and rights of the freedmen should be 
precisely defined. Mississippi, the first of the re 
stored states to act, completed her legislation just 
before Congress met, 1 and it was from her laws 
chiefly that the radicals in the North drew the ma 
terial for their agitation over the so-called * black 
codes." The other states, except Texas, worked 
out their enactments during the winter. Though 
there were great differences among the various 
bodies of legislation, all alike were involved in the 
condemnation which derived its principal effective 
ness from features which appeared in but one or 
two. 2 

The fundamental characteristic of the legislation 
was that it set off the hitherto servile race as a 
distinct class, designated generally as "persons of 
color," consisting of all who had in them a speci 
fied proportion, usually one-eighth, of negro blood. 

1 Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., 113. 

2 For the laws in full, see session laws of the various states. 
Summary in McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 29; many 
examples in Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 


To this class were assigned the ordinary civil rights 
to make contracts, to sue and be sued in the 
regular state courts, to acquire and hold property, 
and to be secure in person and estate. But at the 
same time various restrictions and qualifications 
were imposed which placed persons of color on a 
different plane from the whites. In some of the 
states the inferior class were forbidden to carry 
weapons except after obtaining a license; in many 
they could be witnesses in court only in cases in 
volving parties of their own race; and in practically 
all they were subject to special formalities and 
penalties in connection with contracts for labor. 
The laws concerning vagrancy, also, were full of 
discriminations and in many cases assured to the 
white magistrates wide discretion in stamping blacks 
as vagrants, and assigning them to the highest bidder 
to work out fines. 

Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina fur 
nished the most notorious features of this legislation. 
In Mississippi the freedmen could not own land, 
nor could they even rent it save in incorporated 
towns. 1 A local ordinance in Louisiana required 
every negro to be in the regular service of "some 
white person, or former owner, who shall be held 
responsible for the conduct of said negro." 2 South 
Carolina forbade persons of color to engage in any 
trade or business other than husbandry and farm 

1 Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 286. 

2 Ibid., 280. 


or domestic service, except under a license requiring 
a substantial annual fee; and in the code concern 
ing master and servants embodied many rules that 
strongly suggested those formerly in force as to 
master and slave. 1 

To a distrustful northern mind such legislation 
could very easily take the form of a systematic at 
tempt to relegate the freedmen to a subjection only 
less complete than that from which the war had set 
them free. The radicals sounded a shrill note of 
alarm. "We tell the white men of Mississippi," 
said the Chicago Tribune, "that the men of the 
North will convert the state of Mississippi into a 
frog-pond before they will allow any such laws to 
disgrace one foot of soil over which the flag of free 
dom waves." 2 In Congress, Wilson, Sumner, and 
other extremists took up the cry, and with super 
fluous ingenuity distorted the spirit and purpose of 
both the laws and the law-makers of the South. 3 The 
"black codes" were represented to be the expression 
of a deliberate purpose by the southerners to nullify 
the result of the war and to re-establish slavery, and 
this impression gained wide prevalence in the North. 

Yet, as a matter of fact, this legislation, far from 
embodying any spirit of defiance towards the North 
or any purpose to evade the conditions which the 

1 Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 298 et seq. 

2 Quoted by Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., 115 n. 

3 Congressional Globe, 39 Cong., i Sess, 39, 90; cf. Elaine, 
Twenty Years of Congress, II., 94 et seq. 


victors had imposed, was in the main a conscientious 
and straightforward attempt to bring some sort of 
order out of the social and economic chaos which a 
full acceptance of the results of war and emancipa 
tion involved. 1 In its general principle it corre 
sponded very closely to the actual facts of the situa 
tion. The freedmen were not, and in the nature of 
the case could not for generations be, on the same 
social, moral, and intellectual plane with the whites ; 
and this fact was recognized by constituting them 
a separate class in the civil order. As in general 
principles, so in details, the legislation was faithful 
on the whole to the actual conditions with which it 
had to deal. The restrictions in respect to bearing 
arms, testifying in court, and keeping labor con 
tracts were justified by well-established traits and 
habits of the negroes ; and the vagrancy laws dealt 
with problems of destitution, idleness, and vice of 
which no one not in the midst of them could appre 
ciate the appalling magnitude and complexity. A 
few of the enactments, such as that of Mississippi 
excluding the blacks from leasing agricultural land, 
were clearly animated by a spirit of oppression, re 
flecting the antipathy of the lower-class whites to 
the negroes; and others doubtless were lacking in 
practical sagacity and in the nicest adaptation to 
the purpose in hand; but, after all, the greatest fault 

1 See views of southerners in Fleming, Documentary Hist, of 
Reconstruction, I., 247 et seq.; Herbert, Why the Solid South, 31; 
Rhodes, United States, V., 556. 


of the southern law-makers was, not that their pro 
cedure was unwise per se, but that, when legislating 
as a conquered people, they failed adequately to 
consider and be guided by the prejudices . of their 
conquerors. Sagacious southerners warned the legis 
lators that some of their acts would produce a dan 
gerous effect in the North. 1 But the personnel of 
the new governments did not include the most 
shrewd and experienced politicians of the states, 
and the legislatures, in yielding to the tremendous 
pressure of social and economic distress, set lightly 
aside some very urgent considerations of political 

To the congressmen who were seeking for grounds 
on which to retard the restoration of the rebel 
states, this legislation was a welcome resource. The 
first effect of it was the Freedmen s Bureau bill, 
which Mr. Trumbull reported to the Senate from 
the judiciary committee, January 5, 1866. 2 This 
bill proposed to extend the powers and territorial 
sphere of the bureau, and to remove the limitation 
by which the institution was to expire one year 
after the termination of the war. It was designed 
thus to continue for an indefinite period the pro 
tection of the freedmen by Federal military power 
against state legislation. As the president was 
known to have been much annoyed by some feat- 

1 Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., 116; Fleming, Civil War 
and Reconstruction in Ala., 378. 

* Cong. Globe, 39 Cong., i Sess., 129. 


ures of the "black codes," it was anticipated that 
he might assent to such qualification of his plan for 
immediate restoration as would be involved in an 
enlargement of the bureau s functions. But though 
the bill passed by great majorities in both houses, 
Mr. Johnson met it with a veto, February 19,* and 
thus formally opened the breach with Congress 
which was to be his undoing. 

In deciding to use his veto against this bill, the 
president was much influenced by considerations 
apart from the merits of the particular measure. 
His combativeness had been roused by the strict 
ures of the radicals on his policy, and his reverence 
for the old-time Constitution was outraged by the 
flouts and jeers with which they assailed that sacred 
law. So far as concerned protection of the freed- 
men against the more oppressive provisions of the 
"black codes," practically as much as was author 
ized by the bill had been done by action of the ex 
isting bureau and the military commanders, and 
Johnson had expressed no disapproval of this action. 2 
But he professed to find in the proposition to au 
thorize such protective procedure by law a danger 
ous infringement of the Constitution. What was 
most active in his mind was revealed by those para 
graphs of his veto message in which he protested 
strongly against the idea that Congress could ex- 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 398. 
8 See orders of Sickles and Terry, in South Carolina and Vir 
ginia, McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 36, 41. 


elude states from representation. He feared the 
purpose of the radicals to keep out the southern 
representatives till some scheme of negro suffrage 
could be adopted, and this fear had a substantial 
ground in a bill for enfranchising the blacks in the 
District of Columbia, which the House had passed 
in January. 1 

As a matter of fact, the radicals were at this time 
by no means in control of the situation, and moderate 
men were seeking diligently for some way of getting 
on peaceably with the president. 2 On the issue pre 
sented by the veto, however, the congressional esprit 
de corps was aroused, and the feeling which antag 
onized the reconstruction policy of Abraham Lin 
coln in 1 864 s was easily directed to the ruin of 
Andrew Johnson s policy two years later. On the 
Freedmen s Bureau bill the president was success 
ful. The vote in the Senate in favor of overriding 
the veto fell a little short of the requisite two-thirds ;* 
but this was the last victory which the record was 
to show for Mr. Johnson. On the very day on 
which the Senate voted though the coincidence 
was probably fortuitous 5 the House adopted a 
concurrent resolution declaring that no senator or 
representative should be admitted from any insur- 

1 McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 115. 

2 Rhodes, United States, V., 572 et seq. 

8 Hosmer, Outcome of the Civil War (Am. Nation, XXL), 139. 

4 McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 74. 

8 Elaine, Twenty Years of Congress, 11., 203. 


rectionary state until Congress should have de 
clared the state entitled to representation. This 
resolution the Senate adopted, March 2, 1866, and 
thus committed Congress to an attitude which was 
absolutely irreconcilable with the president s re 
iterated constitutional doctrine. After this action, 
one side or the other must give way or be over 
ridden; and neither Andrew Johnson nor the group 
of strong and positive men who led Congress was 
likely to give way. 

The feelings which animated the president were 
very fully revealed to his fellow-citizens by a long 
speech which he delivered to a serenading party on 
February 22, just when the veto and the House 
resolution were most before the public. 1 Con 
temporaneous and subsequent comment on this 
speech has devoted disproportionate attention to a 
few passages which manifested Johnson s tendency 
to offensive egotism and personalities in public speak 
ing; 2 if these accidents be relegated to their proper 
significance, the speech is a useful complement to 
the veto message in estimating the influences which 
led him, in his rage against the radicals who were 
harrying him, to strike at Congress as a whole. That 
the bad taste of some parts of the speech did not ob 
scure the importance of the rest, is indicated by a 
note to Johnson from Thurlow Weed: "I want to 
thank you with my whole grateful heart for your 

1 McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 58. 
3 Rhodes, United States, V., 575. 


glorious speech of yesterday. It vindicates and 
saves our government and our Union." 1 

Johnson was soon obliged to confront another 
measure which was much more subversive than the 
Freedmen s Bureau bill of his most cherished con 
stitutional convictions. This was the Civil Rights 
bill, designed to secure to the freedmen through the 
normal action of the courts the same protection 
against discriminating state legislation that was se 
cured in the earlier bill by military power. It de 
clared the freedmen to be citizens of the United 
States, and as such to have the same civil rights 
and to be subject to the same criminal penalties as 
white persons ; and it provided with great fulness for 
the punishment of any one who, under color of state 
laws, should discriminate against the blacks. It 
was a plain announcement to the southern legis 
latures that, as against their project of setting the 
freedmen apart as a special class, with a status at 
law corresponding to their status in fact, the North, 
would insist on exact equality between the races in 
civil status, regardless of any consideration of fact. 
The constitutional questions involved in this meas 
ure were of the most profound and intricate nature, 
and the theory of citizenship which it embodied was 
such as to make conservative constitutional law 
yers stare and gasp. But Senator Trumbull, a for 
mer state-rights Democrat, who was in charge of the 
project, outdid himself in the ingenuity of his legal 
1 MS., Johnson Papers. 



defence, 1 though in doing so he ran counter to all 
the traditions of his professional past. 

The president was in no mood now to run counter 
to his constitutional past, and he vetoed the bill, 
March 27, 1866. The objections set forth in his 
message 2 were chiefly of a technical legal character, 
but at the end of the document appeared what was 
uppermost in his mind that the bill embodied an 
unheard - of intrusion of the Federal government 
within the sphere of the states, and was a stride 
towards centralization. He stood stiffly on his be 
lief that the situation in the South involved no con 
ditions which required for their treatment a break 
with the ancient political system. The Senate now 
parted finally from him, and passed the bill over 
his veto April 6. 3 The House had from the be 
ginning of the session submitted passively to the 
aggressive leadership of Stevens, and voted every 
measure that his policy required. 

This veto made irreparable the breach between 
the president and Congress. Such a result was fore 
seen while the measure was pending, and in conse 
quence strong pressure was exerted to secure the 
executive consent. The cabinet favored the bill, 
four to three, 4 and influential men throughout the 

1 Cong. Globe, 39 Cong., i Sess., 500, 1755; cf. Dunning, Essays 
on the Civil War and Reconstruction, 93. 

2 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 405. 

3 McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 81 ; for the exciting inci 
dents of the vote, see Rhodes, United States, V., 584 et seq. 

4 Rhodes, United States, V., 583. 


land, cognizant of the currents of northern popular 
feeling, urged Johnson to sign it. 1 But at Washing 
ton the radicals were in full hue and cry against 
the president, especially since his Washington s 
Birthday pronunciamento, and he was too old a 
campaigner to shrink from a fair and square fight 
for his ideas. 

The definitive announcement of the ground on 
which Congress would plant itself for the conflict 
with the president was made through the joint com 
mittee on reconstruction. In its membership, and 
in the strenuous controversy in the midst of which 
its conclusions took form, this body reflected faith 
fully the diversity of sentiment among the congres 
sional majority. Howard, of the Senate, and Stevens 
and Boutwell, of the House, were radicals of the 
extremest type; while Fessenden and Grimes, of the 
Senate, and Bingham and Conkling, of the House, 
stood conspicuous for ability among the holders of 
moderate views in the majority. Senator Rever- 
dy Johnson and Representatives Grider and Rogers, 
who represented the minority on the committee, 
were quite overwhelmed by the number of their op 
ponents, and could make little impression. From 
January to May the committee took testimony in 
reference to conditions in the South. On the last 
day of April it reported to the houses the measures 
which embodied its plan of reconstruction, and later 

1 Cf. letters from H. W. Beecher and J. D. Cox, in MS., John" 
son Papers. 


submitted a report, signed by the majority mem 
bers, which constituted an expose de motif for the 
proposed legislation. 1 

In both the concrete measures reported and the 
argument by which they were justified the exigency 
of the pending conflict with the executive was more 
obvious than any distinct and self -consistent solu 
tion of the complex problems at issue. The major 
ity report evaded any thoroughgoing discussion of 
the constitutional questions of state status, in which 
tire strength of the president s case lay, but put the 
chief stress on the right of Congress to say the final 
word as to the restoration of the insurgent com 
munities, and on the evidence that the white people 
of the South were still rebellious and impenitent in 
spirit, bent on oppressing the freedmen and white 
Unionists, and eager for representation in Congress 
only in the hope of regaining thus the power and 
influence which they had lost by the resort to arms. 
The measures reported by the committee were, first, 
a proposition for a fourteenth amendment of the 
Constitution ; second, a bill providing that when this 
amendment should become law any of the rebel 
states which had ratified it might have representa 
tives in Congress ; and, third, a bill declaring ineligi 
ble to any office in the Federal government certain 
classes of high officials of the Confederacy. These 

1 For the complete report of the committee, with the testi 
mony, see House Reports, 39 Cong., i Sess., No. 30; also, without 
the testimony, in McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 84. 


measures, taken in connection with the committee s 
report, revealed the plan on which the majority in 
Congress proposed to appeal to the people against 
the policy of the president. The plan was, in essence, 
to deny the privileges of statehood to the southern 
communities until the guarantee of certain results 
of the war, as the North conceived them, should be 
incorporated in the Constitution, and should be for 
mally consented to by the southerners themselves. 

The proposed amendment to the Constitution was 
that which, with some modification, stands as the 
Fourteenth Amendment to-day. It embodied, first, 
a guarantee of citizenship and of equality in civi> 
rights to the freedmen, thus providing against any 
judicial or congressional nullification of the civil 
rights act. In the second section the amendment 
dealt with the vexed question of apportionment, 
and combined it with that of negro suffrage in such 
a way that the additional representatives due to 
the South as a result of emancipation could be 
secured only through enfranchisement of the freed 
men, while, conversely, the failure to enfranchise 
would entail a loss of representatives. The third 
section disqualified for either Federal or state office 
all persons who, after having taken the official oath 
to support the Constitution, had participated in re 
bellion. By the fourth section the validity of the 
United States debt was formally asserted, and the 
rebel debt in all its forms, together with all claims 
for emancipation of slaves, was declared void. 


This amendment, as a whole, signified a resolute 
purpose in the leaders of the majority to subordinate 
all factional differences to the one end of success 
ful opposition to the president. The subjects dealt 
with were most diverse in legal and practical signifi 
cance, and the chances were slight that any one of 
the sections could, on its merits alone, have secured 
a two- thirds vote in each house; but united by the 
bond of a relation to the issues of the war, and sus 
tained by the pressure of partisan political necessity, 
they served to support one another and to consoli 
date the requisite majority. The amendment was 
finally passed, June 13, 1866, and sent to the states 
for ratification. 

A month later a bill continuing the Freedmen s 
Bureau for two years was passed over the president s 
veto. 1 This action was in some sort a vote of con 
fidence in the bureau as against the serious dispar 
agement it had received through an investigation of 
its practical workings by Generals Steedman and 
Fuller ton, under the direction of the president. 2 The 
new law insured the existence of the bureau, with 
other important advantages to the radical cause, 3 
against any action that Johnson might have taken 
to abolish it on the ground that the limit fixed by 

1 Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 321. 

3 Peirce, Freedmen s Bureau (Univ. of Iowa, Studies, III.), 64 
et seq. 

8 Steedman to the president, June 26, 1866, in MS., Johnson 


the original act, one year after the end of the war, 
had been reached. 

With this achievement the development of the 
congressional plan ceased. The two bills reported 
with the proposed amendment were not pushed to 
enactment. They involved constitutional questions 
which would excite much debate, and it was not in 
such questions that the congressional party found 
its best opportunity for appeal to northern popular 
sentiment. There were many indications of a wide 
spread regret in the North that circumstances re 
quired the continued exclusion of the South from 
representation; and the adversaries of the president 
were unwilling to alienate those who felt this regret 
by a formal declaration that admission to Congress 
must be preceded by so distasteful an act as ratifi 
cation of the proposed amendment. Pending the 
elections, the discreet attitude of the Congress party 
would be that of sympathy with the desire for speedy 
restoration, and sadness that the perversity of the 
southerners rendered some delay inevitable. 

It was partly through this policy that the restora 
tion of Tennessee was voted just at the end of the 
session. The exclusion of that state had always been 
a weak spot in the case of the Congress party, owing 
to the exceptional size and position of the Union 
element in the population. That element, headed 
by the eccentric and violent "Parson" Brownlow, 
who was governor, controlled the legislature, and 
accordingly the proposed amendment was ratified 


with great promptness, July 19, I866. 1 Though the 
state had not enfranchised the freedmen, it had dis 
franchised all Confederate sympathizers, and this 
was assumed to be an equivalent by the moderates 
in Congress, who were anxious to give some evidence 
of interest in early restoration. Accordingly, against 
radical opposition, a bill restoring Tennessee became 
law, July 24, i866. 2 

1 For the methods employed, see Fertig, Secession and Recon 
struction in Tenn., 77 et seq.; Am. Annual Cyclop., 1866, p. 729. 

2 McPherson, Hist. / Reconstruction, 152; Cong. Globe, 39 
Cong., i Sess., 3999 et seq., esp. remarks of Brown and Sumner. 




SOME time before Congress ended its labors, the 
political campaign was in full swing which was 
to determine whether the presidential or the con 
gressional plan of dealing with the South had the 
first place in the favor of the people. The two co 
ordinate political departments of the national gov 
ernment were in immovable deadlock, and only a 
decisive expression of public opinion in the elections 
could relieve the situation. Moreover, there was a 
single concrete result which was to be conclusive as 
to the popular will namely, the political complex 
ion of the Fortieth Congress, the representatives of 
which were to be chosen in the autumn. There 
would be no need for ingenious interpretations of 
state elections to deduce the sentiment of the people 
on the national issue : if the result showed a major 
ity in the next Congress against the president, his 
policy would be doomed; if the majority proved to 
be with him, the policy of Congress would be doomed. 
No other element entered into the problem. 


Mr. Johnson manifested a perfect confidence that 
in a direct appeal to the people he would be fully 
sustained in the attitude he had taken towards the 
radicals and towards the congressional politicians. 
But by midsummer his project of carrying with him 
the Union party as a conservative organization 1 
had manifestly met shipwreck. The politicians who 
controlled the state and local machinery of the 
party from the outset manifested great uneasiness 
at the general movement of their old Democratic 
antagonists to the support of the president. This 
was the heyday of the spoils system; and though 
the Democrats, when indorsing the administration, 
commonly disclaimed all interest in the offices, and 
Mr. Johnson disregarded the urgings of practical 
men to use his patronage unsparingly to promote 
his cause, the constant trend of the Union organiza 
tion was away from him. His attitude towards the 
moderate element of the Union party in Congress 
had confirmed this movement. By his course on 
the Freedmen s Bureau and Civil Rights bills he 
had alienated men like Senator Trumbull, 2 whose 
whole spirit was conservative, and had driven them 
into alliance with the radicals. Long before the 
end of the session of Congress it was evident to 
active supporters of the president that a new party 
organization would be necessary in order that his 

1 See above, p. 43. 

2 Ray to Montgomery Blair, April 10, 1866, in MS., Johnson 
Papers; cf. Ray to Trumbull, often, in MS., Trumbull Papers. 

1 866] NORTH AND SOUTH 73 

policy should be properly sustained in the approach 
ing campaign. As early as March 6 a club was 
formed in Washington 1 by the leading senators 
and others who supported Johnson, and in the latter 
part of June the executive committee of this club 
issued a call for a "National Union Convention" 
to meet at Philadelphia in August. 

This movement soon cleared the party situation: 
a new Union organization was to be effected by the 
supporters of the president. During July the cabi 
net was broken up by the resignation of Harlan, of 
the interior, Dennison, of the post-office, and Speed, 
the attorney-general, who could go no further in 
nominal support of Johnson when such action in 
volved a clear breach with the old Union organiza 
tion. 2 Browning, Randall, and Stanbery, who re 
placed the retiring officers, brought a much-needed 
element of vigor and aggressiveness into the poli 
tics of the administration. The subordinate offices, 
where hostility to the president had hitherto been 
encouraged, were now, by drastic application of the 
removing power, made to contribute what they could 
to the building up of the new party. 3 

It is to be noticed that in the reorganization of the 
cabinet the president had no recourse to the Democ 
racy ; none of the new members had ever affiliated 

1 The original draught of the call for the formation of the 
club is in MS., Johnson Papers. 

3 Speed s letter, in Am. Annual Cyclop., 1866, p. 755. 

3 Fish, Civil Service and the Patronage (Harvard Hist. Studies* 
XL), 189. 


with that party. Johnson exhibited at this crisis, 
as throughout his presidential career, an immovable 
fidelity to the conditions under which he attained 
to his high office. But though he gave no recogni 
tion to the Democracy, he could not prevent the 
Democracy from giving recognition to him. The 
call for the Philadelphia convention elicited a gen 
eral and hearty response from the Democratic or 
ganizations, and the delegations sent from the north 
ern states embraced a full tale of representatives 
of those bodies. Even the Copperhead wing was 
fully represented, though the participation of Val- 
landigham, of Ohio, the bright particular star of that 
element, was after some little difficulty prevented. 1 

From the South the response to the call for the 
convention at Philadelphia was, of course, emphati 
cally cordial. The delegations included many of 
the most distinguished of the Confederates, now 
testifying to their desire for a fully restored Union 
under the president s plan. The presence of these 
men was one of the chief elements in the broad pur 
pose of the promoters of the convention. It was 
intended to demonstrate that the true party of the 
Union was that which could show itself national in 
scope as contrasted with that whose supporters 
were in the North only. In an important sense the 
movement was one to nationalize what had hitherto 
been a sectional party. 

1 Rhodes, United States, V., 615; Randall and Browning to 
Johnson, August 12 and 13, 1866, in MS., Johnson Papers. 


The convention, which assembled at Philadelphia 
on August 14, 1866, was an imposing demonstration 
of the sentiment which sustained the president s 
policy. Its membership and the declaration of prin 
ciples which it adopted 1 made entirely clear the 
composition and purpose of the new party, and left 
in doubt only the vital matter of the extent to which 
it could win votes from the masses of the people. 
The elements conspicuous among the delegates were, \ 
first, a considerable but hardly an encouraging body 
of former Republicans; second, a distinguished but 
numerically scanty representation of northern and 
border-state Whigs, whose sympathies had been 
wholly anti-Republican but strongly Union; third, 
a mass of former northern Democrats, led by those 
who had gone into the Union party during the war, 
but including many prominent Copperheads; and, 
finally, a large body of southerners, consisting chief 
ly of the moderate and substantial ex-Confederates 
who had come to the front in the reorganized state 
governments. 2 The principles on which the con 
vention placed itseuweT^-first, that the southern 
whites could be and ought to be trusted to resume 
the autonomy which they had enjoyed before seces 
sion that conciliation and good feeling was the true 
policy through which the Union was to be restored ; 

1 In Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 213. 

2 Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, II., 220; Rhodes, United 
States, V., 614, and his authorities; the New York daily papers 
of August 15, 1866. 


and, second, that the southern states were constitu 
tional organizations, whose right to representation 
in Congress it was beyond the power of any part 
of the Federal government to deny or to make con 
ditional upon any act whatever. 

Against the party thus devoted to the support of 
Johnson were arrayed the two elements, radical and 
moderate, \which controlled the machinery of the old 
Union party. The appropriation by the Philadel 
phia convention of the name "Union" led to much 
confusion in terminology ; for the Congress party hot 
ly resented the assumption by the president s sup 
porters that they were in the truest sense the up 
holders of the Union. For distinction s sake the 
compound term " Union - Republican " was not in 
frequently used by the friends of Congress. "Re 
publican" without qualification was but charily 
employed ; for though the great mass of the Congress 
party had been Republicans, there were t in all but the 
most radical communities, considerable numbers of 
voters to whom the name had odious associations, 
and for these it was desirable to emphasize the* Union 
rather than the Republican tradition. 

To counteract the claim supported by the August 
convention at Philadelphia, that only the presi 
dent s party was truly national, while that of Con 
gress was purely sectional, the radicals promoted 
the assembling of another convention at the same 
place, September 3. The original call for this meet 
ing was addressed to "The Loyal Unionists of the 


South," and was designed to bring about a demon 
stration by the thick-and-thin opponents of secession 
and the Confederacy, who, through the operation of 
Johnson s policy, had been overwhelmed in their 
respective states by the popular ex-Confederates. 
These loyalists were, however, but a small and un 
impressive element of the southern people, and could 
not by themselves contribute much to the cause 
of the Congress party. Hence the call was made 
to include the border states, whose delegates con 
stituted a great majority of the convention; and in 
addition the congressional leaders brought together 
a great number of northern men, including the most 
prominent political supporters of their cause, to 
discuss the situation with the southerners. The 
occasion as a whole, therefore, served as a general 
demonstration in favor of the policy of Congress. 
The southern and border states delegates, meeting 
by themselves, agreed in bitter denunciation of 
Johnson and of the ex-rebels, whom he was accused 
of encouraging to abuse the true Union men ; but the 
sessions degenerated at the close into an unedifying 
w r rangle between two factions who respectively ad 
vocated and denounced negro suffrage. 1 The north 
erners presented and enlarged upon their doctrine 
that the Fourteenth Amendment was indispensable 
to any permanent reorganization in the South, and 
that it was for Congress, and not the president, to 
determine the conditions on which so momentous a 

1 New York Herald, September 8, 1866. 


political problem as that of restoration should be 

Two other conventions illustrated the intensity 
of the struggle that was in progress, and signalized 
the formal entrance of the old-soldier influence into 
politics. On September 17, at Cleveland, some of 
those soldiers and sailors of the war who believed 
in the president s policy of conciliation and imme 
diate restoration of the Union, met to formulate 
and discuss their ideas. On September 25 a larger 
though hardly a more enthusiastic body of former 
soldiers met in Pittsburg, and declared for Congress 
and its policy. 1 

In the discussion of the great issues before the 
people, during the whole campaign of which these 
conventions formed a part, much of the argument 
was on a very high plane. The appeal was to rea 
son and to the sound political sense of the voters. 
No more serious debate, no more serious problem, 
had engaged the attention of the American democ 
racy since the memorable days of 1787 and 1788, 
when the new frame of government was passed upon. 
So far as this appeal to reason was concerned, the 
choice between the two sides was most difficult to 
make. The Constitution and the precedents of the 
past favored the policy of the president; expediency 
and concern for the future gave strong support to 
the congressional scheme. What the outcome might 
have been is very doubtful had not certain incidents, 

1 Elaine, Twenty Years of Congress, II., 228 et seq. 

1 866] NORTH AND SOUTH 79 

at the very crisis of the campaign, served to bring 
into play that fervor of emotion in the presence of 
which the appeal to reason ceases to be of any 

The first of these incidents was a serious riot at 
New Orleans. A movement had developed in Lou 
isiana for the introduction of negro suffrage. In 
the interest of this movement steps were taken to 
reassemble the constitutional convention of I864. 1 
The opponents of negro suffrage denied the right of 
the convention to resume its functions, and con 
troversy over the matter became very fierce. July 
30, 1866, the delegates who favored the reopening 
of the convention proceeded to assemble, according 
to the call, in New Orleans. A street procession of 
negroes, marching to the place of the meeting, be 
came involved in brawls with the crowds of hostile 
white spectators, and shots were exchanged. There 
upon the police undertook to arrest the negroes, who 
resisted, and a warm fight ensued. The white spec 
tators joined with the police, and the negroes fled 
into the building where the convention had met. 
Their pursuers stormed the building and shot down 
without mercy the blacks and many of their white 
sympathizers. The whole number of casualties in 
the affair amounted to some two hundred, of which 
only about a dozen were suffered by the police and 
their supporters. 2 

1 McCarthy, Lincoln s Plan of Reconstruction, 75. 

2 House Reports, 39 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 16, p. 12. 



In the North this tragic event was systematically 
exploited by the radicals as a manifestation of the 
spirit with which the white people of the South were 
animated towards the freedmen and towards loyal 
men in general. It was represented as a deliberate 
massacre, perpetrated by the rebel element of New 
Orleans upon those who had been faithful to the 
Union, and for no other purpose than to punish that 
fidelity. The abundant evidence of rash and un 
scrupulous procedure which put much of the re 
sponsibility upon the promoters of the convention 
was disregarded, and attention was concentrated 
upon the disparity in the number of casualties on the 
two sides and upon details of sickening brutality. 
These facts gave unquestionable evidence that in 
the heat of the combat the rage of the whites had 
vented itself in unnecessary slaughter of their black 
adversaries; but this was far from a just basis for a 
generalization as to the spirit of the southern people, 
or even of the people of Louisiana or Ne w Orleans. 
Yet the influence of this affair on feeling in the North 
was wholly adverse to the cause of the president. 
It confirmed the impression which had been made 
by a serious conflict between roughs of the two races 
at Memphis in the spring, 1 and by sporadic cases of 
violence upon the freedmen which were carefully 
massed and exaggerated for partisan purposes. That 
the blacks were being abused was probably of less 
influence than the thought that the "rebels" were 
1 House Reports, 39 Cong., i Sess., No 101. 


abusing them. With this reflection the emotions of the 
war-time revived among the northern people, and the 
careful balancing of arguments gave way to the pas 
sionate demand for the " results of the war " for the 
visible humiliation of those who had been conquered. 
A like influence in displacing reason by feeling 
was produced by the unfortunate enterprise of the 
president in taking a personal part in the campaign. 
Having accepted an invitation to be present at the 
laying of the corner-stone of a monument to Stephen 
A. Douglas, at Chicago, on September 6, Johnson 
employed the occasion to visit leading northern 
cities and appeal directly to the people for the cause 
which he represented. With a party that included 
Secretaries Seward and Welles, Postmaster-General 
Randall, General Grant and Admiral Farragut, he 
travelled by easy stages through New York state 
and northern Ohio to Chicago, and, after the cere 
mony there, visited St. Louis and Indianapolis on 
the way back to Washington. From the outset the 
president s speeches at the various stopping-places 
assumed a partisan character, abounding in self- 
praise and in denunciation of Congress; and at 
Cleveland and St. Louis interruptions of the crowd, 
apparently calculated, drove him to retorts and ex 
travagances of expression which were in the last de 
gree offensive to dignity and good taste. 1 

1 For the speeches, see McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 127. 
For the most favorable view of them from the stand-point of the 
president, cf. DeWitt, Impeachment, 113 et seq. 


It did not need the gross perversions and exag 
gerations with which the opposition press reported 
the incidents of this tour to make it disastrous to 
the president s cause. He had been earnestly warn 
ed against extemporaneous speaking, 1 but he did 
not, doubtless could not, heed ; and he paid the pen 
alty. The unfavorable effect of his " swinging round 
the circle," as this tour was dubbed by the press, 
was discernible at once in the North. Many per 
sons whose feelings were proof against the appeals 
made on behalf of the freedmen and loyalists were 
carried over to the side of Congress by sheer dis 
gust at Johnson s performances. The alienation by 
the president of this essentially thoughtful and con 
servative element of the northern voters was as 
disastrous and as inexcusable as the alienation of 
those moderate men in Congress whom he had re 
pelled by his narrow and obstinate policy in re 
spect to the Freedmen s Bureau and Civil Rights 
bills. 2 It was again demonstrated that Andrew 
Johnson was not a statesman of national size in 
such a crisis as existed in 1866. 

The returns of the elections, as they came in dur 
ing September, October, and November, told uni 
formly the tale of a great defeat in the North for 
the president. When the record was complete, it 
revealed that the next House of Representatives 
would show, like its predecessor, a two-thirds ma- 

1 Senator Doolittle to Johnson, August 29, in MS., Johnson 
Papers. * See above, pp. 60, 64. 


jority that could override any veto; and that from 
the Senate, as a result of the election of new legis 
latures, would disappear several of the small band 
of former Republicans who had sustained Mr. John 
son s policy. There was no room anywhere for 
doubt that the people of the North would support 
Congress as against the president in the policy of 

What, then, was the feeling of the South as to 
the plan that Congress had proposed ? So far as it 
could be expressed by the attitude assumed towards 
the proposed Fourteenth Amendment, a series of 
responses by the legislatures, beginning in October, 
showed that sentiment was as strongly on one side 
in the South as the elections showed it to be on the 
other side in the North. By February, 1867, rati 
fication of the amendment had been voted down in 
the legislature of every one of the seceding states, 
except Tennessee; and the best showing in favor of 
ratification in any of the bodies that voted was 10 
votes out of 103 in the lower house in North Caro 
lina. 1 In three states the adverse vote was unani 
mous in both houses. The reasons assigned for 
this attitude included all of those conservative doc 
trines which had been so strongly urged in Congress 
against any change of the Constitution in respect 
to citizenship and the basis of representation. But 
especial stress was in most of the states laid upon 
the effects of the section imposing political dis- 

1 McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 194. 


abilities on leading ex - Confederates, which would, 
if ratified, depose from office very many of the chief 
functionaries of the existing state governments, 1 and 
upon the contention that, if the communities which 
the legislatures represented were really states of the 
Union, the presence of their members in Congr^ 
was essential to the validity of the amendment; 
while if those communities were not states, their 
ratification of the amendment was unnecessary. 
Whatever the reasons, real or nominal, the fact that 
the South stood solidly opposed on the great issue 
of reconstruction to the North was through this 
attitude put in the strongest and clearest light. 

1 See Fleming, Reconstruction in Ala., 394; Reynolds, Recon 
struction in S. C. y 33; Hamilton, Reconstruction in N. C., 167 et 
seq.; Am. Annual Cyclop., 1866, under the various states. 



WHEN the thirty -ninth Congress reassembled 
for its second session in December, 1866, the 
majority felt conscious of a mandate from the peo 
ple of the North to disregard at discretion all that 
had thus far been accomplished in connection with 
reconstruction. The expediency, however, of a total 
change of policy was at first strongly opposed by the 
moderate wing of the party; but as the attitude of 
the South towards the Fourteenth Amendment be 
came clear many of the moderate men in Congress, 
angered by what they considered the stubbornness of 
the southerners, joined the radicals in projects for 
an entirely new plan of reconstruction. Whether ac 
ceptance of the amendment by the southern states 
would have prevented this movement is more than 
doubtful; for the leading radicals repudiated any 
obligation to stand by the pledge embodied in the 
reconstruction committee s bill of the last session, 1 
and frankly announced their purpose to insist on 

1 Cong. Globe., 39 Cong., 2 Sess., 124, 128; c also 
Sumner, IV., 312 n. 


the destruction of the existing state governments 
in the South and on reorganization through negro 
suffrage. 1 But the president and most of the south 
erners were no less firm in their extreme views than 
the radicals, and left no opportunity for com 
promise. Movements in the South looking to ac 
ceptance of the amendment, either as it stood or 
with the omission of the section which imposed 
political disabilities, came to naught. 2 There was 
left no ground on which the moderate men of the 
majority could stand in effective resistance to the 
extremists, and Congress became, what it for some 
years continued to be, radical and revolutionary. 

The leaders in the legislation which was about to 
supersede all that had hitherto been done towards 
restoring the southern states were the men who 
had consistently denied to the conquered communi 
ties the right to the name of state as known to the 
Constitution. Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sum- 
ner now saw the triumph of their doctrines, which 
had long been treated with contumely and ridicule. 
Stevens, truculent, vindictive, and cynical, domi 
nated the House of Representatives in the second 
session of this Congress with even less opposition 
than in the first. A keen and relentlessly logical 

1 See bills introduced by Stevens and Ashley, Cong. Globe., 
39 Cong., 2 Sess., 250 et seq. 

3 Fleming, Reconstruction in Ala., 397; Reynolds, Reconstruc 
tion in S. C., 51; Hamilton, Reconstruction in N. C., 173; Sickles 
to the president, January 25, MS-, Johnson Papers; Fleming, 
Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 238. 

1867] CONGRESS 87 

mind, an ever-ready gift of biting sarcasm and sting 
ing repartee, and a total lack of scruple as to means 
in the pursuit of a legislative end, secured him an 
ascendency in the House which none of his party 
associates ever dreamed of disputing. Sumner, in 
the Senate, made himself felt in a far different way. 
His forte was exalted moral fervor and humanita 
rian idealism. He lived in the empyrean, and de 
scended thence upon his colleagues with dogmas 
which he discovered there. However remote his 
doctrines from any relation to the realities of hu 
man affairs, he preached them without intermission 
and forced his colleagues by mere iteration to give 
them a place in law. He would shed tears at the 
bare thought of refusing to freedmen rights of which 
they had no comprehension, but would filibuster to 
the end of the session to prevent the restoration to 
the southern whites of rights which were essential to 
their whole conception of life. 1 He was the perfect \ \i 
type of that narrow fanaticism which erudition and j * 
egotism combine to produce, and to which political j 
crises alone give the opportunity for actual achieve 
ment. -J^- 

Of the lesser lights of the radicalism which now 
had the upper hand, Massachusetts furnished three 
of notable influence: Henry Wilson, in the Senate, 
whose sympathy for the down-trodden was no less 
demonstrative than his colleague s, but whose tears 
in their flow never for a moment distorted*his count 

1 See Pierce, Sumner, IV., 317. 


of the votes to be gained for his party; George S. 
Boutwell, destitute of Sumner s erudition and ego 
tism and of Wilson s cant, but exemplifying per 
fectly the hard, merciless type which the Puritan 
conscience makes of a mediocre man; and, finally, 
Benjamin F. Butler, whose demagogic gifts had 
made him the hero of the late canvass, and had 
brought him a seat in the fortieth Congress, where 
he became the ambitious understudy and ultimate 
successor of Thaddeus Stevens on the reconstruction 
committee. The West furnished the other main 
stays of radicalism in Congress, among whom the 
two Michigan senators, Chandler and Howard, and 
three Ohio men, Senator Wade and Representatives 
Ashley and Lawrence, were conspicuous in the 
thirty-ninth Congress ; and, in addition, Senator Mor 
ton, of Indiana, and Representative John A. Logan, 
of Illinois, in the fortieth. Of distinctly higher grade 
than the radicals in the finer aspects of intellectual 
and political character were such leaders of the 
moderate Republican group as Trumbull and Fes- 
senden in the Senate, and Blaine, of Maine, Bing- 
ham, of Ohio, Wilson, of Iowa, and the rising young 
Garfield in the House; but under the existing con 
ditions there was left to the moderates only the 
function of a drag on the reckless and revolution 
ary policy to which the radicals gave an irresistible 

The programme unfolded in the winter of 1866- 
1867 consisted of two parts, which were developed 

1867] CONGRESS 89 

simultaneously. The first part was devoted to the 
effective assertion of congressional supremacy over 
the judicial and executive branches of the govern 
ment ; the second part consisted in the effective as 
sertion of congressional supremacy in the conquered 

Little legislation was actually enacted as to the 
judiciary, but much was initiated and held in sus 
pense till the proper moment for decisive action. 
In December, 1866, and January, 1867, three highly 
important opinions were announced by the Supreme 
Court. In ex parte Milligan 1 it was declared that 
military commissions and the other incidents of 
martial law were unconstitutional save where fla 
grant war made the action of the ordinary courts 
impossible. In Cummings vs. Missouri 2 a state test- 
oath, by which Confederate sympathizers were ex 
cluded from various professions, was held to con 
travene the constitutional prohibition of ex post facto 
laws; and in ex parte Garland 3 the Federal test- 
oath so far as it operated to prevent attorneys from 
practising in the United States courts, was for sim 
ilar reasons found invalid. These cases all mani 
fested a spirit in the court that boded ill for the 
radical projects of reconstruction; and the con 
gressional leaders, while obviously reluctant to at 
tack the venerated judicial organ, did not conceal 

1 4 Wallace, 2. 

* Ibid., 277; also see above, p. 8. 

*4 Wallace, 333. 


their purpose to do so if the provocation should go 
further. 1 

As to the executive, however, there was neither 
hesitation nor restraint; by the end of the session, 
March 4, a number of the most indispensable and 
fully recognized attributes of the presidential office 
had been taken from it, and a resolute movement 
to oust Johnson by impeachment had made sub 
stantial headway. Of the assaults on the consti 
tutional powers of the president, the most impor 
tant and far-reaching were those directed against 
his control over his subordinates in the civil service 
and in the army. By the celebrated tenure of office 
act, 2 which became law March 2, 1867, he was pro 
hibited from removing civil officers save with the 
consent of the Senate, and was made guilty of a 
misdemeanor punishable by fine and imprisonment 
if he should violate the act. By a section inserted 
in the army appropriation act 3 of the same date 
he was forbidden to issue military orders except 
through- the General of the Army ; or to relieve the 
generay of his command or assign him to duty else 
where than at Washington, save at the general s 
own request, or with the previous approval of the 
Senate; and a violation of these provisions also was 
declared to be a misdemeanor. 

In the passage of the tenure of office act, both 

1 Cf . Dunning, Essays, 121 et seq. 

Text in Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 
404 Text in Ibid., I., 403. 

1867] CONGRESS 91 

a permanent and a temporary influence were op 
erative. Participation by the Senate in the power 
of removal had never, since the origin of the Con 
stitution, ceased to be claimed by members of the 
body whose prestige and power would be enhanced 
by the recognition of the principle ; but no House of 
Representatives would have been likely to contrib 
ute to the exaltation of the rival chamber except 
under the pressure of such a condition as existed 
in 1867, when Johnson s removals of radical office 
holders were producing the maximum of exaspera 
tion. 1 ^The legislation touching the president s mili 
tary functions was purely a result of the tension 
between Johnson and Congress ; and in requiring that 
the commander-in-chief shall consult the Senate be 
fore giving certain orders to his subordinate, it is 
without parallel in our history, either for its en 
croachment on the constitutional power of the ex 
ecutive or for inherent preposterousness. //-But its 
source is even more astonishing than its content ; for 
it was secretly dictated to Boutwell by the presi 
dent s official adviser, Edwin M. Stanton, secretary 
of war. 2 

This strange personage, whose amazing record 
of duplicity 3 strongly suggests the vagaries of an 
opium-eater, assumed now the task of inspiring in 
Congress the belief that his chief, the president, 

1 Elaine, Twenty Years of Congress, II., 267. 

* Boutwell, Reminiscences, II., 108. 

8 Cf. the characterization in DeWitt, Impeachment, 240 et seq. 


was a desperate character, bent on over-riding the 
majority by military force. Various expressions in 
Johnson s foolish speeches could be readily adapted 
to the support of this idea, and radicals like Bout- 
well, who were under a complete obsession as to the 
president, could be excused for adopting drastic 
measures to thwart the impending revolution. But 
no man who enjoyed the opportunities of a cabinet 
member for close intercourse with Johnson had any 
rational excuse for supposing that the president 
was as violent in act as he was in speech. The very 
retention of Stanton in office, when his sympathy 
with Congress as against Johnson s policy was well 
known, was evidence of an infirmity of spirit which 
greatly annoyed the president s supporters. 1 

Along with the legislation restraining the execu 
tive, a movement for impeachment was promoted 
by certain of the extreme radicals, especially Ash 
ley. The House judiciary committee was instructed 
in January to investigate the conduct of the presi 
dent, and accordingly was engaged throughout the 
session in a search for evidence against him. Mean 
while the reconstruction committee labored diligent 
ly on the problem of decisive action as to the situa 
tion in the South. The result was a bill reported to 
the House by Stevens, February 6, which after con- 

letters to the president in the MS., Johnson Papers, con 
tain abundant proof of this; cf. also Elaine, Twenty Years of 
Congress, II., 241; McCulloch, Men and Measures, 391; W. T. 
Sherman to John Sherman, in Sherman Letters, 297. 

1867] CONGRESS 93 

siderable modification became the reconstructio 
act of March 2, I867. 1 /This famous law consisted 
of two distinct parts : five of its six sections provided 
for the establishment and administration of a rigor 
ous and comprehensive military government through 
out the ten states not yet restored to the Union; 
while the remaining section, the fifth, declared that 
the restoration of the states should be effected only 
after reorganization, on the basis of general negro 
enfranchisement and limited rebel disfranchisement<^ 

As a justification for military rule, it was declared 
in the preamble that "no legal state governments 
or adequate protection for life or property" existed/ 
in the "rebel states" enumerated. /"Thus the or 
ganizations which Lincoln and Johnson had with so 
much care nurtured into vigorous life were formally 
pronounced by Congress destitute of legality as 
state governments and "subject to the paramount 
authority of the United States to abolish, modify, 
control, or supersede the same." The absence of 
adequate protection for life and property was a con 
clusion which the majority drew from the Memphis 
and New Orleans riots, 2 and from the reports of 
outrages on freedmen and Unionists. These occa 
sional and widely scattered disturbances were in fact 
a wholly insufficient basis for the sweeping generali 
zation that was made as to conditions in the South. 
In most parts of that section life and property were, 

1 Stats, at Large, XIV,, 428; text also in Fleming, Documentary 
Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 401. 2 See above, pp. 79, 80. 


despite the effects of the war, as well protected as 
had ever been the case. But the radical programme 
was not restricted by a careful regard for facts. 
Nor was it, on the other hand, restricted by any 
careful regard for constitutional law^^The clauses 
xof the act authorizing military commissions for the 
/ trial and punishment of crime were in direct and 
contemptuous disregard of the Supreme Court s 
opinion in the Milligan case, rendered less than three 
months before, and were based upon the theory that 
a state of war still existed, though executive, judi 
ciary, and Congress itself had concurred in regarding 
the war as long since ended. 1 

The fifth section of the act, which set forth the 
conditions on which the "rebel states" might be 
restored to representation, embodied the triumph 
of the radicals in respect to negro suffrage. Earlier 
in the session the increasing strength of the move 
ment for enfranchisement had been indicated by 
the enactment of laws, over the president s veto, 
giving the blacks the ballot in the District of Colum 
bia and in the territories. 2 There was still strong 
opposition in the Senate to so drastic a procedure 
for the South, but under pressure of party neces 
and of Sumner s tireless urging, the party caucus at 
last adopted the provision by a majority of two, 3 
and it was incorporated in the bill. The act as 

1 Dunning, Essays, 129. 

McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 116, 154, 184; Mason, Veto 
Power, 152. 3 Pierce, Sumner, IV.. 320. 

1867] CONGRESS 95 

passed declared that any rebel state, in order to 
become entitled to representation in Congress and 
to exemption from military rule, must conform to 
the following requirements: a convention must be 
held, consisting of delegates "elected by the male 
citizens ... of whatever race, color, or previous con 
dition"; a constitution must be framed embodying 
the same rule of suffrage; this constitution must be 
ratified by the people and approved by Congress; 
and the legislature elected under this constitution, - 
must ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. 

In accordance with the belief that the president 
was bent on nullifying the radical legislation, a law 
had been passed requiring Congress to meet on 
March 4. The fortieth Congress, therefore, embody 
ing the results of the elections of 1866, organized 
itself immediately upon the expiration of its prede 
cessor, and continued the policy of the latter prac 
tically without interruption. March 23, 1867, a sup 
plementary reconstruction bill became law, 1 providing 
in detail for the process through which the military 
commanders were to bring about the organization of 
new governments and the restoration of the states. 
By the act of March 2 the ten states were divided * 
into five military districts, with a general in com 
mand of eachvVirginia constituted the first district, 
the two Caroliiba the second, Georgia, Alabama, and 
Florida the third, Mississippi and Arkansas the 

1 Stats, at Large, XV., 2; Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Re 
construction, I., 407. 



fourth, and Louisiana and Texas the fifth. By 
the supplemental act the district commanders were 
required to make a registration of the voters in 
each state who were qualified under the original act ; 
to hold an election for delegates to a state con 
vention; to convoke the convention; to hold an 
election on the question of ratifying the constitu 
tion framed by this convention; and to transmit 
the constitution, if ratified, to the president, for 
earliest possible transmittal to Congress. For the 
actual conduct of the registration and election, the 
commanders were required to appoint in each elec 
tion district a board of registration consisting of 
three persons who should qualify by taking the 
iron-clad oath, which excluded every one who had 
given voluntary aid to the rebellion. Finally, every 
applicant for registration as a voter was required 
to subscribe to an oath which excluded all who had 
been disfranchised for participation in rebellion, 
and all who, after holding state or Federal office, 
had given aid and comfort to enemies of the United 
States. ~ ~"ir" 

This legislation insured the creation of new states 
in the South, with electorates and governments con 
formed to the will of Congress^ There was grave 
doubt in radical circles as to whether the president 
would attempt to execute laws so flagrantly at war 
with his views of the Constitution. His veto of the 
first reconstruction act was draughted by Jeremiah S. 
Black, and embodied a bitter and powerful assault 

1867] CONGRESS 97 

on the policy expressed in the legislation. 1 That 
hostility to the policy should not go too far, the House 
judiciary committee was promptly constituted in 
the fortieth Congress, and instructed to continue 
the vigilant watch for some basis of impeachment. 
Johnson was advised, however, by the lawyers whom 
he trusted, that he had no ground on which to set 
up a resistance to the act, 2 and accordingly, in the 
middle of March, he performed the duty imposed 
upon him by the law and assigned Generals Scho- 
field, Sickles, Pope, Ord, and Sheridan to the com 
mand of the respective districts. 

When those officers had entered fully upon the 
performance of their duties, they soon had serious 
trouble in construing various provisions of the acts. 
The conflict between the radical and the moderate 
elements in Congress resulted, as is usually the case, 
in generalities and ambiguities of expression, which 
left room for wide differences of procedure among 
those who administered the law. During the spring 
of 1867 many requests came from the district com 
manders to the president for instructions on doubt 
ful points. Attorney - General Stanbery, to whom 
these matters were in due course referred, gave an 
interpretation of the laws which went as far as was 
possible in restricting the authority of the district 
commanders as against the old state governments 

J Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 498; Am. Hist. Rev., 
April, 1906, p. 585; Mason, Veto Power, 153. 
2 MS., Johnson Papers. 


and in mitigating the disfranchisement of the whites. 
Stanton, the secretary of war, with an unwonted 
boldness, for which the tenure of office act and the 
approaching reassembling of Congress furnished a 
sufficient ground, opposed in the cabinet both the 
soundness of this interpretation and the policy of 
promulgating it. 1 He took the ground that the 
president s control, as commander-in-chief, of the 
generals in the South was of a very limited nature, 
and he revealed his purpose to do all that he could 
to sustain the ultra-radical views that had currency 
in Congress. 

On July 3, 1867, Congress reassembled pursuant to 
its purpose to keep watch over the president, and 
on July 1 9 it passed over his veto a new supplement 
ary act on reconstruction. 2 This act, which was 
draughted by Stanton 3 to embody the ideas for which 
he had contended in the cabinet, made authorita 
tive the most rigorous interpretation of the previous 
acts ; and by explicitly conferring certain powers of 
appointment and removal on the General of the 
Army, intimated a denial of these powers to the 
president. Having taken this decisive step, Con 
gress went into recess till November, despite ago 
nizing appeals by radicals, especially Sumner, not 
to leave Johnson so long free from restraint. 4 

1 Gorham, Stanton, II., 360 et seq. 

2 Stats, at Large, XV., 14; Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Re- 
construction, I., 415. 3 Gorham, Stanton, II., 373. 

4 Cong. Globe., 40 Cong., i Sess., 732. 

1867] CONGRESS 99 

Stanton s co-operation with the president s ad 
versaries in connection with the act of July 19 was 
so undisguised that Johnson finally cast aside his 
strange reluctance to get rid of the secretary, and 
on August 5 requested his resignation. 1 This re 
quest was refused, in /terms which intimated Stan- 
ton s belief that his continuance in the war depart 
ment till Congress reassembled was indispensable 
to the salvation of the government from Johnson s 
nefarious schemes. The president s reply was an 
order suspending Stanton from office, and designat- j 
ing General Grant as secretary of war ai-igjfirtw.j 
Stanton, denying the president s right to suspend 
him, nevertheless gave up the office under protest,/ 
yielding, he said, to superior force. 2 

For three months thenceforth President Johnson 
enjoyed the satisfaction of a real control over his 
own administration, and none of the dismal conse 
quences ensued which had been predicted if Stanton 
should leave his place. When Congress reassembled, 
however, the final disposition of the suspended offi 
cial must, by the terms of the tenure of office act, 
be passed upon by the Senate, and it was quite im 
probable that that body would permit the contin 
uance of Johnson s triumph over its favorite. But 
before the Senate took any action in this matter, 
the House judiciary committee presented its report 

1 Cf. DeWitt, Impeachment, 272 et seq. 

2 The whole correspondence in McPherson, Hist, of Recon 
struction, 261. 


of the investigation which it had so long been carry 
ing on, and by a majority of one recommended the 
impeachment of the president. 1 \; The twelve hundred 
printed pages of evidence submitted were in reality, 
however, a signal vindication of Mr. Johnson; for 
the testimony of witnesses that ranged from as high 
as the cabinet officers to as low as convicted felons 
in prison 2 disclosed nothing in either his public or 
his private life that even the bigoted Boutwell could 
say was an illegal act. Yet this typical exponent 
of the Puritan political conscience presented a reso 
lution that the president be impeached. Though 
many of the moderate Republicans in both House 
and Senate believed that the removal of Johnson 
would be a good thing for the country, they hesitated 
to proceed to so serious a step till some specific act 
of a criminal character could be alleged as a reason. 
Hence the House, on December 7, 1867, voted down 
Boutwell s resolution by 108 to 57.* 

There was still hope for the radicals, however, 
in the situation at the war department. Johnson, 
moreover, was evidently charing under the restric 
tions which Congress had imposed upon the execu 
tive, and might be expected sooner or later to com 
mit some of the "misdemeanors" which had been 
craftily prepared to entrap him. 4 On December 12 

1 House Reports, 40 Cong., i Sess., No. 7. 

2 DeWitt, Impeachment, 154. 291. 

3 Cong. Globe, 40 Cong., 2 Sess., 68; McPherson, Hist, of Re 
construction, 264. *See above, p. 90. 

18681 CONGRESS 101 

the president sent to the Senate a message giving 
his reasons for suspending Stanton. 1 It dwelt chief 
ly on the insolence and defiance manifested by the 
secretary when requested to resign, and on the im 
possibility of executing the laws through a head of 
department in whom the president had no con 
fidence. The CQgency of these reasons was natural 
ly quite lost on the Senate, which formally refused, 
January 13, 1868, to concur in the suspension. Im 
mediately upon this vote Grant left the office of the 
secretary of war, and Stanton took possession. 2 

Johnson was now in an intolerable position. He 
had intended to force Stanton into litigation for j 
the possession of the office, and thus to test the 
constitutionality of the tenure of office act. But 
Grant had thwarted this plan by his prompt with 
drawal, and the only way left open for getting rid 
of Stanton was by what the president knew would 
be declared an illegal and therefore an impeachable 
act. After a month of preparation and of great 
tension in political circles, Johnson, February 21, 
sent Stanton an order removing him from office, 
and named General Lorenzo Thomas secretary of / 
war ad interim. Stanton refused to recognize the\ 
order, or to turn over his office to Thomas; 8 the \ 
Senate promptly passed a resolution declaring that 
the president had no power to remove the secretary ; 
save with its consent; and the House, February 24, 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VI., 583. 

DeWitt, Impeachment, 322. Ibid., 346. 


adopted a resolution that the president be impeached 
of high crimes and misdemeanors in office. 1 

The great wave of passion which swept over the 
majority of Congress at the news of Johnson s ac 
tion obliterated in an instant the distinction be 
tween moderates and radicals. He had committed, 
it was felt, the specific offence which had previously 
been undiscoverable, for the; tenure of office act de 
clared in terms that any removal in contravention 
of its provisions should be a misdemeanor; hence, 
having defied the law, he must suffer the penalty. 
But the preparations for bringing the offender be 
fore the Senate for trial were not very far advanced 
when it began to appear that the violation of law 
was less clear than had been assumed. The tenure 
of office act declared that every civil officer whose 
appointment required the consent of the Senate 
should be entitled to hold his office till his successor 
should be duly appointed; but a provisp affecting 
cabinet officers limited their tenure to "the term 
of the president by whom they may have been ap 
pointed and for one month thereafter." Stanton 
had been appointed by Lincoln in 1862; and it was 
very doubtful whether he could, under such circum 
stances, claim to be protected by the act against 
summary ejection by the president. If Stanton had 
no title to his office, it could not have been a mis- 

1 Cong. Globe, 40 Cong., 2 Sess., 1400; summary of debate in 
DeWitt, Impeachment, 358 et seq., and Blaine, Twenty Years 
of Congress, II., 355. 

i868] CONGRESS 103 

demeanor for the president to oust him from it. 
In view of the uncertainty on this matter of the sec 
retary s term, the idea that a specific violation of 
law must be found to justify impeachment was rele 
gated to the background. Various illegal acts were, 
indeed, alleged against Johnson in connection with 
the appointment of Thomas and the administration 
of the reconstruction acts; but as the proceedings 
developed, the moderates were gradually obliged to 
accept fully the radical ground, and to consent to 
the policy of removing the president, not necessari 
ly for any crime, but on considerations of general 
party expediency. 

The coalescence of the factions of the House ma 
jority in a determined effort to get rid of Johnson 
was apparent in the choice of managers to con 
duct the prosecution. Five of the seven were rad 
icals of the straitest sect Stevens, Butler, Bout- 
well, Williams, and Logan ; the other two, Bingham 
and Wilson, were notably of conservative cast, but 
joined in the hue and cry that arose when Johnson 
removed Stanton. The eleven articles in which the 
indictment of the president took form * also illus 
trated the blended strain of the prosecution. Most 
of them dealt in lawyer-like fashion with various 
aspects of the Stanton-Thomas episode. One, how 
ever, the tenth, was the special work of Mr. Butler, 
and was based on extracts from newspaper reports 

l Cong. Globe, 40 Cong., 2 Sess., "Trial of the President," i; 
also in Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, L, 458. 


of the president s speeches. 1 The adoption of this 
article by the House was a personal triumph for 
Butler, who had proposed impeachment, on the 
ground of Johnson s speeches and general bad con 
duct, as early as October 6, i866, 3 and had per 
sistently urged tke policy ever since. His doctrine 
was that a technical crime or misdemeanor was not 
necessary as a ground for impeachment; and the 
tenth article committed the House to this view. 

The Senate organized for the trial of the president 
March 5, 1868, Chief -Justice Chase taking the chair, 
as required by the Constitution. As Chase was 
known to have little sympathy with the policy of 
the radicals, there was tension from the outset 
between the radical senators and their presiding 
officer; but Chase was sustained in general by a 
majority of the body. 3 The defence of the presi 
dent was conducted by Attorney-General Stanbery, 
who resigned his office for the purpose, ex- Judge B. 
R. Curtis, W. M. Evarts, T. A. R. Nelson, and W. S. 
Groesbeck an array of talent which from the pure 
ly legal point of view distinctly overtopped the 
managers of the prosecution and in political acumen 
did not suffer by comparison. 

The trial began formally on March 13, 1868, and 
terminated on May 26. As a field for the skill and 
eloquence of the politicians and lawyers who were 

1 See above, pp. 62, 81. 

? Cincinnati daily papers of October 7 ; cf. MS., Johnson Papers 

9 Hart, Chase, 359;, Essays, 282. 

i868] CONGRESS 105 

concerned, it attracted the widest and closest at 
tention ; but as a revelation to the world of lawless 
ness and infamy in Andrew Johnson, it soon became 
farcical. The evidence here, as before the judiciary 
committee, 1 fell ridiculously short of justifying the 
wild charges made by his adversaries. It showed \ 
that the president, while greatly embarrassed by the 
hostile legislation of Congress and by the conduct 
of Stanton, had administered his office with the 
nicest regard for law and precedent. The removal 
of Stanton conformed precisely to the procedure by 
which John Adams got rid of the recakitrant sec 
retary of state Timothy Pickering; 2 and the idea 
that the tenure of office act guaranteed the per 
manence of Johnson s cabinet was shown to have 
been repudiated by prominent senators at the time 
the bill was passed. 

Under these circumstances the so-called trial be 
came in its later stages a mere form. The question 
was, not whether the president was guilty of any 
crime, but whether he should be deposed from office 
because of his political opposition to the majority 
in Congress. On this issue a tremendous effort 
was made by the radicals, employing every possible 
means of partisan pressure, to hold the Republican 
senators to a solid vote for conviction. 3 Every one 
who did not make clear his purpose to vote so as to 

1 See above, p. 100. 

*Cong. Globe, 40 Cong., 2 Sess., "Trial of the President," 117- 
119. 8 A summary in DeWitt, Impeachment, 522 et seq. 


insure conviction was spied upon by his colleagues, 
overwhelmed with messages from his constituents, 
and denounced in the General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. 1 But all these efforts 
proved unavailing. The eleventh article was se 
lected as the first to be voted on, because it seemed 
most likely to secure the requisite two-thirds ma 
jority for conviction. 2 Drawn by Thaddeus Stevens, 
this article bore striking testimony to the undimin- 
ished shrewdness and intellectual strength of the 
veteran, whose physical forces were close to their 
end. The vote was taken on the eleventh article, 
May 16, 1868, and resulted, "guilty," 35; "not 
guilty," 19. Two-thirds being necessary for convic 
tion, this vote was an acquittal. Ten days later 
the same result was reached on the second and third 
articles, whereupon the Senate, sitting as a court of 
impeachment, adjourned sine die. 

The failure of the effort to get rid of Johnson was 
due to the votes of seven senators who had pre 
viously stood firmly with the majority against the 
president Fessenden, Fowler, Grimes, Hender 
son, Ross, Trumbull, and Van Winkle; of these, 
Fowler, of Tennessee, Henderson, of Missouri, and 
Van Winkle, of West Virginia, were predisposed to 
moderation by their border-state antecedents; Fes 
senden, of Maine, Grimes, of Iowa, and Trumbull, 
of Illinois, were opposed to the radical policy on the 

1 DeWitt, Impeachment, 530; Journal of the General Conference, 
155, 158. 2 Dunning, Essays, 300. 

i868] CONGRESS 107 

highest considerations of statesmanship; and Ross 
was an inconspicuous and commonplace product of 
Kansas, who rose to a proud height of independence 
in resisting the influences brought to bear upon him 
by the radicals, but after the verdict fell back to 
the lower level through prompt and importunate 
demands upon the president for patronage. Van 
Winkle also sought offices from Johnson after the 
verdict, bracketing himself thus with Ross in a sug 
gestive contrast to Fessenden, who declined to in 
dorse a friend s application for a place on the express 
ground that such an act would, under the circum 
stances, " expose me to offensive imputations." L 

The majority of the Senate for conviction fell 
only one short of the requisite two-thirds, and ap 
parently the change of a .single vote would have 
effected the removal of the president. Fut, in fact, 
other moderates stood ready to vote "not guilty" 
if their votes should be necessary to secure ac 
quittal. 2 Every Republican who thus voted did so 
with the practical certainty that his public career 
in the party would be ended, since the radicals con 
trolled the machinery in most states; and at least 
two senators Sprague, of Rhode Island, and Willey, 
of West Virginia, felt indisposed to sacrifice their 
political future unnecessarily. 

1 Ross to Johnson, June 6, July i and 10; Van Winkle to 
Johnson, June 19; Fessenden to Peters, June 4; all in MS., 
Johnson Papers. 

1 Conversation with ex-Senator J. B. Henderson in 1901. 


Immediately after the termination of the trial, 
Stanton relinquished the office of which he had 
maintained actual physical possession most of the 
time since February 2I, 1 and on June i General 
Schofield, after certain delicate negotiations by the 
astute Evarts to insure the general s consent and 
the Senate s confirmation, became secretary of war. 2 
The president at last had his way in respect to his 
own advisers, and the radicals had met their first 
serious reverse since the struggle with Johnson be 
gan. Out of sheer spite the Senate refused to con 
firm the nomination of Stanbery for his former place 
in the cabinet, "and the President offered it first to 
Ex- Judge Curtis, who declined it, and next to the 
generally popular Evarts, whom the Senate readily 
confirmed as attorney-general. , With this incident 
the conflict between the executive and the legis 
lature practically ceased; for the campaign for the 
choice of the next president had already opened, and 
he was not to be Andrew Johnson. 

1 Gorham, Stanton, II., 444. 

2 Schofield, Forty-Six Years in the Army, 413. 



THROUGHOUT the year of active tension be 
tween executive and Congress at Washington, 
the process of reorganization in the South, which 
Johnson was charged with systematically obstruct 
ing, had gone steadily forward on the lines laid down 
in the reconstruction acts. When the generals as 
sumed control of their respective districts, in March, 
1867, military rule under the Federal authority was 
probably the only species of government that could 
have maintained order; for the bitterness of the 
whites over negro suffrage would have caused dis 
turbances beyond the power of the civil officers to 
suppress. No disposition anywhere appeared, how 
ever, to resist the Federal military power, and a 
mere handful of troops was sufficient to sustain a 
far-reaching despotism. 

It was, indeed, no novelty for the people of the 
South to be subject to government by the United 
States army. The situation under the reconstruc 
tion acts was the same that had existed after the 
close of hostilities and before the recognition of the 


new state governments by the president, 1 and the 
Freedmen s Bureau never ceased from exercising its 
authority even after those organizations were in full 
operation. But there were many reasons for a feel 
ing in the South in 1867 that had no parallel in 1865. 
Military rule displacing civil governments that had 
worked with satisfactory efficiency for a year was 
a different thing from military rule that expressed 
merely the temporary dominion of a conqueror at 
the close of a long war. The reasoning by which the 
policy of Congress was justified in the North was 
regarded in the South as founded on falsehood and 
malice. So far as the " black codes " were concerned, 
it was pointed out that they could not be alleged as 
evidences of a tendency to restore slavery or intro 
duce peonage, since the offensive acts had in many 
of the states been repealed by the legislatures them 
selves, 2 and in all had been duly superseded by the 
civil rights act. The much - exploited outrages on 
freedmen and Unionists were declared to be exag 
gerated or distorted reports of incidents which any 
time of social tension must produce among the 
criminal classes. The rejection of the Fourteenth 
Amendment was considered as merely a dignified 
refusal by honorable men to be the instruments of 
their own humiliation and shame. 3 

Under all these circumstances the southerners felt 

1 See above, p. 2-9. 2 Cf. Rhodes, United States, VI., 26. 

3 Cf . Hamilton, Reconstruction in N. C., 170; Fleming, Docu 
mentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 236. 

i86 7 ] THE SOUTH in 

that the policy of Congress had no real cause save 
the purpose of radical politicians to prolong and 
extend their party power by means of negro suf 
frage. This and this alone was the purpose for 
which major-generals had been empowered to re 
model the state governments at their will, to ex 
ercise through general orders the functions of ex 
ecutive, legislature, and courts, and to compel the 
white people to recognize the blacks as their equals 
wherever the stern word of military command could 
reach. It was as inconceivable to the southerners 
that rational men of the North should seriously ap 
prove of negro suffrage per se as it had been in 1860 
to the northerners that rational men of the South 
should approve of secession per se. Hence, in the 
one case as in the other, a craving for political power 
was assumed to be the only explanation of an other 
wise unintelligible proceeding. 

The process of creating a new electorate and 
through it a new government in each of the ten 
states was carried on by the district commanders 
in close conformity with the radical spirit of the 
reconstruction acts. The registration of voters was 
so directed as to insure beyond all peradventure the 
fullest enrolment of the blacks and the completest 
exclusion of disfranchised whites. 1 When the re 
turns were all in it appeared that the negroes were 
in the majority in South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, 
Mississippi, and Louisiana, and the whites in Vir- 

1 Dunning, Essays, 182 et seq. 

VOL. XII. 8 


ginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Texas, while in 
Georgia the numbers were about equal. 1 The first 
exercise by the newly enfranchised lass of their high 
privilege was in the elections for the various con 
stitutional conventions. In these elections, as in 
the registration, the military authorities assumed the 
duty of promoting in every way participation by the 
blacks, and of counteracting every influence tending 
to keep them from the polls. The result of the elec 
tions was a group of constituent assemblies whose 
unfitness for their task was pitiful. No one of them, 
indeed, lacked members of fair ability and creditable 
purpose ; but the number of such members was small, 
and they were for the most part entirely out of touch 
with the intelligent and substantial classes of the 
population for whom they were framing a govern 
ment. The chief part was taken in the conventions 
by northern men who had come South with the 
army or with the Freedmen s Bureau. Some few 
well-qualified native southerners also, of the Union 
ist element which had been the basis of the presi 
dential restoration, assumed a prominent position 
in the deliberations; but the mass of the delegates 
consisted of whites and blacks whose ignorance and 
inexperience in respect to political methods were 
equalled only by the crudenes and distortion of 

Lenes i 

their ideas as to political ana social ends. 2 

1 Senate Exec. Docs., 40 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 53 ; Dunning, Essays, 

2 Personnel of conventions analyzed in Garner, Reconstruction 

i86;] THE SOUTH 113 

The constitutions which were framed by these 
conventions embodied many provisions which were 
in the abstract highly commendable, and were ac 
cordingly hailed by the radicals as abundantly 
justifying their policy. In the financial and rev 
enue systems, in the organization and tenure of the 
judiciary, in the machinery of local government, 
and especially in the provisions for public educa 
tion, the institutions of those northern states which 
regarded themselves as most enlightened and progres 
sive were freely appropriated. But these very inno 
vations, approved in the North as tokens of sub 
stantial regeneration, served in the South to sharpen 
the hatred and contempt with which the whole pro 
cedure of reconstruction was received by the mass 
of the whites. Quite apart from the doubts that 
might be raised as to the applicability of north 
ern institutions to southern conditions, the novelties 
were looked upon as vitiated at the outset by the 
means through which they were introduced. More 
over, the guarantee of entire equality, civil and po 
litical, among the citizens regardless of race was, of 
course, a fundamental feature of all the new con 
stitutions. This system, insuring as it did for the 
future a large where not a controlling participation 
of the blacks in all the functions of government, be- 
in Miss., 187; Fleming, Reconstruction in Ala., 517; Hamilton, 
Reconstruction in N. C., 229; Hollis, Reconstruction in S. C., 83; 
Eckenrode, Va. during Reconstruction, 87; see also Am. Annual 
Cyclop., under the various states. 


came the centre of partisan controversy to which all 
other /issues were wholly subordinate. 

During the late winter and spring of 1868 the 
work of the constitutional conventions was com 
pleted in all the states but Texas, and the ques 
tion of ratification came before the electorates. By 
this time the formation and consolidation of parties 
had been completed, and the political antithesis of 
the races was everywhere obvious. The passage of 
the reconstruction acts by Congress terminated 
abruptly and forever the political prospects of that 
moderate, anti-secession, Whiggish element of the 
whites which Johnson s policy had brought to the 
front. To the great majority of these men negro 
suffrage was as intolerable, as unthinkable as it was 
to the most extreme of the ex-Confederates. The 
actuality of the new order, as expressed in the as 
sumption of authority by the district command 
ers, reduced most of the whites to the impotence 
and apathy of despair. But a solitary chance pre 
sented itself of escape from the disasters of negro 
political supremacy : if the freedmen could be won 
to look for guidance in their new duties to their old 
masters, all might yet be well. In some localities 
systematic attempts were made to persuade the 
blacks that their best interest lay in harmony with 
the native whites ;* but the results were pathetically 

1 Cf. Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, I., 420- 
Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., 180; Eckenrode, Va. during 
Reconstruction, 74 et seq. 

1 868] THE SOUTH 115 

insignificant. To the emancipated race all the as 
tounding changes of the recent wonder years had 
come through other sources, and the vague but in 
toxicating delights of political privilege must, they 
felt, be enjoyed under the same auspices that had 
brought them freedom, schools, and the unlimited in 
dulgence of those weird emotions which they called J 

But it was not unguided instinct alone that kept 
the blacks apart politically from the native whites. 
From the Union soldiers, from the northern mission 
aries and school-teachers, and from bureau agents 
of every grade the freedmen had heard proclaimed 
for years now, in all the changes from mysterious 
allusion to intemperate asseveration, the virtues of 
the Union and Republican party which controlled 
the North, and the vices and heresies of the Demo 
crats which had brought ruin to the South. With 
out a clear comprehension as to what it all meant, 
the mass of the freedmen were sure that they must 
be Union men and Republicans. 

The way to this result had been diligently pre 
pared, before enfranchisement became a fact, by 
Union or Loyal Leagues organized in numbers in the 
South. These societies, originating during the war 
as agencies for the promotion of the Union cause 
among the southern whites, devoted their energies 
after the end of hostilities to the aid of the radical 
projects of reconstruction. By the time the con 
gressional policy was matured, the membership of 


the leagues had become predominantly negro, and 
under cover of the secret and oath-bound organiza 
tion, with awe-inspiring rites and ceremonial, the 
new voters were duly trained for their political 
activity by the few whites who were in control. 1 
In the first elections under the reconstruction acts 
the leagues were the chief factors in giving coherence 
and efficiency to the majority party. And when, 
later, Union Republican or radical organizations 
were formally constituted in each of the states, it 
was often hard to tell just where the Union League 
ended and the regular party began. 

The party, then, which triumphed in the making 
of the constitutions, and which looked forward to 
a further triumph in their ratification, consisted 
chiefly of freedmen, led by a small number of north 
ern whites the detested "carpet-baggers." With 
these were united a body of native whites the 
even more detested "scalawags" who were either 
war-time Unionists animated by still undiminished 
hatred of the ex-Confederates, or "reconstructed" 
rebels who had given up the fight against the con 
gressional policy, whether from sincere conviction 
that such course was for the best or from a longing 
for the good things of office which were obviously 
to be expected only from the radical party. 

The opposition to this party was generally desig 
nated as the conservatives, though the name Demo- 

1 For the ritual of the Union League and facts about its activity, 
see Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, II., chap. vii. 

1 868] THE~ SOUTH 117 

crats became also a common and sufficiently accu 
rate title. In it were included the great mass of 
the white political population, with a sprinkling of 
negroes too scanty in numbers to serve any purpose 
save that of illustrating from time to time the claim 
of the more optimistic whites that some headway 
was being made against the radical control of the 
freedmen. In the demoralization produced by the 
reconstruction acts and by the vigorous and ag 
gressive activity of the military commanders, the 
conservatives failed to make much impression on 
the elections for constitutional conventions. But 
by the time the work of the conventions came before 
the electorates for ratification, an energetic policy 
of opposition had been organized by the conserva 
tives in every state. The various specific features 
of the new constitutions afforded abundant oppor 
tunity for the usual kind of electioneering discus 
sion; but the dominant tone in the campaign was 
that which sounded with defiant resonance in the 
resolutions of conservative conventions touching the 
relations of the races. Witness the reference in 
Louisiana to the "lapse of Caucasian civilization into 
African barbarism"; the Mississippi denunciation of 
the "nefarious design" of the Republicans to "de 
grade the Caucasian race as the inferiors of the 
African negro"; and the unequivocal declaration 
in South Carolina that "the white people of our 
state will never quietly submit to negro rule." * 

1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1868, pp. 432, 511, 697. 


But the hand of the national military authority 
was too strong upon the states to permit of con 
servative success in the first elections. Only in 
Mississippi was ratification of the new constitution 
defeated by a majority of the votes cast. In Ala 
bama, ratification failed ; but the conservatives 
achieved this end by systematic abstention from vot 
ing. The registration in the state was about 170,- 
ooo ; the vote was, for ratification, 70,812; against, 
1005: thus the total vote was less than half the 
total registration. 1 With a purpose to insure that 
the new constitutions should never be called into 
question as not emanating from the people of the 
state, Congress had decreed in the reconstruction 
acts that ratification should be valid only in case a 
majority of the registered voters took part in the 
election. After the disagreeable result in Alaba 
ma, this requirement was repealed, 2 and other steps 
were taken to facilitate the restoration of the states. 
It was enacted, for example, that state officers under 
the new constitutions might be voted for at the 
same time with the vote on ratification. Through 
this provision the radicals secured very important 
advantages in the elections, 3 and during the spring 
of 1868 the new constitutions were ratified and state 
executives and legislatures chosen in Arkansas, the 
two Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. 

1 Cf. Fleming, Reconstruction in Ala., 538 et seq. 

3 Act of March xi, 1868, McPherson, Reconstruction, 336. 

3 Dunning, Essays, 203 et seq. 

i868] THE SOUTH 119 

Congress, with a promptness that was not unin 
fluenced by the exigencies of the impeachment trial 
then in progress and of the approaching presidential 
elections, took up and pressed to passage statutes 
restoring the six states to representation ; l and in 
the partisan zeal and triumph of the moment Ala 
bama was restored with the rest and saddled with 
the constitution which had failed of ratification in 
the elections. This proceeding, by which the Ala 
bama conservatives were unceremoniously deprived 
of the fruits of the victory which their astute policy 
had brought them, was not the least high-handed 
and unscrupulous of the acts through which Thad- 
deus Stevens and his extremist followers won dubi 
ous distinction in this strenuous time. 

Virginia and Texas failed to complete the fram 
ing and ratification of their constitutions in time to 
be passed upon by Congress during the summer of 
1868 ; and, with Mississippi, these two remained under 
military government for some time longer. In the 
other seven states the governments chosen at the 
elections in the spring were duly installed and mili 
tary government was withdrawn. In each of the 
seven except Georgia, the radicals made a pretty 
clean sweep in the elections and gained a firm con 
trol of all branches of the state government. In the 
delegations sent to Congress, also, the conservatives 

1 The act restoring Arkansas became law June 22, 1868, and 
that restoring the other six states June 25, 1868; sketch of their 
parliamentary history in McPherson, Reconstruction, 337. 


had little representation. The most rasping feat 
ure of the new situation to the old white element 
of the South was the large predominance of north 
erners and negroes in all the positions of political 
power. Thus, for the states restored in 1868, ten 
of the fourteen United States senators, twenty of 
the thirty-five representatives, and four 1 of the 
seven governors were men whose first acquaintance 
with their constituencies was made during or af 
ter the war. 2 The great majority of these carpet 
baggers had served in the Union army or in the 
treasury department. Many had established bona 
fide residences in the South, but few had acquired 
much property. 

In the subordinate offices of the state and local 
governments, except the judiciary, the carpet-bag 
element was less conspicuous in proportion, and the 
negro and scalawag element assumed chief prom 
inence. The highest offices secured at this time by 
the blacks were lieutenant-governor in Louisiana 
and secretary of state in South Carolina. Every 
legislature contained a substantial negro delegation, 
and in South Carolina the black members .numbered 
eighty-eight, the whites but sixty-seven. 3 

The hostility with which the radicals were re- 

1 Not including Governor Bullock, of Georgia, who went there 
from the North in 1859. 

3 These figures are derived from biographical information in 
Poore, Political Register and Cong. Directory, and in the mono 
graphs of Fleming, Reynolds, Hamilton, Garner, and Woolley, 

3 Reynolds, Reconstruction in S. C. t 108. 

1 868] THE SOUTH 121 

garded by the conservatives had, of course, a very 
strong justification on other grounds than those of 
alienage and race. The utter lack of financial re 
sponsibility among the new political leaders was 
established by statistics that, with all allowance 
for exaggeration, were exceedingly suggestive. The 
term "carpet-bagger" in its origin expressed the 
general feeling, and in large measure the fact, so 
far as the alien whites were concerned; a few were 
men of substance, bent on settling in the South, 
but most were of the limited possessions and un 
stable future which were symbolized by the car 
pet-bag. The negroes were, of course, very ill-sup 
plied with this world s goods. The members of the 
South Carolina legislature of 1868 are said to have 
paid altogether but $635.23 of taxes, 91 of the 165 
members paying none whatever. 1 In Alabama the 
total taxes paid by legislators were estimated at less 
than $100. 2 

The inevitable extra-legal protest of the former 
political people against their subjection to the f reed- 
men and northerners was manifesting itself in many 
places by the time the seven states were restored in 
1868. Pari passu with the organization of the f reed- 
men in Union Leagues the whites of various locali 
ties formed bands for purposes sometimes of defence 
from, sometimes of aggression upon, the blacks. 3 

1 Reynolds, Reconstruction in S. C., 108. 

2 Fleming, Reconstruction in Ala., 739. 

3 Cf. Brown, Lower South in Am. History, 192 et seq. 


The membership of these bands was generally re 
cruited from the less sober and substantial classes 
of the whites, and their activity consisted in pro 
ceedings designed to terrify or coerce the freedmen 
into conduct that should manifest respect for the 
persons and property of the superior race. With 
the approach of negro enfranchisement, however, 
the white societies were transformed in member 
ship, spirit, and purpose. The deep dread of negro 
domination under the auspices of invincible national 
power impelled thousands of serious and respectable 
whites to look for some means of mitigation, if not 
complete salvation, in the methods of the secret 
societies. In the spring of 1867 elaborate organi 
zations were effected by the Ku-Klux Klan, or In 
visible Empire, at Nashville, and the Knights of 
the White Camelia at New Orleans. 1 The explicit 
purpose of these organizations was to preserve the 
social and political ascendency of the white race. 
The means to be employed are not dilated upon in 
the documents of the societies that have come to 
light; but many other records of the reconstruction 
time indicate that the means were of but slight con 
sequence compared with the end, in the minds of 
those who made the names of the societies of such 
ominous significance throughout the land. 

The operations of the Ku-Klux were conspicuous 

1 Constitutions and rituals of these two orders, with illustra 
tive material, in Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, 
II., chap, xii., esp. pp. 347, 349, 351. 

1 868] THE SOUTH 123 

features, in the South, of the presidential elections 
of 1868. Reports of the proceedings through which 
both blacks and whites were visited with the wrath 
of the secret orders for supporting the radicals ex 
cited wide-spread interest and comment. The chief 
of the Invisible Empire became alarmed at the spirit 
and proportions of the association which he headed, 
and in 1869 sent forth the order to disband it; 1 but 
though he surrendered his functions, the local so 
cieties long continued to employ familiar methods 
in asserting the supremacy of their race. The moral 
suasion to which the leaders would limit the move 
ment against the radicals never ceased to be sup 
plemented by the merciless physical suasion in which 
rested the confidence of the, rank and file. 

1 Lester and Wilson, Ku-Klux llan (edited by Fleming), 128. 
The editor s introduction gives fuller details. 



THE failure of the radicals in impeachment and 
their success in effecting the restoration of most 
of the rebel states both had intimate relations with 
the initial stages of the presidential campaign of 
1868. The Republican nominating convention met 
at Chicago, May 20, four days after the first vote 
acquitting the president; and July 4, nine days 
after the passage of the act restoring the six 
southern states to representation, the Democratic 
convention assembled at New York. By the fail 
ure to remove Johnson from office, the radical ex 
tremists were in a certain measure discredited, and 
in particular the aspirations of Senator Wade _to a 
place on the ticket were thwarted. 1 Through the 
completion of reconstruction in most of the states, 
the party which was responsible for it could go into 
the electoral campaign with all the advantage which 
accrues in times of political crisis from the accom 
plished fact, regardless of the manner and means of 
its accomplishment. On July 20, in consequence 

1 Cf. McClure. Our President* and How Wi Make Them, 210. 


of the ratifications of the newly restored common 
wealths, the Fourteenth Amendment was proclaimed 
in force, 1 and thus one more formidable obstacle was 
raised up in the way of any reactionary movement 
by the Democrats. 

During the year preceding the presidential cam 
paign of 1868 the prospect of such a radical victory 
as that in 1866 was dimmed by the trend of affairs 
in the North. The state elections of 1867 resulted in 
important Democratic gains. 2 Negro suffrage was 
apparently not in favor in the radical strongholds 
of the West ; for constitutional amendments enfran 
chising the blacks were rejected by popular votes 
in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Kansas.* But, to 
counterbalance the adverse state of popular opinion 
on the suffrage question, the Republicans could count 
upon the very certain party advantage which had 
accrued from the completion of reconstruction. Of 
the seven states that were restored in June, it was 
confidently expected that all the electoral votes 
would go to the radicals. In three of these states 
Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana this end had 
been striven for through far-reaching disfranchise- 
ment of whites in addition to the enfranchisement 
of the blacks. 4 Tennessee also had been made surely 
radical by a most rigorous proscription of the ex- 

1 McPherson, Reconstruction, 3 79. 

*lbid., 372. *Ibid., 257, 353. 

Franchise clauses of the constitutions, Ibid., 327, 329; c. 
Dunning, Essays, 196. 


Confederates. 1 Of the border states, Missouri and 
West Virginia were in the firm grip of the radicals 
by the same means. 2 And, finally, in addition to 
the very substantial list of votes from the former 
slave states, the Chicago nominee was assured of 
three votes from Nebraska, which had been ad 
mitted as a state in the spring of 1867 in spite of a 
presidential veto. 3 

Republican prospects were bright, moreover, from 
the point of view of the predestined candidate for 
the presidency. Long before the convention met, 
the unanimous nomination of General Grant was 
assured. His popularity in the North was universal 
and overwhelming. The predilection for the mili 
tary hero which had played so large a part in plac 
ing Jackson, Harrison, and Taylor in the White 
House centred upon Grant after Vicksburg, and 
developed the utmost intensity after Appomattox. 
So far as he had ever manifested any interest in 
politics, he had affiliated with the Democrats; and 
after the war there were evidences of a purpose in 
certain Democratic leaders to claim him as their 
own, and to exploit his popularity for their party s 
behoof. 4 But Grant, on account of his official posi 
tion as chief of the army, became inextricably in- 

1 Herbert, Why the Solid South ? 190; Fertig, Secession and Re 
construction in Tenn., 73. 

See above, p. 8; Herbert, Why the Solid Sottih? 261, 263 
et seq. a Mason, Veto Power, 152. 

4 Badeau, Grant in Peace, 33. 


volved in the political broils at Washington. He 
strove conscientiously to follow the straight path 
of his military duty, but he could not fully under 
stand the forces which were in conflict around him, 
or elude the efforts of one side or the other to profit 
by the prestige of his name. 

Up to the end of 1867, Grant s strong sense of 
subordination to his constitutional commander-in- 
chief, and the normal antipathy of the military head 
of the army to the secretary of war, enabled the ad 
ministration faction to claim the general as their 
own and greatly to disquiet the congressional lead 
ers. But in January, 1868, incidentally to the effort 
of the president to keep Stanton out of the war de 
partment, 1 the general managed to put himself in a 
very equivocal position and became involved in an 
open and violent quarrel with the president. 2 From 
this time Grant s animosity towards Johnson was ex 
treme and unconcealed; impeachment had no more 
ardent advocate than the General of the Army. 1 
Under such circumstances, the nomination of Grant 
for the presidency was assured. 

The completeness with which circumstances pre 
determined the chief feature of the national con 
vention left little serious work for the assembly at 
Chicago. Of some significance was the discussion 

1 See above, p. 101. 

* Ant. Annual Cyclop., 1868, pp. 649 et seq., 742; Badeau, 
Grant in Peace, 113; Rhodes, United States, VI., 100. 
1 Badeatt, Grant in Peace, 134, 136. 
VOL. xxn. 9 


concerning the name of the party which the con 
vention represented. A wide and deep gulf sepa 
rated the organization in session from those which 
nominated Lincoln in 1860 and 1864. But despite 
the transformations effected by the developments of 
war and reconstruction, there survived among the 
delegates at Chicago a tradition of the Republican 
ism of 1860 and a pride in the Unionism of 1864; 
while the full representation of the southern states 
gave an opportunity, wholly lacking in the previous 
conventions, to cast off with ceremony the impu 
tation of sectionalism. Accordingly the conven 
tion adopted the name "National Union Republican 

The platform 1 naturally placed first in arrange 
ment and in emphasis the approval of congressional 
reconstruction and the duty of leaving its results 
unchanged. On negro suffrage, however, the warn 
ing contained in the elections of 1867 was heeded, 
and this masterpiece of evasion was presented: 
"The guarantee by Congress of equal suffrage to 
all loyal men at the South was demanded by every 
consideration of public safety, of gratitude and of 
justice, and must be maintained; while the question 
of suffrage in all the loyal states properly belongs 
to the people of those states." The questions of 
finance and currency, which had been assuming 
prominence for some time, were also handled gin- 

1 McPherson, Reconstruction, 364; Stan wood, Hist, of the 
Presidency, 318. 


gerly in the platform. There appeared very clearly 
the desire to please the circles of high finance in 
the East without unduly antagonizing the " green 
back" sentiment which was obviously a serious ele 
ment of popular opinion in the West. As a whole, 
the Republican position in the campaign, as infer 
able from both platform and nominations, was that 
of asking for the voter s approval of what had been 
achieved in reconstruction, without any committal 
to a definite future policy on any issue whatever. 
Speaker Coif ax, indeed, who secured the nomina 
tion for the vice-presidency, was known to be of 
advanced ideas on negro suffrage ; but the key-note 
of the campaign was the concluding sentence in 
Grant s letter of acceptance: "Let us have peace." * 
In the Democracy there was much difference of 
opinion as to the proper policy for the approaching 
campaign. Unterrified by the decisive manifesta 
tion of northern sentiment in 1866, a large element 
in the party was confident that another fight on 
reconstruction would have a different outcome, es 
pecially if the personality of Andrew Johnson should 
be eliminated from the situation. On the other 
hand, a group of the more conservative leaders were 
disposed to put less emphasis on the undoing of the 
work already completed by Congress, and wished to 
signalize the reunion of the wings that had sepa 
rated in 1 860 by a solemn consecration of the reunited 
Democracy to its traditional doctrines strict con- 
1 McPherson, Reconstruction, 365. 


struction, tariff for revenue, hard money, and, in 
general, the interests of the masses as against the 
classes. By this element of the party the possibility 
of Chief -Justice Chase as a candidate was seriously 
entertained. Chase was still possessed by the con 
viction which for twenty years had influenced his 
political activity, that he was particularly well quali 
fied to be a successful candidate for the presidency. 
He permitted his friends to canvass the chances of 
his nomination by the Republicans at Chicago, and 
quickly discovered that his known dislike of many 
features of radical reconstruction rendered his 
chances nil. In response to the inquiry of leading 
Democrats, whether he would permit his name to be 
presented to the convention at New York, he signi 
fied a willingness to lead a reorganized Democracy, 
provided the party would indorse negro suffrage. 
This reply, noble in its candor but quixotic in 
its implications, practically put Chase out of the 
running. 1 

The radical spirits of the Democracy demanded 
such action by the convention as should declare 
relentless war on the work of the radical Congress. 
A priori, President Johnson would be the logical can 
didate; and he was eager for the nomination. But 
Johnson s availability as a campaign leader had 
been decisively tested in 1866, and his confidential 
agent at New York, just before the convention met, 
accurately reported that while everybody was prais- 

1 Hart, Chase, 363 et seq. 


ing the president s courage and devotion to the Con 
stitution, no one showed much disposition to nomi 
nate him. 1 Much more to the taste of the radical 
wing of the party was General Francis P. Blair, Jr., 
an energetic representative of the famous family 
which had so profoundly influenced politics from the 
days of Andrew Jackson down. The Blairs, in their 
confidential relations with Johnson, had persistently 
urged him on to extreme measures in his dealings with 
Congress; 2 and the general, in a published letter of 
June 30, i868, 3 addressed to J. O. Brodhead, round 
ly declared that it would be the duty of the Demo 
cratic candidate, if elected president, to abolish by 
force the governments set up in the southern states, 
treat the reconstruction acts as void, and restore the 
situation which existed prior to their enactment. 

The Blair idea at one extreme alienated as many 
thoughtful and cautious Democrats as did the Chase 
idea at the other. One result was that, when the 
convention met, the greatest strength was displayed 
by a faction which was devoted to relegating the 
issues of reconstruction to a subordinate position 
and putting in the front a financial issue. The 
demand that certain of the bonds should be paid at 
maturity in greenbacks rather than gold 4 had been 
strongly and ably urged in the West, especially 

1 Cooper to Johnson, July 3, 1868, in MS., Johnson Papers. 

2 The Johnson Papers abound in evidence of this. 

3 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1868, p. 746. 

4 See below, p. 139. 


by George H. Pendleton, of Ohio, the admired leader 
of the Democracy of that state. When the conven 
tion met at New York, the Pendleton men were far 
more numerous than the supporters of any other 
one candidate for the nomination, but fell much 
short of the number necessary for a choice. To the 
eastern leaders, however, the greenback issue was 
very distasteful, as likely, if given too much em 
phasis, to alienate many votes in the election ; and 
the opposition to Pendleton, especially among the 
New York delegates, was very strong. 

Under all the circumstances, the outcome of the 
convention at New York was entirely uncertain at 
the beginning, and its proceedings had none of the 
cut-and-dried character of the Republican assembly. 
The platform adopted by the Democrats * mani 
fested the dominance of the Pendleton element 
rather than the Blair extremists. On the issues of 
reconstruction the resolutions embodied, indeed, a 
fierce arraignment of the congressional proceedings 
and an indorsement of President Johnson, with the 
explicit declaration that the reconstruction acts, 
"so called," were " unconstitutional, revolutionary 
and void." But nothing explicit was said as to 
what ought to be done under the circumstances; 
and the only positive demands made were that all 
the states should be immediately restored to their 
rights, that amnesty should be granted for political 
offences, and that the question of the franchise should 

1 McPherson, Reconstruction, 367. 


be left to the states. On the financial issue, on the 
other hand, there was a straightforward declaration 
that government bonds ought to be subject to taxa 
tion, and that the interest on certain classes of them 
ought in right and justice to be paid in "lawful 
money" rather than coin. 

The triumph of the Pendleton men in the plat 
form was followed by their failure in the nomina 
tion. After twenty-one ballots had revealed that 
the cause of their favorite was hopeless, and when 
the New York leaders were preparing to bring for 
ward Chase to take advantage of the deadlock, the 
Ohio delegation, by a dramatic coup, cast their votes 
for Horatio Seymour, who was presiding over the 
convention. Despite his peremptory refusal to be 
a candidate, the delegates turned en masse to Sey 
mour, and he was nominated unanimously. 1 Hav 
ing triumphed on the main point, the moderates 
readily conceded to the extremists the naming of 
the vice-presidential candidate, and the choice went 
speedily to General Blair. Seymour, after a period 
of doubtful consideration, withdrew his refusal to 
accept the nomination, and entered a campaign of 
whose happy issue he had little expectation. 

The result of the voting in November proved, how 
ever, to be less discouraging to the Democracy than 
had been anticipated. Grant was elected by 214 
electoral votes against 80, carrying twenty-six out 
of thirty-four states, and he had a majority of three 

1 Rhodes, United States, VI., 167. 


hundred thousand in the popular vote. Of the 
fifteen former slave states, eight North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Ten 
nessee, West Virginia, and Missouri went Repub 
lican. But it was evident on analysis that the 
Republican majorities in these were due chiefly to 
the disfranchisement of ex-Confederates. A very 
strong and growing sentiment against this pro 
scription of the whites existed in the Republican 
party itself, and was bound soon to prevail; where 
upon the reversion of all the southern and border 
states to the Democracy seemed very probable. 
With this substantial foundation, the securing of 
enough northern states, four or eight years later, 
to insure a presidential victory for the Democrats 
was by no means a hopeless task; for Seymour car 
ried New York, New Jersey, and Oregon, and was 
dangerously near his competitor in California, Con 
necticut, and Indiana. 1 

The Republicans were as keenly awake to this 
situation as were their adversaries, and it furnished 
the main issue on which the factions within the 
successful party divided in Grant s administration. 
The radicals urged a policy which should, by all 
the power of the national government, maintain 
the hold of the Republicans on the South ; the mod 
erates favored a relinquishment of southern issues 
as soon as the work of reconstruction should have 
been completed, and a recourse to policies of ad- 

^cPherson, Reconstruction, 499. 


ministration and finance that would enable the 
party to commend itself to an overwhelming ma 
jority in the North. But certain features of the 
election of 1868 in the South united all elements of 
the successful party in a far-reaching assertion of 
power over the franchise. Seymour and Blair re 
ceived heavy majorities in Georgia and Louisiana. 
It was charged that this result was largely due to 
organized and ruthless proceedings by the whites to. 
suppress or nullify the negro vote, and investiga 
tions disclosed much violence, especially in Louis 
iana. 1 The Knights of the White Camelia mani 
fested their purpose and methods in Louisiana 
without much reserve, and the Ku-Klux were active 
not only in Georgia, but also in Tennessee and north 
ern Alabama. Whatever doubt was felt by mod 
erate Republicans about disfranchisement of the 
southern whites, there was none as to the policy of 
maintaining what had been achieved in enfranchis 
ing the blacks. Accordingly, the party stood solid 
ly together in support of the Fifteenth Amendment, 
which was proposed in the session of Congress that 
followed the election. 

1 Elaine, Twenty Years of Congress, II., 410; Senate Exec. Docs., 
40 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 15; House Misc. Does., 41 Cong., 2 Sess., 
No. 154. 




THE financial and economic condition of the 
country at the close of the year 1868 was well 
adapted to promote the era of prosperity which 
the apparent termination of intense political strife 
brought to every one s attention. Both the purely 
speculative and the really substantial elements of 
wealth-making progress were active. It was felt 
by many conservative men that the speculative 
factors were unduly prominent, and that sound 
development was impossible without important 
changes in the system of currency and national 
finance; but the prevailing tone of popular feeling 
after the election was optimistic, and this spirit was 
manifest in all phases of industrial activity. 

The readjustment of the national finances after 
the tension of the war had ceased was seriously im 
peded by the political conflict about reconstruction. 
President Johnson had little interest in finance, and 
even less knowledge of the subject, and accordingly 
the policy of the administration was left entirely 


to Secretary McCulloch. 1 The conditions with which 
he was called upon to deal were full of difficulties. 
The national debt amounted, October 31, 1865, to 
something over two billion eight hundred million 
dollars, in the great variety of forms which the stress 
of war had made inevitable. 2 Legal-tender treasury 
notes to the amount of four hundred and twenty- 
eight million dollars were the chief element in the 
currency of the country, though there was much 
doubt as to whether their legal-tender quality would 
be held constitutional. Taxation was enormously 
high, and applied to practically every available sub 
ject known to fiscal usage. The great problems be 
fore the treasury and Congress, therefore, were the 
reorganization and speediest possible reduction of the 
debt, the re-establishment of a specie currency, and 
the curtailment of the revenue as rapidly as the 
waning military expenses would permit. 

Of these problems, the secretary believed that the 
elimination of the legal-tender notes (greenbacks) 
from the currency was of the first importance. All 
the insidious and far-reaching evils of an irredeem 
able paper money he felt were already manifest in 
the United States: the notes were greatly depre 
ciated, and prices of all commodities were corre 
spondingly inflated; gold was at a premium, and 

1 McCulloch, Men and Measures, 377; John Sherman, Recol 
lections, I., 384. 

"Sec. of Treas., Report, in House Exec. Docs., 39 Cong., i Sess., 
o. 3, p. 17; cf. Dewey, Financial Hist, of the U. S., 332. 


the daily fluctuations of this premium, operating on 
prices, brought uncertainty into every department 
of commerce and industry. 1 McCulloch s belief in 
prompt and radical measures for getting back to a 
specie currency was widely shared by all classes of 
the people, and was acted upon by Congress. By 
a law of April 12, 1866, the secretary was authorized 
to retire the legal-tender notes at a limited rate, 
and under this authorization the amount outstanding 
was reduced during the next two years to three 
hundred and fifty-six million dollars. But during 
that time a variety of circumstances, among which 
the general hostility to Johnson s administration 
played no minor part, 2 created violent opposition 
to the policy of the treasury, and by act of Feb 
ruary 4, 1868, Congress prohibited any further con 
traction of the currency. 3 

The original acquiescence in the movement for im 
mediate resumption of specie payments was part 
and parcel of the feeling which won general support 
at the outset for Johnson s plan of restoring the 
states. Paper money, like disorganized states, was 
looked upon as an evil but unavoidable concomitant 
of the war, to be got rid of by prompt and summary 
action when the war had ceased. The reversal of 
policy as to resumption demonstrated that no more 

1 The market price of gold during Johnson s administration 
ranged as follows, disregarding fractions: 1865, 128 to 234; 1866, 
124 to 167; 1867, 132 to 146; 1868, 132 to 150. 

8 Cf. Elaine, Twenty Years of Congress, II. , 332. 

8 Dewey, Financial Hist, of the U. 5., 340, 343. 


in finance than in constitutional law and politics 
was the restoration of the status quo ante to be a 
simple operation after so long and desperate a civil 

Much of the opposition to McCulloch s policy was 
directed against his means and method, rather than 
against the end in view. Thus Senator John Sher 
man, who was just assuming the high position in 
public finance which he was to occupy for a gen 
eration, strongly condemned the immediate retire 
ment of the greenbacks, though he professed the 
deepest interest in the resumption of specie pay 
ments. 1 His contention was that the country need 
ed all the currency it had, and that sudden contrac 
tion, with resultant decline of prices, would bring 
panic and general depression. This plea for abun 
dant currency, taken up in a spirit different from 
Sherman s, was the basis of the "greenback" move 
ment which was so prominent in the politics of 1868. 
If the temporary continuance of the legal-tenders 
was a good thing, their permanent continuance, it 
was argued, would be a better thing. If they had 
saved the nation from disruption by rebels, they 
would have equal power to save it from oppression 
,by the speculators who controlled the precious 
metals. On these lines all the familiar sophistry 
was developed by which in many another place and 
generation the fiat of government has been proved 

1 For his opinions and arguments, see John Sherman, Recol 
lections, I., chap. xvii. 


a good substitute for intrinsic value as the basis for 
a currency. 1 

More plausible and attractive to the popular ear 
than the abstract theory about standards of value 
were the arguments from certain concrete conditions 
in the national finances. While greenbacks must by 
law be accepted in all the transactions in which the 
mass of the people were concerned, gold could be de 
manded by holders of some of the government bonds 
in payment of both interest and principal. It jarred 
on sensitive Democratic nerves that the man to 
whom fifty dollars was due as wages or as interest 
on a mortgage must take just that sum in green 
backs, while he who received fifty dollars in interest 
on a government bond could at once transform his 
gold into seventy-five dollars in paper. Between 
bondholders and the rest of tbe people there seemed 
an iniquitous discrimination. Hence the demand 
of the Democratic platform of 1868: "One currency 
for the Government and the people, the laborer and 
the office holder, the pensioner and the soldier, the 
producer and the bondholder "; hence also the de 
mand that in every case where the law of issue did 
not specifically provide for the payment of gold, the 
government s bonds should be redeemed in green 

With an unstable currency and disorganized 

1 For a clever exposition of the greenback theory in its com- 
pletest form, see speech of B. F. Butler, Cong. Globe, 40 Cong., 
3 Sess., 303. 


finances no commercial or industrial enterprise, how 
ever legitimate, could escape an enormous burden 
of risk. Hence, throughout Johnson s term there 
was everywhere manifest that speculative spirit to 
which the hazards and vicissitudes of the war had 
given the original impulse. The spirit was in some 
measure fostered by the state of the national rev 
enue system. Sooner or later a great reduction of 
the frightfully burdensome war taxes was to be an 
ticipated. When it would come and what it would 
immediately affect were questions of vital import 
to industry and commerce. During Johnson s term 
the decrease of taxation that the condition of the 
treasury permitted was effected wholly in the in 
ternal revenue, the receipts from this source falling 
from about three hundred and eleven million dollars 
in 1866, to one hundred and sixty million dollars in 
I869. 1 The facility with which this end was at 
tained was in considerable measure due to the reso 
lute hostility with which the ultra-protectionists of 
the majority of Congress met every suggestion of a 
reduction in the tariff. Secretary McCulloch s an 
ticipation of a reversion to the ante-bellum system 
of a purely revenue tariff 2 was but another of those 
conservative dreams, like immediate resumption of 
specie payments and immediate restoration of state- 
rights, that sprang from inability or unwillingness 

1 Dewey, Financial Hist, of the U. S., 395. 

2 Sec. of Treas., Report, in House Exec. Docs., 40 Cong., 3 Sess.. 
No. 2, p. xvi. 


to appreciate the far-reaching revolution which the 
war had effected in the whole national character 
and ideals. 

The speculative or gambling spirit in business was 
fostered not only by the general condition of the 
national finances, but also by certain notable facts 
in the development of natural resources just at this 
period. Petroleum in Pennsylvania, and the pre 
cious metals in the Rocky Mountains, were at the 
height of their spectacular potency in the sudden 
making and unmaking of great fortunes. Both oil- 
wells and Rocky Mountain mines had become active 
elements in economic life just before the outbreak of 
the war, and a marked increase of this activity was 
coincident with the end of hostilities. 1 Great num 
bers of adventurous spirits, for whom the life most 
suited to their taste was ended by the disbandment 
of the army, found the best available substitute in 
the exciting pursuit of the fortune that came to him 
who could "strike oil," or in the hard and perilous 
search for gold among the mountains of Montana 
and Idaho. 

Though the more risky and irregular phases of 
national progress were thus very conspicuous, the 
solid basis of prosperity was seen in the steady and 
substantial development of established agricultural 
and manufacturing enterprises. The great crops 
which were the chief index of economic welfare were 

1 Hosmer, Outcome of the Civil War (Am. Nation, XXI.), 355; 
Tarbell, History of the Standard Oil Co., chap. i. 


in 1867 and 1868 altogether satisfactory in bulk 
and value. Cotton, of course, was not yet nearly re 
stored to the place it held before the war ; in view of 
the social and political conditions in the South, the 
commissioner of agriculture regarded it as remark 
able that in 1868 the yield was half what it had 
been in I859. 1 The value of the crop, owing to the 
very high price, was about the same as that in 1859, 
and cotton held its old place far in the lead of all 
our exports. Wheat and corn, the great food crops 
of the country, showed progress and prosperity in 
the granary of the nation the Mississippi Valley. 
Very significant was the now pronounced movement 
westward of the centre of wheat production. The 
proportion of the crop that came from west of the 
Mississippi was, in 1859, but fourteen per cent, of 
the total; in 1868 it was thirty per cent. 2 Min 
nesota, Iowa, and California were responsible for 
most of this increase, and this fact stands in close 
relation to what proved to be the dominant factor 
in the era of enterprise which moved rapidly to its 
culmination after 1868. To keep pace with the 
development of resources, agricultural in the nearer 
and mineral in the farther West, and to bring the 
products of these regions into the markets of the 
older states, required an enormous expansion of 
facilities in transportation. The Northwest became 
the chief field of an extravagant railroad develop- 

1 Commissioner of Agric., Report, 40 Cong., 3 Sess. 3. 
Ubid., 17. 



ment, which affected all other parts of the country 
as well, and which influenced profoundly the prog 
ress, both speculative and substantial, of the agri 
cultural and the manufacturing industry of the na 
tion. The mileage of new lines constructed in the 
whole country amounted, in 1865, to only 819. In 
1869 it was 4102; and in 1872 it reached the amaz 
ing total of 7439. 1 

A determining stimulus to this form of enterprise 
was given by the progress and completion of the 
first transcontinental line. It was universally recog 
nized that the Pacific railway was a work of the 
utmost political importance that its utility in 
guaranteeing the territorial integrity of the Union 
far outweighed any consideration as to its financial 
success. Its construction, moreover, in part at a 
rate never before thought possible, involved en 
gineering and labor problems of great magnitude 
and complexity, the solution of which excited wide 
spread public interest. With good reason, there 
fore, the progress of the work from year to year was 
followed with keen attention. The Union Pacific 
builders, working westward from Omaha, having 
only 40 miles finished at the end of 1865, added 
some 250 miles in each of the next two years, and 
then, in 1868, with a great burst of energy, added 
425 miles, and placed themselves within 125 miles 
of the end of their line. The Central Pacific, work 
ing from Sacramento eastward, made but slow prog- 
1 U. S. Census of 1880, Transportation, 290. 


ress till the Sierra Nevada had been surmounted; 
but then, in 1868, added 363 miles to the record, 
leaving 186 to bring it to the junction-point. On 
May 10, 1869, the meeting of the lines at Promontory 
Point, near Ogden, Utah, was effected with elabo 
rate ceremony, and the event was signalized by 
justifiable jubilation all over the land from Boston 
to San Francisco. 1 

The glamour of romance and adventure that hung 
over the process of carrying a railroad line through 
1775 miles of desert country, overrun by supposedly 
dangerous animals and unquestionably dangerous 
men, veiled in great measure many sordid features of 
the enterprise, which were destined later to make its 
name one of ill-repute. To insure the construction 
of the road, Congress enlisted private enterprise by 
heavy subsidies. For the main line, which was to run 
exclusively through territories of the United States, 
from Omaha to the California boundary, a corpora 
tion was created the Union Pacific Railroad Com 
pany to which was given: (i) a right of way through 
the public domain; (2) twenty sections of land along 
side each mile of road; (3) a loan of bonds of the 
United States to an amount not in excess of fifty 
million dollars, secured by a second mortgage on the 
property. 2 Similar subsidies were granted also to 
a number of state corporations for the construction 

1 For details, see Davis, Union Pacific Railway, chap. v. 

2 Acts of 1862 and 1864, U. S. Statutes at Large, XIL, 489; 
XIII., 356. 


of lines to connect with the Union Pacific and in 
sure unbroken communication between the Mis 
sissippi River and the western ocean. The vast 
financial projects in which the government thus be 
came involved called for frequent action by Congress 
and for continuous supervision by the administration. 
The financiers who directed the actual work of con 
struction undertook from time to time to insure that 
their interests should not be postponed to those of the 
government, and the result was the scandal that is 
associated with the Credit Mobilier. 1 

The progress of the Pacific line across the plains 
led to great social and economic changes through 
out the vast region between the Missouri and Cali 
fornia. A ribbon of settlements along the line of 
the road, through Nebraska and beyond, was the 
most immediate and obvious, but far from the most 
important, result. In the mining communities of 
Montana and Idaho, hundreds of miles to the north, 
and of Colorado and New Mexico, as far to the south 
of the line, the actuality of a railway across the 
mountains added the stimulus of potential benefits 
to a life that was never lacking in the allurements 
of hope. Numerous branches to tap the country 
on both sides of the main line formed part of the 
general scheme of the Union Pacific, and parallel 
trunk lines to the north and to the south of the 
original line were already chartered. 2 Thus the 

1 See below, p. 232. 

Hosmer, Outcome of the Civil War (Am. Nation, XXL), 133. 


various territories created during the war, as a 
result of the discoveries of gold and silver in the 
Rocky Mountains, all felt the influence of the great 
enterprise. A new territory, Wyoming, organized 
by act of July 25, 1868, was practically a product 
of the Union Pacific, no settlement of consequence 
having existed within its limits till the construction 
of the road reached it in I867. 1 

To the aborigines of the plains the building of the 
railway brought a climax of the unrest which first 
came with the irruption of gold -seekers into the 
mountains. The great nation of the Sioux, irri 
tated by the establishment of a route to Montana 
through their lands, broke out into fierce hostility, 
put under close siege the military posts which 
were intended to protect the route, and on Decem 
ber 21, 1866, annihilated a detachment of troops 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Fetterman at Fort Philip 
Kearny. 2 The conflagration spread to the southward, 
where the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, of Colorado 
and Kansas, only recently pacified, spread havoc 
and terror among the scattered ranches and mail 
stations of a wide region. All the operations of 
railroad building in Nebraska had to be carried on 
under military protection, and the engineers and 
workmen, many of whom had served in the war, 
were often called upon to exchange the peaceful 
theodolite, pick, and shovel for the ever-ready rifle. 3 

1 Cf. Am. Annual Cyclop., 1868, p. 727. *Ibid., 1867, p. 401. 
3 Cf. Davis, Union Pacific Railway, 140, and paper there quoted. 


Extensive operations by the army in 1867 failed to 
bring decisive results. Sheridan, Hancock, Gib 
bon, Augur, and Custer, campaigning against the 
squalid bands of painted warriors, added nothing 
to the laurels gained in the shock of great armies. 
A peace commission, constituted by a statute of 
July 20, 1867,* succeeded in the following summer 
in making arrangements with the principal hostile 
tribes ; but the chief influence in bringing the Sioux 
to terms was the abandonment of the posts in 
their territory which had originally roused their ire. 
The progress of the railway westward contributed 
most to this, by rendering available a route to 
Montana to which the Indians raised no objection.* 
While all the manifold interests associated with 
the transportation industry west of the Mississippi 
were centred about the construction of a single rail 
road that should make a direct connection with 
the Pacific, the problem east of the Mississippi was 
chiefly that of piecing out, correlating, and con 
solidating a multitude of independent roads into a 
group of trunk lines between the Mississippi and the 
Atlantic. It was between 1865 and 1869 that the 
name of Vanderbilt first became of significance in 
railroad enterprise. By the union of the Hudson 
River road with the New York Central, in 1868, a 

1 U. S. Statutes at Large, XV., 17. 

3 For this whole Indian matter, see Indian Commission, Report, 
in Sec. of Interior, Report, 1868-1869, p. 486; Am. Annual Cyclop., 
1867 and 1868, arts. Indian War. 


new and powerful through line between the sea 
board and the Great Lakes was developed, to com 
pete with the Erie, the Pennsylvania, and the Balti 
more & Ohio for the traffic across the Appalachians. 
From that event dated a long and ardent rivalry 
among these great corporations in extending their 
direct lines to Chicago and St. Louis, and in absorb 
ing or rendering dependent a host of lesser com 
panies. Denunciation of monopoly was promptly 
and loudly directed against the strong men who 
carried through these enterprises; nor did they, in 
fact, omit any device of shifty and ruthless finan 
ciering when serious opposition was to be overcome. 
But the beneficial results of consolidation were many 
and obvious. Under unified management barbarous 
and costly features of primitive railroading that had 
lasted through the war-time disappeared forever. 
So long as the idea survived that the chief function 
of the railway was to supplement water transporta 
tion, terminal points of the lines were often at con 
siderable distances from important business centres, 
connection being completed by steamboats. These 
gaps were now filled ; transshipment of freight and 
passengers at connecting points of short railway 
lines was continually reduced in frequency and In 
convenience; and the era of "through-line" traffic 
on a large scale between the Atlantic coast and the 
Mississippi was fairly inaugurated. 

The social and economic movements with which 
this railroad development was in close relations of 


both cause and effect were of profound significance 
and were noticeable in even the earliest stage of the 
process. Among them were the drift of population 
in the East to the great terminal cities, the build 
ing up of the northwestern states through the re 
vived immigration from Europe, 1 and the struggle 
for popular or governmental control over the man 
agement of the roads. That it was only the north 
ern East and the northern West which the growing 
trunk lines united and stimulated was too much a 
matter of course to excite attention or interest. 
The ruined and prostrate region below Mason and 
Dixon s line offered scant attraction to capital or 
enterprise, and great north-and-south through lines 
were left for another generation to create. 

1 The annual number of immigrants had fallen during the war 
to a little over 100,000 (112,702 in 1861); in 1868 it was 326,232. 



THE problems of internal readjustment after the 
war were large and difficult enough to justify 
every effort to escape foreign complications. Two 
aspects of public sentiment in the North conspired, 
however, to render the period following the close of 
hostilities one of grave tension and great activity 
in diplomacy. The most serious factor was the 
universal resentment felt towards France and Great 
Britain on account of the course of their govern 
ments during the war. Louis Napoleon and the 
leading English politicians had, as Lord Salisbury 
once cynically phrased it, put their money on the 
wrong horse in that conflict; they had staked much 
on the success of the Confederacy, and they had 
lost. The settlement that was due they sought to 
evade, or at least postpone, while a powerful element 
of American opinion, confident in the resources and 
reputation of a successful army and navy, demanded 
an immediate and even a humiliating submission. 

Closely involved with this influence was that of 
the never extinct yearning in the United States for 


territorial expansion. While the Civil War con- 
vinced the more thoughtful and cautious politicians 
that managing the territory already possessed was 
a sufficient task for human energy, the mass of the 
people, especially in the growing Northwest, still 
manifested that craving for bigness which had 
stretched the boundaries before the war. So far 
from finding reason for hesitation in the loss and 
burden of the terrible conflict, they boasted with 
endless iteration that they had quelled the "great 
est rebellion in history," and that to a people with 
such a record no limit of achievement could be 

It happened that Secretary Seward, in whose 
hands, almost exclusively, the direction of foreign 
policy during Johnson s administration lay, was an 
inveterate optimist and an inveterate expansionist. 
He had always a serene confidence that Great Britain 
and France would satisfy the just demands of Ameri 
can sentiment without war; and at the same time 
he let slip no opportunity to acquire new territory 
where pacific means could effect it. The first diffi 
cult problem which he had to solve was that of 
expelling the French from Mexico. The permanence 
of Maximilian s empire had been from the outset so 
obviously conditioned on the success of the Con 
federacy that Napoleon s only possible policy after 
Appomattox was to save some fragments of pres 
tige by a dignified manner of abandoning his disas 
trous enterprise. 


By the spring of 1865 the imperial authority of 
Maximilian was firmly established in all the best 
parts of Mexico. Resistance by the Liberal, or Re 
publican, party was reduced to feeble and desultory 
guerilla warfare, centring chiefly in the mountain 
ous northern regions, where a shadowy organization 
headed by Benito Juarez preserved the tradition and 
the name of the republic. The straits of the Repub 
licans were due almost exclusively to the thirty-five 
thousand disciplined French troops who had been 
sent to support Maximilian. Public opinion in the 
United States favored steps looking to the forcible 
expulsion of the French invaders. Many high mili 
tary officers, headed by General Grant himself, were 
eagerly in favor of bringing decisive pressure upon 
them before the volunteer army should be disbanded. 
The president himself was believed to be well disposed 
towards this policy. 1 Grant sent General Sheridan 
to Texas in May, 1865, with orders to assemble a 
large force on the Rio Grande. A little later a plan 
was matured in accordance with which General 
Schofield, while on leave of absence, was to visit 
Mexico and organize a force there from disbanded 
Union and Confederate soldiers who could be induced 
to enter the service of the Liberal government. 
Grant directed Sheridan to see that these troops 
should be supplied with arms. 2 Though this project 

1 Grant to Johnson, September 8, 1865, MS., Johnson Papers. 
3 Schofield, Forty-Six Years in the Army, 380; Badeau, Grant 
in Peace, chap. xxi. 


fell through, Grant did not cease to urge open sup 
port of the Liberals ; and the influence of so popular 
and powerful a personage brought much aid, both 
moral and material, to their cause. 1 

The policy pressed by the military men was full 
of peril, in that it was likely to offend the national 
spirit in France, and thus give Napoleon an oppor 
tunity to cover his loss of prestige with an appeal 
for the defence of French honor. But Seward, with 
the co-operation of the rest of the cabinet, 2 so guided 
events as to achieve the desired end without undue 
offence to Gallic susceptibilities. Grant s project of 
organizing an army in Mexico was thwarted by 
sending Schofield on an empty mission to France, 
where he was duly kept busy and harmless till the 
real diplomacy had done its work. 3 The popular 
demand that recognition should be given to the 
Mexican Republicans was satisfied, May 25, 1866, 
by the appointment of Campbell, of Ohio, as minis 
ter, accredited to President Juarez. 4 To give the 
maximum of impressiveness to the formal recogni 
tion of Juarez, President Johnson wished General 
Grant to accompany Campbell to Mexico. Grant 
peremptorily refused to go, suspecting that Johnson 
had an ulterior motive in ordering him out of the 

1 Cf. Grant to Sheridan, July 20, 1866, in Badeau, Grant in 
Peace, 184, 392; Sheridan, Memoirs, II., 224. 

2 McCulloch, Men and Measures, 387; Bancroft, Seward, II., 
433 et seq. 

9 Ibid., 435- 

4 Diplomatic Correspondence, 1866, pt. 3, p. 2. 


country, 1 and General Sherman consented to go in 
his place. The mission proved a fiasco ; for, after a 
toilsome search, the minister and his distinguished 
associate were quite unable to find Juarez or his 
government, who were kept by Maximilian s French 
forces and by rival Mexican chiefs far from any 
accessible part of the country. 2 

This untoward outcome of the mission in no way 
diminished the pressure which Seward was exerting 
diplomatically upon the French government. So 
long as the Confederacy remained unconquered, the 
secretary of state, while taking no pains to disguise 
the dissatisfaction of the United States with the 
French intervention, did not make the subject a 
matter of urgent representations. But in the au 
tumn of 1865 he changed his attitude. Napo 
leon s government was informed in plain terms 3 
that the United States would not tolerate either 
the presence of a French force or the existence of 
any foreign monarchy in Mexico. An offer of 
prompt withdrawal of the troops on condition that 
the United States recognize Maximilian was met 
with a flat refusal. 4 April 5, 1866, it was officially 
announced that the French forces would be re 
moved from Mexico in detachments between No- 

1 Badeau, Grant in Peace, 53; DeWitt, Impeachment, 129; 
Boutwell, Sixty Years, II., 109. 

8 House Exec. Docs., 39 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 76, pp. 577-5 8 5: 
Sherman Letters, 284. 

3 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1865, p. 320. 

4 Bancroft, Seward, II., 438. 


vember, 1866, and November, 1867. A change of 
plan by which the beginning of the movement was 
postponed till the spring of 1867 brought a prompt 
protest from the United States. But Napoleon was 
entirely sincere in his purpose to drop the Mexican 
project. In the spring of 1867 the whole French 
force embarked for home together, and Maximilian, 
left with no support which could withstand the now 
numerous and vengeful followers of Juarez, was 
captured and executed in June. 

While the tension with France was acute, the 
secretary of state was much occupied also with 
Great Britain; but this phase of the diplomatic 
questions resulting directly from the war was sud 
denly supplanted in public interest by an unex 
pected opportunity to gratify the longing for terri 
torial expansion. Just at the time when the French 
troops were leaving Mexico, the Russian minister 
at Washington approached Seward with the offer 
of Russia s American possessions. The offer was 
accepted with almost comical alacrity, 1 and March 
30, 1867, a treaty was signed for the purchase of the 
region for seven million two hundred thousand dol 
lars in gold. Neither the government nor the peo 
ple of the United States had ever shown either 
interest in or knowledge concerning this territory. 
It was generally regarded as a barren and desolate 
region, whose resources, if of any value whatever, 
could never be made available. The treasury of 

1 Bancroft, Seward, II., 477. 



the United States, moreover, was in a condition in 
which a demand upon it for seven millions in gold 
was a serious matter. On the other hand, there 
was operative the feeling that the acquisition of the 
territory was a step towards the rounding out of 
dominion over the whole of North America; that 
an opportunity was at hand to rid the continent of 
one more monarchic power; and that for the first 
time in our history the question of expansion would 
certainly be free from all connection with any phase 
of the negro question. Very powerful also was the 
sense of gratitude to Russia for her uniformly friend 
ly attitude towards the North during the Civil War. 1 

The play of these considerations in Congress and 
among the people at large determined the outcome 
in favor of the purchase. The Senate ratified the 
treaty April 9, 1867, with but two dissenting votes; 
the army took formal possession in October; and 
the new territory, after a persistent but happily 
futile effort of certain newspapers to burden it with 
the name "Walrussia," was officially christened 

Before the final steps in the acquisition of the 
Russian territory were taken, another European 
monarchy consented to withdraw from the western 
hemisphere in favor of the United States. Den 
mark, moved by the hard exigencies of her internal 

1 This last reason was of great weight in the Senate committee 
on foreign relations. Pierce, Sumner, IV., 325 ; cf. Blaine, Twenty 
Years of Cong., II., 334. 


politics, agreed to sell her minute but advanta 
geously situated West Indian islands, and Seward, 
who had proposed the purchase originally in Jan 
uary, 1865, succeeded in concluding a bargain for 
St. Thomas and St. John, October 24, 1867.* The 
treaty was sent to the Senate in December, 1867, 
and a determined effort was made to secure ratifi 
cation. But the need of a naval station in the West 
Indies had ceased to be urgent since the close of 
the war; the reputation of St. Thomas as a centre 
for hurricanes and earthquakes was illustrated by a 
disastrous visitation while the treaty was pending; 
extension of territory southward, with the possibility 
of an additional negro population, offered no great 
attraction; and the price agreed upon, seven million 
five hundred thousand dollars, seemed excessive for 
seventy-five square miles, when over half a million 
square miles had just been obtained for rather less 
money. These considerations, together with a nat 
ural indisposition of the radicals to add anything 
more to the prestige of Seward and the Johnson 
administration, caused the treaty to be smothered 
in the Senate committee on foreign relations, 2 and 
President Grant, upon his accession, dismissed with 
contempt the whole project, only to enter with 
ardor upon an equally ill-fated scheme in relation 
to Santo Domingo. 

1 Moore, International Law Digest, I., 605. 

2 Pierce, Sumner, IV., 328, and App. I; Bancroft, Seward, II., 


Seward was unfortunate also in his effort to bring 
about an adjustment of the strained relations with 
Great Britain. The bitter popular feeling in the 
United States on account of the damage wrought 
by the Confederate cruisers manifested itself con 
tinuously after the close of the war. In Congress 
and out a resolute purpose was always discernible 
to seize the first opportunity to make the British 
suffer for their attitude during hostilities. In its 
most general form, the wrong complained of was 
that the neutrality formally professed by the British 
government had been either deliberately violated 
or so construed as to give every possible aid to the 
Confederate cause. Specifically it was charged that 
the very hasty recognition of the Confederacy as a 
belligerent, the refusal to detain the Alabama and 
other cruisers when built, and the aid and welcome 
given to them in British ports when in the midst 
of their destructive career, were cumulative evidence 
of hostility to the United States. The contention 
of the British government was that the recognition 
of the Confederacy as de facto a belligerent power 
was reasonable in view of the actual conditions, and 
was in accord with the attitude of the United States 
in proclaiming a blockade, and that the two con 
tending belligerents had been treated with scrupu 
lous impartiality. 

Before the end of the war, Seward, through Min 
ister Adams, made strong representations on the 
points at issue and suggested arbitration. This. 



suggestion was met by Earl Russell with a curt 
and peremptory refusal. 1 The effect in the United 
States was such as to cause thoughtful Englishmen 
some concern. The hostile feeling against Great 
Britain assumed demonstrative form. [In the House 
of Representatives, July 26, 1866, a bill passed 
unanimously modifying the neutrality laws in such 
way as to permit war-ships and military expeditions 
to be fitted out against friendly powers. 2 Only a 
few weeks before this the Fenian movement for 
the liberation of Ireland reached its American cli 
max, in an abortive invasion of Canada from New 
York and Vermont. Several armed bands of Irish- 
Americans crossed the frontier, but were quickly 
driven back by the Canadians, and were then gath 
ered up and sent to their homes by the" Federal 
military authorities.^ Though the movement was too 
pathetically feeble to justify official sympathy, {he 
support which enabled it to assume even the little 
dignity it attained was traceable to the popular 
resentment against England. Suggestions were not 
wanting that the United States should promptly 
recognize the Fenian organization as a belligerent, 
and permit it to fit out privateers against the com 
merce of the other belligerent. More serious in its 
pointedness was the same suggestion as to Abyssinia 
when war broke out between that power and Great 

1 Moore, International Arbitrations, I., 496. 

8 Cong. Globe, 39 Cong., i Sess., 4193 ; Pierce, Sumner t IV., 290. 

9 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1866, art. "Fenian Brotherhood." 


Britain. Chandler offered in the Senate, November 
29, 1867, a resolution recognizing to Abyssinia the 
same rights which the British had recognized to the 
Confederacy. 1 

A consciousness of future peril in the position 
assumed by Earl Russell led to a change of attitude 
by his successor in the foreign office. Lord Stanley 
actually offered in 1867 to submit to arbitration the 
question as to whether Great Britain had failed to 
maintain neutrality, but declined to include the 
question as to the justification for her recognition 
^of^ Confederate belligerency. The diplomatic dis 
cussion became involved, moreover, in questions 
arising out of the Fenian movement as to the rights 
of naturalized citizens 2 and in a controversy about 
the Northwest boundary-line. Eager to reach a 
general settlement before his retirement, Seward 
concluded, through Reverdy Johnson, a treaty which, 
as to the Alabama claims, provided merely that a 
joint high commission should pass finally upon all 
claims of subjects of either government against the 
other. This convention the Senate, on April 13, 
1869, after the change of administration, refused to 
ratify by the decisive vote of 54 to i. f 

A disinclination to approve what was evidently 
intended to be a crowning glory of the Johnson- 

1 Cong. Globe, 40 Cong., 2 Sess., 83. 
*Cf. Adams, Charles Francis Adams, 357. 
8 Moore, International Arbitrations, I., 506; Bancroft, Seward, 
II., 499- 


Seward administration doubtless contributed to 
this unparalleled action. 1 But this influence was 
of little significance compared with the feeling that 
by the proposed settlement Great Britain would 
escape making any adequate reparation for griev 
ous wrongs done to the United States in its time 
of sore distress. A speech by Sumner in the Senate, 
April 13, 1869, which won him the only moment 
of genuine popularity he ever enjoyed, voiced ef 
fectively the public sentiment. Qreat Britain, he 
argued, must acknowledge her wrong-doing and 
must make reparation to the American nation; the 
compensation of individuals for losses sustained 
through the Confederate cruisers was but a minor 
incident in the settlement required; national claims 
must be satisfied, and his catalogue of these in 
cluded many hundred millions of dollars for the 
destruction of the American merchant marine, and 
for the expenses incurred through the prolongation 
of the war. 2 

The rejection of the treaty and the publication of 
Sumner s speech, which, through the action of the 
Senate in removing the injunction of secrecy, was 
made in a sense the official expression of American 
demands, were followed by a period of angry and 
excited discussion in the press of the two nations. 

T" l Seward anticipated rejection of the treaty, Moore, Inter 
national Arbitrations, I., 506. Grant desired that the matter 
should go over to his administration, Pierce, Sumner, IV., 368. 

For the speech, see Cong. Globe, 41 Cong., i Sess., App., 21; 
Sumner, Works, XIII., 53. 


Pending the subsidence of this turmoil, the foreign 
offices of both governments moved slowly towards 
a resumption of negotiations. > The episode revealed 
to Great Britain that she had on her hands a prob 
lem that was not to be solved without imminent peril 
to her peace and prestige ; and at the same time the 
threatening aspect of international affairs in Europe 
warned her that some solution was in high degree 
desirable. 1 ] 

Meanwhile, President Grant himself precipitated a 
new issue in the expansionist phase of American 
foreign policy. The annexation of Santo Domingo 
to the United States was proposed in the spring of 
1869 by Baez, the politician who at the time held 
the chief place in what passed for government in 
the revolution-ridden little republic. General O. E. 
Babcock, one of Grant s private secretaries, was sent 
to investigate conditions in Santo Domingo, and, 
after making a very favorable report, was authorized 
to negotiate a treaty of annexation. The treaty was 
concluded ^November 29, 1869; and Grant began at 
once to exert all the pressure possible to secure its 
ratification by the Senate. He had formed the most 
extravagant opinion as to the importance of acquir 
ing the territory: its possession would, he thought, 
restore our lost merchant marine, insure the ex 
tinction of slavery in the West Indies and Brazil, 
redress the unfavorable balance of our foreign trade, 
promote the just influence of the Monroe Doctrine, 

1 C. F. Adams, Lee at Appomattox, 130. 


and confer other inestimable benefits on the United 
States and on mankind in general. 1 But in the 
Senate the mental condition which superinduced 
these distorted visions was absent, and, despite the 
reluctance of the Republicans to oppose the ad 
ministration, ratification was refused, June 30, 1870, 
by a tie vote. 3 The president relaxed in no degree 
his resolution to achieve his purpose, and in his 
annual message in December recommended that a 
commission be appointed to investigate conditions 
in Santo Domingo and that steps be then taken to 
annex by joint resolution, as in the case of Texas. 
The commission was duly provided for, and ex- 
Senator Wade, Professor Andrew D. White, and Dr. 
S. G. Howe were named its members. Their report, 
in April, 1871, made a good case for the desirability 
,pf annexation. 3 JBut it had become evident before 
this time that public opinion would not sustain the 
president s policy; and in his message accompany 
ing the report Grant indicated his reluctant con 
viction that such was the case. 4 

This episode had consequences in the internal 
politics of the country that were of much more last 
ing significance than its relation to foreign policy. 
It revealed the heaviness of the burden which the 
Republican leaders had assumed in placing in the 

1 Special message, May 31, 1870, and annual message, Decem 
ber 5, 1870, in Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 61, 99. 

3 Pierce, Sumner, IV., 445. 

8 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1871, p. 655. 

4 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 128. 


White House a narrow, headstrong, and politically 
untutored military chief ; and it gave a great impulse 
to the pending movement which split off the Liberal 
element from the party during the remainder of 
Grant s presidential service. A central incident of 
the affair was the famous rupture between Grant 
and Sumner. 1 The president and the senator were 
ill-adapted by training and temperament to get 
on well together. Sumner demanded, as the pre 
requisite of agreeable personal intercourse, adula 
tion, express or tacit; Grant had by 1870 become 
accustomed to receive it, but had not, nor ever 
would have, the power to give it. When the treaty 
of Dominican annexation reached Washington, the 
president in person asked Sumner s support, and 
supposed that he obtained a pledge of it. Sumner, 
however, led in the opposition to ratification, and 
a tension arose which became open and scandalous 
in the debate on the appointment of the commission. 
The senator attacked the project with all the par 
aphernalia of rhetorical exaggeration and imputa 
tion with which it had been his custom to assail 
slave-owners and Andrew Johnson, but steadfastly 
denied, with every air of sincerity, that he was as 
sailing Grant. The president failed to appreciate 
the rhetorician s fine distinctions, and the most 

1 The matter is threshed out completely in the debate on the 

resolution appointing the commission, Cong. Globe, 41 Cong., 

3 Sess., passim; Sumner s speech, 226. Full treatment also 

i in Pierce, Sumner, IV., 426, and C. F. Adams, Lee at Appomattox^ 


weighty Republican leaders in the Senate shared 
in the failure. Every mode of pressure which the 
executive could exert was brought to bear against 
Sumner, and at the organization of the forty-second 
Congress, in March, 1871, he was by action of the 
Republican caucus deposed from the chairmanship 
of the committee on foreign relations a position 
he had held since 1861. 

The deposition of Sumner was intimately con 
nected with the further and triumphant progress 
of the government s negotiations for settlement of 
the Alabama claims. Hamilton Fish, who became 
secretary of state early in Grant s term, kept, a 
quiet but persistent pressure upon the British gov 
ernment, and the latter manifested nothing of the 
arrogance which it had earlier displayed. In 1870 
Bismarck s aggressive policy, culminating in the war 
with France, rendered Great Britain s European 
relations very uncertain, and made her statesmen 
ready for an amicable adjustment with the United 
States. Mr. Fish did not fail to make use of the 
advantage thus given him. The president s annual 
f message of December 5, 1870, recommended that all 
individual claims against Great Britain for losses 
due to the Alabama and other cruisers be assumed 
by the United States government. This was an in 
timation that the administration intended to make 
the matter a serious national issue, and the full mean 
ing of it was not lost on the British foreign office. 1 
1 Adams, Lee at Appomattox, 133. 


Two points in the American case which had given 
especial offence to the British were allowed by Fish 
to recede into the background ; these were the claim | 
that wrong was done by the hasty recognition of 
the Confederates as belligerents, and the demand I 
for compensation for the "national" or "indirect" I 
losses due to the Alabama. -The British govern 
ment, on the other hand, indicated a readiness to 
express regret for the damage done by the Alabama, 
and to submit to arbitration the question of liability 
for it. On the basis of these reciprocal concessions, 
a plan for formal proceedings in a general adjust 
ment was worked out in January, 1871, at informal 
conferences between Secretary Fish and Sir John 
Rose, a special secret commissioner sent from Eng 
land for the purpose. 1 In accordance with this plan 
a joint high commission, empowered to deal with 
various matters, of which the North Atlantic fish 
eries were nominally but the Alabama claims really 
the chief, formulated between February and May 
the famous treaty of Washington, signed on May 
8, 1871, and ratified by the Senate sixteen days 
later. It provided for a mixed commission to deal 
with the question of the fisheries, and for the refer 
ence of the Northwest boundary dispute and the 
Alabama claims to tribunals of arbitration. For 
the guidance of the arbitrators in the latter case, 
Article VI. of the treaty laid down three rules as 

1 The best account of this whole diplomatic affair is in Moore, 
International Arbitrations, I., 519 et seq. 


to the duty of neutrals, and these rules embodied 
concessions by Great Britain that made a judgment 
in favor of the United States very probable from 
the outset. 

This extremely creditable achievement of diplo 
macy required of Secretary Fish the highest possible 
degree of political as well as diplomatic tact and 
sound judgment. The climax of the negotiation co 
incided in time with the violent outbreak of Sumner 
against the president on the Santo Domingo question. 
Sumner was at the head of the Senate committee on 
foreign relations, and he held that no settlement of 
the Alabama claims should be accepted that did not 
involve the abandonment by Great Britain of all 
her possessions in the western hemisphere. To in 
ject any such proposition into the negotiations at 
the stage already reached would have been foolish 
ness, and Fish felt that he must press on regardless 
of Sumner s possible opposition. It was a hazardous 
business; for another speech like that in April, I86Q, 1 -- 
might rouse the ever-ready popular sentiment of 
hostility to Great Britain to such manifestations as 
would end all the high hopes of peaceful adjustment. 
The situation became further complicated by the 
complete rupture, in January, 1871, of friendly per 
sonal relations between Fish and Sumner. 2 Under 
such circumstances, the continuance of the Massa- 

1 See above, p. 162. 

3 C. F. Adams, Lee at Appomattox, 171; Pierce, Sumner, IV., 


chusetts senator at the head of the committee on 
foreign relations would have stultified the secretary 
of state personally and gravely imperilled his policy. 
Hence the pressure which brought about Summer s 

To all but a relatively small though very noisy 
element of the American people the adjustment 
reached in the treaty of Washington was satisfac 
tory. The British government, it was seen, had 
expressed regret for the escape of the cruisers and 
for their depredations, 1 and had consented to refer 
to arbitration the question of its liability for Ameri 
can losses caused thereby. This was a substantial 
triumph for the United States, but the climax of 
triumph was to come later. The tribunal of arbi 
tration, consisting of representatives appointed by 
the governments of the United States, Great Britain, 
Italy, Switzerland, and Brazil, met at Geneva on 
December 15, 1871, and reached its decision August 
25, 1872. During the first six months of 1872 a 
violent controversy threatened to wreck the whole 
procedure. The formal case presented to the tri 
bunal by the United States included in the claims 
catalogued those known as " national " or " indirect " 
namely, for the expense of pursuing the cruisers, 
and for the losses due to the disappearance of our 
merchant marine, to enhanced rates of insurance, 
and to the prolongation of the war. The demand 
for payment of such claims had always been re- 
1 Art. I. of the treaty. 


garded by British public opinion, and with some 
reason, as in the nature of a demand for war in 
demnity, and was resented accordingly. It had been 
understood, even by the British negotiators, that 
these claims were barred from the arbitration, and 
their appearance in the American case caused so 
furious an outbreak of rage in England that the 
government was forced to take steps towards with 
drawing from the tribunal. But Secretary Fish had 
no desire to press these claims. They had been 
presented partly with a view to satisfying the ex 
treme elements of public opinion in the United 
States, and partly for the purpose of having them 
passed upon finally by an unassailable authority. 
Accordingly, it was rather easily arranged that the 
tribunal itself should rule them out. This was done 
in June, and the consideration of the direct and 
individual claims proceeded. The result was a 
judgment that Great Britain had failed in her duty 
as a neutral in connection with three of the Con 
federate cruisers the Alabama, the Florida, and 
the Shenandoah and their tenders, and that for 
the losses incurred through these the compensatory 
sum of fifteen millions five hundred thousand dol 
lars should be paid to the United States. 

Two months later the German emperor, to whose 
arbitration the dispute as to the northwestern bound 
ary at the island of San Juan had been referred, de 
cided in favor of the American contention, and added 
a minor element of satisfaction to public sentiment 


in the United States. 1 The other important matter 
provided for in the treaty of Washington, the long- 
disputed fisheries question, was put in course of 
settlement by means of a mixed commission, but 
the end was not reached till i877. 2 

Besides the distinction won by the settlement of 
the troubles with Great Britain, Secretary Fish had 
the satisfaction of averting on two different occa 
sions vexatious tension with Spain. Cuba was in 
the throes of a rebellion, designed to secure in 
dependence of the Spanish authority. The insur 
gents were in 1869 making only the slightest prog 
ress; but they had many friends in the United 
States, among whom was the secretary of war, 
General Rawlins. Influenced by Rawlins, Presi 
dent Grant signed a proclamation, August 19, 1869, 
recognizing the insurgents as belligerents, and or 
dered Secretary Fish to seal and issue it. Fish 
knew that none of the conditions existed which, in 
the practice of nations, justified such action; hence 
he put the paper away and awaited the outcome. 
Rawlins died shortly after, and Grant never re 
curred to the subject except to thank Fish a year 
later for having pigeonholed the proclamation. 3 

The agitation for some friendly action towards 
the insurgents continued in the United States press 
and in Congress. Grant was clearly disposed to 
favor them, in order to punish Spain for recogniz- 

1 Moore, International Arbitrations, I., 229. 

J Ibid., 745. 8 Cf . Adams, Lee at Appomattox, 118. 


ing the Confederacy. 1 After long effort, however, 
the president was won over to the policy of the 
secretary, and on June 13, 1870, a special message to 
Congress, written by Fish, announced definitively 
that the administration would maintain strictly an 
attitude of non-intervention. 2 

Despite this destruction of the best hopes of the 
insurgents, hostilities dragged on, with frequent in 
cidents of extreme but indecisive ferocity on both 
sides. In 1873 a particularly bloody act of the 
Spanish authorities brought the United States to 
the verge of war. The Virginius, a steamer flying 
the American flag and bearing men and arms to the 
insurgents, was captured, October 31, by a Spanish 
gun-boat on the high seas between Jamaica and Cuba. 
Fifty-three of the passengers and crew were sum 
marily executed at Santiago, among them eight 
citizens of the United States. At the news of this 
proceeding passion flamed high in the United States, 
and demands for war against Spain were heard on 
all sides, receiving support in many quarters where 
fever in the blood was unusual. For weeks it seemed 
as if hostilities were inevitable. Reparation for the 
violation of American rights was promptly demand 
ed of Spain by Secretary Fish, and the Spanish gov 
ernment manifested no disposition to refuse the de 
mand ; but the officials in Cuba were inflamed with 

1 Cf. Pierce, Sumner, IV., 409. 

2 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 64; Adams, Lee at 
Appomattox, 217, 219 (extracts from Fish s diary). 


the spirit of vengeance on the captured insurgents, 
and were with difficulty restrained from further ex 
ecutions. Not till November 29 were the diploma 
tists able to reach a settlement of the issues. It 
was then agreed that the Virginius and her surviv 
ing passengers should be restored to the authorities 
of the United States, and that the Spanish officials 
who had been responsible for illegal acts should be 
punished. Secretary Fish soon received on all sides 
particular honor for having avoided war; for it 
proved that, though the insult to the American flag 
was the central feature of the case against Spain, 
the Virginius had obtained her registry by perjury 
and fraud, and therefore had no right to bear that 
flag. 1 

1 For the whole affair, see Rhodes, United States, VII., 29-36, 
and authorities cited, especially Richardson, Messages and 
Papers, VII., 256. 



T HE prestige accruing from the result of the 
1 Geneva arbitration was very welcome to the 
Grant administration; for at the date at which the 
decision was made the presidential campaign of 
1872 was in progress, and the re-election of Grant 
had been imperilled by a great defection of Repub 
licans whom his radical policy in internal affairs 
had alienated. 

We have already seen 1 the partisan motive which 
gave the impulse to the passage of the Fifteenth 
Amendment. The discussion of this measure was 
the central feature of business in the last session 
of the fortieth Congress. While the administration 
of Andrew Johnson waned dismally to its end, the 
Republican majority wrestled manfully with the 
problem of the suffrage. To render absolutely 
secure the right of the negro to vote in the South 
was not an easy task. The right was already con 
ferred by every reconstructed constitution; and 
every state but Tennessee had been declared "en- 

1 See above, p. 135. 

1869] THE CLIMAX 175 

titled and admitted to representation in Congress" 
upon the "fundamental condition" that its consti 
tution should "never be so amended or changed 
as to deprive any citizen or class of citizens of the 
United States of the right to vote . . . who are en 
titled to vote by the constitution . . . herein recog 
nized." But the validity of such a fundamental con 
dition was very doubtful, 1 and the purpose of the 
southern whites to use any available means to dis 
franchise the blacks was beyond all doubt. Hence 
the determination of the Republicans to meet this 
purpose with an explicit prohibition in the Federal 

There was, however, even among the Republicans, 
a great reluctance to transfer the general control of 
the suffrage from the states to the central govern 
ment. The party chiefs were, moreover, strongly 
opposed to any abstract dogmatizing about the 
right to vote. Doctrinaires, ready with proposi 
tions for levelling up, or down, to their ideals, would 
have guaranteed the suffrage to every citizen of 
mature years and sound mind. It was plausibly 
argued that the right of intelligent white women to 
vote was as worthy an object of a constitutional 
guarantee as the right of ignorant and degraded 
black men. Of more practical importance was the 
prediction that, unless intelligence and property 
qualifications were prohibited, they would be em 
ployed by the southern states to disfranchise the 

Dunning, Essa ys, *23, 346. 

* J * ** 

VOL. XXII. 12 


blacks. Partly under the influence of this sug 
gestion, the Senate, at one stage of the discussion, 
actually adopted a form prohibiting discrimination 
by any state on account of "race, color, nativity, 
property, education, or religious creed." l But in 
the end no consideration was allowed to interfere 
with the single immediate end in view the creation 
of a constitutional mandate under which the national 
government might maintain negro suffrage against 
hostile procedure by the states. The Fifteenth 
Amendment, in the form in which it now stands in 
the Constitution, was finally passed on February 26, 
1869, and duly sent to the states. / 

A week later Andrew Johnson abandoned the 
White House, and, with an unnoticed final appeal to 
the people of the United States and to the impartial 
judgment of history for justification of his presi 
dential career, 2 retired to restless obscurity in his 
Tennessee home. The inauguration of Grant was 
generally regarded as the opening of a better era 
in national politics. Much exasperating friction, 
it was expected, would be removed from the work 
ing of the governmental machine, when the execu 
tive and the congressional majority should be in 
harmony, and when the president should enjoy a 
full measure of personal popularity. 

Grant s earliest official acts, however, excited 

l Cong. Globe, 40 Cong., 3 Sess., 1035, 1040; Cf. McPherson, 
Hist, of Reconstruction, 402; Blaine, Twenty Years of Cong., II., 
416. Am. Annual Cyclop., 1869, p. 589. 

1869] THE CLIMAX 177 

amazement and foreboding among party politicians 
and the general public alike. His cabinet appoint 
ments were in large measure determined by personal 
friendship or unintelligent caprice. For the treasury, 
for example, he named A. T. Stewart, a merchant 
whose name was at that time a synonyme for fabulous 
wealth. Stewart had neither experience nor record 
ed convictions in politics, and his appointment was 
the naive tribute of the man who had never been 
able to earn in private business more than fifty 
dollars a month to the man who had accumulated 
millions. Stewart was found to be disqualified for 
the office under an old law excluding from it any 
one engaged in "trade or commerce." Grant, after 
an unsuccessful attempt to get the law repealed, 
appointed G. S. Boutwell, of Massachusetts, to the 
secretaryship, and Stewart, who was much cha 
grined at losing it, eventually found characteristic 
consolation in an effort to get the contract for 
supplying the treasury with carpets. 1 For the 
navy department Grant named Adolph E. Borie, 
a wealthy gentleman of Philadelphia, w r ho like 
Stewart was absolutely unknown in politics, and 
who quickly abandoned his experiment in public 
life. Elihu B. Washburne, of Illinois, the congress 
man who had brought Grant into the army at the 
outbreak of the war, was named by his grateful 
proteg to be secretary of state, but promptly ex 
changed the post for that of minister to France, 

1 Boutwell, Reminiscences, II., 207. 


and was succeeded in the cabinet by Hamilton 
Fish, of New York. For secretary of war was 
. named General J. A. Rawlins, another Illinois friend, 
who had been chief of staff to Grant during the war. 
Ex-Governor Jacob D. Cox, of Ohio, J. A. J. Cress - 
well, of Maryland, and Judge E. Rockwood Hoar, 
of Massachusetts, as secretary of the interior, post 
master-general, and attorney-general respectively, 
possessed the qualifications usually expected of 
cabinet members that is, experience in public life 
and prominent association with the party in power. 
In all the other appointments the personal predi 
lection of the president was controlling. 1 , 

In his military career, Grant s natural reserve 
and taciturnity had been eminently appropriate and 
useful. In political life they proved much less so, 
and accentuated the difficulty which flowed from 
his lack of matured judgments on public affairs. 
To supplement the deficiencies in his equipment the 
most influential agency was the unlimited trust and 
devotion which he gave to those who in any way 
won his personal esteem. His judgment was rarely 
strong enough to put the proper estimate on a policy 
which was presented to him with the support of an 
intimate friend, and his dogged refusal to see that- 
his friendship had been used for unworthy purposes, 
when the fact was obvious to everybody else, was a 
source of unlimited scandal. Of rather less weight 

1 Cf . Elaine, Twenty Years of Cong., II., 424; Badeau, Grant 
in Peace, chap, xix; Wilson, Charles A. Dana, pp. 409-414. 

1869] THE CLIMAX 179 

than the personal was the party influence in deter 
mining Grant s policy. He felt in a general way 
that he was a Republican; but his perception of 
what party really meant in the conduct of the ad 
ministration was vague, and the difficulty of ascer 
taining which of the various factional projects that 
came to his notice reflected the real party will was 
insuperable. Hence the tendency of his own tem 
perament was confirmed, to regard himself as truly 
representing the people and to act upon the impulses 
of his independent judgment. The result was in- / 
evitably an administration of caprice, of favorites,/; 
and of malodorous intrigue. 

In respect to the process of reconstruction, the 
president s ideas were more clear and well-informed 
than upon perhaps any other issue of the day./ He 
readily adopted the policy of pushing the work to 
completion with the least possible additional humilia 
tion of the southern whites. /Three states, Virginia, 
Mississippi, and Texas, were still under military gov 
ernment. In the first two, the chief source of delay 
had been the strong opposition, both in the states 
and in Congress, to the disfranchisement of ex-Con 
federates which was contained in the new constitu 
tions. On this matter Grant s favor was well known 
to have been won by the conservatives, and on 
April 7, 1869, he suggested to Congress, in a special 
message, the desirability of submitting the consti 
tutions for ratification to the respective electorates, 
with provision for a separate vote on the disfran- 


chising clauses. 1 A bill conforming to this sugges 
tion became law three days later, with Texas also 
included in the arrangement for a speedy restora 
tion. The radicals in Congress, who were little 
pleased with the opposition to disfranchisement, 
found consolation in the requirement which they 
succeeded in adding to the bill, that the three states 
should not be restored till their legislatures should 
have ratified the Fifteenth Amendment. 2 When 
Congress met in December, 1869, the process con 
templated by this act was nearing completion. All 
three states ratified their constitutions, Virginia 
and Mississippi rejecting the separately submitted 
disfranchising clauses. The acts finally restoring 
the states were duly passed early in 1870, and in 
these again the radicals made themselves felt by 
the incorporation of "fundamental conditions" of 
more comprehensive scope than had hitherto been 
imposed. 4 A justification was found for this in 
creased rigor not only in the development of the Ku- 
Klux movement against the blacks, but also in the 
fact that by the elections in Virginia the state gov 
ernment had fallen into the hands of the conserva 
tives, who, though including many who had been 
Unionists during the war, were now indiscriminately 
stigmatized as " disloyal." 5 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., n. 

2 Dunning, Essays, 231; Foulke, Morton, II. , 118. 

3 Virginia, January 26; Mississippi, February 22; Texas, 
March 30. 4 For details, see Dunning, Essays, 234. 

3 Eckenrode, Va. during Reconstruction, 122 et seq. 

1870] THE CLIMAX 181 

By the end of March, 1870, every one of the rebel 
states had been declared by act of Congress to be in 
regular relations with the United States government ; 
yet Georgia, by a peculiar chain of events, was 
again under military control. \ In this state the 
conservatives carried the elections for the legislature 
in 1868, while the radicals elected their candidate 
for governor. A fierce struggle arose at once be 
tween Governor Bullock and the legislature. The 
conservative majority in the latter, taking the posi 
tion that the negroes, while duly entitled to vote, 
were not endowed by the new constitution with the 
right to hold office, excluded all the black radicals 
and gave their seats to their white conservative 
opponents. On the other hand, the majority con 
strued very liberally the disqualifying section of the 
Fourteenth Amendment, and neglected to exclude a 
number of whites who fell fairly within the provi 
sions of that section. Bullock took advantage of 
these proceedings to raise the claim that Georgia had 
not complied with the reconstruction acts and there 
fore was not fully restored to statehood. The mat 
ter was finally taken up by the president and by 
Congress in the winter of 1869-1870. Conservative 
Republicans were very chary of interfering; but 
radical sentiment carried the day, largely through 
the influence of a report by General Terry, which 
presented a gloomy picture of Ku-Klux terrorism 
throughout the state. 1 By act of December 22, 
1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1869, art. Georgia. 


1869, it was provided that the membership of the 
legislature should be determined by Governor Bul 
lock, and that the tests to be applied should cer 
tainly exclude persons disqualified by the Four 
teenth Amendment and admit negroes. To this 
drastic measure was added the requirement that 
the legislature should ratify the still pending Fif 
teenth Amendment. Under the operation of this 
act Georgia was finally restored to her statehood; 
but the effort, eventually futile, to discover for this 
action a constitutional basis upon which the Repub 
licans in Congress could agree protracted the debate 
till July 15, iSyo. 1 

Meanwhile the Fifteenth Amendment, whose fate 
had been so anxiously followed by the radicals, 
received the necessary ratifications and was pro 
claimed in effect on March 3o. 2 Thus the right of 
the freedmen to vote was made secure against any 
legal restriction based on the ground of their color. 
From every state in the South, however, were by 
this time heard incessant complaints that the exer 
cise of this right by the negroes was in fact very 
seriously restricted. As soon as the national mili 
tary power was withdrawn from control, and the 
new state governments assumed full responsibility, 
the tension between the races became violent. Every 
electoral campaign was attended with disorder and 
outrage. The whites ascribed the conditions to the 

1 Dunning, Essays, 245; Woolley, Reconstruction of Georgia, 
chap. viii. 2 McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 545. 

1870] THE CLIMAX 183 

insolence and ignorance of the blacks and the am 
bition and knavery of the carpet-baggers who led 
them; the negroes and their allies complained that 
they were victims of a brutal lust for that inhuman 
power which was lost when rebellion was subdued 
and slavery was abolished. The Union Leagues on 
the one hand, and the Ku-Klux Klans on the other, 
furnished secret and terrorizing elements to the con 
flict of the races. The radical state governments 
had no stomach for the task of maintaining order. 
Anxious appeals to the president for Federal troops 
were common from the beginning of the new re 
gime ; for to depend upon negro state militia for the 
suppression of disorder would be to pour oil on the 
flames. Governor Clayton in Arkansas, Governor 
Brownlow in Tennessee, and Governor Holden in 
North Carolina succeeded in putting white militia 
into action, but the result in the latter two states 
was oafer. to accelerate the overthrow of the radicals, 
/ouisiana was clearly relieved to dis- 
Leprived by law of authority to 
in arms against the whites ; l 
and in South Carolina the negro militia organized 
by Governor Scott was from the outset a source of 
the most serious turbulence in that most turbulent 
state. 2 

By the time when the Fifteenth Amendment went 

1 See his testimony, in House Misc. Docs., 41 Cong., 2 Sess., 
"Contested Elections in La.," pt. 2, p. 512. 

2 Reynolds, Reconstruction in S. C., 136, and chap, v., passim. 


into effect, it had become clear that in many of the 
reconstructed states radical ascendency could not 
be maintained by negro suffrage, and it was very 
doubtful whether with conservatives in control the 
political rights of the freedmen could remain secure. 
In the presidential election of 1868, in Louisiana, 
the struggle between the radicals and conserva 
tives for the control of the great mass of ignorant 
freedmen s votes was attended by grotesque and 
shocking incidents of cajolery, intimidation, and out 
rage. 1 The conservatives carried this election by 
a heavy majority. In 1869 Tennessee was lost to 
the radicals; and in the spring of 1870 the condi 
tions indicated that North Carolina and Alabama 
would follow. This trend of affairs was naturally 
very distasteful to the Republicans at Washington, 
and it was easily determined that, so far as the situa 
tion was due to unlawful interference with the negro 
vote, the national authority must be employed to 
correct it. 

The result was the enforcement act 6 > 3ft!*y "31, 
i8yo, 2 which provided heavy penalties for imringe- 
ment upon the right to vote as secured by the 
Fifteenth Amendment, and also re-enacted the civil 
rights act of i866, 3 and imposed penalties for 
violation of the rights secured by the Fourteenth 
Amendment. The practical purpose of this legis- 

1 House Misc. Does., 41 Cong., 2 Sess., "Contested Elections 
in La." * U. S. Statutes at Large, XVI., 140. 

See above, p. 63. 

1870] THE CLIMAX 185 

lation was to give to the United States courts juris 
diction for the maintenance of that civil and polit 
ical equality which the adverse sentiment of the 
southern whites prevented the state courts from 
adequately maintaining. The act involved a very 
wide extension of the national authority into a field 
hitherto left to the states, and therefore, on con 
stitutional grounds, it aroused serious opposition 
among the more moderate Republicans. It made 
up definitely the issue as to whether the last three 
amendments authorized the central government to 
guarantee equal rights to the freedmen against all 
attacks by their white fellow-citizens, or only against 
such attacks as were made with explicit sanction of 
the states. The former view was incorporated in 
the law, and this caused lively misgivings to many 
Republicans who, while entirely willing to see the 
national power applied to the protection of the 
freedmen in the South, were entirely unwilling to 
contemplate the interposition of the same power in 
their own states. 

In addition to this opposition on constitutional 
grounds, the expediency of^ the enforcement act 
was seriously questioned by moderate Republicans. 
Not force, but conciliation, they argued, was now 
the proper policy towards the South. Having en 
franchised the blacks and secured their civil rights, 
Congress should next remove that source of bitter 
ness among the whites which lay in the existing 
disabilities under the Fourteenth Amendment. The 


most able and influential of the southerners were 
excluded from their natural leadership in politics, 
and their restoration to their position would be, it 
was argued, a dictate of sound statesmanship l 

But the radical spirit was still distinctly in the 
ascendant in Republican councils, and the moderates 
were gradually forced away into the Liberal move 
ment that was now developing. The elections of 
1870 showed great Republican losses throughout the 
Union. In the new House of Representatives the 
majority would be reduced from ninety-seven to 
thirty-five, 2 and North Carolina and Alabama, as 
had been anticipated, were carried by the Demo 
crats. But these reverses only nerved the radicals 
in Congress to more strenuous pursuit of the part 
they had chosen. By act of February 28, 1871, 
a rigorous system of Federal supervision over con 
gressional elections was established. 3 This was de 
signed not only to supplement the weakness and 
inefficiency of the radical state governments in the 
South, but also to counteract the fraudulent and 
violent practices which prevailed in New York and 
other large cities of the North. 

With particular reference to the South, on the j 
reluctantly given recommendation of the president, 4 , 

1 See speeches of Ferry and Schurz, Cong. Globe, 41 Cong., 2 
Sess., 3489, 3607. * Tribune Almanac, 1871, p. 45; 1872, p. 52. 

8 U. S. Statutes at Large, XVL, 433. 

4 Message of March 23, 1871, Richardson, Messages and Papers, 
VII., 127; Boutwell, Reminiscences, II., 252; Hoar, Autobiog 
raphy, I., 205. 

1871] THE CLIMAX 187 

Congress passed the second great enforcement act, 
generally called the Ku-Klux act, April 20, 1871.* 
A concrete basis for the law was found in the an 
archic conditions which prevailed in some parts of 
North Carolina. 2 The activity of Ku-Klux Klans 
had been manifest and merciless, and the efforts of 
the Republican state government to maintain order 
resulted in its own overthrow in the elections. 3 By 
the radicals at Washington, led by Morton and But 
ler, the disorders in the South were held to be the 
result of a general secret organization of the con 
quered rebels for the purpose of suppressing the 
Republican party in that section. Despite abun 
dant evidence that the Ku-Klux movement was in 
large measure but the unorganized and sporadic 
expression of social demoralization, the political 
motive was seized upon as dominant, and the new 
act assumed to deal with a new rebellion. It not 
only strengthened greatly the hands of the national 
judiciary for dealing with the secret conspiracies, 
but also authorized the president to suspend the 
habeas corpus and suppress the disturbances by 
military force. 

On grounds of both constitutionality and expe 
diency, this drastic measure was more strongly op 
posed than its predecessor by Democrats and mod- 

1 U. 5. Statutes at Large, XVII., 13. 

3 Sen. Exec. Docs., 41 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 16, pt. ii. 

3 The legislature was carried by the conservatives, and Gov 
ernor Holden was impeached and removed from his office. Am. 
Annual Cyclop., 1870, 1871, arts. North Carolina. 


erate Republicans. 1 The idea that anything like 
"rebellion" or "war" existed in the South was 
justly denounced as far-fetched and visionary, while 
the inability of the radical state governments to en 
list efficient public sentiment in their support af 
forded a good ground for the contention that the 
policy which created them was a failure. It was 
strongly urged, too, in opposition to the Ku-Klux 
bill, that Congress had too little information as to 
the real conditions in the South, and that a thorough 
investigation should precede legislation. This view, 
while it did not prevent the passage of the act, re 
sulted in the creation of a joint select committee 
on affairs in the late insurrectionary states, whose 
labors, reported in thirteen volumes to the next 
session of Congress, 2 brought to light most that is 
known to-day as to the early working of congres 
sional reconstruction east of the Mississippi. 

While this committee was diligently seeking out 
the facts of the situation, the president, October 
17, 1871, applied the extremest provisions of the 
Ku-Klux act in South Carolina. Nine counties of 
that state were proclaimed to be in rebellion, the 
writ of habeas corpus was suspended, 3 and detach- ^ 
ments of Federal troops arrested many hundreds 
of persons on suspicion of connection with the secret 

1 See, especially, speeches of Blair, of Michigan, and Garfield 
in the House, and Trumbull and Schurz in the Senate, Cong. 
Globe, 42 Cong., i Sess., 574, 686, and App., 71, 149. 

2 House Report, 42 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 22. 
Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 137. 

1871] THE CLIMAX 189 

organizations. Some were brought to trial before 
the national courts, and a few were convicted under 
the enforcement acts, but most were ultimately 
discharged without trial. 1 The evidence before the 
court, together with that secured by the investi 
gating committee, revealed shocking conditions of 
barbarity in the attitude of low-class whites towards 
the freedmen, but showed that the political motive 
in the outrages, so far as it was manifest at all, was 
concerned with purely local incidents of radical 
misrule, and was ridiculously remote from any pur 
pose that could be fairly called "rebellion" against 
the United States. 

The execution of the enforcement acts rounded 
out the radical policy to which the administration 
was now entirely committed for the purposes of 
the electoral campaign of 1872. Against this policy 
a very powerful element of the Republican party 
was in a position of vehement protest. About this 
situation as a central feature were shaped the many 
other influences which determined the Liberal Re 
publican movement. 

1 Excellent summary of the whole episode in Reynolds, Re- 
construction in 5. C., chap. v. Full report of trials at Columbia 
in House Reports, 42 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 22, "South Carolina," 
III., 1615. 




THE impulse to organized opposition by Repub 
licans to the policies and persons that were 
dominant at Washington came from Missouri. In 
that state the disfranchisement and proscription of 
Confederate sympathizers took an extreme form, 1 
and was persisted in, despite a growing popular 
hostility, until 1870. Then at last the Republican 
party of the state was split on the issue, and the 
radicals who held control were defeated by a coali 
tion of bolting Liberals with the Democrats. 2 The 
state constitution was so revised as to end the dis 
criminations which the war had caused, and the 
policy of conciliation and peace, thus triumphant, 
attracted much attention and favor throughout the 

In spirit and result the Missouri plan of dealing 
with southern conditions stood in absolute contrast 
to that which was embodied in the enforcement 

1 See above, p. 8. 

3 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1870, art. Missouri. 


acts. A leading part in the Liberal movement was 
taken by Carl Schurz, who, as senator from Missouri, 
was prominent in opposition to Grant s Santo Do 
mingo project and to the radical programme for the 
South. In connection with the state election of 1870 
in Missouri, the president took open ground against 
the Liberals, denouncing them as merely scheming 
to turn the state over to the Democrats. 1 The 
Liberal movement and its leaders thus became nat 
urally the focus of the anti-administration feeling 
which pervaded the Republican party throughout 
the Union. In January, 1872, the Missouri Liberals, 
in a state convention, took formally a long-can 
vassed step and issued a call for a national conven 
tion at Cincinnati, with a view to nominations for 
the approaching presidential election. 2 

At the time this call was issued there was natural 
ly much uncertainty as to the outcome ; for ultimate 
success or failure would depend upon the action of 
the regular Republican and Democratic organiza 
tions. But as to the existence of a public sentiment 
that justified the movement, there was no uncer 
tainty whatever. The three years of Grant s ad 
ministration had been disastrous to the president s 
reputation among reflecting men, and had seriously 
affected his popularity among the masses. His disre 
gard for the conventions of propriety and good taste 
which ought to control the occupant of the White 

1 Ant. Annual Cyclop., 1870, p. 520. 

"Stanwood, Hist, of the Presidency, 335. 
VOL. xxn. 13 


House was no less conspicuous, and was even more 
offensive, than that of his predecessor. Where John 
son had peremptorily refused valuable gifts from 
admirers, Grant not only accepted them, but ap 
pointed the donors to office. 1 By accepting social 
courtesies from Fisk and Gould, then at the height 
of a dubious prominence in Wall Street, he involved 
his name in the scandal of their daring attempt to 
corner gold during September, 1869, and in the 
tragedy of their failure on "Black Friday." 2 In 
this matter he was the victim in a measure of the 
mingled gullibility and greed of a brother-in-law, 
Corbin; and in other matters he exposed himself to 
severe and not unjustifiable criticism for placing or 
retaining in public office relatives whose influence 
with him was made a valuable political asset. 

A fundamental fact in these aspects of Grant s 
quasi-private conduct was an utter lack of ability 
to judge men. This defect played a large part also 
in shaping the purely political developments of his 
administration. His adhesion to the radical rather 
than the moderate Republicans was determined by 
his confidence in certain leaders ; and this confidence 
resulted in some cases from wholly irrelevant canons 
of judgment, in some cases from unpredictable 
and inexplicable caprice, but very seldom from well- 

1 Cf. Wilson, Charles A. Dana, pp. 413, 414, 423, 424. 

* House Reports, 41 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 31, gives all the facts in 
this famous affair. See also Adams, Chapters of Erie, 100; 
Rhodes, United States, VI., 249 et seq. 


founded appreciation of their capacity and convic 
tions. At the instance of senators who enjoyed his 
favor he dismissed from his cabinet Attorney-Gen 
eral Hoar and Secretary of the Interior Cox, whose 
offending lay in aggressive, if not always tactful, 
efforts to remedy the evils of congressional patron 
age in appointments to office. 1 Though the presi 
dent evinced a lively interest in the rising movement 
for civil service reform, and in 1871 instituted a 
commission through which the first definite step 
towards the elimination of the spoils system was 
made, many of the most ardent reformers, claiming 
that his support lacked the vigor which sincerity 
would have insured, cast their lot with the oppo 
nents of his administration. The most aggressive 
advocates of tariff reduction took the same position 
from analogous motives. The feeling common to 
both these elements was that reform in the adminis 
tration and in the revenue was the most imperative 
need of the nation, and that such reform was not to 
be hoped for from the influences which had estab 
lished themselves in control of the president. The 
institution of a new policy of force in the South was 
regarded as a deliberate and unwarranted revival 
of dead issues, for the purpose of evading proper 
consideration of those which were vital. 

Civil service reform and tariff reform thus con- 

1 Boutwell, Reminiscences, II., 211; J. D. Cox, "How Judge 
Hoar Ceased to be Attorney-General," in Atlantic Monthly, 
August, 1895. 


tributed no little strength to the Liberal movement, 
though the backbone of it was the desire that the 
issues of war and reconstruction should be dropped, 
and that the South should be let alone to work out 
such destiny as existing conditions would permit. 
The old demand, "universal suffrage and universal 
amnesty," whose symmetrical phrase had embodied 
the ideal of many optimistic souls since 1865, was 
the watchword of the Liberal cause. In the con 
viction that this ideal would, with the removal 
of existing disqualifications on ex-Confederates, be 
completely realized, a host of conservative Repub 
licans united in the protest against the centralizing 
tendencies of the enforcement acts. Such men 
were painfully impressed, not only by the hitherto 
unheard-of theory on which the Federal courts were 
assuming a general jurisdiction over crime in the 
South, but especially by the extent to which the 
regular army was appearing as the mainstay of 
most of the reconstructed state governments. The 
frequently recurring instances of military interven 
tion 1 furnished support to the theory, which the 
president s adversaries diligently exploited, that 
Grant was a gloomy despot, openly building up an 
imperial dominion on the ruins of the Constitution, 
Such was the theme of all Stunner s declamation 

1 The great fire in Chicago in October, 1871, occasioned an 
appeal by the local authorities to Federal troops under General 
Sheridan to maintain order. Sheridan s proceedings brought a 
vehement protest from the governor and legislature. Am. Annual 
Cyclop. t 1871, p. 397. 


after the Santo Domingo episode; and the senator 
even found somewhat to admire in Andrew Johnson 
by comparison with the later object of his vituper 
ation. 1 Apart from the ridiculous extravagance to 
which Stunner s personal antipathy carried him, there 
existed a perfectly serious and not unjustified feel 
ing that the president was "an unsafe if not a posi 
tively -dangerous chief of the administration, and 
this feeling was the basis of the purely " anti-Grant " 
motive which was prominent in the Liberal move 
ment. With those to whom this appealed, the end 
in view was not so much a specific policy as the ex 
pulsion of the military chief from political power. 

The national convention which was called by the 
Missouri Liberals assembled at Cincinnati, May i, 
1872. Among its members and its sympathizers 
were included a notable array of names prominent 
earlier or later in the Republican party. David A. 
Wells, Edward Atkinson, and William Cullen Bryant 
represented the demand for tariff reform ; Carl Schurz 
and J. D. Cox emphasized the civil service reform 
idea; David Davis and Lyman Trumbull typified 
the dread of centralization and of departure from 
ancient constitutional theories; Horace Greeley and 
Charles Francis Adams were chiefly concerned with 
eliminating the southern question from politics; 
ex-Governors Curtin, of Pennsylvania, and Fenton, 
of New York, embodied resentment at the admin 
istration politics which had exalted their personal 
1 Cong. Globe., 42 Cong., 2 Sess., 4121. 


rivals, Senators Cameron and Conkling; and all the 
list agreed with enthusiasm that the chief obstacle 
to the realization of any of their special desires was 
the continuance of Grant in the White House. 
Schurz was permanent chairman of the convention, 
and the platform 1 which it adopted embodied a 
bitter arraignment of the president s record, both 
personal and purely political. On its positive side 
the document demanded all the various reforms 
which have been referred to above save reduction 
of the tariff. To reconcile the extreme protection 
ism which Greeley had preached for thirty years 
with the free trade for which Wells and Bryant were 
striving proved quite beyond the genius of the ex 
perts in platform writing. As a result, the plank 
touching the tariff merely announced irreconcilable 
differences on the subject, which were left to the 
people to decide by their choice of congressmen. 
As to the southern question, the declaration of Lib 
eral faith was clear and explicit : equal rights before 
the law, regardless of race or color; no reopening of 
the questions settled by the last three amendments 
of the Constitution; and immediate and complete 
removal of political disabilities. 

All the sanguine hopes of thoughtful men as to 
this convention s work were wrecked by the nomi 
nation for the presidency. That Charles Francis 
Adams or David Davis or Lyman Trumbull or Gratz 

1 McClure, Our Presidents, 231; Stanwood, Hist, of the Presi 
dency, 341. 


Brown might lead the cause had been contemplated 
with serenity by all. But when, on the sixth ballot, 
Horace Greeley received the necessary majority and, 
became the candidate, the doom of Liberalism was 
sealed. The hopes of success had turned on the 
selection of a candidate who first of all, by a record 
of political strength and sagacity, should divert 
Republican votes from Grant, and then, by a record 
of sympathy with some article of the ancient creed 
of the Democrats, should make it easy for them to 
follow him in dropping the issues of the war. Gree 
ley was the farthest possible from fulfilling either 
of these requirements. 1 The qualities of head and 
heart for which he was notorious justified the com- 

ion remark among Republicans that to turn a 
lave out of the White House for the purpose of 
iting a fool in was hardly worth while; and the 

liscovery of any single expression, in all his writ 
ings of thirty years, signifying aught but contempt 
for whatever pertained to Democracy was a task 
beyond the power of himself or any of his friends. 
In spite, however, of the dissatisfaction which the 
nomination inspired, the general plan of campaign 
on which the Liberal convention had been based was 
carried out. This had turned upon the adoption of 
the Cincinnati platform and candidates by the Democ 
racy. Influential Democrats, notably F. P. Blair, 
now senator from Missouri, had been in close touch 

1 Elaine s estimate of Greeley and of the whole Liberal move 
ment is valuable. Elaine, Twenty Years of Cong., II., 520*531. 


with the Liberal chiefs, 1 and were too deeply com 
mitted to withdraw. By this time there was, indeed, 
no hope of success against Grant except through 
Greeley; and accordingly the Democratic conven 
tion, which met at Baltimore, July 9, simply adopted 
the platform and the candidates of the Liberals. 
The acceptance of the platform was a step of great 
significance. Four years earlier the Democratic na 
tional convention, under southern inspiration, com 
mitted the party to repudiation of congressional 
reconstruction and the war amendments as revo 
lutionary and void; 2 now it solemnly resolved to 
maintain emancipation and enfranchisement, and 
" to oppose any reopening of the questions settled by 
the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amend 
ments." This was simply to acknowledge defeat on 
the issues of the war and reconstruction, to relegate 
those issues to the dead past, and to take a stand 
on the necessity of such relegation. The expedi 
ency of this "new departure" in party policy had 
been widely discussed during the growth of the 
Liberal movement. Vallandigham, of Ohio, had 
strongly advocated a change of base by the Democ 
racy, 8 and the support given to the project by the 
old Copperhead faction, which he represented, had 
been a source of much encouragement to the anti- 
Grant Republicans. 

1 McClure, Our Presidents, 230; Blame, Twenty Years of Cong., 
II., 524. *See above, p. 132. 

Am. Annual Cyolop., 1871, pp. 609, 750. 


On June 5, a month before the Democratic con 
vention did its work, the regular Republicans met 
at Philadelphia and carried through the long prede 
termined programme of naming General Grant for 
a second term. The serious anxiety which the 
Liberal defection caused to the party chiefs was 
largely dispelled by the outcome at Cincinnati; for 
it was confidently calculated that the Democrats 
alienated by Greeley would outnumber the Repub 
licans attracted by the movement. If the Demo 
cratic convention should refuse to indorse Greeley, 
the opposition to Grant would be divided and power 
less; if the convention should give its indorsement, 
the problem of defeating Horace Greeley as the 
nominee of the Democracy seemed ridiculously easy 
of solution. The platform at Philadelphia was care 
fully drawn so as to emphasize the party disloyalty 
of the Liberals and deny them the name of Repub 
licans. Though a host of men who had been indis 
pensable to Lincoln in the war-time and to Congress 
in its reconstruction policy were supporters of Gree 
ley, the Philadelphia convention claimed to represent 
the party which had suppressed the rebellion and 
carried through the emancipation and enfranchise 
ment of the blacks. On civil service reform and 
amnesty the platform was not far removed from 
that of the Liberals; on the tariff it threw into 
strong relief the disharmony of its opponents by 
declaring definitively for protection; but the most 
characteristic feature of the platform was the clear 


and explicit indorsement of the enforcement acts. 
The party leaders felt entire confidence in an appeal 
to northern sentiment against the "violent and trea 
sonable organizations in certain lately rebellious re 
gions," and shrewdly trusted in the efficacy of sec 
tional antipathies to counteract the Liberal demand 
that the issues of the war be dropped. 

The electoral campaign at the outset was not 
destitute of cheer to the Liberals, 1 but by the end 
of the summer all hope was gone, save to their can 
didate, and his baseless optimism was but another 
evidence of his unsound judgment. Liberal Re 
publicans in great numbers abandoned openly or 
secretly the cause which they had supported ; north 
ern Democrats sullenly repudiated a candidate whose 
life had been devoted to vituperation of all that they 
believed in, though a movement for an organized 
bolt by " straight - out " Democrats failed through 
lack of a leader 2 to make much impression. In the 
South the Democrats were generally willing to take 
Greeley in preference to Grant, but enthusiasm was 
not conspicuous. The state elections in Septem 
ber and October confirmed the anticipations of 
shrewd observers, and convinced Greeley himself 
that his cause was lost. In November came the 

1 McClure, Our Presidents, 242; Elaine, Twenty Years of Cong., 
II., 534- 

2 A convention at Louisville, September 3, nominated Charles 
O Conor for president and John Quincy Adams for vice-presi 
dent, but both declined to run. Am. Annual Cyclop., 1872, p. 


full revelation of the popular verdict, in the triumph 
of Grant by 286 out of 352 electoral votes, 1 and a 
popular majority of some seven hundred and fifty 
thousand. No northern state was carried by Gree- 
ley; the seven which gave him majorities were three 
of the border states Maryland, Kentucky, and 
Missouri and four of the Confederacy Georgia, 
Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas. His overwhelm 
ing defeat combined with recent domestic affliction 
to unseat the unfortunate^ candidate s reason, and 
he died a madman, November 29, 1872. 

For the magnitude of the catastrophe which swept 
the Liberal movement to abrupt extinction, the pe 
culiar unfitness of its .candidate was chiefly respon 
sible ; but it is scarcely probable that it would have 
succeeded with any candidate. The time had not 
yet come when an appeal to sectional feeling would 
fail to determine the political course of the northern 
masses. Butler and Morton and Hoar and the rest 
of the radicals who forced the Ku-Klux issue to 
the front were more sagacious than the Liberals in 
their estimate of popular emotion. It was good 
"politics," if not the most far-sighted wisdom, to 
call the war spirit to the aid of the war chief by 
reviving the cry of treason and rebellion. Exalted 
intellects like those of Schurz and Chase could ap 
preciate the refinement of justice in enfranchising 

1 This was as the vote was finally counted in Congress. The 
votes of Louisiana and Arkansas were excluded. Stanwood, Hist. 
of the Presidency, 353. 


the black hordes of the South and then leaving them 
to fight it out with their former masters; but the 
rank and file of the Republicans, having with much 
travail of spirit accepted the policy of bestowing the 
suffrage, could not turn so sharp a corner and leave 
the new voters to their fate. That distrust of the 
southern whites which had been so violently stimu 
lated in the North in order to secure the recon 
struction acts and the Fifteenth Amendment long 
remained sensitive to manipulation by politicians 
of high and low degree. Only by some tremendous 
shock of social and economic circumstance could the 
southern question be displaced from its dominant 
position in the political consciousness of the North. 
Such a shock proved to be near at hand when General 
Grant, in March, 1873, entered formally upon his 
second term in the White House. 




THE disastrous collapse of the Liberal move 
ment brought dismay and despair to the white 
people of the South; it seemed to postpone indefi 
nitely the reversal of national policy which had been 
so sanguinely hoped for, and to forebode an increase 
of the rigor with which the enforcement acts were 
applied by the administration. Some mitigation 
of the burdens of which the southerners complained 
had, indeed, attended the progress of the Liberal 
movement. In 1871 the requirement of the iron 
clad oath was repealed so far as ex-Confederates 
were concerned ; 1 the next year Congress, by a 
sweeping amnesty act, 2 removed the disabilities from 
all but a small remnant, estimated at about seven 
hundred and fifty, of those whom the Fourteenth 
Amendment excluded from office; and an effort of 
the radicals to extend the term of the president s 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 123. 

2 U. S. Statutes at Large, XVII., 142; Blaine, Twenty Years of 
Cong., II., 513. 


summary powers tinder the Ku-Klux act failed. 1 
Thus a host of southerners became again eligible to 
the political dignities to which their fellow-citizens 
might wish to raise them ; and the suspension of the 
habeas corpus was no longer to be employed as it 
had been in South Carolina. But eligibility to office 
was of small practical consequence where election 
was impossible; and the enforcement acts permit 
ted the exercise of Federal power through Federal 
troops without reference to the provision concern 
ing the habeas corpus. In the ordinary process of 
criminal justice, and at every election, the interpo 
sition of United States marshals accompanied by 
United States soldiers was a normal incident, 2 and 
to that extent the sense of subjection was kept al 
ways active among the people. General Terry,, com 
manding the Department of the South, reported in 
1871 two hundred instances in which detachments 
of troops were sent out to aid civil officers, including 
state authorities as well as Federal. 

This ever-present source of irritation came as an 
aggravation of the evils which by 1872 had in many 
places become intolerable, arising from the ineffi 
ciency, extravagance, and corruption of the radi 
cal southern state governments. That the practical 
working of these organizations was in all the states 
bad, and in some of them a mere travesty of civilized 
government, was made clear by the investigation of 

1 Cong. Globe, 42 Cong., 2 Sess., 3931, 4323. 
2 Sec. of War, Annual Report, 1871, p. 63. 


the joint committee of Congress, 1 commonly known 
as the Ku-Klux committee; and it was not denied, 
though it was palliated, in the report of the Repub 
lican majority of that committee. 2 
. The most conspicuous feature .of maladministra 
tion was that of the finances. To the ambitious 
northern whites, inexperienced southern whites, and 
unintelligent blacks who controlled^ the Jirst recon 
structed governments, ttfe grand end of their in 
duction into power was to- put their states promptly 
abreast of those which led in the prosperity and prog 
ress at the. North. Things must be done, they be 
lieved, on a larger, freer, nobler scale than under 
the debased regime of slavery. Accordingly, both 
by the new constitutions and by legislation, the ex 
penses of the governments, were largely increased: 
offices were multiplied in all departments; salaries 
were made more worthy of the now regenerated 
and progressive commonwealths; costly enterprises 
were undertaken for the promotion of the general 
welfare, especially w^here that welfare was primarily 
connected with the uplifting of the freedmen. The 
result of all this was promptly seen in an expansion 
of state debts and an increase of taxation that to 
the property-owning class were appalling and ruin 
ous. .And the fact which was of the first impor- 

1 See above, p. 188. 

2 House Reports, 42 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 22, pt. i., p. 85 et seq. 
See especially the report of the sub-committee on debts and 
election laws, p. 101. 


tance in the situation was that this class, which paid 
the taxes, was sharply divided politically from that 
which levied them, and was by the whole radical 
theory of the reconstruction to be indefinitely ex 
cluded from a determining voice in the government. 
Of the objects of outlay which contributed to 
swell the annual deficit of the state treasuries, many 
were, of course, unexceptionable from any point of 
view. The rebuilding of roads, bridges, and levees, 
the renovation of public offices and other property, 
the restoration of town improvements that had suf 
fered by the devastation of the war all these works 
absorbed large sums and were unopposed by the 
conservatives, save where extravagance and cor 
ruption were manifest or suspected. In respect to 
the blacks, the governments had now to assume 
many responsibilities which in slavery either per 
tained to the masters or had no existence. Thus 
the administration of criminal justice for the newly 
enfranchised citizens and the regulation of their 
family and property relations made an important 
increase of public expenditure inevitable. One of 
the largest items in the budgets of reconstruction 
was the schools. Free public education existed in 
only a rudimentary and sporadic form in the South 
before the war, but the new constitutions provided 
generally for complete systems on advanced north 
ern models. 1 The financial burden of these enter- 

1 Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., chap, x.; Fleming, Recon 
struction in Ala., chap. xix. 


prises was very great, and the irritation thus caused 
was increased by the fact that the blacks were the 
chief beneficiaries of the new systems, while many 
of the white tax-payers considered the education of 
the negro, as carried on in the public schools, to be 
either useless or positively dangerous to society. 

Perhaps the chief element in the vast expansion 
of state debts under the radical regime was that 
incidental to the construction of railroads. That 
many new lines and great improvements in the old 
were essential to the economic resurrection of the 
South, was recognized by conservatives and radi 
cals alike, and almost all the new constitutions 
authorized the loan of the state s credit to railway 
enterprises. The North and West were at this time 
in the midst of the great railway-building era else 
where described, 1 and the spirit of these sections 
moved across Mason and Dixon s line and down to 
the Gulf. Projects of every degree of promise and 
of fatuity were laid before the southern legislatures 
for their authorization and endowment. Splendid 
pictures of economic rehabilitation were exhibited 
by the railway lobbyists, to follow the guarantee of 
specified bonds; and many a sable legislator whose 
financial experience before 1868 had been bounded 
by the modest limits of a bootblack s or a field 
hand s income was called upon to ponder the policy 
of enterprises whose cost to the state would run 
into the millions. The result was legislation of in- 
1 See above, chap, ix., and below, chap. xiv. 

VOL. XXII. 14 


credible recklessness executed with inconceivable 
corruption and fraud. On the debts due to the ex 
tension of the government s regular expenses were 
piled great masses of actual or prospective liabili 
ties incurred on behalf of the railways. A very 
conservative figure in 1872 put the increase of in 
debtedness of the eleven states since their reconstruc 
tion at $131,717,777.81, of which more than two- 
thirds consisted of guarantees to various enterprises, 
chiefly railways. 1 Much of this was well secured, so 
far as the terms of the law were concerned, by liens 
on the completed roads ; but it happened in only too 
many instances that the issue of bonds preceded the 
completion of the work, with the result that great 
quantities of state - indorsed securities represented 
no property of ascertainable value. Moreover, in 
South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, railways 
that had been owned in whole or in part by the 
states were grossly mismanaged, and were exploited 
for the profit of politicians. 2 

In the maladministration that brought ruin to the 
finances, inefficiency and corruption played about 
equal parts. The responsible higher officials were 
in many cases entirely honest, though pathetically 
stupid, in their schemes to promote the interests of 
their respective states. But the governments num 
bered in their personnel, on the other hand, a host of 

1 Ku-Klux Committee, Report, 101 et. seq., esp. 213. 
3 Ibid., 389; Am. Annual Cyclop., 1871, 350; Fleming, Recon 
struction in Ala., 599. 


officers to whom place was merely an opportunity 
for plunder. The progressive depletion of the pub 
lic treasuries was accompanied by great private 
prosperity among radical politicians of high and 
low degree. First to profit by their opportunity 
were generally the northerners who led in radical 
politics; but the "scalawag" southerners and the 
negroes were quick to catch the idea. Bribery be 
came the indispensable adjunct of legislation, and 
fraud a common feature in the execution of the 
laws. The form and manner of this corruption, 
which has given so unsavory a connotation to the 
name "reconstruction," were no different from 
those which have appeared in many another time 
and place in democratic government. At the very 
time, indeed, when the administrations of Scott, in 
South Carolina, and Warmoth, in Louisiana, were 
establishing the southern high-water mark of rascal 
ity in public finance, the Tweed ring in New York 
City was at the culmination of its closely parallel 
career. The really novel and peculiar element in 
the maladministration in the South was the social 
and race issue which underlay it, and which came 
to the surface at once when any attempt at reform 
was instituted. 

In most of the reconstructed states the very first 
term of the radical administration developed a 
schism in the party in power. In a general way the 
line of this cleavage was that dividing the southern 
white from the northern white element the scala- 


wag from the carpet-bagger. Between these two 
elements there was a natural divergency of feeling 
and policy in respect to the blacks, who constituted 
the bulk of the party. As the negroes caught the 
spirit of politics and demanded more and more of 
the positions and essential power in their party, the 
southern whites could not bring themselves to the 
same amount of concession that th carpet-bag 
gers made. The latter, therefore, became more and 
more decisively the controlling element of the party. 
Meanwhile the Democratic whites, constituting the 
main body of tax-payers, watched with deepest alarm 
the mounting debt and tax-rate in every state. They 
were carrying most of the burden which radical ex 
travagance and corruption were creating, and they 
had small chance of success in any election against 
the compact mass of negroes. They welcomed, 
therefore, the chance to profit by the radical schisms, 
and accordingly we find in most of the states, by 
1872, a coalition of reforming Republicans and Dem 
ocrats, under the name conservatives, in opposi 
tion to the dominant radicals. The net outcome 
of this movement was a sharpening of race lines in 
party division a loss to the radicals of a consider 
able fraction of the initially small white element 
which they possessed. The tendency towards pure 
ly race parties was promoted also by the return to 
the North of many of the better class of carpet 
baggers, discouraged with the failure of their proj 
ects for making an honest fortune. 


In the reshaping of parties the conservatives prof 
ited somewhat by the general amnesty act of Con 
gress, 1 which brought many influential men once 
more to the front. But the obstacles to a successful 
campaign against the radicals were appalling. Not 
only were the negroes impervious to arguments 
based on existing maladministration, but, where the 
whites were in the majority, the election laws of 
most of the states enabled the party in power to 
determine the result much at its will. In this mat 
ter the reconstructed constitutions and legislatures 
followed the example of the original acts of Congress, 
and conferred upon the governors much the same 
authority over the registration and elections as had 
been possessed by the district commanders during 
the military regime. 2 Under cover of a purpose to 
insure protection to the negro voter, the control of 
the local electoral machinery was centralized at the 
state capitals, and extraordinary facilities for fraud 
were embodied in the laws regulating both the cast 
ing and the counting of the ballots. 3 The capstone 
of the system was the "returning board," which in 
some of the states was so constituted and so endowed 
with power over the final canvass of the votes that 
the governor and his appointees could determine the 
result practically at their discretion, with but per 
functory reference to the earlier incidents of the 

1 See above, p. 203. 2 Cf. Dunning, Essays, 190. 

8 Ku-Klux Committee, Report, 252, 253, 354 et seq. 


A final and terribly effective obstacle to political 
reformation by the conservatives was the power of 
the national administration. After the full com 
mittal of President Grant to the policy of the en 
forcement acts, the civil, judicial, and military 
service of the United States in the South became 
gradually a mere adjunct of the radical state gov 
ernments. 1 Energetically directed by the attorney- 
general at Washington, the district-attorneys and 
marshals, and in some flagrant instances the district 
judges themselves, gave indispensable support to 
the radical cause. Indictments under the Ku- 
Klux act, never brought to trial, were used as 
a moderating influence on conservative enthusiasts 
in close districts ; and it became a leading function 
of United States soldiers to counteract by their 
presence any tendency of negro interest in politics 
to wane. Thus the useful service of the national 
power in restraining the rash and violent elements 
of southern white society that were active in the 
later phases of the Ku-Klux movement was grad 
ually transformed into the support of a social and 
political system in which all the forces that made 
for civilization were dominated by a mass of barbar 
ous freedmen. 

With the dwindling of the white element in the 
radical party, it became increasingly apparent to 
reflecting men that the demoralization in the South 

1 For a scandalous employment of Federal troops in a mere 
radical faction fight, see House Reports, 42 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 92. 


was less political than social in its essence that 
the antithesis and antipathy of race and color were 
crucial and ineradicable. Intelligence and political 
capacity were, indeed, almost exclusively in the one 
race; but this was not the key to the situation, for 
the relations of the higher class of whites with the 
blacks were notoriously far less hostile than those of 
the lower class. A map of the Ku-Klux operations 
which gave occasion for the enforcement acts does 
not touch the region of the great plantations and 
the black belts, where the aristocracy had their 
homes, but includes only the piedmont territory, 
where the poor whites lived* The negroes were dis 
liked and feared almost in exact proportion to their 
manifestation of intelligence and capacity. What 
animated the whites was pride in their race as such 
and a dread, partly instinctive, partly rational, lest 
their institutions, traditions, and ideals were to be 
appropriated or submerged. Whether or not this 
feeling and spirit were abstractly preferable to those 
which animated the northern idealist who preached 
equality, the fact that such feeling and spirit were 
at work must be taken squarely into account by 
the historian. 

The negro had no pride of race and no aspiration 
or ideals save to be like the whites. With civil 
rights and political power, not won, but almost 
forced upon him, he came gradually to understand 
and crave those more elusive privileges that con 
stitute social equality. A more intimate associa- 


tion with the other race than that which business 
and politics involved was the end towards which 
the ambition of the blacks tended consciously or 
unconsciously to direct itself. The manifestations 
of this ambition were infinite in their diversity. It 
played a part in the demand for mixed schools, in 
the legislative prohibition of discrimination between 
the races in hotels and theatres, and even in the 
hideous crime against white womanhood which now 
assumed new meaning in the annals of outrage. 
But every form and suggestion of social equality 
was resented and resisted by the whites with the 
energy of despair. The dread of it justified in their 
eyes modes of lawlessness which were wholly sub 
versive of civilization. Charles Sumner devoted the 
last years of his life to a determined effort to 
prohibit by Federal law any discrimination against 
the blacks in hotels, theatres, railways, steamboats, 
schools, churches, and cemeteries. 1 His bill did 
not pass* Congress till 1875, after his death, but his 
idea was taken up and enacted into law by most 
of the southern radical legislatures. The laws 
proved unenforceable and of small direct conse 
quence, but the discussion of them furnished rich 
fuel to the flames of race animosity, and nerved 
many a hesitating white, as well as many an ambi 
tious black, to violent deeds for the interest of his 

fierce, Sumner, IV., 499, 580, 581; Am. Annual Cyclop., 
1871, p. 752; 1872, p. 14. 


The deeper springs of southern conditions were ob 
scured to the northern masses by the cloud of par 
tisan prejudice which hung over the subject. The 
radical claim that impenitent rebels were still re 
sponsible for all the troubles in the South, through 
their undying hatred of the negro and of the Re 
publican party, served as a sufficient sedative for 
uneasiness, so long as economic prosperity in the 
North disposed the minds of the masses to optimism. 
Yet the situation in the reconstructed states in 1873, 
when the second administration of President Grant 
got fairly under headway, was full of justification 
for despair. 

Four of the states Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, 
and North Carolina had come under conservative 
control, and were gradually assuming the guise of 
settled and orderly communities. But of these Vir 
ginia and North Carolina were confessedly bank 
rupt; and in all the states still under radical 
control the finances were in the last stages of rotten 
ness and chaos. The amount of the state debt was 
in some cases undiscoverable, because no record of 
bond issues had been preserved. 1 Charges of fraud, 
bribery, and stealing constituted the burden of po 
litical discussion in every state. Three governors 
had been subjected to impeachment: Holden, of 
North Carolina, and Warmoth, of Louisiana, were 
convicted and deposed; Reed, of Florida, was ac- 

1 Cf. Herbert, Why the Solid South? 420; Fleming, Reconstruc 
tion in Ala., 594. 


quitted, not, apparently, so much on the ground of 
innocence as for the purpose of preventing the suc 
cession of a conservative. 1 Every election, state 
or national, was attended by charges on both sides 
of fraud, intimidation, and outrage. Disputes as 
to the results in 1872 were followed by the occupa 
tion of three state capitals New Orleans, Mont 
gomery, and Little Rock by United States troops 
under the general direction of Attorney-General 
Williams. 2 This officer s opinions on legal and po 
litical questions became practically a decisive fac 
tor in the result of every southern state election. 

South Carolina and Louisiana were in 1873 the 
spectacular illustrations of the working of recon 
struction. The former state was thoroughly Afri 
canized. A native white man, Franklin J. Moses, 
Jr., of notoriously bad character, succeeded the 
carpet-bagger Scott as governor, but most of the 
other elected executive officers, two-thirds of the 
legislature, and four out of the five congressmen 
were negroes. 3 The shameless caricature of govern 
ment which had prevailed at Columbia since the 
blacks came to power was now known in its general 
features throughout the North. 4 The disgust which 
it might have been expected to inspire was subdued, 

1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1871, p. 559 (N. C.); Herbert, Why the 
Solid South? 158 (Fla.), 415 (La.). 

2 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1872, pp. 12, 483; 1874, p. 41. 

3 Reynolds, Reconstruction in S. C., 224. 

4 For details, see Herbert, Why the Solid South? 88 et seq. ; Pike, 
The Prostrate State, 120 et seq. 


however, by the feeling that the original secession 
ists were meeting deserved retribution. Pathetic ap 
peals of the small body of decent white men who 
were still striving to maintain their rights and their 
property against the flood of barbarism went un 
noticed. President Grant, who found abundant 
ground for interfering in other states, met the prayer 
of a delegation from South Carolina with a non 
possumus in which the nolumus was unconcealed. 1 

The situation in Louisiana was more dramatic 
than that in South Carolina. Henry C. Warmoth, 
the carpet-bagger who was elected governor in 1868, 
became involved during his term in a violent faction 
fight with adversaries in his own party headed by 
Packard, the United States marshal. In the election 
of 1872 Warmoth became a Liberal and supported 
the conservative state ticket against the radicals, 
who had the favor of President Grant. The re 
sult of the election depended chiefly on the return 
ing board, and the legal composition of this body 
was in dispute. Warmoth, in an exceedingly bit 
ter and unscrupulous conflict in the state courts, 
clearly outpointed his adversaries and secured a 
canvass of the returns by his own board, giving the 
presidential electors, the governorship, and the legis 
lature to the conservatives. But Packard appealed 
to the United States district judge, Durell, who, in 
a grossly irregular way, prohibited the conservative 
legislature to meet, ordered Federal troops to occupy 
1 Reynolds, Reconstruction in S. C., 263. 


their hall and prevent their meeting, and directed 
a canvass of the returns of the election by a board 
which he said was the legal one. Warmoth took 
care that this board should not get possession of the 
actual returns, but a canvass was nevertheless made 
of affidavits, census reports, and politicians guesses, 
and the radical electors, governor, and legislature 
were declared elected. 

Thus double electoral returns were sent to Wash 
ington, and two governments were organized in New 
Orleans. The radical legislature went through the 
form of impeaching and deposing Warmoth, rec 
ognized the mulatto Pinchback as his temporary 
successor, and finally installed Kellogg, another 
carpet-bagger, as the duly elected governor. The 
conservative legislature recognized Warmoth till the 
end of his term, in January, 1873, and then in 
stalled McEnery, their candidate, as governor. The 
president, urged by his brother-in-law, Casey, col 
lector of the port at New Orleans, and by Packard, 
the United States marshal, recognized Pinchback 
and Kellogg, and directed the troops to protect 
them. Later he referred the matter to Congress, 1 
where it became a subject of hot factional conflict 
within the Republican majority. In counting the 
electoral votes in February, 1873, the two houses 
refused to accept either return from Louisiana. 2 The 
Senate committee on elections, after making a care- 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 212. 

2 Stan wood, Hist, of the Presidency, 355. 


ful investigation, denounced in unmeasured terms 
the proceeding of Judge Durell, but failed to find a 
basis for definitive recognition of either of the state 
governments, 1 and advised that another election be 
held. No measure for this purpose could be passed, 
and Louisiana remained in anarchy. The city of 
New Orleans and the white population generally rec 
ognized the McEnery government ; the blacks under 
their carpet-bagger chiefs recognized Kellogg. In 
the rural districts of the state serious collisions be 
tween the races were caused by the disputes about 
the offices. Most disastrous was the affair at Coif ax, 
Grant Parish, in April, 1873, where in a pitched bat 
tle several white men arid more than fifty negroes 
were killed. 2 The troops of the United States were 
admittedly all that kept the whites from sweeping 
Kellogg and his black supporters into oblivion. Such 
was the situation which, even more glaringly than 
the conditions in South Carolina, displayed to the 
people of the North the reductio ad absurdum of re 
construction through negro suffrage and a regime 
of carpet-baggers. 

1 Senate Reports, 42 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 457. 

2 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1873, p. 450; House Reports, 43 Cong., 
2 Sess., No. 261, pt. ii., pp. n, 891. 




THE years during which the southern situation 
assumed the depressing aspect just suggested 
were to the rest of the Union years of exuberant 
economic prosperity. With the inauguration of 
Grant in 1869 and the apparent settlement of the 
vexatious question of political reconstruction, all 
restraint upon the spirit of optimism seemed to dis 
appear. Every form of business enterprise dis 
played a restless activity; but side by side with 
impressive exhibitions of honorable and legitimate 
methods in successful commerce and industry ap 
peared in disproportionate prominence the sordid 
and repulsive features of a wealth-getting era. The 
period of Grant s administrations was character 
ized by a conspicuously low tone of both public and 
private morality. 

The problems of national finance, which had been 
so haltingly dealt with under Johnson, were taken 
up in a distinctly more hopeful spirit under his suc 
cessor. Secretary Boutwell was as free as McCulloch 


had ever been from presidential interference with 
the management of the treasury, 1 and was, in addi 
tion, on harmonious terms with the majority in Con 
gress. Progress, therefore, was possible in financial 
readjustment, though differences of opinion among 
the Republicans, both leaders and rank and file, put 
out of the question any comprehensive project for 
the settlement of all pending fiscal problems. 

The danger to the public credit which was in 
volved in the greenback movement in 1868 was 
counteracted immediately upon Grant s assump 
tion of office, by the act of March 18, 1860, hedging , 
the faith of the United States to pay u ooin all i 
obligations not in terms otherwise redeemable, and 
also to provide as soon as practicable for the re 
demption of the legal tenders in coin. 2 This same 
Congress, in its later sessions, systematized the proc 
ess of reducing the debt and the annual interest 
by the refunding acts of 1870 and 1871, which 
authorized the substitution of bonds bearing four, 
four and one-half, and five per cent, interest for the 
war-time issues at higher rates. 3 Though the most 
sanguine expectations as to the working of this legis 
lation were not realized, its general influence was 
good, and the burden of the debt was soon materially 
lessened. 4 

1 See above, p. 136; Boutwell, Reminiscences, II., 166. 

2 McPherson, Hist, of Reconstruction, 412 ; see above, p. 139. 

3 U. 5. Statutes at Large, XVI., 272, 399. 

4 Dewey, Financial Hist, of U. 5., 354; Boutwell, Reminis 
cences, II., 144. 


The revenue system was also subjected to a far- 
reaching revision during Grant s first term. By 
virtue of the still-existing war taxes the receipts of 
the treasury were heavily in excess of expenditures, 1 
the surplus going to reduce the debt. But with all 
the popular enthusiasm for paying off the debt, the 
complaints of oppressive taxes were incessant, and 
Congress was obliged to give heed: an act of July 
14, 1870, was the outcome. By this measure sweep 
ing reductions were made in the internal taxes, cut 
ting off some fifty million dollars of revenue annually, 
but only slight and unimportant changes could be 
agreed upon in the tariff on imports. 2 Two years 
later, however, under pressure of anti-protectionist 
sentiment among western Republicans, and the 
threatening aspect of the Liberal movement, a hori 
zontal reduction of ten per cent., together with the 
repeal of the duties on coffee and a few other articles, 
was, after great difficulty, forced through Congress. 3 
Through this legislation a further curtailment of the 
revenue by some thirty million dollars annually was 
effected. The protectionists were able, however, 
to preserve their principle as embodied in the war 
tariff, and circumstances were soon to enable them 
to regain the little ground lost through the ten per 
cent, reduction. 

Of all the elements of public finance, the least satis- 

1 Table in Dewey, Financial Hist, of U. S., 401. 

Ubid., 397 . 

1 Stanwood, Hist, of Tariff Controversies, II., 178. 


factory in its condition and the most potent in stim 
ulating the spirit of speculation was the currency. 
Though the redemption of the greenbacks was gen 
erally assumed to be certain, the time and manner 
of the process were wholly unsettled. When Con 
gress peremptorily put a stop to the retirement of 
the notes by Secretary McCulloch, 1 room for doubt 
was left as to the authority of the secretary touch 
ing those which had been withdrawn. The maxi 
mum circulation fixed by law was $400,000,000; 
the actual circulation was $356,000,000. Was the 
secretary of the treasury authorized to reissue the 
difference, $44,000,000, which he had, in accordance 
with law, retired ? The uncertainty as to his power, 
and, assuming his power, the uncertainty as to his 
inclination, were for Wall Street and for all the 
complex interests that radiated from that centre 
an object of lively speculation. That the secretary 
might, at his discretion and without warning, inject 
so large a sum into the currency of the country was 
a fact that could not be left out of account by any 
financier or by any commercial or industrial pro 
moter. Nor was this the only respect in which the 
treasury was potent in business. The government 
was the largest dealer in gold in all the land; in 
payment of customs duties a large proportion of the 
nation s supply of free gold flowed into the treasury. 
The metal was regularly returned to circulation, 
not only by the payment of interest on the debt, 
1 See above, p. 138. 



but also by public sales, the time and amount of 
which were fixed by the secretary ; hence this officer 
could exert a powerful influence on the market-price 
of gold, and thus on the specie value of the legal- 
tender currency. 

The grave responsibility which this situation de 
volved upon the administration had unhappy con 
sequences in both business and politics. The mag 
nates of industry and finance were obliged to shape 
their projects by subtle calculations as to the mental 
processes of the secretary of the treasury and the 
president. It is not surprising that efforts were 
made to determine those processes in advance. An 
audacious attempt of Fisk and Gould to corner gold 
in the summer of 1869 was based upon a systematic 
campaign to influence President Grant; but Secre 
tary Boutwell was left by the president free to act, 
and by a sudden sale of treasury gold thwarted the 
speculators scheme and precipitated the panic of 
Black Friday. 1 This spectacular episode increased 
the sensitiveness of popular opinion as to the rela 
tions of the treasury with business. Later in Grant s 
first term, Secretary Boutwell, under pressure of 
apparent danger to the public credit, ventured to 
solve the problem of his authority over the retired 
greenbacks by reissuing temporarily some six mill 
ion dollars. 2 This again illustrated the power of 

1 Boutwell, Reminiscences, II., chap. xxxv. 
* Dewey, Financial Hist, of U. S. t 360; Cong. Record, 43 Cong., 
i Sess., 704. 


the treasury, and evoked severe criticism, not only 
from those who objected to all implication of the 
government in the affairs of Wall Street, but also 
from those who feared a movement towards infla 
tion of the currency. 

The West continued to furnish under Grant, as it 
had furnished under Johnson, the chief inspiration 
to the economic progress of the nation. Prosperity 
was, indeed, quite general in its manifestations ; but 
it was the rapid opening up and settlement of the 
fertile plains of the north Mississippi Valley that 
brought into highest relief the typical features of 
the time. The movement of population to this 
region and of crops away from it was a chief factor 
in the enormous development of railroads; and this 
development was, beyond question, the controlling 
influence in both the prosperity which distinguished 
the period and the catastrophe with which it ended. 

After 1869 the consolidation of great trunk lines, 
to which reference has already been made, 1 con 
tinued, on an ever -increasing scale. 2 In 1871 the 
Pennsylvania formally organized a general system 
which put her mileage far in excess of that of any 
of her eastern rivals, and included a direct line from 
New York to every leading city as far as Chicago 
and St. Louis. The Vanderbilts, in 1873, made 
Chicago their western terminus. By 1874 the Balti 
more & Ohio had a continuous line to the same 
city. West of Chicago five powerful systems com- 

1 See above, p. 148. a See map, facing p. 224. 


pleted their connections across Iowa to the Mis 
souri River; and in addition the Milwaukee & 
St. Paul and the Chicago & Northwestern pushed 
extensive enterprises into the undeveloped regions 
of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Still farther 
west a number of companies whose names betokened 
an ambition to reach the ocean goal the Kansas 
Pacific, Southern Pacific, Texas & Pacific, and 
Northern Pacific stretched their lines across the 
plains, but without the 6lan that carried the first 
transcontinental road to completion. 

The effects of railway development on the gen 
eral financial and economic situation were every 
where conspicuous. In the eastern parts of the 
country the multiplication of new lines little more 
than kept pace with the demands of the industrial 
and commercial enterprises which it stimulated; in 
the new regions of the West construction went bold 
ly far in advance even of population, and absorbed 
enormous amounts of capital on which the most 
sanguine investors could not expect fair returns for 
years. The efforts to escape or to distribute the risk 
and burden of this situation gave a perpetually 
feverish character to the financial markets. This 
condition was aggravated by the operations attend 
ing the process of consolidation. The creation of 
the great systems was accompanied by stock- water 
ing and other manipulation of securities on a scale 
at that time unprecedented. These proceedings, 
though quite in harmony with the prevalent spirit 


of speculation, appeared to the masses of the people, 
untutored in the principles of high finance, iniqui 
tous and alarming. The men who were concerned in 
the greatest of the new enterprises the Vander- 
bilts, Jay Gould, Thomas A. Scott, John W. Gar- 
rett were indiscriminately grouped as a band of 
pirates, amassing wealth at the expense of their 

Popular discontent with various aspects of the 
railway situation became politically active, especial- 
ly in the West, in the early seventies. A general 
demand found expression in all party platforms that 
" the grant of public land to " corporations and monop 
olies should cease." Now that the immigration of 
actual settlers was growing very large, it We s con 
sidered a serious grievance that so much desirable 
land could be procured only through the agents of 
the railroads, and at prices much above that at 
which adjoining pieces had been sold by the govern 
ment. From the inauguration of the railway land- 
grant policy in 1850 to 1873, some thirty-five mill 
ion acres had been actually transferred from the 
government to railways; and in the latter year 
the amount yet to be transferred under existing 
laws to the Pacific roads alone was estimated 
at one hundred and forty-five million acres. 1 Be 
fore such figures the land-hungry western farm 
er stood aghast, and his resentment against the 
magnates of railway finance waxed fierce. In the 

1 Sec. of Interior, Annual Report, 1873, p. 288. 


elections of 1872 every national platform embod 
ied the demand that grants to corporations should 
cease. 1 

A more effective expression of popular feeling 
was the so-called "Granger Legislation/ Begin- 
I ning with Illinois in 1871, most of the states of the 
I Northwest adopted measures of varying stringency 
for the control of transportation within their boun 
daries: commissions were created, with extensive 
supervisory power over the roads ; discrimination in 
charges, whether among persons or among places, 
was prohibited ; and in some of the states 2 maximum 
rates were prescribed for both passenger and freight 
traffic. The grievances which these drastic meas 
ures were designed to redress were in part due to the 
rapid opening of new grain-producing areas, giving 
crops that were too large to be cheaply and prompt 
ly carried to the markets by the railroads, and in 
part to the fierce efforts of the railway managers to 
pay dividends on the great capital which the opera 
tions of construction and consolidation had created. 
But the farmer felt that all the trouble lay in the 
greed and overgrown power of Vanderbilt and Scott 
and Gould, and that the people must through gov 
ernmental action defend themselves from the oppres 
sion of these modern robber barons. Besides the 
state legislation which this spirit produced, exten- 

1 Stan wood, Hist, of the Presidency, 336 et seq. 

2 Notably Illinois and Wisconsin. Am. Annual Cyclop., 1871, 
p. 386; 1874, p. 808. 


sive projects of action by the Federal government 
were agitated. The power of Congress in the prem 
ises was made the subject of investigation and re 
port, and the interstate commerce act of later years 
was foreshadowed. 1 

The popular hostility to the railways was closely 
associated with the feeling roused by revelations of 
corruption in political life. It was freely charged 
that the corporations and the magnates of the finan 
cial world were achieving their ends by improper in 
fluence over public officials. During the first two 
years of Grant s administration a number of epi 
sodes revealed or suggested scandalous abuse of 
governmental power. Most notorious of these was 
the career of the Tweed ring in New York City. 
William M. Tweed was the "boss" of Tammany 
Hall. Through this organization he controlled the 
government of the city, and by the authority thus 
exercised in the Democratic party he secured, in 
1869, a large measure of control over the state gov 
ernment also. His power was used to place and 
keep himself and his confederates in the offices 
through which the finances of the city were ad 
ministered, and to thwart all efforts by outsiders to 
interfere with his methods. The result was fraud 
and stealing on a scale unparalleled in the history 
of civilized men. In two and a half years the debt 
of the city was increased by about seventy million 
dollars, most of which went into the pockets of the 

1 House Reports, 43 Cong., i Sess., No. 28. 


ring. 1 Though the general features of these pro 
ceedings were notorious, it was not till the summer 
of 1871 that evidence could be secured on which 
the press generally and upright lawyers could effec 
tively assail the offenders. By the end of the year 
Tweed was under indictment, his principal confed 
erates had abandoned their offices and were pre 
paring for flight, and the city government was out 
of Tammany s control. 2 

Popular interest in the career of the Tweed ring 
was chiefly absorbed in the ease and thoroughness 
with which the plundering crew looted the treasury 
of the metropolis; but thoughtful persons did not 
fail to notice that the great financial concerns of 
Wall Street manifested no signs of having suffered 
at the hands of the brigands ; that judges who were 
creatures of the ring were the chief instruments in 
the most scandalous railway enterprises of Fisk and 
Gould ; 3 and that when Tweed fell finally into the 
clutches of the law, Jay Gould was the most impor 
tant signer of his million-dollar bail bond. 

In many other states than New York evidences 
of corruption also appeared, though not on the same 
colossal scale. The governor of Nebraska was im 
peached and removed in 1871 for embezzlement; 
sensational revelations of bribery in the elections of 

1 Goodnow, in Bryce, American Commonwealth (ed. of 1888), 

II., 3Si. 

2 An excellent account of the whole affair in Rhodes, United 
States, VI., 392 et seq. 

3 Adams, Chapters of Erie, 33, 82, passim. 


United States senators were made in Kansas in the 
following years. 1 Lesser scandals in state affairs 
were not infrequent, and all combined to strengthen 
the suspicions, which rumor and partisan malice 
kept active, that the national government also was 
permeated with corruption. Grant s Santo Domingo 
project had been attended by sinister hints of com 
mercial and industrial speculations in the back 
ground. Our minister to Great Britain, General 
Schenck, brought disgrace upon himself and his 
government, in 1872, by association with a dubious 
mining speculation. 2 These indications that the 
spirit of unscrupulous wealth-getting was active 
among public men, combined with the popular un 
easiness at the great growth of corporate power in 
the railways, prepared the way for the profound 
indignation and resentment which swept over the 
country in relation to the Credit Mobilier. 

This term of ill-omen came into general discussion 
during the presidential campaign of 1872. Charges 
were made in the press that many prominent con 
gressmen had been bribed by gifts of stock in a 
corporation called the Credit Mobilier. An investi 
gation was promptly ordered when Congress met 
in December, 1872, and the facts were fully set forth 
in two reports of the committees headed by Mr. 

1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1871, p. 537; 1872 and 1873, art. 

* House Reports, 44 Cong., i Sess., No. 579, "The Emma 


Poland and Mr. Wilson, respectively. 1 The Credit 
Mobilier was a concern through which the control 
ling stockholders in the Union Pacific Railroad 
Company secured for themselves all the profits ac 
cruing from the contracts for the construction of the 
road. In 1867 a group of financiers, among whom 
Oakes Ames, a member of the House of Represent 
atives from Massachusetts, was the active leader, 
holding a majority of the railroad stock, awarded to 
themselves, in their capacity as controllers of the 
Credit Mobilier, a contract to build and equip a 
large part of the road on terms which insured to the 
persons concerned practically all the proceeds of the 
stock and bonds created by the railroad company. 
To guard against any interference by Congress 
with the smooth working of the scheme, Ames, in 
the winter of 1867-1868, distributed among his asso 
ciates in Congress a large amount of Credit Mobilier 
stock at par, on which the dividends to the end of 
1868 amounted to about three hundred and forty 
per cent. The recipients of this stock were selected 
by Ames with extraordinary shrewdness, in view of 
his purpose to put the shares "where they will do 
the most good to us." 2 Some of the members to 
whom the stock was offered refused to have any 
thing to do with it; but those who took it, either 
directly or indirectly, and profited by it, included a 
number of the most influential men in public life. 

1 House Reports, 42 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 77; Rhodes, United 
States, VII., chap. xl. 2 Cf. Hoar, Autobiography, I., 316. 


The exposure of these transactions by the Poland 
committee caused a great panic among all who had 
had any relations with Ames or his enterprise; and 
some, in their frantic efforts to escape the odium of 
corruption, brought upon themselves the added 
reproach of perjury. Colfax, the outgoing vice- 
president in 1873, and Wilson, his successor, were 
both tainted by the affair, the former ruinously. 
Oakes Ames and James Brooks, of New York, 
were recommended for expulsion by the investi 
gating committee, but were by the House merely 
censured. Patterson, of New Hampshire, was rec 
ommended for expulsion by a committee of the 
Senate, but no action was taken before his term 
expired on March 4, 1873. All the other con 
gressmen who had been concerned in this affair 
were declared by the committee guiltless of cor 
rupt acts or motives ; but this judgment saVed their 
virtue at the sacrifice of their intelligence, for it was 
based on the view that they had taken the Credit 
Mobilier stock without perceiving its relation to 
their official capacity. 

The effect of the Credit Mobilier revelations on 
popular feeling was far-reaching. They were re- 
garded as confirming the worst suspicions current 
in reference both to the methods of railway cor 
porations and to the influences pervading official 
life at Washington. By a peculiar coincidence the 
same session of Congress which opened with the 
CreMit Mobilier investigation closed with another 


proceeding that was like vitriol on the raw wound 
of public sentiment. In the closing days of the 
session, by insertion in an appropriation bill, an in 
crease of salaries was enacted for the president, vice- 
president, cabinet officers, judges of the Supreme 
Court, and all congressmen. For the senators and 
representatives the increase of twenty-five hundred 
dollars per annum was made retroactive, so that 
each member of the Congress that passed the bill 
would receive five thousand dollars for the two 
years of service just expiring. This feature was 
strongly opposed by members like Garfield, whose 
perception of the proprieties in official conduct had 
been much sharpened by the recent Credit Mobilier 
investigation ; but the bill was boldly pushed through, 
with B. F. Butler cynically leading the movement. 
The immediate result was an overwhelming ex 
plosion of wrath in the press and through every 
other medium for the expression of popular feeling. 
The "salary grab" and the "back-pay steal" be 
came a theme of denunciation in every hamlet in the 
land, quite without distinction of party. In vain 
did the luckless legislators explain that an increase 
of their wages was justified by many considerations, 
and that the retroactive provision had precedents 
in every similar act throughout our history. Noth 
ing availed to stem the torrent of adverse feeling. 
Most of the members who looked for future favor 
from their constituents refused to retain their share 
of back pay, and the new Congress which assembled 


in December, 1873, with promptness and a chastened 
spirit restored the members salaries to the original 

Meanwhile, before this humiliating action was 
taken, the era of prosperity, in which the miasma of 
greed and corruption appeared to have its source, 
came to an abrupt end. September 18, 1873, with 
out premonition, the failure was announced of the 
banking house of Jay Cooke & Company. This 
firm enjoyed a unique position in popular estima 
tion. It had been of invaluable service to the gov 
ernment in floating the great loans of the war-time, 
and its success was due to a shrewd appeal to the 
small capitalists scattered through the less densely 
populous parts of the country. The same method 
was applied in pushing the bonds of the Northern 
Pacific Railroad, but in this case it proved a fail 
ure and precipitated the firm s disaster. A man of 
ostentatious piety himself, 1 Jay Cooke impressed 
upon his business a moral, religious, and patriotic 
reputation, which to the godly people remote from 
the centres of high finance distinguished his enter 
prises from those of mere money-making bankers. 
His failure, therefore, seemed to involve more than 
purely business disaster, and to forebode a general 
upheaval of social foundations. In Wall Street 
the moral and religious aspects of the matter 
played no part, but the effect on the financial 
situation was appalling. Other large firms quickly 

1 Century Mag., November, 1906, p. 129. 


followed Cooke, and countless lesser concerns sus 
pended ; prices on the stock-market tumbled, money 
became unprocurable on any terms, and all the 
features of a panic appeared. Heroic efforts were 
made to check the demoralization : the banks pooled 
their resources, and employed for the first time the 
since familiar device of clearing-house certificates; 
the stock- exchange was closed continuously from 
September 20 to September 30 ; and urgent demands 
were made on the treasury for relief to the money- 
market. President Grant and the new secretary of 
the treasury, Richardson, went to New York at the 
height of the crisis and discussed the situation with 
the leading financiers ; but beyond the purchase of 
bonds by which thirteen million dollars were re 
leased from the treasury, the government conser 
vatively kept its hands off, and let the return of 
confidence and credit proceed without artificial 
stimulus. 1 

The demoralizing effects of the panic spread rap 
idly from Wall Street to all parts of the country. 
Railroad building almost ceased, and all the forms 
of enterprise subsidiary to it became slack and list 
less. Multitudes of projects which the high prices 
of good times had called into being industrial 
and commercial, conservative and highly speculative 
alike stopped short for lack of capital. Sanguine 
souls regarded the crisis as merely an affair of Wall 

1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1873, p. 283 et seq.; Richardson, Mes 
sages and Papers, VII., 243. 


Street speculation, and looked for a speedy return 
of the conditions that preceded September. But 
the weeks and months rolled on into years, and no 
sign of revival of business appeared. Bankruptcies 
increased in number to a maximum of 10,478, which 
was reached only in 1878; the annual mileage of 
new railroads fell from 7439 in 1872 to 1606 in 
I875; 1 the production of pig-iron declined from 
2,560,000 tons in 1873 to 1,868,000 in 1876; our 
foreign commerce totalled $28 per capita in 1873, 
and but $21.93 in 1876; 2 and the immigration which 
added 459,803 aliens to our population in the year 
of the panic added but half that number in i875. 3 
Such figures show clearly the magnitude of the 
catastrophe of which the failure of Jay Cooke was 
the prelude. The long years of commercial and in 
dustrial depression had a powerful influence on 
social and political conditions. The panic of 1873 
thus occupies a significant place in the process of 
reconstruction after the war ; its effect on the politi 
cal phase of that process was promptly manifested 
in the congressional elections of 1874. 

1 Tenth Census of the U. S. (1880), Transportation. 290. 

9 Burton, Financial Crises, App. B. 

8 Sec. of the Treasury, Finance Report, 1875, p. 671. 


"PHE grave conditions in financial and industrial 
1 affairs after the panic of September, 1873, 
naturally gave full occupation to popular thought 
during the succeeding winter, and the unhappy po 
litical and social situation in the South was rele 
gated to the background. When the forty- third 
Congress met in December, it was greeted with an 
annual message from the president in which south 
ern affairs received no mention save a half-dozen 
perfunctory lines at the end. Executive and legis 
lature alike devoted themselves to problems of 
finance and currency, which had suddenly become 
urgent. From all parts of the country appeals were 
heard for some governmental action to relieve the 
distress of business interests. The political leaders 
at Washington were badly divided in their views as 
to what ought to be done, and the division was less 
on party than on sectional lines the agricultural 
West against the industrial East. 

Out of a wide range of conflicting projects, issue 
was most definitely joined on the proposition to in 
crease the amount of greenbacks in circulation. 

1874] ELECTIONS OF 1874 239 

Secretary Richardson had felt obliged to follow 
Boutwell s precedent in reissuing those that McCul- 
loch had retired. 1 By January, 1874, the amount 
reissued was twenty-six million dollars, making the 
total in circulation three hundred and eighty-two 
million dollars. This reissue was vehemently as 
sailed as illegal, but a bill which substantially vali 
dated it and provided further that the maximum of 
greenbacks should be four hundred million dollars 
passed both houses of Congress in April, 1874. This 
"inflation bill," as it was called by its adversaries, 
the president, after much hesitation, vetoed, 2 and > 
the Senate failed to pass it over the veto. In June 
the contending factions came together sufficiently 
to pass a bill which the president approved, fixing 
the maximum at the amount actually in circulation 
namely, three hundred and eighty-two million dol 
lars. 3 This compromise left a good deal of bad feel 
ing among the extremists on both sides. The hard- 
money men were angered at the permanent increase 
of the amount of greenbacks ; the soft-money men at 
provisions of the act which insured the permanence 
and development of the national banks with their 
circulating notes. This latter feature decisively 
alienated from the party in power large masses of 

voters in the West, who regarded the national bank 

1 See above, p. 224. 

Hoar, Autobiography, I., 206; Boutwell, Reminiscences, II., 


3 U. 5. Statutes at Large, XVIII., 124. 

VOL. XXII. 16 


system as merely a device for increasing the wealth 
and power of the eastern magnates of finance. 

While divisions on questions of currency and 
finance were thus sapping the strength of the Re 
publican party, maladministration was contributing 
much to the same end. There were many revela 
tions during 1874 of the same sort of moral dete 
rioration which the Credit Mobilier investigation 
and the "salary grab" had brought to light in 
the preceding year. Practically every executive 
department was brought by the enemies of the 
administration under imputation of systematic evil- 
doing. In many cases specific charges failed on 
investigation to be sustained, but a well-founded 
impression was left that extravagance was en 
couraged by the higher officials, that inefficiency 
was very common among the lower, and that the 
whole service was permeated by the spirit of pri 
vate gain at the expense of the public. The navy 
and several bureaus of the department of the interior 
afforded disquieting evidence of evil agencies at 
work, and especially of the malign influence of the 
spoils system; in the treasury maladministration 
was revealed with a clearness that had far-reaching 
effects on public sentiment. 

Fraud and corruption in the collection of the 
national revenue had been frequently charged ever 
since the war. The rates of taxation were so high 
that the profits of evasion offered a temptation hard 
to resist, and drastic methods had been authorized 

1874] ELECTIONS OF 1874 241 

by Congress to insure the enforcement of the laws. 
Treasury agents and informers were stimulated to 
the ferreting out of fraud by the guarantee of a 
large percentage of all sums which they should dis 
cover to have been illegally withheld from the 
government. This moiety system, as it was called, 
was found to cause rather more evil than it cured, 
and it was finally abolished in 1874. The black 
mailing operations of one Jayne, a specially active 
revenue agent, had much to do with the abolition of 
the system, and its disappearance was closely asso 
ciated also with the notorious Sanborn contracts, of 
which the facts were as follows. By a special agree 
ment with the treasury, one Sanborn undertook to 
recover certain wrongfully withheld taxes for fifty 
per cent, of what he should get. Through the care 
lessness or criminal collusion of treasury officials 
he received authorization to collect, subject to his 
claim for one-half, several millions of dollars which 
would normally all come into the treasury through 
the regular collectors. The scandalous character 
of this affair was fully established by the report of 
a House committee in March, I874. 1 The com 
mittee refrained from ascribing corruption to any 
officer of the treasury ; but Secretary Richardson was 
so seriously compromised by the revelations that his 
resignation became inevitable. He was translated 
by Grant, though not without strong opposition in 

1 House Reports, 43 Cong., i Sess., No. 559; cf. Nation, March 
12, 1874; Hoar, Autobiography, I., chap, xxiii. 


the Senate, to the court of claims, and he was suc 
ceeded in the treasury, June i, by Benjamin H. 
Bristow, of Kentucky. 

The Sanborn affair brought into much prominence 
one aspect of the factional conditions in the Republi 
can party. Benjamin F. Butler was at this time at 
the height of his power as a party leader: he was 
chairman of the House committee on the judiciary, 
and his influence at the White House was enormous, 
as was demonstrated in the winter of 1873-1874 by 
the ignominious defeat of his adversaries in a fierce 
contest for the control of Federal patronage in Massa 
chusetts. 1 Sanborn was a supporter of Butler in the 
politics of this state, and the law under which the 
notorious contracts were made was due largely to 
the insistence of Butler. These facts afforded an 
opportunity to discredit the latter, whose methods 
and manners roused much personal enmity among 
ambitious colleagues. Virulent assaults on the Mas 
sachusetts member were made in the House by Re 
publicans, especially by Charles Foster, a rising rep 
resentative from Ohio; and Butler s defence, while 
characterized by all the adroitness and audacity 
which had carried him through many an earlier 
affair of the kind, failed to remove entirely the im 
putations which were derived from the facts of his 
record. 2 

The attack on Butler, and the sympathy it re- 

1 Hoar, Autobiography, I., 210; Rhodes. United States, VII., 24. 
* Cong. Record, 43 Cong., i Sess, 4122, 5220. 

1875] ELECTIONS OF 1874 243 

ceived in the party, were indications of a strong 
anti-administration feeling in the Republican ranks. 
This feeling was partly due to personal ambitions in 
connection with the succession to the presidency, 
and partly to a genuine conviction that the influences 
which controlled Grant were inimical to the best in 
terests of the country. It was notorious that the 
Republican leaders who were most in favor at the 
White House Butler, Morton, and Conkling were 
the most persistent opponents of the movement 
for reform in the civil service. The efforts of the 
civil service advisory board to do away with the 
grosser evils of congressional patronage in appoint 
ments were continually thwarted through the activ 
ity and influence of these leaders. Grant consistent 
ly professed approval of the reform and a strong 
desire for its success; yet in the practical issues 
that arose from time to time between the board 
and the hostile congressmen, he generally gave the 
latter their way. As early as March, 1873, George 
William Curtis, after two years service as head 
of the board, gave up his task and resigned ; 1 
and in 1875 Grant formally abandoned the whole 
competitive system of appointments, on the ground, 
which was perfectly valid, that he was not supported 
by Congress. 2 This action of the president was fore- 

1 Rhodes, United States, VII., 22; Fish, Civil Service and the 
Patronage, 213. 

2 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 301; Lalor, Cyclop 
of Pol. Set., I., 484. 


shadowed by the trend of affairs during the twelve 
months preceding, and anti-administration sentiment 
was correspondingly stimulated among the Republi 
cans who looked for reform. The party thus ap 
proached the elections of 1874 in a condition of 
little-veiled discord, with a record of maladminis 
tration and scandal that must prove a heavy han 

At the very end of the session of Congress, in 
June, 1874, this handicap was increased by a scan 
dal in the District of Columbia. Under a territorial 
form of government given to the District in 1871, 
the city of Washington was transformed from an 
ugly country village into a beautiful modern city. 
This process was pushed with remorseless energy 
by A. R. Shepherd, the leading member of the board 
of public works, and later governor of the District, 
but was accompanied by an ever-growing volume 
of complaints and protests from the property own 
ers. Shepherd was, however, a warm personal friend 
of Grant, and he could always command the unwa 
vering support of the negro voters, who determined 
the majority at every election. Not till 1874, there 
fore, did his adversaries succeed in securing an in 
vestigation, but the result was decisive: a joint com 
mittee of the Senate and House, after a thorough 
examination, unanimously reported in June that 
the allegations of extravagance, corruption, and in 
tolerable oppression were substantially true, and 
that the territorial form of government for the Dis- 

1874] ELECTIONS OF 1874 245 

trict was a failure and ought to be abolished. 1 A 
bill to this effect was promptly passed, with pro 
vision for a transitional board of commissioners to 
carry on the government till a new permanent form 
could be devised. Grant s dogged devotion to his 
friends when under fire was thereupon once more 
illustrated. Though the report of the committee 
had embodied an unsparing condemnation of Shep 
herd, his name was sent in by the president as a 
member of the transitional commission. The Sen 
ate, with pardonable emphasis, rejected Shepherd s 
nomination by a vote of 6 to 36, and some of the 
president s strongest supporters gave public expres 
sion to their disapproval of his action. 2 

At the same time another aspect of the reform in 
the District did not fail to impress reflecting minds. 
The black population of the capital was very large 
after the war, and the popular form of government 
which was so unceremoniously set aside in 1874 had 
been originally established as in some measure a 
standing national exhibition of the blessings of 
negro suffrage. Washington had thereupon become 
the theatre of the same sort of politics and admin 
istration that prevailed in the southern states. The 
promptness and thoroughness with which the Re 
publican Congress suppressed the exhibition at 
Washington furnished a suggestive contrast to the 

1 Senate Reports, 43 Cong., i Sess., No. 453. Summary in Am. 
Annual Cyclop., 1874, p. 268. 

3 Nation, June 25, 1874; Paine, Thomas Nast, 294. 


policy by which the radical regime was prolonged in 
the South. 

The development of the autumn political cam 
paign early revealed that the Republican ascen 
dency was in peril. Throughout the West the farm 
ers movement was dissolving the old parties, and 
was taking political shape in " anti-monopoly " and 
" independent" and "reform" organizations, whose 
activity was in general directed against the Repub 
licans. Here the railroad and currency questions 
were most influential in the situation, while in the 
East the party s record of scandal and maladminis 
tration was doing most to alienate intelligent voters. 
The popular impression of moral decay was doubt 
less much deepened also by the unfolding during 
the summer of a sensational social scandal in Brook 
lyn, New York. Theodore Til ton, a prominent edi 
tor, brought charges of gross immorality against 
Henry Ward Beecher, the most famous pulpit orator 
in the country; and the controversies that followed 
put in a repulsive light the private lives of men 
who had been ostentatious exponents of the exalted 
moral ideas for which the Republican party claimed 
to stand. 

To stem the adverse current of public feeling, the 
Republican leaders plied with desperate energy the 
old and hitherto always effective southern issue. 
The situation in the South, at first hardly favorable, 
later shaped itself well to their hand. In Louisiana 
the president grimly persisted in his support of the 

1874] ELECTIONS OF 1874 247 

Kellogg government, despite strong Republican op 
position to this policy. Of the Senate committee 
which investigated the situation but a single mem 
ber, Morton, approved the president s position; 1 
and the judiciary committee of the House reported 
in favor of impeaching Judge Durell for the irreg 
ular acts which had made the Kellogg regime pos 
sible. 2 The effect of public and party opinion as to 
Louisiana was manifest apparently in the policy 
of the administration elsewhere. In Texas a state 
election in December, 1873, resulted in an over 
whelming defeat of the radicals. A decision of the 
state supreme court afforded promising ground for 
nullifying the election, and the radical governor 
appealed to Grant for support in such action; but 
though there was probably as good a case for inter 
ference as in Louisiana, the president declined to 
sustain the defeated party, and permitted the state 
to lapse into conservative control. 8 

Arkansas furnished even clearer evidence of a 
change of policy by Grant. The election of 1872 
in that state resulted in the installation of Baxter, 
a radical, as governor. Fifteen months later, in 
April, 1874, Brooks, the unsuccessful candidate, 
secured a "snap judgment" of a state court revers 
ing the declared result of the election, and there- 

1 Foulke, Morton, II., 283. 

3 House Reports, 43 Cong., i Sess., No. 732. Durell shortly 
afterwards resigned. 

3 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1873, art. Texas. 


upon ejected Baxter by force from the state-house. 
Partisans on both sides took arms, and for a month 
Little Rock was occupied by the two forces, skir 
mishing, but restrained from decisive battle by 
United States troops. Because Baxter had not 
given satisfaction to his former supporters, includ 
ing United States Senators Clayton and Dorsey, 
they were now in favor of Brooks, and the conser 
vatives were against him. The president, however, 
found difficulty in following these lightning-change 
political artists, and Attorney - General Williams 
duly provided the principles of law under which 
Baxter was sustained as the governor. Brooks ac 
cordingly gave up the contest, and the Democrats 
skilfully turned the situation to their own account 
and secured control of the state. 1 

The evidence afforded by these incidents in Texas 
and Arkansas that the administration was weaken 
ing in its policy of interference probably had some 
thing to do with the renewal of strife in Louisiana. 
The conservatives of the state, large numbers of 
whom were organized in semi -secret and military 
societies known as White Leagues, had been qui 
escent since Grant s formal recognition of Kellogg 
in the spring of i873. 2 The radical government 
maintained a formal existence, but with no moral 
and little material support from the white popula- 

1 Harrell, The Brooks-Baxter War, 163 et seq.; Am. Annual Cy 
clop., 1874, art. Arkansas; House Reports, 43 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 2 

2 See above, p. 218. 

1874] ELECTIONS OF 1874 249 

tion. In September, 1874, Kellogg undertook to 
seize a lot of arms which the White League of New 
Orleans had purchased. The result was a pitched 
battle between the league and the police, mostly 
negroes, who were organized and equipped as soldiers. 
The police were totally defeated and dispersed, and 
the radical governor took refuge in the custom-house 
under protection of the Federal troops. But the 
victors promptly learned that Grant s policy as to 
Louisiana had not changed: they were commanded 
by presidential proclamation to disperse, and the 
United States forces were ordered to give effect to 
this command. 1 The whites thereupon duly sur 
rendered to General Emory, the Federal superior 
officer, and the Kellogg organization, though shorn 
of the last remnants of prestige and authority, re 
sumed in the state-house the forms of governmental 
activity in a community that was wholly anarchic. 
These various affairs in the South were accom 
panied, naturally enough, by exhibitions of race 
animosity and violence that furnished to the de 
spairing Republican leaders in the North the mate 
rial most desired for appeal to sectional prejudice. 
All other issues in the campaign were subordinated 
to that involved in the "outrages" which the 
"rebels" throughout the South were said to be 
systematically inflicting upon negroes and white 
Republicans. Early in September Grant ordered 
the attorney-general again to set in full operation 
1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1874, art. Louisiana. 


the machinery of the enforcement acts, which had 
been allowed to slacken. 1 Republican newspapers 
were urged by the campaign leaders to give great 
prominence " until after the election" to the "hor 
rible scenes of violence and bloodshed throughout 
the South." 2 A heart-rending picture of proscrip 
tion and terror among Republicans in Alabama was 
drawn in a widely circulated letter of Congressman 
Hays of that state ; but the writer incautiously gave 
particulars of person, place, and date, and as a con 
sequence his statements were promptly proved to 
be largely false. 3 At Chattanooga, in October, the 
work of systematic compilation of southern out 
rages was undertaken by a convention which the 
Nation, with possibly more picturesqueness than 
accuracy, described as consisting of "all the more 
prominent thieves, carpetbaggers and scalawags 
among southern politicians." 4 

Whatever facts there may have been to justify 
this campaign policy of the Republicans, it proved 
wholly ineffective. The elections went so over 
whelmingly against the party as fully to warrant 
the term "tidal wave" which was used to describe 
the result. Democratic officers were chosen in a 
majority of the states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
and Indiana; and, most amazing of all, Massa- 

1 Am. Annual Cyclop., 1874, p. 478. 

2 Nation, October 15, 1874. 

3 Fleming, Reconstruction in Ala., 787; Rhodes, United States, 
VII., 79. * Cf . Am. Annual Cyclop., 1874, p. 299. 

1874] ELECTIONS OF 1874 251 

chusetts elected a Democrat, Gas ton, as governor. 
Where the Republican control was retained, it was 
rendered weak and insecure by a large element of 
independents and reformers of various types which 
the elections brought into the legislatures; but the 
full significance of the voting was best revealed in 
the returns for congressmen, which assured to the 
Democrats in the next House of Representatives 
a majority of about seventy members. With the 
changes in the Senate that would follow the trans 
formation of the state legislatures, it became ap 
parent that the two-thirds majority of the Repub 
licans in that body was doomed. Thus for the first 
time since the withdrawal of the members from the 
seceded states in 1861 the Democrats were to be 
raised from the insignificance of an impotent faction 
to a position of equality with their adversaries in 
legislative power. 

Such a result stamped the elections of 1874 as 
epoch-making in the history of reconstruction after 
the war. They clearly ended the era which the 
elections of 1866 had as clearly begun. With the 
Democrats controlling the House of Representa 
tives and near to control of the Senate, the radical 
policy towards the South was doomed to early dis 



THE full realization of what must follow the loss 
of control in Congress stimulated the Repub 
licans to make all possible use of the short session 
of 1874-1875, during which their majorities would 
still be available. There was the usual recrimination 
within the party as to which of the factions was 
most responsible for the disaster in the elections. 
The reforming element blamed the administration, 
with its record of extravagance and scandal; the 
radicals blamed the reformers, with their carping 
at the president and his friends and with their 
abandonment of the interests of the party in the 
South. It was undeniable, however, that in two 
matters which had everywhere great influence with 
the voters the Credit Mobilier and the salary grab 
the discredit was distributed rather evenly through 
the party. 

The question of the currency proved to be that 
on which the Republican factions in Congress could 
be most readily brought into harmony for the mak 
ing up of a party record. President Grant, in his 


annual message of December 7, 1874, pleaded ear 
nestly for legislation to insure an early return to 
a specie basis. 1 Accordingly a senatorial caucus 
committee, headed by John Sherman, laboriously 
formulated a bill for the resumption of specie pay 
ments. It was no simple matter to devise a meas 
ure that should command the support of both those 
who believed that more greenbacks were indis 
pensable to the nation s welfare and those who 
believed that there were already far too many in 
circulation and that the existing economic depres 
sion was due chiefly to this fact. But Sherman, 
who had opposed both inflation and contraction, 
and whose instinct was that of the opportunist 
and practical man of affairs, succeeded in the task. 
The bill provided for a gradual contraction of the 
greenbacks to three hundred million dollars, with 
an expansion of the bank-note circulation that 
should more than compensate ; but the chief feature 
was the fixing of a definite date, January i, 1879, 
at which the redemption of greenbacks in coin should 
begin. This pleased the hard-money men, because 
it would enlist in their cause the argument of plighted 
faith; while the opposing faction were willing to fix 
a remote date, because of their conviction that be 
fore it was reached circumstances would conclu 
sively demonstrate the impossibility of carrying the 
law into effect and would thus force its repeal. The 
measure was admittedly ambiguous and defective 

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 285. 


in important particulars, but it was the best ob 
tainable, and as such it was pressed through with 
little discussion, and became law on January 14, 

At the time of this success, however, the currency 

question was quite overshadowed in public interest 
by affairs in the South. Extraordinary develop 
ments in Louisiana and a persistent purpose on the 
part of the radicals in Congress to reverse the re 
sults of the elections in Alabama and Arkansas 2 
required that the Republicans should signalize their 
last opportunity by positive and far-reaching legis 
lation on southern affairs. But factional antago 
nisms were too pronounced on this subject to be 
reconciled, as had been done in respect to the cur 
rency. A determined effort was made to enact a 
bill combining and expanding the harshest pro 
visions of the earlier enforcement legislation. 3 The 
basis of the proposal was the report of a committee 
which investigated the election of 1874 in Alabama; 
and the whole power of the administration was be 
hind this bill. But though there was abundant 
evidence that the whites had demonstrated their 
superiority in Alabama by methods that would 
have no place in the North, the moderate Repub 
licans were strongly opposed to the policy of fur- 

1 U. S. Statutes at Large, XVIII. , 296; John Sherman, Recol 
lections, I., 509; Foulke, Morton, II., 336. 

2 See below, p. 267. 

8 For the text of the bill, see McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 
1876, p. 13. 


ther interference by the executive. The Democrats 
in the House exhausted every device of filibustering 
to delay the progress of the bill, and they received 
aid in their struggle from Speaker Elaine, who had 
no sympathy with the radicals purpose. 1 In con 
sequence, the bill passed the House by a narrow 
majority (135 to 114) only on February 27, too late 
for any action by the Senate. 

A single radical measure was pressed through to 
passage against the opposition of both Democrats 
and moderate Republicans. This was the much- 
debated civil rights bill, which in various forms 
had been before Congress for five years. 2 Sumner, 
on his death-bed, in March, 1874, exacted from E. 
R. Hoar a pledge to see that this favorite project 
of the senator should be taken care of ; 3 but by the 
irony of fate Benjamin F. Butler, whom Hoar cord 
ially hated, actually had charge of the bill at its 
final passage. The measure, having been shorn of 
many of its extreme features, and reduced to a 
guarantee of equal rights to the blacks in hotels, 
public conveyances, and places of amusement, and 
a prohibition of their exclusion from juries, became 
law March i, i875. 4 

With this the record of partisan legislation on 
reconstruction was closed. The acts of Congress 
bulked large and portentous in the statute-book, 

1 Mayes, Lamar, 215; cf. Stan wood, Elaine, 117. 

See above, p. 214. 3 Pierce, Sumner, IV., 598. 

*McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1876, p. 3. 

VOL. XXII. 17 


but already the process of interpretation by the 
Supreme Court had drawn off from the threatening 
mass a large measure of its power, and the process 
was destined to go on. 

During the struggle between Congress and Presi 
dent Johnson, the Supreme Court took great pains 
to avoid becoming involved, and showed itself in 
the highest degree sensitive to the manifestations of 
public opinion and the currents of political feeling 
in the North. When, just after the end of hostilities, 
the dislike and fear of military courts were wide 
spread and pronounced, the court decided the Milli- 
gan case. 1 Within three months after the opinion 
was rendered, Congress, in the reconstruction acts, 
established throughout the South the precise mili 
tary tribunals which the court had declared un 
constitutional. The defiance was so patent that 
able lawyers hastened to bring before the court the 
new legislation, in sanguine expectation that it 
would be nullified. But technical obstacles prompt 
ly arose in bewildering profusion and insuperable 
magnitude. While in the Milligan case the court, 
with glowing enthusiasm for the supremacy of the 
civil over the military order, swept aside techni 
calities in the quest for substantial liberty and jus 
tice, it welcomed technicalities with obvious joy 
when they enabled it to evade jurisdiction over 
congressional reconstruction. In the cases of Mis 
sissippi vs. Johnson, and Georgia vs. Stanton, 2 in 

1 See above, p. 89. *4 Wallace, 475; 6 Wallace, 50. 


April and May, 1867, the unwelcome responsibility 
was put aside with some degree of dignity; in that 
of ex parte McCardle there seemed absolutely no 
alternative for the condemnation of military gov 
ernment in the South save that of ignominiously 
abandoning the Milligan doctrine. From this try 
ing predicament the radicals in Congress extricated 
the court by a hasty repeal of the legislation which 
gave jurisdiction over the case; and the chief -justice, 
whose dislike of military judicature was well known, 
relinquished with some regret so perfect an oppor 
tunity to damn it, but saved as he could the dignity 
of the court by the resounding platitude: " Judicial 
duty is not less fully performed by declining ungrant- 
ed jurisdiction than by exercising firmly that which 
the constitution and laws confer." l 

In 1869, after the tension between the executive 
and Congress had subsided, and after the recon 
struction was in large measure complete, the court 
indicated its general attitude towards the procedure 
through which the rebel states had been rehabili 
tated by the radical Congress. The case, Texas 
vs. White, 2 did not require a direct opinion as to 
the constitutionality of the reconstruction acts; 
but it did require a determination of the question 
whether Texas, pending her readmission under the 
acts, was a state of the Union in the sense of that 
clause of the Constitution which gives to the court 

1 Hart, Chase, 350, 355; Dunning, Essays, 137. 
3 7 Wallace, 700. 


original jurisdiction in suits to which a state is a 
party. The answer of the court was affirmative, 
and the opinion, written by Chief -Just ice Chase, 
embodied a substantial justification of the course 
through which Congress had reorganized the South. 
This discussion was probably better as politics than 
as law; its chief significance was in the evidence it 
gave that the court would recognize and not seek 
to interfere with the faits accomplis of congressional 

The dignity and reputation of the nation s high 
est tribunal would have escaped a disagreeable 
shock if acquiescence in accomplished facts had 
guided its action on the important problem of war 
iinance which was just at this time before it. On 
February 7, 1870, a decision was announced de 
claring unconstitutional the legal-tender act of 1862, 
so far as concerned debts contracted prior to the 
passage of the act. 1 This judgment was vigorously 
dissented from by three of the seven judges then on 
the bench, and was denounced as legal and political 
heresy by substantially all the leaders of radical 
Republicanism. Not less emphatic and influential 
in criticism of the court were the representatives of 
numerous corporations whose long-term bonds, now 
approaching maturity, were made by the decision 
payable in gold rather than greenbacks. 2 On the 
very day on which the opinion was read by Chief - 

1 Hepburn vs. Griswold, 8 Wallace, 603 . 
Gold at this date stood at about 120. 


Justice Chase, two vacancies on the bench were 
filled by the nomination of Judges Strong and 
Bradley, whose views were known to be with the 
minority of the court on the legal-tender question. 
That these men were named with special reference 
to securing a reversal of the decision, as was charged 
at the time, cannot be maintained. 1 That they 
would not have been named if their opinions had 
been favorable to sustaining it may be readily ad 
mitted. It is hardly to be wondered at that sus 
picion of a deliberate purpose to overturn the orig 
inal decision was aroused; for steps were at once 
taken to reopen the question before the court, and 
on May i, 1871, a decision was announced 2 revers 
ing that of the previous year and upholding the 
act of Congress as to all contracts. This result was 
reached by a vote in which the two new judges 
joined with the three of the former minority and 
constituted a controlling majority. 

The episode was accompanied by open exhibitions 
of bad feeling among the judges. 8 To the chief- 
justice the reversal of the decision was particularly 
disagreeable. Yet, with all the loss of prestige to 
the tribunal, and of personal comfort to Chase, it 
was just as well that the reversal was made at once ; 
for it is not to be presumed that Congress would 
have felt more scruple about overriding a decision 

1 Hart, Chase, 399; Rhodes^ United States f VI., 270, and his. 
authorities, 2 Legal-Tender cases, 12 Wallace, 528. 

3 Hartj Chase, 403, 


that protected merely the property of citizens 
against the war power than it had shown in over 
riding one that protected their life and liberty. 
We have seen that the court acquiesced almost grate 
fully in the reversal of the Milligan doctrine by the 
reconstruction act. There was not much dignity 
in this proceeding; there was perhaps more in re 
versing itself on the legal-tender question instead of 
waiting to be reversed by Congress. 

By the time the currency question was settled 
the court had before it the first cases which de 
manded an interpretation of the new amendments 
to the Constitution. It was confidently inaintained 
by the nationalizing school of lawyers and states 
men that these amendments had effected a com 
plete revolution in our constitutional jurisprudence 
by transferring from the states to the" United States 
the duty of protecting in last instance all the fun 
damental rights of citizens their life, their liberty, 
and their property. It was on this theory that the 
most far-reaching provisions of the enforcement 
acts had been framed. In its first decision on the 
matter, however, the Supreme Court shattered this 
theory and foreshadowed the judicial nullification 
of the laws under color of which the administration 
was harrying the white men of the South. 

In the Slaughter-House cases, 1 decided April 14, 
1873, the court declared, by five judges to four, that 
the last three amendments must be construed in 

1 1 6 Wallace, 72. t 


general, not as setting up a new and comprehensive 
system of national rights and jurisdiction, but as 
having for their primary, if not exclusive, purpose 
to secure and protect the freedom of the negro. 
It was to this end that the Thirteenth Amendment 
prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude, the 
Fourteenth defined a citizen of the United States 
and forbade a state to abridge his privileges and 
immunities, and the Fifteenth guaranteed the right 
of suffrage. The essential effect of the articles, 
according to the court, was to narrow in specific 
matters the power of the states, not to widen the 
power of the general government. No authority 
was conferred by the definition of United States 
citizenship: the "privileges and immunities" per 
taining to that status were not, the court held, the 
broad, fundamental civil rights incidental to free 
government in general, but merely certain partic 
ular rights secured by the specific provisions of our 
Federal Constitution. It was these latter rights 
alone that the United States was authorized to pro 
tect; the fundamental civil rights remained still 
under the exclusive guardianship of the individual 

On the basis of these doctrines the court declined 
to regard a law of Louisiana that created a monopoly 
of the business of slaughtering cattle in New Orleans 
as infringing upon any right, privilege, or immunity 
of citizens of the United States. At the same time 
the court refrained from enumerating the rights 


which it would protect, and thus encouraged a long 
series of cases through which inquisitive lawyers 
sought to establish with precision the metes and 
bounds of the privilege and immunity guaranteed 
against state abridgment by the Fourteenth Amend 
ment. A lady of Illinois, oppressed by exclusion from 
the practise of law in its courts, applied at Washing 
ton for relief; but the austere tribunal declared by 
the usual majority that the right to practise law in a 
state court, like the right to slaughter cattle in one s 
back yard, was no privilege of United States citi 
zenship. 1 From Iowa came the complaint of a 
citizen of foreign extraction that his right to sell 
whiskey was abridged by that virtuous common 
wealth; he, too, was sent away without redress. 2 
A fellow- citizen of the opposite sex besought the 
court to give her the right to vote, of which the state 
had deprived her; but the court assured her that 
the right to vote pertained to citizenship of a state, 
and that the only related right which she could claim 
as a citizen of the United States was that of exemp 
tion from denial of the suffrage on the ground of 
race, color, or previous condition of servitude. 3 

It was in a far different spirit from that manifest 
ed in these cases that the attorney-general and the 
district attorneys throughout the South were apply 
ing the enforcement acts. But no opportunity for 

1 Brad well vs. The State, 16 Wallace, 130. 

* Bartemeyer vs. Iowa, 18 Wallace, 129. 

* Minor ZAJ. Happersett, 21 Wallace, 162. 


the Supreme Court to express its views effectively 
as to this legislation was given until 1875. Mean 
while, Chief -Justice Chase passed away, and the 
president, after Senator Conkling had declined to 
be Chase s successor, and the Senate, supported by 
public opinion, had refused to approve of either 
Attorney-General Williams or Caleb Gushing for the 
dignity, filled the place with the solid if not brilliant 
Morrison R. Waite,, At the October term of 1875; 

^^__ t 1 ^ -* j *j * 

the new chief-justice, with concise and colorless 
phrases, removed the chief supports of the enforce 
ment acts and left them ready for total collapse. 
In United States vs. Reese, 1 two sections of the act 
of 1870 were declared unconstitutional because they 
did not strictly limit the Federal jurisdiction for 
protection of the right to vote to cases where the 
right was denied by a state, and on the single ground 
of race or color. This judgment ran squarely coun 
ter to the theory and practice of the executive, which 
had proceeded on the idea that the United States 
must exercise a general guardianship over the right 
to vote, as one of the essential prerogatives of its 

Equally damaging was the decision in United 
States vs. Cruikshank. 2 This was the case of par 
ticipants in the Coif ax massacre in Louisiana, where, 
as in like affairs before and after, the unrestrained 
fury of the victorious whites in a fight with armed 
blacks had turned the battle-field into a sham- 
1 92 U. S.. 214. *Ibid., 542. 


bles. 1 No circumstance was lacking that could appeal 
to the sympathy of the judges for the misguided 
freedmen. But the court coldly declared that it 
was not the duty or the right of the United States 
government to protect its citizens against their fel 
low-citizens ; that was the function of the state gov 
ernments. All that the United States was author 
ized by the Fourteenth Amendment to do was to 
see that the protection given by the state govern 
ments and laws should be offered to all citizens 
alike. Not the extent but the uniformity of 
rights and their protection was within the jurisdic 
tion of the Federal courts. Cruikshank had been 
indicted by the lower court for conspiracy, among 
other things, to deprive the negroes of the right to 
assemble for lawful purposes, and of the right to 
bear arms. These rights w^ere not, the court de 
clared, incidental to citizenship of the United States, 
but to citizenship of a state ; the indictment, there 
fore, had no place in a United States court. 

These cases left practically no hope of a judicial 
application of the enforcement acts that would in 
any measure fulfil the expectation of their more san 
guine promoters. Shortly afterwards the so-called 
"Granger Cases," 2 involving the maximum -rate 
laws of the western states, came before the Supreme 
Court, and enabled it again to enunciate its narrow 

1 See above, p. 219; cf. Grant s special message of January 
5, in Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 307. 
,U. S., 133- 




interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment and 
to leave the states very wide-reaching power over 
the rights of property. The reactionary attitude 
of the court in and after the Slaughter-House cases 
excited much surprise and in radical circles some 
indignation. It had been not unreasonably expect 
ed that the judges who had found for the national 
power such scope as had been set forth in the legal- 
tender decision would have no trouble in giving a 
wide interpretation to the new amendments. In 
the one decision as in the other, however, considera 
tions of public policy rather than of strict law had 
been, almost beyond the limits of judicial propriety, 
set up as the foundation of the court s opinion. The 
chronology of the cases shows what may well have 
operated to determine a majority: the Slaughter- 
House cases were decided in April, 1873, just after 
the extraordinary proceedings of the attorney-gen 
eral and Judge Durell at New Orleans, 1 and the 
Cruikshank and Reese cases followed soon after the 
even more extreme assertions of power by the ad 
ministration in Louisiana state affairs early in i875. 2 
That the profound sensation caused by these oc 
currences was without effect on the very human 
personages who occupied the supreme bench is 
hard to believe. The judicial interpretations of the 
amendment, like the elections of 1874, embody, in 
fact, a reaction of moderate men against the south 
ern policy of the Grant administration. 

1 See above, p. 217. 2 See beloj 




THE elections of 1874 were full of promise for 
the afflicted white people of the South. It 
was manifest from the result that other issues than 
the wrongs of the negro and the sinfulness of the 
rebels had assumed, temporarily at least, the con 
trolling position in the minds of the northern voters. 
The solid practical fact of a Democratic House of 
Representatives in the next Congress was naturally 
the salient feature of the new situation ; but scarcely 
less satisfactory was the evidence of a growing vol 
ume of sympathy on the part of the most thought 
ful classes in the North for the corresponding class 
es of the South. Liberal Republicanism, though a 
dismal failure in practical politics, was an endur 
ing influence for the intellectual and spiritual re 
union of the sections. To this end the South made 
a significant contribution, through the represent 
ative, L. Q. C. Lamar, whom Mississippi, though 
still radical in her state government, sent from 
one district to the forty- third Congress. In April, 


1874, he delivered in the House an eloquent eulogy 
on Charles Sumner, who had died March n. That 
a southerner, presumed to be of the fire -eating type, 
should find anything to approve in the Massachu 
setts senator, save possibly his death, was a fact 
to arrest instant attention through the length and 
breadth of the land. The note of charity and 
patriotism which Lamar skilfully infused into his 
address struck a responsive chord on both sides of 
Mason and Dixon s line. In the North it strength 
ened greatly the hands of the reforming element 
among the Republicans; in the South it perceptibly 
checked a growing movement among the whites to 
overthrow radicalism by a ruthless suppression of 
the negro vote. 

The campaign of 1874 went against the Repub 
licans in the southern states as well as in the north 
ern. Of the states hitherto radical, Alabama and 
Arkansas were carried by the conservatives, Louis 
iana and Florida, were very close, and South Caro 
lina elected a radical governor pledged to reform. 
In the conduct of the campaign by the conser 
vatives a double policy was clearly discernible, 
especially in Alabama and Louisiana. The end was 
single the rescue of the states from the scandalous 
misrule of the carpet-baggers and negroes. As to 
the means, the more sagacious leaders, inspired 
by the policy of Lamar and General J, B. Gordon, 
senator from Georgia, aimed to win the sympathy 
of northern Liberalism, and thus paralyze the radi- 


cal influence in the administration. This, it was 
maintained, would cut off the carpet-baggers from 
their base, and would sooner or later cause their 

To the more violent southerners, however, this 
strategy was wearisome and distasteful. They pre 
ferred a direct frontal attack to such manoeuvring 
by the flank. The latter would involve, they said, 
a continuation of the worn-out and useless appeal 
to the blacks on rational grounds, which had been 
proved by experience to be futile; for the most ex 
plicit demonstration of radical misrule availed little 
to win negro votes where the carpet-baggers de 
clared that the conservatives were seeking to restore 
slavery, or exhibited to the credulous freedmen an 
order signed by General Grant directing them to 
vote Republican. 1 To break the solid power of 
such ignorance and prejudice it was necessary, the 
extremists held, to use methods that should not fail 
to impress the negro intelligence. Hence appeared, 
in many of the regions where the black population 
was most dense, open and unmistakable injunctions 
to the negroes that they must vote with the con 
servatives or not at all. The penalty for non-com 
pliance was in many cases indicated by a pledge, 
numerously signed, that the offender should have 
no employment, no credit, no land to cultivate; in 
many other cases the omission of any statement of 
a penalty was calculated to have even greater effect 

1 Cf. Fleming, Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, II., 90. 


by the mystery, which yet was no deep mystery, of 
the implication. 1 

It was in connection with this policy of the ex 
tremists that the White Leagues of Louisiana at 
tained great celebrity in 1874. Their name came to 
have something of the import that had attached to 
"Ku-Klux" four years earlier. They were, how 
ever, distinct from the earlier order in maintaining 
little of mystery as to their doings and purposes. 
Their very name connoted a drawing of the color 
line in politics. Such deliberate proclamation of a 
race issue was strongly deprecated by the moderate 
conservative leaders; and their predictions as to its 
effect seemed to be fulfilled when Grant ordered a 
renewal of operations under the enforcement acts 
during the electoral campaign. 2 But the results of 
the elections served rather to confirm the confidence 
of the extremists in their own methods^ 

President Grant s annual message, in December, 
1874, gave perceptible indications of wavering and 
uncertainty in his southern policy. 3 The election 
returns and the undisguised hostility of the reform 
ing Republicans had evidently had some effect. 
Though he stoutly defended his course in sustain 
ing Kellogg in Louisiana, and in using the troops 
under the enforcement acts, yet he conceded that 

1 For collections of documents illustrating this method, see 
House Reports, 43 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 261, App. B. 

2 See above, p. 249. 

3 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 284. 


there was a class of people in the South who were 
law-abiding and who were suffering much from bad 
government, and that possibly the outrages upon 
the negroes were exaggerated in the North. These 
concessions, though much qualified, were significant. 
He expressed, moreover, a consciousness that his 
interference by force in the affairs of states was 
repugnant to public opinion; but he declared that 
without such interference the whole scheme of 
colored enfranchisement would be " worse than a 
mockery and little better than a crime." 

What he would not see, or was not permitted to 
see, was that the whole system of interference under 
the enforcement acts had become both a mockery 
and a crime. These laws provided, in the first place, 
that the Federal courts should take jurisdiction of 
a variety of criminal offences. The proper and 
adequate exercise of this jurisdiction would have 
required at least a threefold increase in the number 
of these tribunals. 1 In so large a territory as was 
covered by the jurisdiction of a United States dis 
trict court, it was not possible for the district 
attorney to manage this one species of cases with 
out neglecting all others. The application of the 
acts thus became farcical, save on the occasions 
when, under pressure from Washington, it became 

1 Cf. Attorney - General s Report on Enforcement Acts, April 
19, 1872, especially the reports of the district attorneys for 
South Carolina and Kentucky, in House Exec. Docs., 42 Cong., 
2 Sess., No. 268. 


unjust and outrageous. At such a time a drive 
would be made and a great number of arrests and 
indictments would terrorize some selected county 
or region. But the matter ended there. The pro 
portion of convictions to indictments was ridicu 
lously small and sufficiently illustrated the iniquity 
of the laws. In the year ending June 30, 1874, for 
example, there were 102 convictions out of 966 
cases, or 10.5 per cent., while for all other classes of 
cases in the same courts (under the customs, internal 
revenue, postal, and other laws) the percentage of 
convictions was 49.9.* 

Nor was there more efficiency in the military 
feature of the enforcement acts. The small num 
ber of troops available rendered impossible any 
proper policing of the districts where disturbances 
might be anticipated. The outbreaks of race vio 
lence which occurred from time to time were almost 
invariably at points beyond the ready reach of the 
soldiery. Detachments were always sent to the 
scene with promptness, but never reached it till the 
trouble was over. 2 A slight service was probably 
performed by the troops in some parts of Louisiana 
in reassuring the negroes as to their safety when 
the White Leagues were particularly demonstrative ; 
but the characteristic function and one that was 
exceedingly distasteful to many of the officers 

1 Computed from Attorney-General s Annual Report, 1874; cf. 
Rhodes, United States, VI., 318, for a table of cases for a series 
of years. 2 Cf. Fleming, Reconstruction in Ala., 687. 

VOL. XXII. 18 


was that of contributing to the prestige and ambi 
tion of an influential carpet-bag politician at election 
time by parading his district as the posse of a deputy 
marshal. Nothing was so effective in dispelling the 
indifference of the blacks during a campaign. 

The scandalous prostitution of the army to mere 
ly partisan uses in the South was one of the most 
powerful influences in discrediting the administra 
tion in the North. Louisiana furnished the most 
offensive instances of this abuse. S. B. Packard, 
the United States marshal for the district, and hence 
the official who could command at discretion the 
movements of the Federal troops in the state, was 
also chairman of the Republican state executive 
committee. There was no pretence, as there was 
certainly no evidence, that in his control of the 
troops he was careful to discriminate between the 
advantage of his party and the needs of the Federal 
service. That Grant did not terminate the scandal 
of Packard s performances was a capital item in the 
criticism of the administration. But Louisiana had 
been a particularly troublesome locality, as we have 
seen, and Grant s determination to sustain the little 
band of carpet-baggers whom he had taken under 
his protection in I873 1 had assumed the rigidity of 
an obsession. In January, 1875, it was subjected 
to a new and serious test. 

The state election in the preceding November 
resulted, according to the returns of the local offi- 

^,s 1 See above, p. 218. 


cials, in a conservative majority of twenty-nine in 
the lower house of the legislature. In passing 
through the crucible of the radical state returning 
board, the result was transmuted into a Repub 
lican majority of three or four with five seats 
undetermined. There was naturally great tension 
at New Orleans when the legislature assembled, 
and the conservative members of the lower house 
planned and carried out, January 4, an irregular and 
disorderly procedure through which they secured 
control, elected a speaker, and filled the doubtful 
seats with their own partisans. Thereupon Gov 
ernor Kellogg formally summoned the Federal troops 
to right matters, and General de Trobriand, who 
was at the state-house with a detachment in antici 
pation of trouble, took charge of the hall of the 
house, expelled the five conservatives who had 
been seated, and enabled the radicals to take con 
trol. 1 At this all the conservative members with 
drew and organized separately. Kellogg recog 
nized the radical body as the legal house, and all 
parties forwarded memorials to the president and 
Congress. General Sheridan, who had been ordered 
to New Orleans in December, sent to the war depart 
ment a stream of despatches denouncing the con 
servatives in unmeasured terms, and urging that 
the leaders of the White League be declared " ban 
ditti" by Congress or the president, or both, so that 

1 House Reports, 43 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 101, pp. 287 et. seq.; Am. 
Annual Cyclop., 1874, art. Louisiana. 


the general could take care of them in his own 

The news that the legislature of a state had been 
"purged" by Federal troops caused an ominous 
sensation throughout the North, which was not 
mitigated by the publication of Sheridan s amia 
ble and statesman-like despatches. Though partisan 
feeling dictated many of the northern protests, the 
prevailing tone of public opinion was strongly hos 
tile to the administration. 1 The high-handed inter 
ference in Louisiana seemed a deliberate defiance 
of the popular sentiment revealed by the late elec 
tions. On January 13, 1875, Grant sent a special 
message to Congress, 2 disclosing that de Trobriand 
had acted without orders from Washington, and 
admitting that the legality of his action was de 
batable, but claiming some justification for both 
it and Sheridan s artless proposals by reference to 
past incidents of strife and turbulence in the state. 
The president s strongest point was that Congress, 
in failing to take any action for two years as to 
Louisiana, had left him the heavy burden of main 
taining order there under almost impossible condi 

The failure of Congress to act had been due to 
the conflict of opinion between the moderates and 
the radicals of the Republican majority, and this 
conflict promptly made itself conspicuous in the 

1 Cf. Rhodes, United States, VII., 121. 

3 Richardson, Messages and Papers, VII., 305. 


existing crisis. A select committee of the House 
of Representatives had been appointed in Decem 
ber to consider affairs in the South, and a sub 
committee on Louisiana, consisting of Foster, 
Phelps, and Potter, were in New Orleans during the 
dramatic events of early January. Two days after 
Grant s special message, this sub-committee made 
a unanimous report 1 justifying the whole conserv 
ative contention as to the election of 1874 that 
it had been free and peaceable, and that the action 
of the returning board had been arbitrary, unjust, 
and illegal. By implication, though not expressly, 
the proceedings of the conservatives in the legislat 
ure on January 4 were also justified. 

Such a report, signed by two such conspicuous 
Republicans as Charles Foster, of Ohio, and William 
Walter Phelps, of New Jersey, caused an immense 
scandal in party circles; and the select committee 
immediately despatched the rest of its members to 
New Orleans to investigate further and repair the 
damage. The report of this new sub - committee, 
written by George F. Hoar, of Massachusetts, cor 
rected the party aberration of its predecessor by 
dwelling at great length on the maltreatment of the 
blacks by the violent whites, and the resulting 
intimidation of Republican voters.. Having thus 
satisfied the requirements of the radicals for their 
justification, the report came to agreement with that 

1 House Reports, 43 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 101; also Am. Annual 
Cyclop., 1874, p. 736. 


of the earlier committee as to the illegality of the 
returning board s procedure. 

The net outcome of all this investigation and re 
port was that the lower house of the Louisiana legis 
lature was wrongly constituted, but that no power 
outside of the house itself could correct the wrong. 
From this impasse a way out was ultimately found 
through arbitration and compromise. The parties 
in Louisiana submitted to the members of the select 
committee of the House of Representatives, in their 
private capacity, the question as to who were en 
titled to seats in the legislature, and the judgment 
of the arbitrators gave the conservatives the ma 
jority in the lower house. On the other hand, the 
house as thus constituted agreed not to disturb the 
Kellogg administration. 1 This adjustment of a dan 
gerous situation was due in large measure to the 
tact and good judgment of Representative W. A. 
Wheeler, of New York, and was accordingly referred 
to commonly as the Wheeler compromise. 2 

Through this adjustment in Louisiana, irregular 
and unprecedented as was the method by which it 
was reached, the white people of the state made a 
decided advance towards the triumph of their cause. 
Nor was the measure of this advance merely the 
control of one house of the legislature. Quite as 
important was the fact that prominent northern 

1 McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1876, p. 200; Fleming, 
Documentary Hist, of Reconstruction, II., 157. 
2 Cf. Hoar, Autobiography, I., 243. 


Republicans had condemned the procedure of the 
radicals in the state and conceded some degree 
of justification to the conservatives. Lamar s eu 
logy on Sumner was not more significant of a new 
era than the admission by Hoar that the former 
rebels of Louisiana manifested in their home lives 
some of the human traits and even virtues that 
prevailed in New England. 

Pending the settlement in Louisiana the presi 
dent unexpectedly manifested a disposition to over 
throw the conservative regime that had been es 
tablished in Arkansas after the Brooks-Baxter war. 1 
Here also, however, a House committee took direct 
issue with the president and declared that there 
was no occasion to interfere. 2 The adoption of this 
report by the House was made the occasion for the 
appointment of a day of thanksgiving by Governor 
Garland, of Arkansas. 3 In April, 1875, Attorney- 
General Williams, who had been regarded as Grant s 
chief adviser in radical policies as to the South, 
retired from the cabinet, and was succeeded by 
Edwards Pierrepont, of New York, a man reputed 
very moderate in his views. This change also gave 
much encouragement to the white men of the South. 

The movement for white supremacy, having met 
with entire success in Alabama and Arkansas, and 
with qualified success in Louisiana, manifested itself 

1 Appleton s Annual Cyclop., 1875, art. Arkansas; cf. above, 
p. 248. 2 House Reports, 43 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 127. 

8 Appleton s Annual Cyclop., 1875, P- 3 6- 


next in the state which adjoined all of these Mis 
sissippi. This was, next to South Carolina, the 
most thoroughly Africanized of the southern states. 
The blacks were in a majority of some sixty thousand 
in the population. Because the carpet-baggers were 
not as numerous proportionately as in some of the 
other states, the negro element among the office 
holders was correspondingly more conspicuous. 1 
Corruption and general misrule were manifest more 
in the local than in the state administration; but 
the evils of the radical regime assumed proportions 
by 1875 that put Mississippi nearly abreast of 
Louisiana and South Carolina. The governor at 
that time, General Adelbert Ames, a son-in-law of 
Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts, was a well- 
meaning but not politically experienced officer, who 
had been induced to give up a promising career in 
the army by the consciousness of a "mission " to aid 
the blacks against their native white oppressors. 2 
His administration as governor had produced a 
schism in the radical party which contributed no 
little to the hope of the conservatives in the cam 
paign of 1875. 

The aggressive and violent element among the 
whites entered early and with ardor into the work 
of the contest. Armed clubs on the model of the 
Louisiana White Leagues were organized in all the 
counties where the negroes were most numerous, 

1 Cf. Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., 414 n. 

2 Senate Reports, 44 Cong., i Sess., No. 527, I., Test., 20. 


and by boisterous parades, miscellaneous firing, and 
other demonstrations, half sportive and half serious, 
they impressed the blacks with a sense of impend 
ing danger. Actual violence was rare, but early in 
September, 1875, serious collisions between the races 
occurred at Yazoo City and Clinton, with the usual 
excess of colored casualties. Ames appealed to 
the president for Federal troops, but Grant, through 
Attorney-General Pierrepont, impatiently refused to 
send them till the governor should have shown that 
he could not keep the peace by his own resources. 
This response, so different from what had been cus 
tomary in respect to Louisiana, caused the governor 
to look to the state militia. His preparations to 
call out and employ negro companies caused panic 
among the moderate conservatives. They had been 
hardly less alarmed than the blacks themselves at 
the proceedings of the violent whites ; for they knew 
that the negro militia at its first appearance in force 
would be mercilessly slaughtered by the white clubs, 
and that the occupation of the state by the Federal 
forces would promptly follow. It was charged, in 
deed, that this was the precise end which Ames had 
in view. 

The governor, however, had no stomach for so ex 
treme a policy. After several weeks of great ten 
sion and of preparation for war, a sort of treaty of 
peace was arranged between Ames and the con 
servative leaders, in accordance with which they 
undertook to put a stop to all forms of disorder till 


after the election, and he agreed to disband his black 
militia. 1 The remaining two weeks of the campaign 
were relatively quiet, though the restraint of the 
turbulent conservatives taxed to the utmost the 
diligence of the leaders. 2 Peace prevailed generally 
on the day of the voting, 3 and the returns showed a 
clean sweep for the conservatives, with a majority 
of thirty thousand. 

When the new legislature, strongly conservative 
in both houses, met early in 1876, the process of 
terminating the regime of negroes and carpet-bag 
gers was carried out with thoroughness and de 
spatch. Having removed the lieutenant-governor 
by impeachment, and forced the resignation of the 
superintendent of education by the same process, 
the legislature next proceeded to dispose of Ames. 
The governor assumed a haughty and defiant atti 
tude, denouncing the legislature as an illegal body, 
elected by fraud and violence. But when he had 
been impeached and the trial was about to begin, 
he agreed to resign his office on condition that the 
impeachment should be dismissed. The legislat 
ure promptly acted on the proposition, and he re 
signed March 29, i876. 4 

1 Senate Reports, 44 Cong., i Sess., No. 527, I., 356; Garner, 
Reconstruction in Miss., 388. 

2 See telegrams in Senate Reports, 44 Cong., i Sess., No. 527, 
I., 389 et seq. 

3 For exceptions see Garner, Reconstruction in Miss., 394. 
*Ibid., 406; Mayes, Lamar, 264. 



WHEN the f orty - fourth Congress met for its 
first session, December 6, 1875, the new House 
of Representatives gave striking evidence of the 
political revolution which had produced it. The 
speaker s chair, where Elaine, of Maine, had sat 
through eight legislative years, was occupied by 
Kerr, of Indiana; Randall, of Pennsylvania, Mor 
rison, of Illinois, and Cox, of New York, took the 
places of Dawes and Butler and Garfield as leaders 
of the business on the floor; and the personnel of 
both sides showed great changes among the rank 
and file. Many of the old and tried Republican 
heroes of the reconstruction times had disappeared, 
while among the Democrats the salient fact was the 
great influx of new men from the South, most of 
-whom had served their section in arms during the 
war. That the conflict of the races in the South 
was not yet entirely settled in favor of the whites 
was indicated by the presence of seven negroes in 
the House, 1 two from South Carolina and one each 
1 World Almanac, 1875, p. 63. 


from North Carolina, Florida, 1 Alabama, Missis 
sippi, and Louisiana; while in the Senate a single 
member, Bruce, of Mississippi, still preserved the 
foothold which his race had gained in that reluctant 
body. 2 

The Democrats in the House, however peremptory 
and sweeping might seem their mandate from the 
people, were obviously in no position to secure 
partisan legislation on either of the two great pend 
ing issues administrative reform and the southern 
question. A substantial Republican majority in 
the Senate and a Republican president blocked the 
way. But the chief and obvious task of the Demo 
crats in the House was to investigate and expose, 
with all the resources of their great majority, the 
springs and ramifications of that condition in the 
government which the foes of the administration, 
not wholly without reason, called "Grantism." To 
this task they devoted themselves with promptness 
and ardor, but with results that tempered the joy of 
the partisan with the grief of the patriot. 

There had been no lack of efforts by reforming 
Republicans to ferret out the abuses and corruption 
in the administration: the Sanborn contracts and 
other unsavory affairs had been exposed by Repub* 
licans. But the tendency had been in the House, 
as it continued to be in the Senate, to expend most 
time and energy on the crimes of the whites and the 

1 Unseated in April, 1876; cf. McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 
(876, p. 139. 2 McClure, Recollections, 253. 


sufferings of the blacks in the South. With the 
change of control in the House, the inquisition into 
the conduct of the executive departments was taken 
up in a new spirit. 1 Before the forty-fourth Con 
gress assembled, however, the administration itself 
had brought to light, and in some measure to pun 
ishment, the malefactors in a colossal scheme of 
plundering and corruption, though the very process 
made new revelations of the meaning of Grantisnv 
That western distillers were systematically evad 
ing the tax on whiskey was pretty well known as 
early as Grant s second election, in 1872. Secre 
tary Bristow, at his assumption of the treasury 
portfolio in 1874^ addressed himself with vigor to 
the task of terminating and punishing the frauds. 
Success was slow in coming, because his plans were 
revealed to the guilty parties by accomplices in 
Washington. At last, in the spring of 1875, an in 
genious scheme was devised and carried out through 
which, with the utmost secrecy, the secretary secured 
the necessary evidence on which to act. 3 Accord 
ingly, on May 10, without warning, a large number 
of distilleries were seized, and in due course nearly 
two hundred and fifty civil and criminal suits were 
instituted. The loss of revenue to the government 
for the preceding ten months only was one million 

1 See resolution of general instruction to House committees 
January 14, 1876, Cong. Record, 44 Cong., i Sess., 414. 

2 See above, p. 242. 

3 Lalor, Cyclop, of Pol. Sci., III., 1112. 


six hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and earlier 
stealing had made the total of the ring s illegal 
profits enormous. 1 

The ramifications of the system through which 
the plunderers operated were very extensive. A 
large number of revenue officials were involved, 
their consciences being in some cases salved by the 
explanation, which was in a very small degree true, 
that the money stolen went into a Republican cam 
paign fund. What caused profound apprehension 
among decent people, however, was the fact that 
the officers principally concerned were shown to 
have been on intimate terms with General Babcock, 
the president s private secretary, and in a measure 
with Grant himself. John McDonald, a politician 
of bad repute in St. Louis, had been appointed to a 
responsible position in the internal revenue service 
in 1870, against the protests of both senators frqm 
Missouri, 2 and through him the whiskey ring de 
veloped its operations. When the president visit 
ed St. Louis,< in 1874, his party was lavishly enter 
tained by McDonald, who also presented him with 
a valuable pair of horses. These favors were ac 
cepted, as Rhodes phrases it, 3 "with oriental non 
chalance" by Grant. Fifteen months later Mc 
Donald was convicted of complicity in the whiskey 

Report of commissioner of internal revenue, in Appkton s 
Annual Cyclop., 1876, p. 666. 

2 Nation, November 25, 1875. 

3 Rhodes, United States, VII., 184. 


frauds, and this fact was received by the president 
apparently in the same spirit of emotionless detach 

The enemies of the administration and many of 
its sorrowing friends failed to share the presiden 
tial imperturbability. They feared, moreover, that 
behind the screen of Grant s self-complacency and 
phlegm projects were evolving such as would nat 
urally flow from human feeling, whether of anger at 
friendship abused or of sympathy for persecuted 
innocence. Not, however, till the prosecuting offi 
cers came upon evidence pointing to Babcock as 
the accomplice of the thieves did it appear that the 
president was exerting direct influence upon the 
course of judicial proceedings. The exact nature 
and extent of this influence were not revealed till 
some time afterwards, when it was shown that 
Grant s weak judgment and almost infantile credu 
lity had been exploited with great shrewdness by 
Babcock and his friends. 1 Various modifications 
of policy in the prosecution were dictated by the 
president on grounds that struck him as compact 
of impartial justice, but filled the hard-headed law 
yers of the treasury and the department of justice 
with dismay. By all the public save extreme radi 
cals the fluctuating course of procedure was taken 
to indicate that the power of the administration was 
being employed to avert punishment from the guilty. 

1 House Misc. Does., 44 Cong., i Sess., No. 186, especially testi 
mony of Attorney-General Pierrepont and Bluford Wilson. 


It was even suggested that not Babcock alone, but 
Grant himself, was to be saved by these high-handed 
means. That circumstances gave any basis what 
ever for such insinuations carried profound humilia 
tion to the heart of every sober-minded citizen. 

The most desperate exertions in Babcock s inter 
est extending to forgery for the purpose of discred 
iting a prosecutor with Grant, and to the purloining 
and publication of a confidential communication 
from the attorney-general to his subordinates 1 
did not avail to save the president s secretary from 
arraignment before the courts. He was indicted in 
December, 1875, and tried at St. Louis in the 
succeeding February. The verdict of the jury was 
"not guilty," but the verdict of the country was 
"not proven." Grant made a deposition for the 
defence, declaring that he knew of no wrong-doing 
by the accused, nor of anything suggesting it. This 
naive confession, coming in the midst of evidence 
that Babcock had been in closest relations and in 
uninterrupted communication with leading mem 
bers of the ring, served only to emphasize the piti 
ful stupidity of the president in his estimate of as 
sociates, and to deepen the sense of shame among 
decent people at the unprecedented position of the 
nation s chief magistrate. 

Just one week after the end of Babcock s trial, and 
before the agitation connected with it had begun to 
subside, an even lower depth of national humilia- 

1 House Misc. Docs., 44 Cong, i Sess., No. 186, pp. n, 358. 


tion was sounded. March 2, 1876, a House com 
mittee, just beginning an investigation of the war 
department, reported unquestioned evidence that 
Secretary Belknap was guilty of malfeasance in 
office, and recommended his impeachment. 1 The 
House immediately and without opposition adopted 
the recommendation, but not till after Belknap had 
sent in, and Grant had accepted, his resignation as 
secretary of war. It appeared that the post-trader 
at Fort Sill, in the Indian Territory, had since 1870 
been paying from six to twelve thousand dollars per 
annum to a friend of Belknap s for the privilege of 
retaining his place, and that a portion of this sum 
had been regularly turned over to the secretary or 
some member of his family. 2 

Thatjohhery and graft; of this sort pervaded the 
lower ranks of Federal officials had long been no 
torious, for convincing indications of it appeared in 
many investigations, though precise legal evidence 
was naturally rare. It is doubtful, however, if the 
most malicious assailant of the administration had 
imagined any officer of cabinet rank guilty of the 
sale of place, much less dreamed that such guilt 
would be demonstrated with the utmost circum 
stantiality. The demand for immediate punish 
ment of Belknap was loud and angry from all parts 
of the land and without distinction of party. But 
the swift course of the impeachment was promptly 

1 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., i Sess., "Trial of W. W. Belknap," 
iii. * House Reports, 44 Cong., i Sess., No. 186, p. 3. 

VOL. xxn. 10 


blocked by a serious obstacle the denial that the 
process of impeachment could be made use of in 
this case; and with a certainty which even strong 
Republican partisans now angrily declared was all 
too familiar, the creation of this obstacle to speedy 
justice was traceable to the White House. 

By hasty acceptance of the secretary s resigna 
tion the president divested him of the character of 
officer of the United States. Whether one not pos 
sessing that character was subject to impeachment 
was a question about which the lawyers at once be 
gan to weave a wordy tangle of technical debate. 
The Senate organized itself as a court of impeach 
ment April 5, but this question of jurisdiction oc 
cupied its attention till the end of May, when it 
finally voted, by 37 to 29, that Belknap was properly 
before it for trial. 1 This vote foretold the outcome 
and really rendered further proceedings unneces 
sary. The trial, nevertheless, was carried to a con 
clusion, which was reached August i. Thirty-seven 
senators found Belknap guilty, and twenty-five voted 
not guilty, many of the latter explaining that their 
votes were based exclusively on the belief that the 
Senate had no jurisdiction. 2 Thus, for want of a 
two-thirds vote for conviction, the disgraced officer 
escaped without further punishment. 

Public dissatisfaction with the president for hav 
ing promoted the failure of justice in this case was 

l Cong. Record, 44 Cong., i Sess., "Trial of W. W. Belknap," 
76. *Ibid., 343 et seq. 


even more pronounced than in the case of Babcock, 
in proportion as the matter was more clear. His 
hasty acceptance of Belknap s resignation was ex 
plained on various grounds some creditable to his 
humanity, some to his gallantry, but none suggest 
ing statesmanship, ordinary political sagacity, or any 
slightest perception of the larger moral respon 
sibilities attaching to his exalted public position. 
Whether he ever really felt that Belknap had done 
wrong seems open to doubt. His own record in 
the matter of accepting gifts was a mainstay of the 
defence on the trial, and was mercilessly exploited 
by the veteran Jeremiah S. Black. 1 

The great and general agitation of public opinion 
in connection with the Belknap affair seems to have 
struck Grant as chiefly due to the approach of the 
presidential election. Considerations of partisan 
politics, which, as we have seen, had been almost 
wholly neglected by him at the beginning of his ex 
ecutive service, had since through long and hard ex 
perience become a leading influence in his policy. 
In 1869 he had regarded himself as the leader of the 
people; in 1876 he realized that he was but the chief 
of the Republican party, and indeed of but one 
faction of that party. The terrible assaults on the 
administration for the corruption which it harbored 
he looked upon as merely Democratic campaign 
practice, or the din of the moderate Republicans 

1 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., i Sess., "Trial of W. W. Belknap," 


seeking to terrify the radicals whom he was sup 
porting for the succession. Secretary Bristow, seek 
ing to complete the destruction of the whiskey ring, 
became an object of suspicion to the president, and 
was forced, in June, 1876, to resign, followed in his 
retirement by all the subordinates who had been 
most efficient in prosecuting the plunderers. 1 Grant 
believed that Bristow was using his position in 
scheming for the Republican nomination, and never 
suspected that this belief was largely due to the 
adroit and subtle manipulation of the presidential 
mind by the powerful friends of the ring. The dis 
missal of Postmaster-General Jewell in July gave 
additional evidence that no toleration of reform was 
to be exhibited; for the only apparent ground for 
the act was Jewell s open preference for efficiency 
over partisanship in the administration of his depart 
ment. By this time, however, the presidential cam 
paign was fully developed, and some allowance must 
be made for that "necessity" which overrides rea 
son and justice as surely in a battle of the ballots 
as in a battle of the bullets. 

The sudden and dramatic exposure of Belknap 
in March gave a sharp stimulus to the inquisition 
to which the House committees were subjecting 
the executive departments. Partisan zeal quite as 
much as purely moral fervor was operative in the 
process, and the enlightened public watched with 
something akin to terror lest some new shame should 
1 North Am. Rev., October, 1876, p. 321. 


be revealed. But the painstaking industry of the 
committees gave no results comparable with the 
ignominy of March. Name, place, and date were 
established for practically every species of mal 
administration that had been vaguely charged. 
Extravagance, inefficiency, favoritism, disregard for 
the exact requirements of the law appeared through 
out the working of the navy department under 
Robeson, 1 the postal department prior to Jewell s 
accession, and the interior department under Delano ; 
and in the war department an extensive traffic in 
post-traderships, outside of that which brought the 
secretary low, was exposed, of which a brother to 
the president proved to be a conspicuous benefi 
ciary. 2 The evils were, however, for the most part 
abuses of discretionary powers rather than clear 
violations of law; and the causes most obviously 
responsible for them were the almost universal prev 
alence of political patronage in connection with the 
offices, and that spirit of relentless and unmoral wealth- 
getting which, deprived by the industrial depression 
since 1873 of the opportunity for effective action in 
the business world, maintained and even strength 
ened its hold on the devotees of the political life. 

Though the executive departments furnished no 
further startling revelations, the House of Repre- 

1 The evidence is in three stout volumes, House Misc. Docs., 
44 Cong., i Sess., No. 170; see also House Reports, 44 Cong., r 
Sess., Nos. 788, 789. 

3 House Reports, 44 Cong., r Sess., No. 799. 


sentatives itself contributed an incident which, while 
not entirely clear in its outcome, served in some 
degree to confirm the general sense of corruption 
among public men. James G. Elaine, the brilliant 
and popular Republican leader in the House, was, 
in April, 1876, accused by certain newspapers of 
having accepted substantial favors from the Union 
Pacific and other land -grant railroad companies 
while he was speaker in 1871. The judiciary com 
mittee of the House was directed to investigate the 
matter. Its proceedings developed the fact that 
letters written by Elaine to one Fisher, a railway 
promoter who had been interested in the roads con 
cerned in the charges, were in the possession of a 
witness named Mulligan. The ex-speaker went to 
Mulligan s room, procured the letters for inspection, 
refused to return them, and never again let them 
get out of his own possession. He read them before 
the House, however, in a wonderfully dramatic 
speech in his own defence, June 5, and scored a re 
markable success with the audience there present. 1 
The cold analysis to which the investigating com 
mittee would have subjected the matter was pre 
vented, first by Elaine s refusal to surrender the 
letters to the committee, and second by a sudden 
illness, followed by an appointment to the Senate 
which removed him from the jurisdiction of the 
House. The facts developed put Mr. Elaine under 

1 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., i Sess., 3604; Gail Hamilton, Elaine, 
362; Rhodes, United States, VII., 202. 


grave suspicion of just that sort of questionable 
wealth-getting, if nothing worse, which had ruined 
his colleagues in the Credit Mobilier. Thus one more 
exalted reputation was left tainted and tottering, 
and the episode fitted harmoniously into that general 
scheme of malodorousness in which Grantism had in 
volved the Republican party and the republic itself. 
The most cunning and malignant enemy of the 
United States would not have timed differently 
this period of national ill-repute; for it came with 
the centennial of American independence. A cen 
tury of the nation s life rounded to completion amid 
the scandals that have been described. From his 
preoccupation with the persecuted virtue of Bab- 
cock and the vicious ambition of Bristow, the presi 
dent was called to Philadelphia to open officially 
the notable exhibition which from May till Novem 
ber illustrated the progress and fed the pride of 
the people. 1 On July 4 an impressive ceremony at 
Philadelphia and an immense access of enthusiasm 
throughout the country signalized the actual com 
pletion of the hundred years. The occasion, de 
pressing as it was to those who felt most keenly the 
incongruities of things, served a very useful purpose 
in diverting the great masses who wished to be 
diverted from the evidence that the venerated in 
stitutions of the fathers had not produced precisely 
what the fathers would have desired. 

I l Andrews, United States^ in Our Own Time, 197; Appleton s 
Annual Cyclop., 1876, art. Exhibition. 



THE issues about which the quadrennial conflict 
of the parties was to turn were those defined 
by the conditions sketched in the last two chapters 
namely, the southern question and administrative 
reform. Equally important with these in the field 
of public interest and serious statesmanship was the 
problem of the currency ; but the division of popular 
sentiment on this subject was so far from coincid 
ing with party lines x that the leaders on both sides 
handled it very gingerly. The moderate opponents 
of specie resumption retained their respective party 
affiliations and sought to damage the policy as they 
might by influence within the lines. An impressive 
number of extremists, however, broke ancient bonds 
and, through a national convention at Indianapolis, 
May 17, i876, 2 organized a new party. This was 
the political fruition of the crisis of 1873, and of the 
distress and agitation which followed it, especially 

1 See votes in the House on repealing the resumption act, 
McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1876, pp. 177, 180. 
1 AppUton s Annual Cyclop., 1876, p. 781. 

1876] CAMPAIGN OF 1876 295 

in the West. Taking the name " Independent," 
but more commonly known as the "Greenback" 
party, the convention proclaimed a platform of res 
olute opposition to resumption and of confidence 
in government notes as the ideal currency. The 
candidates presented to the voters were Peter Coo 
per, of New York, and S. F. Gary, of Ohio. 1 

In reference to the currency issue, then, the two 
great parties were on substantially equal terms: 
both feared, and neither could accurately gauge, the 
strength and effects of the greenback movement. 
As to the other two issues, the advantage at the 
beginning of the year 1876 was distinctly with the 
Democrats. The disrepute which had brought down 
the wrath of the voters on the Republicans in 1874 
was progressing steadily to its climax. No mortal 
ingenuity could derive credit from the record of the 
administration. There was now no reassuring popu 
lar response to the sombre tales of southern outrage ; 
the stanchest radical communities manifested stolid 
indifference to the woes of the negroes in Mississippi 
so long as the whiskey ring and Babcock were on 
trial at St. Louis. It seemed as if the Republicans, 
in the absence of any ground for aggressive appeal 
for popular support, would be reduced in the ap 
proaching campaign to a dull and hopeless defen 

From this unpromising outlook they were rescued 
by ex-Speaker Elaine. A bill for the removal of all 

1 Stanwood, Hist, of the Presidency, 367. 


remaining disabilities under the Fourteenth Amend 
ment was taken up in the House of Representatives 
early in January on motion of the Democratic lead 
er, Mr. Randall. Blaine antagonized the bill by a 
motion to except Jefferson Davis, and charged upon 
him responsibility for the sufferings of Union pris 
oners at Anderson ville. 1 A long and hot debate 
ensued, in which the ex-Confederate members not 
only defended Davis, but also, and not with great 
wisdom, made grave charges against the North of 
cruelty to Confederate prisoners. Blaine and his 
supporters skilfully lured on the southerners to 
heated expressions, and used the spirit thus elicited 
to sharpen the point that through the Democratic 
party the old rebel feeling and purpose persisted 
and tended to triumph. 

As mere party tactics this procedure of Mr. Blaine 
was perfect. It gave the Republicans a much- 
needed key-note of aggression. Cleverly avoiding 
the worn-out and ineffective negro phase of the 
southern question, it revived the white man s fiery 
war-time passion. To the western Republicans, in 
particular, this device appealed with strong effect. 
Their love and pity for the freedmen never ap 
proached in intensity their hatred 4 for the rebel. 
To pass back over the issues of reconstruction to the 
emotions of the war-time to suggest that the ex- 
rebels were subtly striving to warp the national 
power and resources to the justification and renewal 

1 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., i Sess., 323. 

1876] CAMPAIGN OF 1876 297 

of their lost cause was the sure way of arousing 
the fervid Unionism of that great region which was 
in a special sense the home of the party. The 
January debate on amnesty gave new strength and 
tone to the Republicans, and incidentally secured 
for him who led it the first place in the race for the 
presidential nomination. 

Elaine s spectacular manoeuvre was viewed with 
great chagrin by that wing of the party which 
aimed to make reform the chief purpose of the cam 
paign. He had been reckoned one of the moderates ; 
but his new and effective appeal to sectional pas 
sion alienated the more positive of his reforming 
admirers. They did not share his instinctive per 
ception that, in view of the administration s record, 
the battle-cry of reform, by whomsoever raised, 
would make more votes for the Democrats than for 
their adversaries. In the middle of May a con 
ference of moderate Republicans, including many 
that had participated in the Liberal movement of 
1872, was held at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New 
York. 1 By this time the imputations upon Mr. 
Elaine s integrity had become common property 
and confirmed the hostility with which he was 
regarded by reformers. Accordingly, the address 
issued by the conference, written by Carl Schurz, 2 
and designed particularly to influence the approach 
ing Republican convention, included Elaine with 
Morton and Conkling among the cleverly indicated 

1 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 15. * Ibid., 16. 


though unnamed aspirants whose candidacy the 
friends of reform could not support. 1 Among the 
members of the conference ex-Secretary Bristow 
unquestionably was looked upon with most favor, 
but the purpose to abstain from naming a candi 
date doubtless confirmed by the dismal memories 
of the Liberal fiasco was sedulously adhered to. 

Senators Morton and Conkling aspired to the Re 
publican nomination on the basis of their undeviat- 
ing support of the administration. Each headed a 
devoted column of supporters whose numbers and 
enthusiasm derived chief nourishment from the 
Federal patronage. The united forces of these as 
pirants constituted that wing of the party which 
was opposed h Voutrance to the demand for re 
form. All its confidence was in the issue that the 
southern whites were undoing reconstruction and 
destroying the party that had saved the Union; 
and its logical candidate was President Grant him 

Not long after Grant s second inauguration in 
1873, the New York Herald, in the mere exuberance 
of a notorious sensationalism, broached the idea that 
the president was scheming to secure a third term 
for himself. The idea was taken up with joy by 
hostile journalists and politicians, and was nursed 
and developed into a portentous bogey duly dubbed 
"Caesarism." No thinking person, save Democratic 
politicians seeking political capital, attached any 

1 Appleton s Annual Cyclop., 1876, p. 779. 

1876] CAMPAIGN OF 1876 299 

importance to the agitation, 1 which was kept up, 
with obviously hard labor, throughout the elections 
of 1874. In the spring of 1875, however, the presi 
dent played into the hand of his enemies by writing 
for publication a letter in which his declaration that 
he was not a candidate for another nomination was 
so carefully qualified as irresistibly to suggest that 
he would willingly accept it. 2 The letter gave a new 
aspect to the manoeuvres of the administration wing 
of the Republican organization. At the same time 
it stimulated conclusive demonstrations that the 
party as a whole could never be brought to acquiesce 
in the perpetuation of Grantism. At the opening of 
the session of Congress in December, 1875, a resolu 
tion passed the House, by a vote of 234 to 18, declar 
ing that a third term would be "unwise, unpatriotic 
and fraught with peril to our free institutions," 3 
and the majority included two-thirds of the Repub 
lican members of the House. In such an expression 
of feeling there was no encouragement for those 
who had been watching for a chance to press Grant 
to the front, and the administration politicians pass 
ed definitively to the work of nominating either 
Conkling or Morton. 

The Republican convention met at Cincinnati, 
June 14, 1876. Its outcome was a radical platform 

1 Cf. Paine, Thomas Nast, 279, 296, 307. 

1 For the letter, see Appleton s Annual Cyclop., 1875, p. 743; 
for an illuminating incident in connection with its despatch, 
see Garland, Grant, 432. 

3 McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1876, p. 143. 


and a reform nomination. With Babcock, Belknap, 
and the whole unsavory record of the administration 
fresh in their minds, the committee on resolutions 
could hardly frame an inspiriting appeal for support 
on the basis of the party s recent achievements. 
Hence the only clauses that embodied anything of 
the positive and aggressive tone familiar in plat 
forms were those reciting the party s achievements 
in dealing with slavery and rebellion, and those 
denouncing the Democracy, and specifically the 
majority in the House of Representatives, as sup 
porters of treason and as foes of the nation. 1 This 
species of "bloody-shirt" waving was obviously the 
species that Mr. Elaine had designed, and his choice 
as nominee would have been the appropriate accom 
paniment of the platform. But though he was far 
in the lead of every other candidate in number of 
delegates, the extreme radicals and the extreme 
reformers alike opposed him. The result was an 
eventual recourse to a "dark horse" Governor 
Hayes, of Ohio whose availability was of just that 
nebulous type which bulks largest to a tired delegate 
in despair of getting the man of his deliberate choice. 
Hayes was nominated on the seventh ballot, and 
Congressman Wheeler, of New York, was speedily 
named for vice-president. Not till his letter of 
acceptance appeared was the precise quality of 
Hayes s Republicanism generally known. In that 

1 Preamble and resolution 16 of the platform, in Stanwood, 
Hist, of the Presidency, 369. 

i8;6] CAMPAIGN OF 1876 301 

document he proclaimed with the utmost distinct 
ness his abhorrence of the spoils system and his 
purpose to extirpate it, pledged himself not to ac 
cept a renomination, and announced in respect to 
southern affairs a desire to "wipe out forever the 
distinction between North and South in our com 
mon country." * These sentiments left no room to 
doubt that the Republican nominee belonged to the 
reforming wing of the party. 

On the Democratic side, the initial stages of the 
campaign followed lines which circumstances made 
clear and easy. The record of Republican misrule 
and corruption during Grant s eight years furnished 
the basis of a platform, and the election and ad 
ministration of Governor Tilden, in New York State, 
indicated with unmistakable emphasis the candi 
date. Tilden had, as a private citizen, contributed 
much to the procedure through which the Tweed 
ring was overthrown, and as governor he had brought 
to destruction a strongly intrenched and extreme 
ly corrupt canal ring in the interior of the state. 
His record created an impression of clear judgment 
and hard-headed efficiency. It was difficult for any 
one to maintain that with Tilden in the White House 
corruption in the public service would thrive with 
out discovery. 2 

1 Appleton s Annual Cyclop., 1876, p. 783. 

2 Cf. Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 28, and his authorities. 
For a good characterization of Tilden, see Peck, Twenty years 
of the Republic, 115. 


The Democratic convention met at St. Louis, 
June 27, 1876, and carried through with little fric 
tion the predestined programme. The platform had 
for its text "the urgent need of immediate reform," 
and from this it skilfully developed a telling indict 
ment of the Republicans, involving all the scandals 
of the Grant administration. Tilden s nomination 
was effected on the second ballot, and Hendricks, of 
Indiana, was with even less difficulty named for his 
running mate. The letter of acceptance, in which 
Mr. Tilden gave his personal interpretation of the 
platform, was an able essay, 1 dwelling . with special 
fulness upon the need and methods of reform in the 
finances and the currency. 2 His views in regard 
to the spoils system were scarcely distinguishable 
from those of his rival; and this fact inspired in 
thoughtful voters who were disgusted with Grant- 
ism the comfortable conviction that, however the 
election should go, an enormous change for the bet 
ter would ensue at Washington. 3 

The campaign was fought through with skill and 
vigor on both sides. 4 For the Republicans, notwith 
standing the triumph of the reforming wing in the 
nominating convention, it was the radical wing that 
furnished the only really effective issue. Hayes him 
self, speaking mainly in regard to the West, urged 

1 For a different judgment, see Rhodes, United States, VII., 
216. 2 Appleton s Annual Cyclop., 1876, p. 787. 

8 Cf. Merriam, Samuel Bowles, II., 353. 

4 For details, see Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, chap, iv.; 
Rhodes, United States, VII. , 219 et seq. 

1876] CAMPAIGN OF 1876 303 

that most stress should be laid on the "dread of a 
solid South, rebel rule, etc., etc." l The Democrats 
concentrated their fire on the weak spots in the Repub 
lican administrative record, and had little difficulty 
in keeping the adversary in general on the defensive. 

In the South the campaign was determined in 
its general features altogether by the issues of re 
construction; the exciting prospect of escape from 
the clutch of a hostile national administration set 
the hearts of the whites throbbing wildly from the 
Potomac to the Rio Grande. In those states in 
which the conservatives had entire control of the 
state governments, the most inveterate radical op 
timist expected no electoral vote for Hayes. By 
the time of voting in 1876, Mississippi, though " re 
deemed" only a year before, was as sure to go Demo 
cratic as was Tennessee or Virginia, whose redemp 
tion dated six or seven years back. Only in the 
three states in which negro and carpet-bag rule still 
endured Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina 
was there doubt as to the outcome of the election. 

In Florida the campaign was destitute of unusual 
incidents. The races, and hence the parties, were 
very nearly equal numerically, and the employment 
of irregular and lawless methods of affecting the 
voters and the votes was on a small scale and not 
a monopoly of either party. 2 Louisiana presented 

1 Gail Hamilton, Elaine, 422. 

3 Cf. House Reports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 143, pt. i.; Senate 
Reports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 6n. 



naturally a more exciting picture. The hope and 
determination of the whites to get rid of radical 
rule were no less marked than in 1874; but the vio 
lent wing of the conservatives was not so conspicu 
ous, and its operations were more restricted, both 
in geographical scope and in publicity. The cam 
paign of 1876 presented in a very large part of the 
state the normal features of a close and heated po 
litical contest. In New Orleans extensive fraud in 
the registration was attempted by both parties, 
with success chiefly on the part of the radicals, 
through their control of the official machinery. 1 In 
the great majority of the rural parishes a strong 
and persistent appeal to the blacks to abandon the 
radicals was made on more or less rational grounds 
by the whites, and it met with a little more than 
the customary success. More effective were the 
cajolery and social pressure that were freely em 
ployed to keep the blacks from the polls. 

Open and systematic violence, however, which 
had been since the war, and especially under the 
anarchy of the Kellogg regime, a common feature 
of life in Louisiana, was during the period of the 
campaign noticeably rare. This result was attained 
only through strenuous effort on the part of the 
conservative leaders, who aimed to deprive the re 
turning board of any pretext for manipulating the 
vote. In some half-dozen parishes, where the black 
population was most dense and barbarous, and the 

1 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 92-94, and his authorities. 

1876] CAMPAIGN OF 1876 305 

whites were most brutal, little effort was made by 
either party to insure orderly conditions. It was 
taken for granted that many, if not all, of the pre 
cinct returns would be rejected, and the normal 
course of race tension, with incidents of hideous 
outrage, was allowed to run uninterrupted. These 
were the "bulldozed" parishes, whose peculiar rec 
ord figured so conspicuously in the controversies 
over the election, and furnished a basis for the con 
tention that the state as a whole was given over to 
violence and intimidation. 1 

In South Carolina the campaign was carried 
through by the conservatives with pretty open 
reliance on what was aptly called the "Mississippi 
plan." The situation was peculiar. In 1874, Daniel 
H. Chamberlain, a Massachusetts man of great elo 
quence and ability, had been elected governor to 
succeed the unspeakable Moses. By bold and spec 
tacular proceedings he effected very considerable re 
forms in the state administration, 2 incurring there 
by the vindictive animosity of the shameless crew 
in his own party whose vicious practices were inter 
fered with. As the campaign of 1876 approached, 
the renomination which Chamberlain sought was 

1 The foregoing is based on the great mass of evidence col 
lected and reported on by congressional committees, especially 
Senate Reports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 701; House Reports, 44 
Cong., 2 Sess., No. 156; House Misc. Docs., 44 Cong., 2 Sess., 
No. 34. 

2 Set forth in a series of articles in a friendly Conservative 
newspaper, reprinted in Allen, Chamberlain s Administration, 
chap, xviii. 


violently opposed by the corrupt wing of the rad 
icals. Among the Conservatives, on the other hand, 
a strong element, in despair of rescuing the state 
through their own party and race, supported the 
governor 1 and tried to prevent the nomination of 
any candidate against him. 

Chamberlain was the only carpet-bagger governor 
in the South who had shown both the will and the 
ability to secure any measure of purity T m state 
administration. On the race question, however, he 
was an unyielding dogmatist of the extreme New 
England type. With all his experience of the situa 
tion in South Carolina, he did not abate one jot or 
tittle of his confidence in the righteousness of recon 
struction and of the political equality on which it 
placed the races. Such views, never disguised, re 
pelled the mass of the white people. July 8, 1876, 
an armed collision between whites and blacks at 
Hamburg, Aiken County, resulted in the usual 
slaughter of the blacks. 2 Whether the original 
cause of the trouble was the insolence and threats 
of a negro militia company, or the aggressiveness and 
violence of some young white men, was much dis 
cussed throughout the state and, indeed, the country 
at large. Chamberlain took frankly and strongly the 
ground that the whites were at fault. 3 This affair, 
and the governor s attitude in reference to it, prac- 

1 Allen, Chamberlain s Administration, chap. xiii. at large. 
Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 131, and his authorities. 
Allen, Chamberlain s Administration, 312, 318. 

1876] CAMPAIGN OF 1876 307 

tically decided the question as to support of his 
candidacy by the conservatives. 1 In their state 
convention General Wade Hampton was named for 
governor. Chamberlain succeeded in securing the 
coveted nomination from his party, but his associates 
on the ticket included some of the most disreputable 
negro politicians that the radical regime had pro 
duced. 2 

The canvass was heated and was attended by 
many riots and much general turbulence. 8 The 
violent wing of the conservatives was imperfectly 
controlled by the moderate leaders. In a number 
of strong black counties white rifle clubs systemat 
ically patrolled their respective neighborhoods, at 
tended under arms all Republican meetings, often 
with demands that Democratic speakers be heard, 
and exercised in general a tremendous pressure upon 
the negroes. After a serious collision between the 
races at Ellenton, September 16, in which these 
organizations had a large part, the governor felt 
obliged to take extreme steps against them. The 
clubs were appearing all over the state, and he 
claimed to have knowledge that they numbered at 
least two hundred and thirteen, with nearly thirteen 
thousand members. 4 Accordingly, he appealed to 

1 Reynolds, Reconstruction in S. C. t 347. 

2 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 135, and his authorities. 

5 House Reports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 175, especially pt. 
ii., p. 31 et seq. 

4 Allen, Chamberlain s Administration, 410; cf. House Reports, 
44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 175, pt. ii., p. 82. 


the president for aid in suppressing domestic vio 
lence, and was promptly answered by a proclama 
tion, under date of October 17, commanding the 
rifle clubs, as "insurgents," to disperse and disband, 
and by the despatch of all available troops in the 
military division of the Atlantic to South Carolina. 1 
Chamberlain s call for Federal aid finally severed 
whatever friendly relations he had retained with any 
conservatives. His view of the rifle clubs their 
purpose and methods was bitterly denounced by the 
whites. The conservative organizations, they claim 
ed, were, so far as they had arms at all, purely de 
fensive, intended to maintain the safety and peace 
of their communities against the hordes of igno 
rant blacks who were organized and armed to pro 
mote the plundering schemes of radical politicians. 2 
But most of the clubs which the governor denounced 
were in fact merely peaceable political associations, 
with no purpose save the legitimate activities of an 
electoral campaign. Whatever of truth there may 
have been in these claims of the conservatives, the 
one fact was indisputable, that the contest in South 
Carolina closed with the race lines strictly drawn, 
save where the vicious adversaries of Chamberlain 
in his own party refused to follow the leader who 
had thwarted their now inveterate purposes of 

1 House Exec. Docs., 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 30, p. 16 et seq. 
3 Reynolds, Reconstruction in 5. C., 356 et seq. 



ON November 7 the popular canvass of 1876 
ended with the casting of the votes. Through 
out the Union, in the turbulent South as well as in 
the peaceful North, the day passed without dis 
order. When in the evening the telegraph began the 
customary report of the results, attention was con 
centrated chiefly on the doubtful northern states, 
which were expected to be decisive. The returns 
from these early indicated that the Democrats had 
carried them all New York, Connecticut, New Jer 
sey, and Indiana. From the doubtful southern states 
and from the Pacific slope satisfactory news was 
slow in reaching party headquarters in New York. 
What came, however, was generally favorable to 
the Democrats, and on the morning of November 
8 most newspapers of both parties announced that 
Tilden was elected. 1 

Meanwhile, anxious Republican editors and poli 
ticians, loath to admit defeat and shrewd in inter 
preting the latest reports, discovered a glimmer of 

1 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 45. 


hope for Hayes. 1 It appeared pretty clear that 
Tilden had secured 184 electoral votes, one short of 
a majority. California and Oregon were apparently 
Republican; if to these could be added the three 
doubtful southern states South Carolina, Florida, 
and Louisiana Hayes would have 185 electoral 
votes and the presidency. Accordingly, early in the 
morning of November 8 the Republican leaders in 
the doubtful states were notified of the situation 
and urged to make sure of a favorable count, while 
from Republican headquarters and editorial offices 
the claim was sent forth in positive terms: "Hayes 
has 185 electoral votes and is elected." 2 

As it gradually became clear that the count of the 
votes in the three disputed southern states would 
decide who should next occupy the White House, 
the proceedings in those states engaged the excited 
attention of the whole country. Partisan feeling 
became everywhere bitter and demonstrative. The 
press teemed with charges and countercharges of 
accomplished illegality and fraud in the casting of 
the votes, and of intended fraud in counting them. 

President Grant promptly insured that violence, 
at least, should be excluded from the situation. 
There were already considerable bodies of troops at 
the capitals of Louisiana and South Carolina, and 

1 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 48. 

3 Haworth s account of the incidents of the night and early 
morning after election is the most accurate of all thus far pub 
lished. For others, see Gibson, A Political Crime; Bigelow, 
Tilden, II., 8. 


two days after the election a force was sent to Talla 
hassee. 1 The commanding officers in all three capi 
tals were enjoined to preserve peace, protect the 
canvassing boards, and denounce fraud. 2 

Parallel with the movement of troops to the storm- 
centres, there was a conspicuous movement of poli 
ticians in the same direction. Some went on their 
own initiative, out of curiosity or interest; many 
were urged to go by the respective party managers, 
whose reciprocal distrust was deep and unconcealed. 
William E. Chandler, an alert and energetic mem 
ber of the Republican national committee, started 
for Florida the day after the election. 3 Two days 
later, November 10, President Grant himself re 
quested a number of prominent northern Repub 
licans to go to New Orleans "to witness the count," 
and Abram S. Hewitt, chairman of the Democratic 
national committee, promptly addressed a like re 
quest to leading northern Democrats. 4 As a result 
of these various impulses the final canvass of the 
popular vote in the three doubtful southern states 
was observed and in no small measure directed by 
groups of partisans of national reputation. In the 
parlance of the day, they were known as the " visit 
ing statesmen." Prominent among them were John 

1 House Exec. Docs., 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 30, pp. 22, 23. 
* Grant to Sherman, November 10, ibid., 24. 

3 Gibson, A Political Crime, 52. 

4 Appleton s Annual Cyclop., 1876, p. 486; cf. House Misc. 
Docs., 45 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 31, pp. 715, 862, 1084 passim; 
John Sherman, Recollections, I., 554. 


Sherman, James A. Garfield, E. W. Stoughton, and 
E. F. Noyes (Republicans), and J. M. Palmer, Lyman 
Trumbull, Manton Marble, and Smith M. Weed 

Whether the part played by the visitors was use 
ful may be doubted ; l that it imperilled many good 
reputations among them is unhappily beyond all 
doubt. At a time when practical politics was no 
where in the United States always clean, in the 
states where the carpet-bag regime endured it was 
indescribably dirty. Fraud and corruption were 
normal means to the attainment of political ends. 
When the end was so important as the control of 
the national government, it was not to be supposed 
that the local politicians would abjure their wonted 
methods. Hence some of the Republican visitors 
were obliged to ignore or connive at notorious cheat 
ing, and some of the Democrats to involve them 
selves in bargains for bribes. Rumors and charges 
of these things were incessant during the struggle 
over the count, but most of the clear evidence about 
them was revealed only two years later. 2 

South Carolina was early eliminated from serious 
controversy so far as the presidential vote was con 
cerned. By the middle of November it was clear 
that the Republican electors had a small but safe 

1 McCulloch, Men and Measures, 420; Rhodes, United States, 
VII., 238. 

See House Reports, 45 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 140; House Misc. 
Docs., 45 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 31. 


majority in the popular vote. 1 The Democrats kept 
on claiming the state for Tilden, and in connection 
With the sharp struggle over the result of the vote 
for governor 2 sought to secure the electoral votes 
through legal process. 3 But the attempt failed, and 
on the appointed day the Republican electors duly 
cast their votes for Hayes and Wheeler. The Demo 
cratic candidates also went through the forms of 
voting for Tilden and Hendricks, but their proceed 
ings lacked all the requirements of regularity. 

In Florida the conflict over the choice of electors 
was much more serious and doubtful. When all 
the counties of the state were heard from, the Re 
publicans claimed on the face of the returns a ma 
jority of 45 for Hayes, the Democrats a majority of 
90 or 113 for Tilden. 4 With so close a vote the final 
result depended on the count to be made by the 
board of state canvassers. This board consisted of 
the secretary of state, the comptroller, and the at 
torney-general, of whom in 1876 the first two were 
Republicans and the last a Democrat. It was em 
powered by law to exclude any returns "so irregu 
lar, false or fraudulent that the board shall be unable 
to determine the true vote." 5 Under this authority 

1 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 155, and his authorities. 
8 See below, p. 327. 

3 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 151 et seq.; Reynolds, Re 
construction in S, C. t 399. 

4 Senate Peports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 611, pt. i., p. 3; House 
Reports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 143, pt. i., p. 3. 

8 Senate Reports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 611, "Doc. Ev.," p. 3. 


the board assumed the right to take evidence in the 
case of contested returns and to determine judicial 
ly as to their correctness and validity. Its decisions, 
however, showed no deviation from the strictest 
partisanship. The Republican majority so modi 
fied and rejected the disputed returns as to insure 
the success of all the Republican electors, the low 
est having 920 over the highest Democrat. 1 The 
Republican governor, Stearns, accordingly certified 
the choice of these men, and they cast the four votes 
of the state on December 6 for Hayes and Wheeler. 
The Democratic candidates for elector also met, re 
ceived certificates of their election from the attor 
ney-general of the state, and went through the form 
of voting for Tilden and Hendricks. 

The result reached by the Florida returning board 
was promptly brought into question through suits 
instituted by the Democrats in the courts of the 
state. On December 23 the state supreme court 
decided that the returning board must act in a 
ministerial, not in a judicial, capacity, and must 
count the votes cast, not those which it considered 
legal. A recount of the vote for governor, ordered 
in connection with this decision, gave the Democratic 
candidate, Drew, a majority, and he was duly in 
augurated, January 2, 1877. The new legislature, 
being Democratic in both houses, promptly passed 
an act directing that the vote for electors be can 
vassed anew, and this time in accordance with the 

1 Senate Reports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 6iz, p. 3. 


law as declared in the decision of the supreme court. 
The returning board, consisting now, through the 
change of administration, entirely of Democrats, 
performed its duty under the act, and on January 
19 declared that the Tilden electors had a majority 
of 87 votes. An additional act of the legislature 
directed the governor to certify the votes of these 
electors as the true electoral votes, and certificates 
to this effect were transmitted to Washington. 1 

Louisiana afforded to the Democrats the satis 
faction, such as it was, of a substantial popular 
majority for Tilden. The parish returns, as they 
reached New Orleans, gave to the lowest Demo 
cratic elector over six thousand more votes than the 
highest Hayes elector. 2 While a Democratic ma 
jority at the ballot-boxes had been anticipated, that 
which actually appeared greatly exceeded Repub 
lican calculations. The rejection by the returning 
board of part or all of the votes from the "bull 
dozed" parishes was practically taken for granted 
by both parties ; but much more was necessary if the 
goal of the Republicans was to be reached. Hence, 
from the moment when this situation was suspected, 
the radical state officials, sustained and assisted 
by the local politicians and the visiting statesmen, 

1 For all these proceedings after December 6, see Haworth, 
Hayes-Tilden Election, 77 et seq., and his authorities; especially 
House Misc. Docs., 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 35, pt. iii. 

2 The figures varied considerably in different reports. Cf. 
Senate Misc. Docs., 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 14, p. 164; House 
Reports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 156, pt. i., p. i. 


strained every nerve to furnish grounds on which 
the conservative vote could be further reduced by 
the returning board. Perjury, forgery, and shame 
less manipulation of the returns before publication 
were freely employed. 1 The Republicans asserted 
that violence and intimidation had pervaded all 
parts of the state, and were solely responsible for 
the large conservative majority. 2 The efforts of 
the conservatives to meet and refute the radical 
charges, and counteract their illegal proceedings, 
were no less energetic and in some cases no less 
unscrupulous than those of their adversaries. But 
the great advantage lay with the radicals because 
they controlled the state and Federal offices. 

The ease and nonchalance with which the return 
ing board reversed the majority in its count made 
the frantic lawlessness of its partisans before it met 
wholly uncalled for and hence ridiculous. Its meth 
ods were those which a Republican congressional 
committee had severely denounced in 187 5.* It 
left unfilled a vacancy caused by the resignation of 
the only conservative member, though the law re 
quired that all political parties be represented on 
the board; 4 it ignored the specific statutory require- 

1 The most conclusive evidence on this point is the report 
and testimony of the Potter committee in 1878-1879, House Re- 
ports* 45 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 140; cf. especially the testimony of 
Jewett, Republican campaign manager, at p. 1440. 

8 See report of visiting statesmen to the president, Senate 
Exec. Docs., 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 2. * See above, p. 275. 

* Election laws of Louisiana, in Senate Exec. Docs., 44 Cong., 
2 Sess., No. 2, p. 160; cf. Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 100. 


merits as to the proof of violence, intimidation, 
and corruption, 1 and threw out returns on vague 
rumor and unsupported assertion; it ignored tech 
nical irregularities in returns that favored the Re 
publicans, but used the same defects as a ground 
for rejecting returns that favored the Democrats. 
The spirit which is illustrated by such proceedings 
was quite equal to any emergency. After labors 
extending from November 20 to December 6, the 
board on the latter date announced the result: by 
rejecting every poll in two entire parishes and some 
seventy judiciously selected polls in other parishes, 
it cut down the Democratic vote by 13,213 and the 
Republican by 2415, leaving the Hayes electors with 
a majority of 3437 and upward. 2 

From the decision thus made no appeal of any 
kind was possible under the law of Louisiana. In 
accordance with this report, the Republican elec 
tors received certificates of election from Governor 
Kellogg, and on the same day, December 6, duly 
cast their votes for Hayes and Wheeler. At the 
same time the Democratic candidates for electors, 
reviving the dispute of i872, 3 secured certificates of 
their election from McEnery, the long - quiescent 
antagonist of Kellogg, and formally voted for Tilden 
and Hendricks. 

1 Laws of Louisiana, 1872, No. 98, 3, 26; also in Senate Exec. 
Docs., 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 2. 

3 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 113, and his authorities. 
3 See above, p. 218. 


Throughout the four weeks of returning - board 
activity in the South the country was in a state of 
feverish excitement, tending steadily to fierce pas 
sion as the remorseless extinction of Democratic 
hopes marked the progress of the count. In an 
eager search for means to stem the current that was 
running so strongly against them, the Democrats 
discovered a promising situation in Oregon. This 
state had been carried by the Republicans by an 
undisputed majority. Of the three electors, one, 
named Watts, was found to be a postmaster, and 
hence disqualified by the United States Constitution 
from appointment as elector. The governor of the 
state, L. F. Grover, was a Democrat. With the 
advice and support of the Democratic national com 
mittee, he took the ground that because Watts was 
ineligible the votes cast for him were void, and 
hence the leading Tilden candidate, Cronin by name, 
was elected. Accordingly, Grover recognized Cronin 
and the two eligible Republicans as the electors duly 
chosen by the state. The Republicans naturally 
refused to have anything to do with Cronin, and 
the meeting and voting of the electoral college were 
attended by proceedings l of a rather farcical char 
acter, despite the serious issue depending on them. 
The outcome was two sets of electoral returns from 
Oregon, one giving three votes to Hayes and Wheeler, 
and the other giving two votes to Hayes and Wheeler 

1 Described fully in Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, chap, 
ix.; and in Senate Reports, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 678. 

1876] DISPUTED COUNT 319, 

and one to Tilden and Hendricks; but the latter 
return alone had that gubernatorial certification on 
which so much stress had been laid by the Republi 
cans in connection with the southern states. 

From the proceedings in South Carolina, Florida, 
Louisiana, and Oregon, it resulted that the voting 
of the electors on December 6 was no more con 
clusive as to who was to be president than the gen 
eral voting of citizens on November 7. The double 
returns from these four states prolonged the un 
certainty, and the excitement attending it, to the 
time when the electoral votes should be officially 

Congress assembled on December 4, two days 
before the electoral colleges voted. The situation 
that confronted the legislators was hardly less dan 
gerous and disheartening than that which in 1860 
preceded the outbreak of the Civil War. The Demo 
cratic half of the population believed that Tilden 
had been elected president, and many were pro 
fessing a determination to place him in the White 
House by force, if necessary; the Republican half 
were no less convinced and resolute in their claims 
for Hayes. 1 Moderate men on both sides would 
readily have demanded and secured the settlement 
of the controversy in accordance with law; but the 
crowning discouragement of this crisis was that no 
law existed that could be appealed to, and none 

1 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 168; Rhodes, United States, 
VII., 241- 

VOL. XXII. 21 


could be enacted save through the improbable, if not 
impossible, concurrence of a Democratic House and 
a Republican Senate. 

From the hands of corrupt and lawless state 
returning boards and pettifogging governors the 
power to count the votes that would make the 
president passed on December 6 to some Federal 
authority, but what that authority was nobody 
could conclusively say. History and precedent, 
searched and scrutinized with tireless zeal during 
the critical weeks since November 7, furnished no 
enlightening comment on the pitifully non-com 
mittal words of the Constitution: "The president 
of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate 
and House of Representatives, open all the certifi 
cates, and the votes shall then be counted." l Count 
ed by whom ? By the president of the Senate, said 
many Republicans, with Senator Morton and Mr. 
Hayes. 2 By the two houses in joint convention, 
.said some good Democrats. 3 By the two houses 
acting separately, said many of both parties. But 
the practical point at issue was, who should deter 
mine which, if any, of two or more returns from 
South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Oregon em- 

1 A compilation of all previous proceedings and debates touch 
ing the counting of the electoral votes was prepared by a House 
^committee and printed in House Misc. Docs., 44 Cong., 2 Sess., 
No. 13. 

8 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 185, 210, 211, and his 

3 Foulke, Morton, II., 441; Atlantic Monthly, October, 1893, 

1876] DISPUTED COUNT 32 r 

bodied the true vote of those states respectively. 
In the existing condition of partisan feeling, to 
leave the decision to the president of the Senate, 
a Republican, would insure in advance the accept 
ance of a Republican return in each case, and the 
election of Hayes; to leave it to a joint convention 
of the two houses, where the majority would be 
Democratic, would insure in advance the election 
of Tilden ; to vest it in the two houses acting sepa 
rately would merely produce a deadlock. Irrespec 
tive of their theoretical strength, none of these views 
could meet the situation. 

But beyond the question as to who should exer 
cise the power to count loomed another equally 
difficult and threatening. Under what limitations, 
if any, must the power be exercised? Must the 
counting authority accept as the true vote of a 
state that given by electors regularly certified to 
be such by the governor or other legally designated 
officer, or might investigation be made to test the 
correctness of the certificate? If the latter, how 
far might the investigation be carried? Might the 
report of the state canvassing board as to the vote 
for electors be attacked on the ground of illegality, 
error, or fraud in the board s procedure ? This was 
a crucial question. The case of the Democrats in 
Florida and Louisiana rested largely on their claim 
that the majority for Tilden had been overthrown 
by grossly illegal and fraudulent action of the re 
turning boards, and that no remedy for such wrongs 


existed unless the Federal authority could go be 
hind the returns and correct them. 

These vexatious questions, with many others, de 
pendent and collateral, formed the core of violent 
debate in both houses of Congress from its opening. 
Prompt action must be had to escape anarchy at 
the expiration of Grant s term on March 4, 1877. 
For, quite in keeping with the other features of this 
perplexing time, the same irreconcilable difference 
of opinion that prevailed as to how the election 
should be completed prevailed as to what should 
be done if it should not be completed. Should the 
president of the Senate assume the executive power ? 
Or should President Grant remain in control until 
his successor should be found? Either course, and 
others that were suggested, would inevitably pro 
voke resistance and civil war. 



THE critical condition of affairs when Congress 
met caused moderate and conservative men of 
both parties to exert all possible pressure in favor 
of some practical compromise to get the votes count 
ed. President Grant contributed much to the same 
end, 1 and displayed at this point, as throughout the 
electoral crisis, a breadth and firmness of judgment 
that contrasted most favorably with his course at 
other periods of his administrative career. As a 
result of the strong influences working for peace, 
each house appointed, just before Christmas, 1876, 
a committee of seven to deal with the matter, and 
the two committees were instructed to act in con 
junction. After weeks of intense consideration and 
debate 2 they agreed upon a bill, which was reported 
to the houses January 18, i877. 3 

This measure, which was by its own terms to 

1 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 191; McClure s Mag., May, 
1904, p. 81. 

2 Northrup, secretary of the House committee, in the Century, 
October, 1901, p. 923. See also Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Elec 
tion, 196 et seq.; Rhodes, United States, VII., 248. 

3 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., 713, 731. 


apply only to the pending election, provided in 
minute detail for every step in the counting of the 
electoral votes. 1 The essential features were these: 
whenever objection should be made to the vote of 
a state from which but one return had been received, 
the vote should be counted unless the two houses, 
acting separately, concurred in rejecting it; when 
question should arise as to which, if any, of two 
or more returns from the same state was the valid 
one, the matter should be referred to a special com 
mission, provided for in the bill, and the decision 
of this tribunal should be conclusive unless dis 
approved by both houses. This commission was to 
consist of five senators, five representatives, four 
associate justices of the Supreme Court designated 
in the bill, and a fifth associate justice to be chosen 
by his four colleagues. Finally, the vexed and vital 
question as to going behind the returns to ascertain 
who were the legal electors was left to the com 
mission itself for decision, with elaborate care in 
the wording of the bill to avoid any suggestion as 
to what the decision should be. In the commission 
were vested "the same powers, if any, now pos 
sessed [for the determining of the electoral vote] 
by the two houses, acting separately or together"; 
and it was authorized to take into view "such 
petition, depositions and other papers, if any, as 

1 U. S. Statutes at Large, XIX., 227; the act is printed also in 
Appleton s Annual Cyclop., 1877, p. 137; and in Haworth, Hayes- 
Tilden Election, 345. 


shall, by the constitution and now existing law,, 
be competent and pertinent in such consideration." 

The bill, though it gave in its wording no sug 
gestion of party considerations, was in fact based 
entirely upon them. Everybody knew that the 
commission was to consist of seven Democrats,, 
seven Republicans, and one justice whose politics; 
was "independent." The House would appoint 
three Democrats and two Republicans, the Senate 
would precisely reverse these figures ; the four desig 
nated justices had been selected solely with refer 
ence to their known political sympathies two Re^ 
publican (Miller and Strong), two Democratic (Clif 
ford and Field) ; and the independent, whose choice 
was one of the fixed understandings, was to be David 
Davis, of Illinois. Whether Justice Davis was more 
likely to lean to one side or the other was most 
minutely canvassed, and the Democrats derived, on 
the whole, rather the greater satisfaction from the 

On January 25 the bill passed the Senate by 47 
to 17. The Democrats gave 26 ayes and but one no. 
Conspicuous among the opposing Republicans were 
John Sherman, Elaine, and the truculent Morton.. 
Conkling, at the special request of the president,, 
strongly supported the bill. 1 On the very day of 
this vote an unexpected event in Illinois trans 
formed the whole face of affairs in Washington. 

1 Childs, Recollections of Grant, 13 ; A. R. Conkling, Roscoe 
Conkling, 520. 


Justice David Davis was elected by the legislature 
to the Senate of the United States to succeed John 
A. Logan. It was at once realized that Davis, 
having been elected by Democratic votes, would 
probably decline to accept the place on the elec 
toral commission. This was a great blow to the 
Democrats, 1 for the justices from whom the place 
must now be filled were all pronounced Republicans. 
Probably the Democrats were never fully conscious 
how much their support of the bill was influenced 
by the expectation of Da vis s appointment till they 
experienced the shock of his withdrawal. But it 
was too late to abandon the bill, and on January 26 
it passed the House by 191 to 86, the Democrats 
furnishing 160 ayes, and the Republicans 69 noes. 2 
Strong men of the party of Hayes were in this op 
position Garfield, Kasson, of Iowa, and Frye and 
Hale, of Maine, among them. January 29 the bill 
became law by the ready signature of the president, 
and on the first day of February the two houses 
came together to count the electoral votes. 

The adoption of a plan to insure a peaceful count 
had been promoted by the quiet but powerful in 
fluence of certain conditions in the South. Of the 
three southern states which were disputed as to 
the presidential vote, Florida fell, as we have seen, 3 

1 Cf. Century, October, 1901, p. 933. 

1 Elaine, Twenty Years of Cong., II., 588 . For slightly dif 
ferent figures, see Stanwood, Hist, of the Presidency, 387. 
3 See above, p. 314. 


completely and peacefully under Democratic con 
trol so far as the state government was concerned. 
South Carolina and Louisiana, on the other hand, 
became the scenes of bitter controversies, tending 
to bloodshed. In South Carolina a violent dispute 
as to the control of the lower house of the legis 
lature resulted in the organization of two houses, 
one consisting of conservatives and the other of 
radicals. These, in conjunction with the senators 
of their respective parties, both canvassed the vote 
for governor, and one declared Hampton elected, 
the other Chamberlain. 1 Both governors were in 
December, 1876, duly inaugurated by their partisans. 
Chamberlain occupied the state-house, protected by 
Federal troops; Hampton took quarters elsewhere 
in Columbia, but received the support and encour 
agement of practically the whole white population 
of the state. 

In Louisiana a similar situation arose. On Jan 
uary 8, 1877, S. B. Packard was inaugurated as 
governor by the radicals, F. T. Nicholls by the 
conservatives, and each was recognized by a legis 
lature consisting of his own partisans. 2 Packard and 
his government were practically confined, however, 
in the exercise of authority to the state-house, where 
Federal troops protected them. The conservatives 
in Louisiana, as in South Carolina, let it be clearly 
understood that they would insure reversion to 

1 Reynolds, Reconstruction in S. C., 426. 

*Appleton s Annual Cyclop. , 1876, p. 493; 1877, p. 458. 


Federal military government rather than submit to 
a continuance of radical rule. 1 

Throughout the events connected with the set 
ting up of dual governments, both Chamberlain and 
Packard besieged Grant with entreaties for positive 
recognition, and for the active employment of the 
troops against the conservatives. 2 The president, 
however, steadfastly refused to interfere ; he ordered 
the commanders to prevent any violence, but de 
clared that Congress must determine which was the 
legal state government. Accordingly, the rival or 
ganizations settled into relative quiet, pending the 
settlement of the problem which absorbed all the 
attention of the authorities at Washington. 

Among the southern Democratic congressmen the 
cause of Nicholls and Hampton was hardly second 
in interest to that of Tilden. Even before Congress 
assembled, sharp-witted Louisianians began fishing 
in the troubled waters of the presidential dispute 
for some advantage to Nicholls. It was ascertained 
that Hayes might sustain the whites in case he be 
came president. 3 Lamar and the other influential 
southerners in Congress were by this possibility in 
spired with a hope of saving something, even if they 
lost the national government. This hope, added to 
the general and unconcealed disinclination of the 

1 Cf . House Misc. Does., 45 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 31, p. 959; 
Reynolds, Reconstruction in S. C., 425. 

2 McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1878, pp. 59, 77. 

3 Testimony of Roberts, House Misc. Docs., 45 Cong., 3 Sess., 
No. 31, p. 875. 


southern leaders for any more civil war, 1 caused 
them to favor the bill for the electoral commission. 
Every Democratic senator from the reconstructed 
states voted for the measure, and only eight of the 
fifty-eight Democratic representatives from those 
states voted against it. On the other hand, every 
one of the carpet-bagger senators was included 
among the Republicans who opposed the bill. 2 

The electoral commission organized for its work 
January 31, with the following members: Senators 
Edmunds, Morton, and Frelinghuysen (Republi 
cans) ; Thurman and Bayard (Democrats) ; Repre 
sentatives Payne, Hunton, and Abbott (Demo 
crats) ; Garfield and Hoar (Republicans). For the 
fifth justice, the four designated in the bill 3 chose, 
as had been anticipated, Joseph P. Bradley, who, 
though recently appointed by Grant as a Republi 
can, had won much applause from Democrats, es 
pecially at the South, by his opinions against the 
constitutionality of the enforcement act in the case 
arising out of the affair at Coif ax, Louisiana. 4 
Justice Clifford, on the ground of his seniority, was 
made president of the commission. 

The counting of the votes began February i, in 
the manner prescribed by the Constitution. The 
president of the Senate, Ferry, of Michigan, in the 

1 Cf . Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 176, 216. 
See McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1878, p. 10, for the 
classified votes. 

8 See above, p. 325. 4 See above, pp. 219 and 263. 


presence of the two houses, opened the certified lists 
of votes from the states, taken in alphabetical order, 
and, if there was no objection from any member of 
either house, the votes were tabulated by duly ap 
pointed tellers. When Florida was reached, the 
three lists which had been sent from that state 1 
were opened by President Ferry. Objection was 
promptly made to each of them, and under the re 
cent act they were all referred to the electoral 
commission for its decision. Of the three returns, 
only that of the Hayes electors conformed literally 
to the law of the United States as to the cast 
ing and certification of electoral votes. One Tilden 
return, on the other hand, was fortified not only 
by a certificate of the governor, but also by an act 
of the legislature and a judgment of the state su 
preme court, declaring that the Tilden electors were 
the lawfully chosen representatives of the state. 2 
The only weakness in this overwhelming official 
testimony to the validity of the Tilden votes was 
that all of it bore dates subsequent to December 
6, 1876, the day on which, by Federal law, the 
electors cast their votes and ended their official life. 
An even more vital defect in the Hayes return was 
alleged by the Democrats namely, that it was 
the outcome of illegality and fraud. To prove 
this, however, it was necessary to take evidence 

1 See above, p. 314. 

3 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., "Electoral Commission/ 1 


beyond that furnished by the returns themselves. 
Hence arose the initial question which the com 
mission must decide whether it would "go behind 
the returns." On this question came the first great 
struggle between the distinguished counsel who were 
permitted to represent the respective causes, includ 
ing Charles O Conor and Jeremiah S. Black on the 
Tilden side, and William M. Evarts and Stanley 
Matthews for Hayes. 

The Democrats offered to prove, by certain rec 
ords of the votes cast and of the canvass of them, 
that the Florida returning board had, in reporting 
a majority for the Hayes electors, acted in con 
travention of the state law; and to prove further 
that one of the Hayes electors, Humphreys by 
name, was ineligible by virtue of holding a Federal 
office. 1 This offer of evidence was opposed by the 
Republican counsel on the ground that Federal 
jurisdiction in presidential elections did not ex 
tend to any questions about the appointment of 
electors: the state was directed by the Constitution 
to appoint electors, and the governor s certificate 
that such appointment had been made in conform 
ity to the state law was conclusive upon the two 
houses of Congress when counting the votes. To 
this plain deduction from the words of the Consti 
tution was added the practical consideration that, 
if the returning board s canvass could be attacked, 
the canvass of the county and precinct authorities 

1 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., "Electoral Commission," 18. 


must also be open to investigation, and so on down 
to the actual votes of individual citizens. To go 
into all those questions as a general board of review 
for state elections would be to postpone indefinite 
ly the ascertainment of any result, and would in 
sure the anarchy which the commission was created 
to escape. To these arguments the Democratic 
counsel made cogent reply that the constitutional 
power to count votes must necessarily involve the 
power to distinguish, by whatever means were 
necessary, between genuine votes and counterfeit 
presentments thereof, and that the inconvenience 
of thorough investigation to establish right and 
justice would be no greater than that of abstention 
with the result of sanctifying fraud. 

This question of taking evidence was the crux 
of the whole count; and the secret sessions of the 
commission while reaching a decision were long and 
strenuous. From noon to eight in the evening of 
one day, and from ten to three the next, the con 
sultation lasted; and then, February 7, the formal 
decision was made against receiving evidence out 
side of the papers submitted to the two houses 
with the certificates of the electoral votes, except 
in respect to the eligibility of Humphreys. 1 The 
vote on both phases of the decision stood eight to 
seven, Commissioner Bradley going with the other 
Republicans on the main issue, but with the Demo- 

l Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., "Electoral Commission," 


crats in respect to Humphreys. The evidence taken 
quickly showed that this elector had given up his 
Federal office before November 7, I876. 1 Accord 
ingly, on February 9, after additional arguments on 
the general question, the commission voted by eight 
to seven that the Hayes return embodied the true 
vote of Florida, and so reported to the two houses. 
Objection being made to this decision, the houses 
separated, and after limited debate the Senate sus 
tained and the House of Representatives rejected 
the decision; under the act of January 29, the de 
cision therefore was binding, and accordingly the 
four votes of Florida went to Hayes and Wheeler, 

This result of the first great contest foreshadowed 
pretty distinctly the triumph of the Republicans. 
The votes of the commission dispelled the idyllic 
dreams of non-partisan judgments by its members. 
On the nice and subtle points of law which were so 
skilfully presented by the counsel, such legal ex 
perts as Thurman and Edmunds, Abbott and Hoar, 
Miller and Field, could not in every instance have 
taken opposite sides if the party issue had not been 
controlling. Justice Bradley alone, on a few votes, 
separated from his party associates, but his action 
was confined to subsidiary matters, and seemed a 
rather pathetic effort to satisfy in some slight meas 
ure the demands for exceptional independence which 
were imposed by the circumstances of his appoint- 

1 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess.. " Electoral Commission," 38. 


On February 12 Louisiana was reached in the 
progress of the count, and was referred to the com 
mission. It was known at this date that the meth 
ods through which the Tilden majority had been 
overcome by the returning board included those 
which just two years before had been unsparingly 
condemned by a House committee of which Wheeler, 
the candidate for vice-president, and Hoar, of the 
electoral commission, were members. 1 It was not 
known, save to a few Louisiana radicals, that one 
of the very papers before the commission, pur 
porting to be a Hayes certificate, bore forged sig 
natures. 2 But though this particular piece of crim 
inality was not detected, the Democrats had good 
grounds for hope that the frauds and illegality with 
which the Republican votes were so deeply tainted 
would insure their rejection, even if the manifest 
irregularity of the Tilden return barred its accept 
ance. And the rejection of a single return for Hayes 
would elect Tilden. 

In the Louisiana case the arguments of counsel 
were of a perceptibly more vehement character, 
with more frequent allusion to the political back 
ground of the issues. Ex-Senators Carpenter and 
Trumbull presented especially brilliant and striking 
arguments against the Hayes returns. 3 But Evarts; 

1 See above, p. 275. 

2 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 115, and his authorities. 

3 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., "Electoral Commission, 1 
76, 89. 


and his associates, holding stoutly to the general 
theory which had triumphed in the Florida case, 
insisted that the formal regularity of the Hayes 
vote was conclusive upon the commission. 

The Democratic counsel offered to prove a great 
mass of iniquity in the Louisiana canvass and re 
turns, and tendered evidence to show that a number 
of the Republican electors were ineligible under the 
state law; that the returning board was uncon 
stitutional; that it had no jurisdiction; that it had 
never canvassed the votes according to law. All 
these offers were refused by eight to seven; and in 
the steady march of the rejection the commission 
qualified its action in the Florida case by refusing 
to take testimony even as to the ineligibility of 
electors when appointed. 1 Against the rigid barrier 
thus opposed to it, the Democratic case went to 
pieces, and on February 16 the commission reported 
to the houses by the usual majority that the eight 
votes of Louisiana belonged to Hayes and Wheeler. 

This decision practically extinguished the last 
hope of the Democrats; for every point on which 
they depended in the remaining contests was prac 
tically settled by anticipation against them. Indig 
nation and wrath began therefore to be generally 
manifested in all Democratic circles. Unmeasured 
denunciation of the commission filled the press and 
the debates of the houses at Washington. The law- 

1 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., "Electoral Commission," 80 
et seq., 117. 

VOL. XXII. 22 


lessness and fraud of the returning board were at 
tached by imputation to the majority of the com 
mission, Justice Bradley, naturally though unjustly, 
bearing the brunt of the assaults. Republican edi 
tors and speakers were not slothful or merciful in 
obvious retort, and the war of debate and vitu 
peration raged as fiercely as before the act estab 
lishing the commission. 

More serious, however, than the ebullitions of 
wordy resentment was the disquieting appearance 
of a purpose among some of the Democrats in the 
House to thwart the whole purpose of the act of 
January 29, and so to prolong the process of the 
count that no result should be reached by March 4. 
The act contained many provisions designed to in 
sure despatch in all the proceedings and to prevent 
obstructive action by either house; but the time 
*ras now getting very short, and it seemed possible 
that resolute filibustering, especially if in the least 
favored by the speaker, might defeat the count. 

The actual counting of the Louisiana votes was 
delayed by action of the House till February 20. 
On that day Oregon was reached, and the two re 
turns from that state 1 went to the commission. 
The chief issue here was as to the effect of choosing 
an ineligible person as elector. Democratic counsel 
made the best of a case which was already hopeless, 2 

1 See above, p. 318. 

1 See especially the argument of Merrick, Cong Record, 44 
Cong., a Sess., * Electoral Commission," 175. 


and the expected decision by the familiar vote was 
reached on February 23. The filibustering now 
became aggressive and open in the House, and 
various dilatory motions were supported by a 
majority of the Democrats. Only the unflinching 
firmness of Speaker Randall in repressing his party 
colleagues, and the union of a minority of the 
Democrats with the Republicans in sustaining him, 1 
secured the due progress of the main business. 

South Carolina, referred to the commission on 
February 26, was made the subject of political 
oratory and invective rather than of legal argu 
ment by Democratic counsel, 2 and was not argued 
at all by the Republicans. It was assigned to 
Hayes by the tribunal on the 28th, and was dis 
posed of by the two houses on the same evening. 
A filibustering device in connection with the re 
turn from Vermont, 3 together with more or less per 
functory objections to votes from Virginia and Wis 
consin, gave occasion for proceedings of the most 
boisterous and disorderly character in the House, 
lasting all through March i. 4 Speaker Randall threw 
precedent to the winds in meeting the devices of 
the obstructionists; but he was sustained by a ma- 

1 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., 2006 et seq. For classified 
votes, see McPherson. Handbook of Politics t 1878, p. 26. 

a Especially Black, Electoral Commission, 190. 

8 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., 2021; Haworth, Hayes 
Tilden Election, 274. 

4 See especially Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., 2032-2035 
et seq. 


jority in his most arbitrary rulings, and as a result 
the end of the count was reached by an all - night 
session. At ten minutes past four in the morning 
of March 2 the president of the Senate announced 
to the two houses the election of Hayes and Wheeler 
by the majority of one vote, precisely as had been 
claimed for them on the day after the election of 
November 7.* 

It was Friday morning when the election of a new 
president was thus finally effected. At noon on 
the succeeding Sunday Grant s term would expire. 
The margin was narrow, but it was sufficient. In 
fact, the danger of an interregnum was never so 
great as it at times appeared to be. Of the hundred 
and more filibustering Democrats who delayed the 
end, not more than forty were really bent on pre 
venting an election. These could not have suc 
ceeded, but they caused great uneasiness through 
the temporary support given to them by moderate 
colleagues. Among these latter were a group of 
southerners whose acts were part of a shrewd polit 
ical manoeuvre. 

When by the award of Louisiana to Hayes his 
election was made practically certain, some of the 
southern Democrats resolved to insure at all haz 
ards the recognition of Nicholls and Hampton by 
the new administration. Support to the filibusters 
was used to alarm the friends of Hayes, who were 
then notified that this support would be withdrawn 

1 Cong. Record, 44 Cong., 2 Sess., 2068; cf. above, p. 310. 


if assurances could be given that he would, when 
president, abandon the radicals in Louisiana and 
South Carolina. A series of conferences took place, 
participated in by a number of southerners, includ 
ing Senator Gordon, of Georgia, and Representatives 
Ellis and Levy, of Louisiana, and Watterson, of 
Kentucky, on the one side, and prominent friends 
of Hayes, including Senator John Sherman and 
Representatives Foster and Garfield on the other. 
The outcome was a definite agreement that the 
Democrats should use their influence to complete 
the count, and in the South should refrain from vio 
lence, while the Republicans should see to it that 
the new administration, and if possible Grant him 
self before his term expired, should withdraw the 
troops from the state -houses at New Orleans and 
Columbia. 1 

This agreement was formulated chiefly at a con 
ference in the rooms of Mr. Evarts, at Wormley s 
Hotel, on February 26. While Mr. Hayes was not 
a party to it, it was based on evidence satisfactory 
to the southerners that his policy was to be what his 
friends undertook to secure. He had in fact re 
solved, independently of any bargain, to withdraw 
the troops, 2 and his friends knew it, though they 
could not commit him by any explicit pledge. The 

1 Testimony of Burke and Roberts, in House Misc. Does., 45 
Cong., 3 Sess., No. 31, pp. 884, 964; Haworth, Hayes-Tilden 
Election, 268 et seq. 

2 Haworth, Hayes-Tilden Election, 270 n. 


knell of the radical regime was officially sounded, 
however, by Grant. On March i Packard was 
notified of the president s belief that public opinion 
would no longer support the maintenance of state 
governments by use of the military, and of his pur 
pose not to recognize either claimant for the gov 
ernorship. 1 This was for the white people of Louis 
iana a welcome peccavi from the man who had 
doggedly stood behind Kellogg for such dreary 
years. Despite Grant s pronouncement, however, 
no formal order was issued withdrawing the troops 
from the state - houses, and both Packard and 
Chamberlain still held their positions when he 
passed his authority over to his successor. Mr. 
Hayes reached Washington on March 2, 1877, and 
on the evening of the following day took the oath 
of office in private at the White House as the guest 
of Grant. Thus was obviated a last faint possibility 
of trouble and interregnum, which was due to the 
fact that the 4th fell on Sunday. On March 5 
the ceremony of inauguration took place, and the 
era of reconstruction as measured by administra 
tions was ended. 

The relief of the general public when the crisis was 
finally passed was deep and devout. Though the 
passion of fervid partisans found much fuel in some 
features of the electoral commission s work, the 
average citizen felt that any means of escape was 
better than a plunge into the pit of anarchy on the 
1 McPherson, Handbook of Politics, 1878, p. 67. 


brink of which the nation had stood since November. 
To the reflecting spirit of the North the whole dispute 
confirmed the conviction, which had been created 
by the panic of 1873 and the maladministration and 
corruption later revealed, that other problems than 
those of the South were in most pressing need of 
solution. Though the Wormley agreement was not 
generally known when Hayes was inaugurated, the 
substance of it was in the thoughts of many men. 
Generalized, this famous bargain meant: Let the 
reforming Republicans direct the national govern 
ment and the southern whites may rule the negroes. 
Such were the terms on which the new administra 
tion took up its task. They precisely and con 
sciously reversed the principles of reconstruction as 
followed tinder Grant, and hence they ended an 
era. Grant in 1868 had cried peace, but in his time, 
with the radicals and carpet-baggers in the saddle, 
there was no peace; with Hayes peace came. 



HE best general guide to the sources for the period is 
the foot-note references of James Ford Rhodes, His 
tory of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 
(7 vols., 1893-1906), V.-VII. J. N. Lamed, Literature of 
American History (1902), contains an annotated list of 
works dealing with the period; good but incomplete. W. 
L. Fleming gives a very useful list in New York State 
Education Department, Syllabus No. g8, The Reconstruc 
tion of the Seceded States (1905). References appended to 
articles in J. J. Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science (3 vols., 
1881-1884), are of value for the constitutional issues of 
reconstruction, and are considerably extended in the re 
print of those articles edited by J. A. Woodburn, as Ameri 
can Political History (2 vols., 1905), II. The Cambridge 
Modern History, VII., " The United States " (1903), 818-822, 
has a very useful list, but without evaluation of the works. 


The only comprehensive narrative covering the years of 
reconstruction in a scientific spirit is James Ford Rhodes, 
History of the United States front the Compromise of 1850 
(7 vols., 1893-1906), V.-VII. Woodrow Wilson, History 
of the American People (5 vols., 1902), includes a brief but 
just and well-proportioned sketch of the period in vol. V. 
The years after 1870 are very well treated by E. Benjamin 
Andrews, The United States in Our Own Time (1903). 

1877] AUTHORITIES 343 

John W. Burgess, Reconstruction and the Constitution (1902), 
deals incisively with the legal and political aspects of the 
period. William A. Dunning, Essays on the Civil War and 
Reconstruction (rev. ed., 1904), analyzes some of the prin 
cipal constitutional and administrative developments in 
the rehabilitation of the South. James G. Elaine, Twenty 
Years of Congress (2 vols., 1884-1886), II., though strongly 
partisan and often inaccurate, is useful and very suggestive 
for the congressional politics of the years 1865-1870, but 
has much less value for the later years. S. S. Cox, Three 
Decades of Federal Legislation (1885), covering much the 
same ground as Elaine, but from the opposite point of 
view, is no less partisan, and is even more inaccurate in 
details. Most leading topics of political and economic im 
portance during the period are well treated in J. J. Lalor, 
Cyclopedia of Political Science (3 vols., 1881-1884); these 
articles, chiefly by the late Alexander Johnston, have been 
reprinted, under the editorship of J. A. Woodburn, as 
American Political History (2 vols., 1905). For a particular 
account of the negroes during reconstruction, recourse may 
be had to G. W. Williams, History of the Negro Race in 
America (2 vols., 1883), by a member of the race. 


Only a few of the important manuscript materials for 
this period have been made accessible to students. The 
private correspondence of Charles Sumner is in the Library 
of Harvard University. The Library of Congress possesses 
four sets of private papers which are of value for this 
period: (i) <the papers of Andrew Johnson, especially the 
full files of private letters to Johnson very useful for the 
politics of the most critical time of the reconstruction; 

(2) papers of Thaddeus Stevens, scanty and unimportant; 

(3) the Lyman Trumbull papers, consisting of letters re 
ceived, but lacking all that related to impeachment; 

(4) the diaries and correspondence of Salmon P. Chase, 
collected by Albert Bushnell Hart for his life of Chase, and 


subsequently transferred to the library; the set includes 
about twelve thousand letters to Chase. 


For constitutional and political matters a great mass of 
material is contained in Edward McPherson, Political 
Manual, annual for the years 1866-1870, and united, with 
revision and additions, into a single volume entitled Polit 
ical History of the United States during the Period of Re 
construction (2d ed., 1875). After 1870 the same plan is 
followed in Edward McPherson, Handbook of Politics for 
1872, 1874, 1876, 1878, each volume covering the two 
years preceding July 15 of the year for which it is named. 
McPherson was clerk of the House of Representatives from 
the thirty-eighth to the forty-third Congress, inclusive, and 
had unequalled facilities for the work of compiling the man 
uals. They are carefully and accurately prepared, and make 
readily accessible much information (such, for example, as 
the party divisions on all important votes in the House) 
that could otherwise be procured, if at all, only with great 
labor. More comprehensive in scope is W. L. Fleming 
Documentary History of Reconstruction (2 vols., 1906-1907), 
which includes the social and economic, as well as the polit 
ical, aspects of southern reorganization, and presents docu 
ments from a wide range of unofficial as well as official 
sources; its arrangement is primarily topical, and the editor 
introduces each chapter with a short historical comment 
and with a list of references. The work is very valuable 
for this period. William MacDonald, Select Statutes, 1861- 
1898 (1903), contains in convenient form, with useful his 
torical comment, the principal statutes, proclamations, and 
other official documents of the period of reconstruction, 
accurately reproduced. A considerable number of ex 
cerpts from public and private papers throwing light on 
the time are given in Albert Bushnell Hart, American 
History Told by Contemporaries (4 vols., 1897-1901), IV. 
The Annual Cyclopedia, mentioned below, contains each 

1877] AUTHORITIES 345 

year many important state papers. Election returns and 
political miscellany are to be found in the annual Tribune 
Almanac and World Almanac; and the party platforms 
and popular and electoral votes of the quadrennial presi 
dential contests are reprinted in Edward Stanwood, A His 
tory of the Presidency (1898), and A. K. McClure, Our 
Presidents and How We Make Them (rev. ed., 1905). 


Indispensable material for the right understanding of 
every phase of national history during this period is con 
tained in the official publications of the government. The 
original text of all legislation is to be found in the United 
States Statutes at Large, XIV. to XIX., and a systematic 
abridgment of it in the Revised Statutes of the United States 
(2d ed., 1878). 

The proceedings and debates in Congress are fully re 
corded in the Congressional Globe for the thirty-ninth to 
the forty-second Congress inclusive (1865-1873), and the 
Congressional Record for the forty-third and forty-fourth 
Congresses (1873-1877). Supplementary to these and even 
more important are the collections of documents printed 
for each house of each Congress. These include Executive 
Documents, containing information formally communicated 
to the houses by the president and heads of the executive 
departments ; Reports of Committees, submitted to each house 
in due course of business; and Miscellaneous Documents, 
covering a vast range of matters, but in this period especial 
ly important for the testimony taken by the numerous in 
vestigating committees on affairs in the South and on the 
management of the administration. In some cases this 
testimony is to be found with the reports of the committees, 
but in most instances the two are in distinct documents. 

The messages, proclamations, and executive orders of 
Presidents Johnson and Grant are included in the compen 
dious but ill-arranged and ill-indexed compilation by James 
D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 


(10 vols., 1898), VI. and VII., published as 
House Miscellaneous Documents, 53 Congress, 2 session, 
No. 210. 

The decisions and opinions of the Supreme Court of the 
United States during this period are contained in United 
States Reports, vols. LXX. to XCIV. inclusive, or, under 
the old method of citation by the name of the reporter, 
vols. 3 to 29 of Wallace, and i to 4 of Otto. 

Selections from the diplomatic correspondence are print 
ed in the annual volumes transmitted to Congress as Exec 
utive Documents, under the title Foreign Relations of the 
United States. All treaties may be found in the stout 
volume compiled by John H. Haswell, Treaties and Con 
ventions . . . between the United States and other Powers 
since July 4, 1776 (1889), and printed as Senate Executive 
Documents, 48 Congress, 2 session, No. 47. 


The most useful systematic repository of events as they 
appeared to contemporaries is the American (after 1875, 
Appleton s} Annual Cyclopedia (1861-1902). With allow 
ance for inevitable errors in the newspaper reports on 
which it is largely based, and for a perceptible conserva 
tism in the editor, this compilation constitutes an invalu 
able source for the general history of the period. All the 
leading monthly magazines have numerous articles throw 
ing light on reconstruction and the prominent features of 
national life. These articles defy enumeration here, but 
may be readily traced through Poole s Index to Periodi 
cal Literature (1882), with supplementary volumes covering 
later years. Some especially good matter is to be found 
in the Galaxy, a magazine that ran from 1866 to 1878, and 
was then merged in the Atlantic Monthly. 

Of the weeklies, the Nation and Harper s Weekly are es 
pecially important. The Nation first appeared in 1865, 
and attained much influence before the end of its first 
decade. Its comments on current political and social 

1877] AUTHORITIES 347 

events are a suggestive guide to the contemporary opin 
ion of the more cultivated classes. By the end of our period 
the political and social judgments of the Nation had come 
to be distinctively those of its talented owner and editor, 
Edwin L. Godkin, whose keen criticism and incisive satire 
made him a power, but not always to the end he had most 
at heart. Harper s Weekly, edited by George William Curtis, 
gained its greatest influence and distinction through the 
political cartoons of Thomas Nast, whose pictures, begin 
ning with episodes of Johnson s presidency and reaching a 
culmination of effectiveness in connection with the Tweed 
ring and the campaign of 1872, present an invaluable 
record of the feelings and the taste of the time. The Inde 
pendent, edited up to 1870 by Theodore Tilton, and the 
Christian Union, edited after 1870 by Henry Ward Beecher, 
represent the liberal religious press of the period. Their 
moral and political doctrine inspired and reflected the spirit 
of a most upright and conscientious part of the population. 
After the revelations made in connection with the Beecher- 
Tilton scandal in 1874 the influence of these weeklies sensi 
bly declined. 

A careful and extensive reading of the daily newspapers 
is essential to any proper understanding of our period. 
For the conditions in the South during reconstruction the 
correspondents of the northern papers, in formal and 
elaborate letters that have since in great measure disap 
peared from the columns of dailies, presented very important 
material. Without attempting a list of the leading dailies, 
certain facts concerning the great metropolitan organs may 
be mentioned as useful in judging their news and editorial 
views. The New York Times, edited by Henry J. Ray 
mond, espoused Johnson s side in the struggle with the 
radicals in Congress, and thus lost ground to the Tribune, 
edited by Horace Greeley. When Greeley ran for presi 
dent in 1872, the Times, now controlled by George Jones, 
came out for Grant, and thus changed places in a party 
sense with the Tribune. Both papers were regularly for 
Hayes in 1876, and renewed their old rivalry on about 


equal terms for journalistic leadership of the Republicans, 
Whitelaw Reid having in the mean time succeeded Greeley 
at the head of the Tribune. Of great significance was the 
growth into national influence of the New York Sun, under 
the editorship of Charles A. Dana, who assumed control 
in 1868. The skilful, persistent, and malicious attacks of 
the Sun on President Grant and his administration have 
to be carefully reckoned with in estimating the course of 
events and opinions during the eight years of his service. 


Three collections of importance for our period are Charles 
Sumner, Works (15 vols., 1870-1883), of which the last 
seven volumes belong to the reconstruction time; James 
A. Garfield, Works (2 vols., 1883); and Samuel J. Tilden, 
Writings and Speeches (2 vols., 1885). Some useful matter 
may be found in George William Curtis, Orations and Ad 
dresses (3 vols., 1894); Jeremiah S. Black, Essays and 
Speeches (1885); and Joseph P. Bradley, Miscellaneous 
Writings (1901). Of a different character, but highly use 
ful, is the Sherman Letters (1894), giving extended corre 
spondence between General W. T. Sherman and his brother, 
Senator John Sherman. A few letters of this period to 
Chief- Justice Chase are printed in American Historical 
Association, Report, 1902, vol. II.; and some suggestive 
revelations of Grant s political feelings and opinions may 
be found in General Grant s Letters to a Friend [E. B. Wash- 
burne] (1897), edited by James Grant Wilson. 


The number of this kind of works throwing more or less 
light on our period is large, but the significance of most 
of them is unusually small ; the writers in many cases seem 
to lose interest in their subjects after the thrilling and 
dramatic scenes of the war-time have been passed, and to 
dwell but briefly on the sordid and repulsive features of 
the later years. From northern men of prominence we 

1877] AUTHORITIES 349 

have: Hugh McCulloch, Men and Measures of Half a Cen 
tury (1888); Gideon J. Welles, important article in The 
Galaxy, May, 1872; George S. Boutwell, Reminiscences of 
Sixty Years in Public Affairs (2 vols., 1902) ; John Sherman, 
Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate, and Cabi 
net (2 vols., 1895), very useful, especially in respect to 
financial history; George W. Julian, Political Recollections 
1840-1872 (1884). George F. Hoar, Autobiography of 
Seventy Years (2 vols., 1903); and B. F. Butler, Autobiog 
raphy and Personal Reminiscences (1892), are suggestive 
and entertaining rather than historically trustworthy. 
Some highly useful chapters for this period are contained 
in John M. Schofield, Forty -six Years in the Army (1897); 
Philip H. Sheridan, Personal Memoirs (2 vols., 1888), II.; 
A. K. McClure, Recollections of Half a Century (1902); 
Ben. Perley Poore, Perley s Reminiscences (2 vols., 1886); 
Andrew D. White, Autobiography (2 vols., 1905). From 
southerners the following may be mentioned: Benjamin 
F. Perry, Reminiscence;, with Speeches and Addresses (1883- 
1889); Joseph Le Conte, Autobiography (1903); Mrs. R. 
Pryor, Reminiscences of Peace and War (1904); Mrs. C. 
C. Clay, A Belle of the Fifties (1904); Susan D. Smedes, 
Memorials of a Southern Planter (1900). The last three 
are full of suggestion as to the depth of ruin that came 
upon well-to-do people in the wake of war, but are not in 
all respects to be taken too seriously as historical sources. 


PUBLIC MEN OF THE NORTH. The only life of Andrew 
Johnson covering the years of his presidency is by James 
S. Jones (1901), a poor piece of work by an incompetent 
writer. President Grant has been somewhat better treated, 
though most of his biographers regard his military career 
as all that is worth serious consideration. Adam Badeau, 
Grant in Peace (1887), contributes more than any other 
published work to the authentic knowledge of Grant s 
political personality, but combines it with much that is of 
doubtful authenticity. John Russell Young, Around the 


World with General Grant (2 vols., 1879), incorporates in 
the account of the journey a number of "Conversations" 
in which the ex-president comments at large on the men 
and events of his political career. These records are sug 
gestive, but contain internal evidence that either Grant s 
memory or Young s reporting, or both, were at times very 
faulty. Hamlin Garland, Ulysses S. Grant (1898), an un 
pretentious, well-written work, is probably tke best com 
plete biography thus far at hand; that by W. C. Church, 
a personal friend of Grant, is also good. G. W. Childs, 
Recollections of General Grant (1890), is very slight but rela 
tively important. Concerning men of cabinet rank we 
have Frederic Bancroft, William H. Seward (2 vols., 1900), 
scholarly and of high literary finish, F. W. Seward, Seward 
at Washington (1891), and the relatively unimportant 
biography of Seward by T. K. Lothrop (1896); G. C. Gor- 
ham, Life and Public Services of Edwin M. Stanton (2 vols., 
1899), and, less important, F. A. Flower, Edwin McM as 
ters Stanton (1905). Much about Chief -Justice Salmon P. 
Chase maybe found in biographies of him by J. W. Schuck- 
ers (1874), R. B. Warden (1874), (both were army corre 
spondents), and, in smaller compass but from fuller sources, 
Albert Bushnell Hart (1899). As to the leaders in Congress 
during the period, E. L. Pierce, Memoir and Letters of Charles 
Sumner (4 vols., 26. ed., 1894), is extremely full and ac 
curate on current political history, though strongly prej 
udiced by affection for Sumner; W. D. Foulke, Life and 
Public Service of Oliver P. Morton (2 vols., 1899), lets the 
subject speak chiefly for himself; E. B. Callender, Memoirs 
of Thaddeus Stevens, Commoner (1882), and S. W. McCall, 
Thaddeus Stevens (1899), gi ve a rather inadequate treat 
ment of the great parliamentary leader ; James G. Blaine is 
the subject of a brilliant but untrustworthy Biography by 
Gail Hamilton [Mary Abigail Dodge] (1895), and a smaller 
and less brilliant but more candid volume by Edward Stan- 
wood (Am. Statesmen Series, 1906). Less important than 
the foregoing, but not to be neglected, are A. G. Riddle, 
Life of Benjamin F. Wade (1888); A. R. Conkling, Life and. 

1877] AUTHORITIES 351 

Letters of Roscoe Conkling (1889) ; Detroit Post and Tribune, 
Life of Zachariah Chandler (1880); C. E. Hamlin, Life and 
Times of Hannibal Hamlin (1889); W. Salter, J. W. Grimes 
(1876); O. J. Hollister, Life of Schuyler Colfax (1887); 
C. F. Adams, Charles Francis Adams (1900). Of men high 
in state official position, important biographies are those 
of Samuel J. Tilden by John Bigelow (2 vols., 1895); 
John A. Dix, by Morgan Dix (2 vols., 1883); and John 
A. Andrew, by H. G. Pearson (2 vols., 1904). Valuable 
light on the political and personal undercurrents during 
the period is thrown by T. W. Barnes, Memoir of Thurlow 
Weed (1884); G. S. Merriam, Life and Times of Samuel 
Bowles (2 vols., 1885), a highly important work; Edward 
Gary, George William Curtis (1900); W. A. Linn, Horace 
Greeley (1903); Albert Bigelow Paine, Thomas Nast, his 
Period and his Pictures (1904) ; E. P. Oberholtzer, Jay Cooke, 
a series of articles in the Century Magazine, LXIII. (1906- 
1907) ; Rollo Ogden, Life and Letters of Edwin Lawrence God- 
kin (2 vols., 1907) ; J. H. Wilson, Life ofC.A. Dana (1907). 

PUBLIC MEN OF THE SOUTH. The list under this head 
contains few works of great importance for our period. 
The best are Edward Mayes, Lucius Q. C. Lamar, his Life, 
Times, and Speeches (1896); H. Fielder, Life, Times, and 
Speeches of Joseph E. Brown (1883); B. H. Hill, Jr., Life 
of Benjamin H. Hill (1893); Johnston and Browne, Life of 
Alexander H. Stephens (1878). Others that throw incident 
al light on conditions and feeling in the South are R. E. 
Lee, Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee (1904); 
Varina Davis, Memoir of Jefferson Davis (2 vols., 1890); 
P. A. Stovall, Robert Toombs (1892); H. D. Capers, Life 
and Times of C. G. Memminger (1893); W. P. Trent, 
William Gil-more Simms (1892). 


Of high importance under this head are the report of 
Carl Schurz to the president in the autumn of 1865, Senate 
Executive Documents, 39 Cong., i Sess., No. 2, to which 
is appended a report of observations by General Grant; 

VOL. XXII. 23 


and the report of B. C. Truman, of April, 1866, in Senate 
Executive Documents, 39 Cong., i Sess., No, 43. All of 
the important newspapers contained copious correspond 
ence from the South, especially during 1865 and 1866. 
The letters (unsigned) of J. R. Dennett, in the New York 
Nation during the summer and fall of 1865, are among the 
best of their kind. Several of the volumes mentioned be 
low are reprints of correspondents letters: Sidney An 
drews, The South Since the War (1866); Whitelaw Reid, 
After the War (1866); J. T. Trowbridge, The South (1866); 
J. S. Pike, The Prostrate State (1874), a former abolitionist s 
description of the barbarism of negro rule in South Caro 
lina; Charles Nordhoff, The Cotton States in . . . 1875 ( l8 7 6 ) 
another abolitionist s account of conditions several years 
later than those observed by Pike; Edward King, The 
Great South (1875). The foregoing are all highly valuable 
sources of the period. With them may be classed the 
work of the English observer Robert Somers, The Southern 
States Since the War (1871), especially strong in comment 
on agriculture and industry. The works of Pike and 
Nordhoff, while deriving great vividness from the personal 
observation of the authors, are made up mostly from the 
evidence taken by congressional committees of investiga 
tion. A. W. Tourgee, a carpet-bagger who held a judicial 
position in North Carolina, incorporates much reflection 
on the feeling and experiences of his class in his works of 
fiction, A Fool s Errand (new ed., 1880) and Bricks With 
out Straw (1880) ; his Appeal to C&sar (1884), a serious argu 
ment for national aid in the education of the blacks, is 
also of value for the reconstruction period. Another car 
pet-bagger s experiences under cover of fiction are to be 
found in A. T. Morgan, Yazoo, or the Picket Line of Free 
dom in the South (1884). 


Why the Solid South? edited by H. A. Herbert (1890), 
is a collection of essays by various authors, treating of 

1877] AUTHORITIES 353 

the period of reconstruction for the states that seceded, 
together with Missouri and West Virginia. The sketches 
are of very uneven quality, and all are strongly partisan 
in spirit, seeking to justify the attachment of the South to 
the Democratic party. Less prejudiced is a review of the 
leading features of reconstruction in a series of articles 
by various writers in the Atlantic Monthly, January to 
October, 1901. Frederic Bancroft, The Negro in Politics, 
(Columbia University, 1885), is a just and scholarly sketch 
dealing chiefly with South Carolina and Mississippi. A 
very complete and accurate account of a most conspicuous 
agency in reconstruction is given by Paul S. Peirce, The 
Freedmen s Bureau (University of Iowa Studies, 1904). 
The Ku-Klux movement is cleared of some of its mystery 
by J. C. Lester and D. L. Wilson, Ku-Klux Klan, its Origin, 
Growth, and Disbandment, edited, with important additions, 
by W. L. Fleming (1905); a just and interesting exposition 
of this movement is given by W. G. Brown, in his collection 
of essays entitled, The Lower South in American History 
(1902). Most of the southern states are the subjects of 
monographic studies covering our period. W. L. Fleming, 
Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama (1905), is the 
most comprehensive of the group, presenting a great mass 
of social and economic as well as political facts, with a 
marked southern bias in their interpretation ; J. W. Garner, 
Reconstruction in Mississippi (1901), deals chiefly with the 
legal and political movements, in a rigidly judicial spirit; 
J. S. Reynolds, Reconstruction in South Carolina (1905), is 
a painstaking compilation of fact, by a southern partisan ; 
Walter Allen, Governor Chamberlain s Administration (1888), 
treats with great fulness and as an avowed apologist for 
the governor, the last years of reconstruction in South 
Carolina; and J. P. Hollis sketches inadequately the first 
years in his Early Reconstruction Period in South Carolina 
(Johns Hopkins University Studies, 1905); E. C. Woolley, 
Reconstruction in Georgia (Columbia University Studies, 
1901), J. W. Fertig, Secession and Reconstruction of Ten 
nessee (University of Chicago, 1896), and H. J. Eckenrode, 


Virginia During Reconstruction (Johns Hopkins University 
Studies, 1904), are very useful sketches, dealing with con 
stitutional and political matters; J. G. de R. Hamilton, 
Reconstruction in North Carolina (Columbia University, 
1906), brings its subject down to 1868, and is in process of 
completion to cover later years; John Wallace, Carpet-bag 
Rule in Florida (1888), is a crude and untrustworthy re 
view of its subject, by a negro who was active as a politi 
cian; J. M. Harrell, The Brooks and Baxter War (1893), 
covers the chief incidents of the period in Arkansas, en 
tertainingly but in a form hard for outsiders to under 
stand. Mrs. M. L. Avary, Dixie After the War (1906), is a 
chatty volume, made up partly of reminiscences and partly 
from familiar sources. 


Under this head may be placed W. H. Barnes, History 
of the Thirty-ninth Congress (1868), a commonplace com 
pilation from the Congressional Globe; C. E. Chadsey, The 
Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Re 
construction (Columbia University Studies, 1896), a useful 
resume; D. M. DeWitt, The Impeachment and Trial of 
Andrew Johnson (1903), an extremely complete and skil 
ful analysis of the leading personal and political characters 
and motives, with obvious dislike for the radicals ; Edmund 
G. Ross, The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson (1896), a 
perfunctory account by one of the Republican senators 
who voted for acquittal; John McDonald, Secrets of the 
-Great Whiskey Ring (1880), written by one who served a 
term in prison for complicity, and correspondingly untrust 
worthy; A. M. Gibson, A Political Crime (1885), a strongly 
partisan account of the election of 1876-1877, purporting 
to prove that the Republicans triumphed through a far- 
reaching conspiracy; Paul L. Haworth, The Hayes-Tilden 
Disputed Presidential Election (1906), the fullest account, 
presenting all facts with impartiality, but perceptibly fa 
voring the Republicans in interpretation. 

1877] AUTHORITIES 355 


A bibliography of the subject may be found in Albert 
Bushnell Hart, Foundations of American Foreign Policy 
(1902), chap. viii. The chief incidents of our foreign rela 
tions are pretty fully treated in the current volumes of 
Diplomatic Correspondence transmitted to each Congress. 
A complete account from material that became available 
only long after is given in the great work of John Bassett 
Moore, A Digest of International Law (8 vols., 1906), a vast 
compilation and commentary, fully indexed and equipped 
with copious bibliographical matter. The French inter 
vention in Mexico is set in full light in this work (vol. VI.), 
and the diplomacy from the American point of view is also 
clearly described in F. Bancroft, W. H. Seward, II. The 
Mexican point of view is taken in H. H. Bancroft, History 
of Mexico (6 vols., 1883-1888), VI.; the French imperial 
policy is illustrated in Gaulot, La Verite sur V Expedition 
du Mexique (3 vols., 1889-1890). Moore and Bancroft are 
the best authorities also for the negotiations as to Alaska 
and the Danish islands, with useful supplementary matter 
in Pierce s Sumner. The general state of public opinion 
on these various projects for acquisition of territory is well 
described by Theodore Clarke Smith, "Expansion After the 
War, 1865-1871," in Political Science Quarterly, Septem 
ber, 1901. For our relations with Great Britain, cul 
minating in the Geneva arbitration, the leading authority 
is John Bassett Moore, History and Digest of the Inter 
national Arbitrations to which the United States has been a 
Party (6 vols., 1898), I. Interesting aspects of this sub 
ject, with important extracts from the unpublished diary 
of Hamilton Fish, are presented in the essay of Charles 
Francis Adams, "The Treaty of Washington," in Lee at 
Appomattox, and other Papers (1902). Other works on the 
subject, bearing especially on the relations of Charles 
Sumner to the negotiations, are J. C. B. Davis, Mr. Fish 
and the Alabama Claims (1893), by the agent of the United 
States at Geneva, and D. H. Chamberlain, Charles Sumner 


and the Treaty of Washington (1902), opposing the un 
favorable view of Sumner s acts as presented by Adams. 
The British side of the affair is illustrated in A. Lang, Life, 
Letters and Diaries of Sir Stafford Northcote (new ed., 1891) ; 
Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, Life of . . . Earl Granville (2 
vols., 1905); and John Morley, Life of W. E. Gladstone (3 
vols., 1903). 


Material in this field is scattered and fragmentary. The 
national finances are admirably treated in Davis R. Dewey, 
Financial History of the United States (American Citizen 
Series, 1903), though necessarily with great conciseness; 
and less scientifically, but more fully, in A. S. Bolles, 
Financial History of the United States, 1861-1885 (26. ed., 
1894); A. D. Noyes, Thirty Years of American Finance, 
1865-1895 (1898), is excellent, but devotes most attention 
to the years subsequent to 1877. On the questions of 
currency, light is to be found in J. J. Knox, United States 
Notes (3d ed., 1888), and History of Banking in the United 
States (1900), and in Horace White, Money and Banking (2d 
ed., 1902). The tariff, not of the utmost importance during 
our period, is fairly well treated by F. W. Taussig, Tariff 
History of the United States (4th ed., 1899); and more fully 
and from an avowedly protectionist point of view by 
Edward Stan wood, American Tariff Controversies in the 
Nineteenth Century (2 vols., 1903). The panic of 1873 is 
explained in some detail by T. E. Burton, Financial Crises 
(1902), and valuable illustrative tables are added in an 

On the development of railways during the period, the 
basis of statistical fact is found in the great annual series 
beginning in 1868 and edited by H. V. Poor, Manual of 
the Railroads of the United States. Important information 
and doctrine is to be found in C. F. Adams, Jr., Railroads, 
their Origin and Problems (rev. ed., 1878); A. T. Hadley, 
Railroad Transportation (1885); and E. R. Johnson, Ameri 
can Railway Transportation (1903) The beginnings of the 

1877] AUTHORITIES 357 

transcontinental system are accurately described in the 
excellent little volume by J. P. Davis, The Union Pacific 
Railway (1894). In the brilliant and caustic collection of 
C. F. Adams, Jr., and Henry Adams, Chapters of Erie and 
Other Essays (1871), a strong light is thrown on salient feat 
ures of speculative finance and on the general social and 
political conditions in New York during the rise of Fisk 
and Gould to prominence, and the heyday of the Tweed 
ring s rule. Ida M. Tarbell, in her History of the Standard 
Oil Company (1904), deals largely with social and indus 
trial conditions in the early seventies, when the great cor 
poration had its beginning; and the same field is opened 
by Gilbert H. Montague, Rise and Progress of the Stand- 
ard Oil Company (1903). 


ABBOTT, J. S., electoral com 
mission, 329. 

Abyssinia, recognition proposed 
(1867), 160. 

Adams, C. F., presents Alaba 
ma claims, 159; and Liberal 
movement, 195, 196; bibliog 
raphy, 351. 

Adams, J. Q., Jr., and nomina 
tion for vice-president, 200 n. 

Agriculture, post-war develop 
ment, 142. See also Cotton. 

Alabama claims, origin, 159; 
presented, 159; responsibility 
denied, 160; resentment and 
proposed retaliation, 160; and 
Fenian movement, 160, 161; 
British proposals, 161; John 
son treaty rejected, 161; in 
direct claims, 162, 167, 169; 
British anxiety, 163, 166; na 
tional assumption of private 
claims, 166; Fish s policy, 166, 
167; joint high commission, 
167; treaty of Washington, 
1 67 - 1 69 ; arbitration, 1 69 ; 
award, 170; bibliography, 

Alabama, reconstruction consti 
tution not ratified, 1 1 8 ; but 
readmitted under it, 119; dis- 
franchisement of whites, 125; 
radicals lose control, 186, 267; 
corrupt administration of rail 
ways, 208; faked reign of ter 
ror, 250; congressional inves 
tigation, 254; bibliography, 
, 353 See also Reconstruction. 

Alaska, purchase, 156, 157; 
named, 157. 

Amendments. See amendments 
by name. 

American Annual Cyclopedia 
as a source, 346. 

Ames, Adelbert, as governor, 
278; and negro militia, 279; 
peace agreement, 279; im 
peached, resigns, 280. 

Ames, Oakes, and Credit Mo- 
bilier, 232; censured, 233. 

Amnesty, Johnson s proclama 
tion, 36; individual pardons, 
42; act of 1872, 203. See 
also Disabilities. 

Andrew, J. A., bibliography, 351. 

Annexation. See Territory. 

Apportionment. See Represen 

Arapaho uprising (1867), 142. 

Arkansas, loyal government, 
14, 16; Johnson recognizes 
loyal government, 36; re 
admitted, 118; disfranchise- 
ment of whites, 125; faction 
al contest, 247; radicals lose 
control, 48, 267; Congress 
prevents interference, 277; 
bibliography, 354. See also 

Army, regular, opposition to 
intervention of (1872), 194. 
See also Union army. 

Ashley, J. M., radical, 88; and 
impeachment (1867), 92. 

Atkinson, Edward, and Liberal 
movement , 195. 


Augur, C. C., Indian campaign 
(1867), 148. 

BABCOCK, O. E., Santo Domin 
go negotiation, 163 ; and whis 
key ring, 284-286. 

Baez, Buenaventura, and sale 
of Santo Domingo, 163. 

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 
formation of trunk lines, 149, 
225, 226. 

Bartemeyer vs. Iowa, 262. 

Baxter, Elisha, faction in Ar 
kansas, 247; bibliography, 

Bayard, T. F., electoral com 
mission, 329. 

Beecher, H. W., Tilton affair, 
246; as editor, 347. 

Belknap, W. W., scandal and 
resignation, 287 ; impeach 
ment, 288. 

Belligerency, recognition, 159, 
161, 167. 

Bibliography, of reconstruction, 
342; of foreign affairs, 355. 

Bingham, J. A., reconstruction 
committee, 65; moderate re- 
const ruction ist, 88; and im 
peachment, 103. 

Biographies of reconstruction 
period, 349-351. 

Black, J. S., writes veto of re 
construction act, 96; as Bel- 
knap s counsel, 289; counsel 
before electoral commission, 
331; bibliography, 348. 

"Black codes," southern, 54- 
59, no. 

Black Friday, 192, 224. 

Blaine, J. G., moderate re- 
constructionist, 88; Mulligan 
letters investigation, 292 ; 
charges against Davis as po 
litical manoeuvre, 295-297; 
and presidential nomination 
(1876), 300; and electoral 
commission bill, 325; bibliog 
raphy, 350. 

Blair, F. P., Jr., and Demo 
cratic nomination (1868), 13 1 ; 
nominated for vice-president, 
133; and Liberal movement, 

Blockade rescinded, 27. 

"Bloody shirt" in campaign of 
1876, 295-297, 300, 302. 

Bonds, payment in greenbacks 
as issue, 130-133, 140; public 
credit act, 221; refunding 
acts, 221. See also Debt. 

Border states, post-war con 
ditions, 7-9. 

Borie, A. E., and navy port 
folio, 177. 

Boundaries, arbitration of San 
Juan affair, 167, 170. 

Boutwell, G. S., reconstruction 
committee, 65 ; character, 88 ; 
and tenure of office act, 91; 
report on impeachment, 100; 
impeachment manager, 1 03 ; 
secretary of treasury, 177; 
and Black Friday, 224; in 
flates currency, 224; bibliog 
raphy, 349. 

Bowles, Samuel, bibliography, 

35 1 - 

Bradley, J. P., appointment 
and legal -tender decision, 
259; electoral commission, 

329. 332, 333. 33 6 . bib 
liography, 348. 

Bradwell vs. State, 262. 

Bristow, B. H., secretary of 
treasury, 242; whiskey ring 
prosecutions, 283; dismissed, 
290; and presidential nomi 
nation (1876), 290, 298. 

Brooks, James, and Credit Mo- 
bilier, 233. 

Brooks, Joseph, faction in Ar 
kansas, 247 ; bibliography, 

Brown, B. Gratz, and Liberal 
movement, 196. 

Brown, J. E., confined, 35; bib 
liography, 351. 



Browning, O. H., secretary of 
interior, 73. 

Brownlow, W. G., Johnson rec 
ognizes as governor, 36; con 
trol in Tennessee, 69; and 
militia, 183. 

Bruce, B. K., senator, 282. 

Bryant, W. C., and Liberal 
movement, 195, 196. 

"Bulldozing," 305. 

Bullock, R. B., struggle with 
legislature, 181, 182. 

Butler, B. F., character, 88; 
and impeachment, 103; and 
Ku-Klux act, 187; in cam 
paign of 1872, 201; and 
salary grab, 234; power, 242 ; 
denounced, 242; and civil 
service reform, 243; and 
Sumner s civil rights bill, 
255; bibliography, 349- 

CABINET, Johnson s, 73, 108; 
Grant s, 177, 242, 277, 290. 

Campbell, J. A., confined, 23. 

Campbell, L. D., mission to Mex 
ico, 154. 

Canada, Fenian raid (1866), 
1 60. 

Carpenter, M. H., counsel be 
fore electoral commission, 

Carpet-baggers, use of term, 
1 1 6, 12 1 ; ascendency in re 
constructed states, 210. See 
also Reconstruction. 

Gary, S. F., nominated for vice- 
president, 295. 

Casey, J. F., and Louisiana fac 
tional fight, 218. 

Centennial exhibition, 293. 

Central Pacific Railroad. See 
Pacific Railway. 

Chamberlain, D. H., as govern 
or, 305, 306; antagonizes con 
servatives, 306; canvass for 
re-election, 307, 308; contest 
ed election, 327, 328, 340; bib 
liography, 353. 

Chandler, W. E., in Florida, 

Chandler, Zachariah, radical, 
88; proposes recognition of 
Abyssinia, 161; bibliography, 

Chase, S. P., and negro suf 
frage, 38, 130; presides at 
trial of Johnson, 104; and 
Democratic nomination 
(1868), 130, 133; Texas vs. 
White, 258; legal-tender de 
cisions, 259; bibliography, 
343* 348, 350. 

Chattanooga, convention on 
southern outrages, 250. 

Cheyenne uprising (1867), 147. 

Chicago, Federal troops at great 
fire, 194 n. 

Chicago and Northwestern Rail 
road, development, 226. 

Chicago Tribune on southern 
black codes, 57. 

Christian Union, influence, 347. 

Civil rights, southern black 
codes, 56, no; act of 1866, 
63, 64; Fourteenth Amend 
ment on, 67; in reconstruc 
tion constitutions, 113; negro 
desire for social equality, 183 ; 
enforcement acts, 184-187; 
Sumner s bill, 214, 255; at 
tempted force bill, 254; Su 
preme Court on state vs. na 
tional protection, 260-265. 

Civil service, Johnson s use of 
patronage, 72, 73; tenure of 
office act, 90; Grant and re 
form, 193, 243, 290; reform as 
issue (1872), 199; (1876), 301, 
302; spoils system and cor 
ruption, 291. See also Cor 

Civil War, end, 3 ; key of genesis, 
4; social effect, 4, 5; after 
math in North, 5; in border 
states, 7-9; in South, 9-13, 
25; disbandment of armies, 
24-26; end proclaimed, 41. 



Clay, C. C., and assassination 
of Lincoln, 20. 

Clayton, Powell, and Arkansas 
militia, 1 83 ; and state fac 
tions, 248. 

Clearing-house certificates, first 
use, 236. 

Clifford, Nathan, electoral com 
mission, 325, 329. 

Clinton, Mississippi, race riot, 

Coif ax, Louisiana, riot, 219. 

Colfax, Schuyler, nominated for 
vice-president, 129; and ne 
gro suffrage, 129; and Credit 
Mobilier, 233 ; bibliography, 

35 1 - 

Commerce, war restrictions re 
moved, 27. See also Rail 

Confederate army, disband- 
ment, 25. 

Confiscation, policy of radicals, 
42; checked, 42. 

Congress, Thirty-ninth : recon 
structed states refused rec 
ognition, 51-53, 61; recon 
struction committee, 51, 65; 
apportionment of represen 
tation, 53; and southern 
black codes, 57; Freedmen s 
Bureau bills, 59-6 1 , 68 ; breach 
with Johnson, 62, 64, 71; civil 
rights act, 63-65; Stevens s 
leadership, 64; report of re 
construction committee, 65- 
67, 69; Fourteenth Amend 
ment, 67, 68; readmission of 
Tennessee, 69 ; effect of south 
ern rejection of amendment, 
85; triumph of radicals, 86- 
88; and Supreme Court, 89, 
94; tenure of office act, 90, 
91; impeachment movement, 
92; reconstruction act, 92-95; 
contraction of greenbacks, 
138; revenue measures, 141; 
Alabama claims, 160. 

Fortieth : complexion, 82 ; 

early meeting, 95; supple 
mentary reconstruction acts, 
95, 98; House refuses to im 
peach Johnson, 100; and sus 
pension of Stan ton, 101; im 
peachment of Johnson, 101 
104; trial, 104-108; suspends 
contraction of greenbacks, 
138; revenue measures, 141; 
Alabama claims, 161; Fif 
teenth Amendment, 174-176. 

Forty-first: Alabama claims, 
161, 162; Santo Domingo, 
1 63 ; reconstruction meas 
ures, 179-182; enforcement 
act, 184-186; Federal super 
vision of elections, 186; re 
peal of iron-clad oath, 203; 
public credit act, 221; re 
funding acts, 221; revenue 
act, 222. 

Forty - second : treaty of 
Washington, 167; complex 
ion, 1 86; Ku-Klux act, 187, 
1 88; report on Ku-Klux, 
1 88; amnesty, 203; Louisiana 
investigation, 218; revenue 
act, 222; Credit Mobilier in 
vestigation, 231-233; salary 
grab, 233-235. 

Forty-third: civil. rights act, 
214, 255; repeals salary grab, 
235; financial problems, 238; 
inflation bills, 239; Sanborn 
contracts investigation, 241; 
investigation of the District, 
244; Louisiana investigations, 
247, 274-276; resumption act, 
252-254; force bill, 254; mes 
sage on southern policy, 269; 
Arkansas investigation, 277. 

Forty - fourth : complexion , 
251; leaders, 281; negro mem 
bers, 281; Democratic task, 
282; investigation of execu 
tive departments, 283, 290; 
Belknap scandal and im 
peachment, 287, 288; Elaine 
investigation, 292; third-term 



resolution, 299; problems of 
electoral count, 3 19-322 ; elec 
toral count bill, 323-326; elec 
toral count, 330-338. 

Conkling, Roscoe, reconstruc 
tion committee, 65; Grant s 
adviser, 243 ; and civil service 
reform, 243; declines chief- 
justiceship, 263; and presi 
dential nomination (1876), 
297-299; and electoral count 
bill, 325; bibliography, 351. 

Constitution, Federal, indestruc 
tible states, 257; legal tender, 
258-260. See also amend 
ments by name. 

Constitutions of reconstructed 
states, 113. 

Cooke, Jay, failure, 235; finan 
cial reputation, 235; bibliog 
raphy, 351. 

Cooper, Peter, nominated for 
president, 295. 

Corruption, in reconstructed 
states, 208; Tweed ring, 229, 
230; evidence elsewhere, 230; 
Cre*dit Mobilier, 231; in collec 
tion of revenue, 240, 283-286; 
in executive departments, 
240, 290; Belknap scandal, 
287-290; Elaine investiga 
tion, 292. 

Cotton, post-war conditions, 12, 
26, 143; tax, 26; planters 
from North, 28. 

Cox, J. D., secretary of interior, 
178; dismissed, 193; and civil 
service reform, 193; and Lib 
eral movement, 195. 

Cox, S. S., leader in House, 281. 

Credit Mobilier investigation, 

Cresswell, J. A. J., postmaster- 
general, 178. 

Cuba, rebellion, 171, 172; Fish 
withholds proclamation rec 
ognizing, 171; Virginius af 
fair, 172. 

Cummings vs. Missouri, 89. 

Currency. See Paper money. 

Curt in, A. G., and Liberal 
movement, 195. 

Curtis, B. R., counsel at im 
peachment, 104; declines at 
torney-generalship, 1 08. 

Curtis, G. W., and civil service 
reform, 243; bibliography, 

Gushing, Caleb, and chief-jus 
ticeship, 263. 

Custer, G. A., Indian campaign 
(1867), 148. 

DANA, C. A., as editor of Sun, 
348, 351. 

Danish West Indies, negotia 
tion for, 157. 

Davis, David, and Liberal move 
ment, 195,196; and electoral 
commission, 325, 326. 

Davis, Jefferson, and assassina 
tion of Lincoln, 20; John 
son s attitude, 22; problem 
of trial, 23; confined, 23; 
Elaine s charges against, 296; 
bibliography, 351. 

Debt, Confederate, repudiated, 
40 ; Fourteenth Amendment 
on, 67; size of Federal (1865), 
137; of reconstructed states, 
205, 208, 215. See also 
Bonds, Paper money. 

Delano, Columbus, corruption 
under, 291. 

Democratic party, and John 
son, 72-74; abandons recon 
struction issues (1872), 198; 
ascendency (1874), 251. See 
also Elections. 

Dennison, William, resigns, 73. 

De Trobriand, P. R., and Loui 
siana legislature, 273, 274. 

Disabilities, Missouri test-oath, 
8; Johnson s amnesty proc 
lamation, 36; policy of radi 
cals, 42; individual pardons, 
42; in report of reconstruc 
tion committee 66, 69; in 

3 6 4 


Fourteenth Amendment, 67; 
as reason for rejecting Four 
teenth Amendment, 83 ; un 
der reconstruction act, 96; in 
reconstruction constitutions, 
125; voted down in Missis 
sippi and Virginia, 179; am 
nesty act (1872), 203. 
District of Columbia, negro suf 
frage, 61, 94; territorial gov 
ernment and scandal, 244; 
working of negro suffrage, 


Dix, J. A., bibliography, 351. 

Dorsey, S. W., and Arkansas fac 
tions, 248. 

Drew, G. F., elected governor, 

Durell, E. H., and Louisiana 
contested election, 217, 219; 
impeachment threatened, 247 ; 
resigns, 247 n. 

ECONOMIC conditions, effect of 
war, 4, 6; southern post-war, 
9-13, 25-27; prosperity, 136, 
142, 220; speculative spirit, 
136, 141, 142; influence of 
Pacific Railway, 146; panic 
of 1873, 235; industrial de 
pression, 236, 237; bibliogra- 
gliy, 356. See also Finances, 
ailroads, Taxation. 

Edmunds, G. F., electoral com 
mission, 329. 

Education in reconstructed 
states, 206. 

Election laws, Federal super 
vision, 1 86; in reconstructed 
states, 211. 

Elections, 1866: issue, 71-73; 
" National Union Conven 
tion," 73-76; LoyallUnionist s 
Convention, 76-78; soldier s 
conventions, 78; influence of 
New Orleans riot, 79-81; of 
Johnson s tour, 8 1 ; returns, 82 . 
1868 : pre- campaign pros 
pects, 124-126; Grant as can 

didate, 126, 127; Republican 
platform, 128; Democratic 
aspirants and issues, 129- 
132; Democratic convention, 
132, 133; returns, 133; effect 
on reconstruction, 134; com 
plaints of southern fraud, 

135. l8 4- 

1872: origin of Liberal 
movement, 164, 190; its call 
for national convention, 191; 
its justification, 191-193; its- 
issues, 193-195 ; its prominent 
adherents, 195; its platform, 
196; Greeley as candidate, 
196, 199, 200; Democrats in 
dorse him and reconstruction 
amendments, 198; renomina- 
tion of Grant, 199; Republi 
can platform, 199; attempted 
Democratic bolt, 200; returns, 
201; chances of Liberal suc 
cess, 201; southern outrages 
as issue, 201. 

1874 : Republican handi 
cap, 244; weakening of party r 
246; southern conditions as 
issue, 246, 249; Democratic 
tidal wave, 250, 252. 

1876: issues, 294, 295; 
Greenback party, 295; in 
jection of "bloody shirt," 
295-297, 300, 302; confer 
ence of moderate Republi 
cans, 297; Republican aspir 
ants, 297, 298; elimination of 
Grant, 298; Republican con 
vention, 300; Hayes s letter 
of acceptance, 300; Demo 
cratic convention, 301, 302; 
Tilden s letter of acceptance, 
302; campaign in North, 302; 
in South, 303-308; disputed 
results, 309, 310; Grant s or 
der against violence, 310; 
"visiting statesmen," 311, 
312; count in South Carolina, 
312; in Florida, 313-315; in 
Louisiana, 315-318; in Ore- 



on, 318; problems before 
Congress, 319-322; danger of 
; Grant s attitude, 

war, 322 
323; electoral count act, 323- 
326; personnel of commission, 
325, 326, 329; attitude of 
southern congressmen, 328; 
count begins, 330; Florida 
vote before commission, 330- 
332; refusal to go behind the 
returns, 332; Florida vote 
counted for Hayes, 333 ; par 
tisanship of commission, 333 ; 
Louisiana vote counted for 
Hayes, 334, 335; Democratic 
indignation, 335; attempt at 
filibustering, 336-338; Ore 
gon vote counted for Hayes, 
336; also South Carolina vote, 
337; Hayes declared elected, 
338; understanding between 
southerners and Hayes s 
friends, 338, 339; Hayes takes 
oath, 340; bibliography, 354. 

Electoral commission. See Elec 
tions (1876}. 

Ellenton, South Carolina, race 
riot, 307. 

Ellis, E. J., agreement with 
Hayes s friends, 339. 

Emory, W. H., at New Orleans, 

Enforcement acts, first, 184- 
186; Federal supervision of 
elections, 186; Ku-Klux act, 
186-189; renewed operation 
(1874), 249; judicial inter 
pretation, 262-265; charac 
ter of application, 270. 

Erie Railroad, formation of 
trunk line, 149. 

Evarts, W. M., counsel at im 
peachment, 104; attorney- 
general, 1 08; counsel before 
electoral commission , 331, 
334 ; and conference on Hayes s 
southern policy, 339. 

Executive departments, malad 
ministration, 240, 290. 

FARRAGUT, D. G M tour with 
Johnson, 81. 

Fenians, raid on Canada (1866), 
1 60. 

Fenton, RE., and Liberal move 
ment, 195. 

Fessenden, W. P., reconstruc 
tion committee, 65 ; mod 
erate reconstructionist, 88 ; 
votes to acquit Johnson, 106, 

Fetterman, W. J., killed by Ind 
ians, 147. 

Field, S. J., electoral commis 
sion, 325. 

Fifteenth Amendment, causes, 
135, 174; terms, 175; passes 
Congress, 176; ratification re 
quired before reconstruction, 
180, 182; in force, 182; acts 
to enforce, 184-186; judicial 
interpretation, 261-263. 

Finances, McCulloch s control, 
136; of reconstructed states, 
205, 206, 215; power over, of 
secretary of treasury, 223- 
225; panic of 1873, 235; bib 
liography, 356. See also Debt, 
Gold, Taxation. 

Fish, Hamilton, Alabama claims 
negotiations, 166-168; rupt 
ure with Sumner, 168; and 
indirect claims, 170; and rec 
ognition of Cuba, 171; and 
Virginius affair, 172; secre 
tary of state, 178. 

Fisheries, arbitration, 167, 171. 

Fisk, James, Jr., attempt to 
corner gold, 192, 224. 

Florida, readmitted, 118; radi 
cal control shaken, 267; cam 
paign of 1876, 303; elector 
al returns, 313-315; radicals 
lose control, 314; vote count 
ed for Hayes, 330-333; bib 
liography, 354. See also Re 

Foreign affairs, post-war prob 
lems, 17, 151; bibliography, 



34 6 > 355- $ ee a ^ so nations 
by name. 

Foster, Charles, denounces But 
ler, 242 ; Louisiana report, 
275; assurance on Hayes s 
southern policy, 339. 

Fourteenth Amendment, in 
Congress, provisions, 66-68; 
rejected by South, 83 ; final 
ity, 85 ; ratification required 
before reconstruction, 95; in 
force, 125; acts to enforce, 
184-189; judicial interpreta 
tion, 260-265. 

Fowler, J. S., votes to acquit 
Johnson, 106. 

France. See Napoleon III. 

Freedmen. See Negroes. 

Freedmen s Bureau, origin, 30; 
functions, 3 1 ; conduct of 
officials, 32, 34; and southern 
whites, 33 ; effect on negroes, 
46; bill (1866), 59; veto of 
it, 60, 61; new act passed 
over veto, 68; bibliography, 

Frelinghuysen, F. T., electoral 
commission, 329. 

Frye, W. P., and electoral com 
mission bill, 326. 

Fullerton, J. S., report on Freed 
men s Bureau, 68. 

GARFIELD, J. A., moderate re- 
const ruction ist, 88; and sal 
ary grab, 234; "visiting 
statesman , " 312; and elec 
toral count bill, 326; elec 
toral commission, 329; assur 
ance on Hayes s southern 
policy, 339 ; bibliography, 348. 

Garland, A. H., gratitude to 
Federal House, 277. 

Garland, ex parte, 89. 

Garrett, J. W., popular denun 
ciation, 227. 

Gaston, William, governor of 
Massachusetts, 251. 

Georgia, readmitted, 118; in 

election of 1868, 135; renewed 
military control, 181; expul 
sion of black legislators, 181; 
new conditions of readmis- 
sion, 182; corrupt administra 
tion of railways, 208; radicals 
lose control, 215; bibliogra 
phy. 353- 

Georgia vs. Stanton, 256. 

Gibbon, John, Indian campaign 
(1867), 148. 

Godkin, E. L., as editor of 
Nation, 347, 351 

Gold, attempt to corner, 192, 
224; influence of government 
on price, 223, 224. 

Gordon, J. B., policy, 267; 
agreement with Hayes s 
friends, 339. 

Gould, Jay, attempt to corner 
gold, 192, 224; popular de 
nunciation, 227, 228; and 
Tweed, 230. 

Granger cases, 264. 

Granger movement, 228. 

Grant, U. S., protects Lee, 21; 
report on southern conditions 
(1865), 49; tour with John 
son, 81; secretary of war ad 
interim, 99, 101; as candidate 
(1868), 126, 127; quarrel with 
Johnson, 127; elected, 133; 
and French in Mexico, 153, 
154; and Danish West Indies, 
158; and Santo Domingo, 1 63 ; 
rupture with Sumner, 165; 
character as president, 165, 
178, 191-195; and Cuba, 171; 
inauguration, 176; cabinet, 
177, 193, 242, 277, 290; first 
reconstruction policy, 179; 
and Ku Klux, 186, 188; and 
Liberal movement (1870), 
191; accepts gifts, 192; and 
Black Friday, 192, 224; and 
civil service reform, 193, 243, 
290; accused of militarism, 
194; renominated, 199; re- 
elected, 20 1 ; attitude towards 



South, 212, 217; and Loui 
siana affairs, 218, 246, 249, 
272-274, 328, 340; and fi 
nance, 221 ; and panic of 1873, 
236; veto of inflation bill, 
239; maladministration un 
der, 240, 246, 290; and Butler, 
242; Republican opposition 
to, 243, 252, 254, 265, 266, 
275-277; chief advisers, 243; 
and Shepherd, 245; and 
Texas affairs, 247; and Ar 
kansas factions, 247, 277; 
renews rigor of enforcement 
acts, 249; and resumption, 
253; wavers on southern pol 
icy (1874), 269; refuses to 
interfere in Mississippi, 279; 
administration investigated, 
282; and whiskey ring, 284; 
and charges against Bab- 
cock, 285, 286; and Belknap 
scandal, 287 - 289; belittles 
popular condemnation, 289; 
and third term, 298; inter 
feres in South Carolina 
(1876), 308; post - election 
order (1876), 310; appoints 
visiting statesmen , " 311; 
and electoral count, 323, 325; 
abandons policy of interfer 
ence, 328, 340; bibliography 
of administration, 342-357; 
papers, 345, 348; biographies, 


Great Britain, post-war feeling 
against, 17, 151, 159. See 
also Alabama claims. 

Greeley, Horace, and Liberal 
movement, 195, 196; as can 
didate for president, 197- 
200; defeat, 201; death, 201; 
bibliography, 351. 

Greenback party (1876), 295. 

Greenbacks. See Paper money. 

Grider, Hesry, reconstruction 
committee, 65. 

Grimes, J. W., reconstruction 
committee, 65; votes to ac- 

VOL. XXII. 24 

quit Johnson, 106; bibliog 
raphy, 351. 

Groesbeck, W. S., counsel at 
impeachment, 104. 

Grover, L. F., and Oregon elec 
toral vote, 318. 

HABEAS CORPUS, suspension of 
writ revoked, 41; suspension 
under Ku-Klux act, 187, 188. 

Hale, Eugene, and electoral 
count bill, 326. 

Hamburg, South Carolina, race 
fight, 306. 

Hamlin, Hannibal, bibliogra 
phy, 35 1 - 

Hampton, Wade, canvass for 
governor, 307 ; contested elec 
tion, 327, 328, 340. 

Hancock, W. S., Indian cam 
paign (1867), J 4 8 - 

Harlan, James, resigns, 73. 

Harper s Weekly, influence, 347. 

Hayes, R. B., nominated for 
president, 300; letter of ac 
ceptance, 301; and "bloody 
shirt," 302; declared elected, 
338; bargain of supporters, 
33 8 339; takes oath, 340. 
See also Elections (1876}. 

Hays, ICharles, on Alabama 
reign of terror, 250. 

Henderson, J. B., votes to ac 
quit Johnson, 106. 

Hendricks, T. A., nominated for 
vice-president, 320; declared 
defeated, 338. See also Elec 
tions (1876). 

Hewitt, A. S., appoints "visit 
ing statesmen," 311. 

Hill, B. H., bibliography, 351. 

Hoar, E. R., attorney-general, 
178; dismissed, 193; and 
Sumner s civil rights bill, 

2 55- 

Hoar, G. F., in campaign of 
1872, 201; Louisiana report, 
2 75 77J electoral commis 
sion, 329; bibliography, 349. 

3 68 


Holden, W. W., provisional 
governor of North Carolina, 
37; and militia, 183; im 
peached, 187 ., 215. 

Howard, J. M., reconstruction 
committee, 65; radical, 88. 

Howard, O. O., as head of 
Freedmen s Bureau, 32. 

Howe, S. G., Santo Domingo 
commission, 164. 

Humphreys, F. C., eligibility 
as elector, 331-333. 

Hunton, Eppa, electoral com 
mission, 329. 

IMMIGRATION, post-war devel 
opment, 150. 

Impeachment, of southern gov 
ernors, 215; of Belknap, 288. 
See also Johnson (Andrew). 

Independent, influence, 347. 

Indians, uprising (1867), 147. 

Internal revenue, tax on cotton, 
26; decrease under Johnson, 
141; revision under Grant, 
222; corruption in collecting, 
240; whiskey ring, 283-286. 

International law. See Ala 
bama claims. 

JAYNE, blackmail by, 241. 

Jewell, Marshall, dismissed, 290. 

Johnson, Andrew, as governor 
of Tennessee, 14; nomina 
tion for vice-president, 18; 
character, 19; vindictiveness 
against southern leaders, 20, 
21 ; change of policy, 21, 41; 
removes trade restrictions, 
27; adopts Lincoln s policy, 
35; amnesty proclamation, 
36; reconstruction procla 
mations, 37-39; and negro 
suffrage, 38, 61; proclaims 
end of rebellion, 41; pardons 
to rebels, 42; policy, and po 
litical readjustment, 42, 43, 
72; popularity of policy, 43; 
reports to, on southern con 

ditions, 47-50; first message, 
52; vetoes of Freedmen s 
Bureau bills, 60, 61, 68; 
February 22d speech, 62; 
breach with Congress, 62, 
64, 7 1 ; civil rights act veto, 
64; policy as issue in 1866, 
71-73; changes in cabinet, 
73, 108; and Democracy, 73; 
and " National Union Conven 
tion, "73-76; use of patronage, 
72, 73; tour, 81, 82; popular 
verdict against policy, 82; 
tenure of office and military 
orders acts, 90, 91; and Stan- 
ton, 91 ; indecision, 92 ; move 
ment to impeach (1867), 92; 
veto of reconstruction acts, 
97; suspends Stanton, 99; 
House refuses to impeach, 
100; and reinstatement of 
Stanton, 101; removes him, 
101; impeached 101-104; 
trial, 104-108; quarrel with 
Grant, 127; and Democratic 
nomination (1868), 130; and 
Blairs, 131; and finance, 136; 
and French in Mexico, 153, 
154; farewell address, 176; 
papers, 343; bibliography, 

345. 349. 354- 

Johnson, Reverdy, reconstruc 
tion committee, 65 ; treaty on 
Alabama claims, 161. 

Juarez, Benito, straits, 153; 
Campbell s mission, 154. 

Judiciary. See Supreme Court, 

Julian, G. W., bibliography, 

KANSAS, rejects negro suffrage 
(1867), 125; corruption in, 

Kasson, J. A., and electoral 
count bill, 326. 

Kellogg, W. P., contested elec 
tion for governor, 217-219, 
247; government overthrown 
and restored, 249; and con- 



flict in the legislature, 273; 

Wheeler compromise, 276. 
Kentucky, post-war conditions, 

8, 9. 

Kerr, M. C., speaker, 281. 
Knights of White Camelia, 122, 

J 35- 

Ku-Klux Klan, origin and char 
acter of activity, 121-123, 
135, 181, 187; Federal act 
against, 186-188; Federal in 
vestigation, 1 88; enforcement 
of act against, 188; failure to 
renew act, 204; bibliography, 

LABOR, demoralization of f reed- 
men, 10, 46. 

Lamar, L. Q. C., eulogy on Sum- 
ner, 266; policy, 267; and 
electoral count bill, 328; bib 
liography, 351. 

Lawrence, William, radical, 88. 

Lee, R. E., Grant protects, 21; 
bibliography, 351. 

Levy, W. M., agreement with 
Hayes s friends, 339. 

Liberal Republican party. See 
Elections (1872}. 

Lincoln, Abraham, reconstruc 
tion policy, 13-16; political 
effect of assassination, 20; 
trial of conspirators, 22. 

Logan, J. A., radical, 88; and 
impeachment, 103. 

Louisiana, loyal government, 
14, 16; Johnson recognizes 
loyal government, 36; black 
code, 56; readmitted, 118; 
disfranchisement of whites, 
125; and election of 1868, 
135, 184; Kellogg-McEnery 
contested election, 217-219, 
246; race conflicts, 219; con 
gressional investigations, 

247, 275; White Leagues, 

248, 269; New Orleans rising, 
249; radical control shaken 
(1874), 267; Packard s con 

trol, 272; conflict in legislat 
ure and Federal interference 
(1875), 2 7 2 ~" 2 74 northern 
indignation over it, 274; af 
fair in Congress, 274-276; 
Wheeler compromise, 276; 
campaign of 1876, 303-305; 
electoral returns, 3 1 5-317; 
Grant and contested state 
election (1877), 327, 340; 
vote counted for Hayes, 334, 
335. See also Reconstruc 

Loyal Leagues, 115. 

Loyal Unionists Convention 
(1866), 76-78. 

McCARDLE, ex parte, 257. 

McCulloch, Hugh, problems, 137; 
andcontraction of greenbacks, 
137; bibliography, 349. 

McDonald, John, whiskey ring, 
284, 354. 

McEnery, John, contested elec 
tion, si 8. 

Magrath, A. G., confined, 35. 

Mallory, S. R., confined, 23. 

Marble, Manton, "visiting 
statesman," 312. 

Maryland, post-war conditions, 

Massachusetts goes Democratic 
(1874), 250. 

Matthews, Stanley, counsel be 
fore electoral commission, 331. 

Maximilian, establishment of 
rule, 152; opposition to, of 
United States, 153-155; 
abandoned by French, 155; 
executed, 156. 

Memminger, C. G., bibliography, 

Memphis, riot (1866), 80, 93. 

Mexico, American post-war at 
titude, 152 - 154; Seward s 
diplomacy, 154, 155; with 
drawal of French, 155; end 
of empire, 156; bibliography, 



Michigan rejects negro suf 
frage (1867), 125. 

Military tribunals, demand for 
suppression, 22; final activ 
ity, 22; Supreme Court on, 
89; in reconstruction act, 94, 

Militia, negro, 183, 279. 

Miller, S. P., electoral commis 
sion, 325. 

Milligan, ex parte, 89, 94. 

Milwaukee and St. Paul Rail 
road, development, 226. 

Mining, western, and railway 
development, 6; post-war de 
velopment, 142. 

Minnesota rejects negro suf 
frage (1867), 125. 

Minor vs. Happersett, 262. 

Mississippi, rejects Thirteenth 
Amendment, 40; black code, 
56, 58; reconstruction defeat 
ed, 1 1 8, 119; Africanization, 
278; Ames as governor, 278; 
radical schism, 278; campaign 
(1875), intimidation of blacks 
278; Federal troops refused, 
279; negro militia, 279; peace 
agreement, 279; radicals lose 
control, 280; bibliography, 
353. See also Reconstruc 

Mississippi vs. Johnson, 256. 

Missouri, post-war conditions, 
8; test-oath, 8; test-oath un 
constitutional, 89 ; radicals 
control, 126; radicals lose con 
trol, 190; Liberal movement, 
190, 191. 

Moiety system, evils and aboli 
tion, 241. 

Money. See Gold, Paper money. 

Morrison, W. R., leader in 
House, 281. 

Morton, O. P., radical, 88; and 
Ku-Klux act, 187; in cam 
paign of 1872, 201; and civil 
service reform, 243 ; and 
Louisiana affairs, 247 ; and 

presidential nomination 
(1876), 297-299; and elec 
toral count, 320, 325; elec 
toral commission, 329; bib 
liography, 350. 

Moses, F. J., Jr., governor of 
South Carolina, 216. 

Murphy, Isaac, Johnson recog 
nizes as governor, 36. 

NAPOLEON III., resentment 
against, 17, 151; and Mexico, 

Nast, Thomas, cartoons, 347, 

35 1 - 

Nation, influence, 346. 

National banks, western opposi 
tion, 239; increased circula 
tion authorized, 253. 

" National Union Convention " 
(1866), 73-76. 

Nationalism, opposition to cen 
tralizing tendencies (1872), 

Nebraska, admitted, 126; cor 
ruption in, 230. 

Negro suffrage, and Johnson s 
reconstruction proclamation, 
37, 42; in District of Colum 
bia, 61, 94, 244, 245; Four 
teenth Amendment on, 67 ; 
Loyalists Convention on, 77; 
in territories, 94; under re 
construction acts, 94, in; 
attitude of southern whites, 
in, 117; in reconstruction 
constitutions, 113; negroes 
adhere to Republican party, 
114, 115; Union Leagues, 115; 
negro officials, 120, 216, 278, 
281; means of intimidation, 
121, 135, 268, 278, 304; oper 
ations of Ku-Klux Klan, 122, 
123, 135, 181, 187; defeated 
in West (1867), I2 5I as is ~ 
sue in 1868, 128, 132; in 
fluence of election of 1868 
on, 135; Fifteenth Amend 
ment, 135, 174-176, 182; 


Federal acts to protect, 184- 
188; as issue in 1872, 196, 
198, 199, 201; tendency tow 
ards race parties, 210, 211; 
judicial decisions on, 263. 
See also Reconstruction. 

Negro troops, southern pro 
tests against, 30. 

Negroes, post-war conditions 
in Kentucky, 9; demoraliza 
tion of freedmen, 10, 46; 
Freedmen s Bureau, 30-34, 
59-61, 68; first sign of race 
friction, 45; "forty acres 
and a mule," 46; southern 
black codes, 54-59, no; 
Federal civil rights acts, 63, 
64, 214, 255; Fourteenth 
Amendment on, 67; race vio 
lence, 79-81, 182, 219, 249, 
271, 279, 305-307; militia, 
183, 279; Federal acts to pro 
tect, 184; schools, 206; and 
poor whites, 213; desire for 
social equality, 213; faked 
outrages on, 250. See also 
Negro suffrage, Reconstruc 

Nelson, T. A. R., counsel at 
impeachment , 104. 

Neutrality, rules in treaty of 
Washington, 167. See also 
Alabama claims. 

New Orleans, riot (1866), 79-81, 
93; rising (1874), 249. 

New York City, Tweed ring, 229, 

New York Sun during recon 
struction, 347. 

New York Times during recon 
struction, 347. 

New York Tribune during re 
construction, 347. 

Newspapers of reconstruction 
period, 347- 

Nicholls, F. T., contested elec 
tion, 327, 340. 

North, post - war conditions 

North Carolina, reconstruction 
movement during war, 14; 
Johnson s reconstruction, 37- 
39; readmitted, 118; militia, 
183; radicals lose control, 
1 86; activity of-. Ku-Klux, 
187; impeachment of Holden, 
187 ., 215; bankrupt, 215; 
bibliography, 354. See also 
Reconstruction . 

Northwest, development and 
prosperity, 143, 150, 225; 
Granger movement, 228. 

Noyes, E. F., "visiting states 
man," 312. 

OATHS, Missouri test -oath, 8; 
amnesty, 36; Missouri and 
Federal test, unconstitution 
al, 89 ; required under recon 
struction act, 96; iron-clad, 
repealed, 203. 

O Conor, Charles, and nomi 
nation for president, 200 n. ; 
counsel before electoral com 
mission, 331. 

Ohio, rejects negro suffrage 
(1867), 125; idea (1868), 131; 
goes Democratic (1874), 250. 

Ord, E. O. C., district com 
mander, 97. 

Oregon, electoral returns (1876), 
318; vote counted for Hayes, 

tion, 7, 144; government aid, 
145; economic and social 
effect, 146; additional lines 
begun, 226; Credit Mobilier, 
2 3 I ~233; bibliography, 357. 

Packard, S. B., factional fight 
in Louisiana, 217, 218; con 
trol, 272; contested election 
(1876), 327, 328, 340. 

Palmer, J. M., as commander 
of Kentucky, 9; "visiting 
statesman," 312. 

Panic of 1873, 255; resulting 



business depression, 236, 237; 
political result, 237, 238; bib 
liography, 356. 

Paper money, as issue in 1868, 
128, 131-133; payment of 
bonds in, 131 - 133, 140; 
amount of greenbacks (1865), 
137; contraction, 137; con 
traction suspended, 138; rea 
sons against contraction, 139 ; 
public credit act, 221; in 
flation by secretary of treas 
ury, 223-225, 239; inflation 
bill vetoed, 239; compromise 
inflation act, 239; national 
bank-notes, 239, 254; re 
sumption act, 252-254; ju 
dicial decisions on legal ten 
der, 258-260; as issue in 
1876, 294, 295; bibliography, 

Patterson, J. W., and Credit 
Mobilier, 233. 

Payne, H. B., electoral com 
mission, 329. 

Peirpoint, F. H., recognized as 
governor, 36. 

Pendleton, G. H., and presi 
dential nomination (1868), 

132, 133- 

Pennsylvania goes Democratic 
(1874), 250. 

Pennsylvania Railroad, forma 
tion of trunk lines, 149, 225, 

Periodicals of reconstruction 
period, 346-348. 

Perry, B. F., bibliography, 349. 

Petroleum, development of in 
dustry, 142. 

Phelps, W. W., Louisiana re 
port, 275. 

Philip Kearny, Fort, Indian at 
tack, 147. 

Pierrepont, Edwards, attorney- 
general, 277; southern policy, 
277, 279. 

Pinchback, P. B. S., and con 
tested election, 218. 

Poland, L. P., Credit Mobilier 
investigation, 232. 

Politics of Johnson s reconstruc 
tion policy, 42, 43, 72. See 
also Corruption, Elections, 
and parties by name. 

Poor whites and negro rights, 

Pope, John, district commander, 


Potter, C. N., Louisiana re 
port, 275. 

Public credit act, 221. 

Public lands, grants to rail 
roads, 145; political opposi 
tion to such grants, 227. 

RAILROADS, post-war develop 
ment, 7, 143; construction of 
Pacific, 144-146; its effect, 
146; formation of trunk lines, 
148, 225; popular opposition 
to consolidation, 149, 226; 
beneficial results, 149; de 
velopment and social move 
ments, 149; corrupt develop 
ment in reconstructed states, 
207; excessive development, 
226; opposition to land grants 
to, 227; Granger legislation, 
228; movement for Federal 
regulation, 229; Granger 
cases, 264; bibliography, 356. 

Randall, A. W., postmaster- 
general, 73; tour with John 
son, 8 1. 

Randall, S. J., leader in House, 
281; and electoral count fili 
bustering, 337. 

Rawlins, J. A., and Cuba, 171; 
death, 171; secretary of war, 

Raymond, H. J., as editor of 
Times, 347. 

Reagan, J. H., confined, 23. 

Reconstruction, key of prob 
lem, 4; post-war conditions 
of South, 9-13, 25-27, 46; 
conditions of state govern- 



merits, 13; Lincoln s policy 
and loyal governments, 13- 
16; influence of Johnson s 
character, 19; his vindictive 
attitude, 20, 21 ; his change of 
policy, 21, 41; revival of in 
tercourse, 27-29; military ad 
ministration, 29 ; negro troops, 
30; Freedmen s Bureau, 30- 
34, 46; Johnson adopts Lin 
coln s policy, 35; loyal gov 
ernments recognized, 36; 
amnesty proclamation, 36; re 
construction proclamations, 
37 39; constitutional con 
ventions (1865), 39; secession 
invalidated, 40; Thirteenth 
Amendment ratified, 40; civil 
governments completed, 40; 
policy of radicals, 42; John 
son s policy and party read 
justment, 43, 72; popularity 
of his policy, 43 ; ex-Confed 
erates regain control, 44 ; signs 
of race friction, 45-47; re 
ports on conditions, 47-50; 
Congress excludes recon 
structed states, 51-53, 61; 
congressional committee, 51, 
65; motives influencing Con 
gress, 52, 61; Johnson s mes 
sage, 52; apportionment of 
representation, 53, no; black 
codes, 54-59, no; Freed 
men s Bureau bills and veto, 
59-61, 68; breach between 
Johnson and Congress, 62, 64, 
71; civil rights act, 63-65; 
report of committee, 65-67, 
69; Fourteenth Amendment, 
67, 68; popular attitude in 
North (1866), 69; readmis- 
sion of Tennessee, 69; as is 
sue in 1866, 71, 78; political 
conventions, 7 3-7 8; influences 
of New Orleans riot, 79-81; 
popular support of Congress, 
82 ; South rejects amendment, 
83; finality of amendment, 

85; influences of Supreme 
Court decision, 89; first re 
construction act, 92-95; sup 
plementary act, 95; military 
districts, 95; Johnson and 
execution of act, 97; district 
commanders, 97; Stanbery s 
interpretation of acts, 97; 
act nullifying interpretation, 
98; progress under acts, 109; 
attitude of whites, 109-111, 
117; registration, 1 1 r ; consti 
tutional conventions (1867), 
112; constitutions, 113; rati 
fication campaign, 114; po 
litical attitude of negroes, 
114, 115; Union Leagues, 115; 
components of southern par 
ties, 116; completed in seven 
states, 118; radicals control, 
119; character of office-hold 
ers, 1 20, 208, 216, 278; Ku- 
Klux, 121-123, 135, 181, 187; 
as issue in 1868, 128, 129, 131, 
132, 134; Fifteenth Amend 
ment, 174-176, 180, 182; fun 
damental conditions of read- 
mission, 175, 180; completed 
in rest of states, 179; radi 
cals lose control, 180, 184, 
186, 215, 247. 248, 267, 280, 
314; set back in Georgia, 181 ; 
race violence, 182, 219, 249, 
271, 279, 305-307; negro mili 
tia, 183, 279; first enforce 
ment act, 184-186; Federal 
supervision of elections, 186; 
Ku-Klux act, 186-189; con 
gressional report on condi 
tions (1873), 1 88; as issue in 
1872, 196, 198, 200 202; 
amnesty act, 203; despair of 
whites, 203, 204, 211, 212, 
215; character and effect of 
Federal interference, 204, 212, 
216, 219, 270-272; malad 
ministration, 204-209; pub 
lic schools, 206; radical 
schisms, 209; tendency tow- 



ards race parties, 210; elec 
tion laws, 211; Grant s atti 
tude, 212, 217; social aspect 
of problem, 213; northern ig 
norance, 215; election frauds, 
216; South Carolina affairs, 
216, 267, 305-308, 327, 340; 
Louisiana affairs, 217-219, 
246-249, 272-276, 303-305, 

327, 340; as issue in 1874, 246, 
249; Arkansas affairs, 247, 
277; faked outrages, 250; ef 
fect of election of 1874, 251; 
Alabama investigation, 254; 
attempted force bill (1875), 
254; supplementary civil 
rights act, 255; Republican 
opposition to further inter 
ference, 252, 254, 265, 266, 
2 75~ 2 77* judicial undoing, 
256; aloofness of Supreme 
Court, 256-258; court de 
prived of jurisdiction, 257; 
interpretation of war amend 
ments and enforcement acts, 
260-265; means of restoring 
white rule, 267-269; Grant 
wavers in policy (1874), 269; 
Mississippi affairs (1875), 27 8- 
280; as issue in 1876, 294, 296, 
300, 301 ; and electoral count, 

328, 338, 339; Grant deserts 
radicals, 328, 340; end of Fed 
eral interference, 341; bibli 
ography of period, 342-357; 
secondary works on, 343; 
sources, 343-349 ; biographies, 
3 49-3 5 r accounts of southern 
conditions, 351-354. 

Reed, Harrison, acquitted, 215. 

Registration under reconstruc 
tion acts, 96, in. 

Reminiscences of reconstruc 
tion period, 348. 

Representation, question of ap 
portionment (1866), 53; un 
der Fourteenth Amendment, 

Republican party, question of 

name, 76, 128; freedmen ad 
here to, 114-116; compo 
nents of southern, 116; loses 
control of southern states, 
180, 184, 186, 215, 247, 248, 
267, 280, 314; opposition to 
Grant s southern policy, 243, 

M2, 254,, 265, 266. See also 

Richardson, W. A., and panic 
of 1873, 2 3 6 : inflation by, 
239; and Sanborn contracts, 
241; translated, 241. 

Robeson, G. M., corruption un 
der, 291. 

Rogers, A. J., reconstruction 
committee, 65. 

Rose, Sir John, Alabama claims 
negotiations, 167. 

Ross, E. G., votes to acquit 
Johnson, 106; asks patron 
age, 107. 

Russell, Earl, denies Alabama 
claims, 160. 

Russia sells Alaska, 156, 157. 

ST. JOHN ISLAND, negotiation 
for, 158. 

St. Thomas Island, negotiation 
for, 158. 

Salary grab, 233-235. 

Sanborn contracts, 241. 

San Juan Island, arbitration, 

Santo Domingo, attempted an 
nexation, 163; influence on 
internal politics, 164. 

Saxton, Rufus, as Freedmen s i 
Bureau commissioner, 33. 

Scalawags, use of term, 116; 
defection from radicals, 210. 

Schenck, R. C., dubious specu 
lation, 231. 

Schofield, J. M., district com 
mander, 97 ; secretary of war, 
108; and Mexico, 153, 154; 
bibliography, 349. 

Schurz, Carl, report on south 
ern conditions (1865), 47- 



49; and Liberal movement, 
191, 195, 196; on Republican 
aspirants (1876), 297. 

Scott, R. K., and negro militia, 

Scott, T. A., popular denuncia 
tion, 227, 228. 

Secession, ordinances invali 
dated, 40. 

Sedden, J. A., confined, 23. 

Seward, W. H., attitude tow 
ards conquered South, 2 1 ; 
tour with Johnson, 81; ex 
pansionist, 152; and French 
in Mexico, 154, 156; pur 
chases Alaska, 156, 157; 
negotiation for Danish West 
Indies, 157; and Alabama 
claims , 159-161; bibliogra 
phy, 35- 

Seymour, Horatio, nominated 
for president, 133; defeated, 

J 33- 

Shepherd, A. R., government 
of District of Columbia, 244. 

Sheridan, P. H., district com 
mander, 97; Indian campaign 
(1867), 148; in Texas, 153; 
in Chicago (1871), 194 n.\ 
"banditti" despatches, 273; 
bibliography, 349. 

Sherman, John, and contrac 
tion of greenbacks, 139; re 
sumption bill, 253; "visit 
ing statesman," 312; and 
electoral count bill, 325; as 
surance on Hayes s southern 
policy, 339 ; bibliography, 348, 


Sherman, W. T., mission to Mex 
ico, 155; bibliography, 348. 

Sickles, D. E., district com 
mander, 97. 

Simms, W. G., bibliography, 


Sioux uprising (1866), 147. 
Slaughter-House cases, 260. 
Slavery abolished, 40, 53. 
Social conditions, effect of war, 

4; influence of Pacific rail 
way, 146; drift to cities, 150; 
revival of immigration, 150; 
in reconstructed states, 213. 
See also Corruption, Negroes. 

Soldiers conventions (1866), 

Sources on reconstruction pe 
riod, manuscript collections, 
343; printed collections, 344; 
public documents, 345; peri 
odicals, 346; works of public 
men, 348; reminiscences, 348. 

South. See Reconstruction. 

South Carolina, black code, 56; 
readmitted, 118; negro mili 
tia, 1 83 ; enforcement of Ku- 
Klux act in, 188; corrupt ad 
ministration of railways, 208; 
Africanization , 216; Cham- 
berlain as governor, 267, 305, 
306; Hamburg race war, 306; 
campaign (1876), Federal in 
terference, 307, 308; electoral 
vote, 312; contested state 
election, 327, 340; vote count 
ed for Hayes, 337; bibliogra 
phy, 352, 353. See also Re 

Spain. See Cuba. 

Speculation, post -war spirit, 136, 
141, 142. 

Speed, James, and amnesty 
proclamation, 36; on con 
fiscation, 42; resigns, 73. 

Sprague, William, and trial of 
Johnson, 107. 

Stanbery, Henry, attorney-gen 
eral, 73 ; interpretation of re 
construction acts, 97; resigns, 
104; counsel at impeachment, 
104; reappointment not con 
firmed, 108. 

Stanley, Lord, and Alabama 
claims, 161. 

Stanton, E. M., and assassina 
tion of Lincoln, 20; disband- 
memt of army, 24; dictates 
tenure of office act, 91; du- 



plicity towards Johnson, 91; 
opposes Stanbery s recon 
struction interpretation, 98; 
draughts act nullifying it, 98; 
suspended, 99; reinstated by 
Senate, 101; removed, 101; 
relinquishes office, 108; bib 
liography, 350. 

Stearns, M. L., and electoral 
vote of Florida, 314. 

Steedman, J. B., report on 
Freedmen s Bureau, 68. 

Stephens, A. H., confined, 23; 
elected to Senate (1865), 45; 
bibliography, 351. 

Stevens, Thaddeus, reconstruc 
tion policy, 51, 52; controls 
House, 64; character, 86; 
reports reconstruction bill, 
92; and impeachment, 103, 
1 06; bibliography, 343, 350. 

Stewart, A. T., and treasury 
portfolio, 177. 

Stoughton, E. W., "visiting 
statesman," 312. 

Strong, William, appointment 
and legal-tender decision, 259 ; 
electoral commission, 325. 

Suffrage, Federal supervision of 
elections, 186, 204. See also 
Negro suffrage. 

Sumner, Charles, reconstruc 
tion policy, 5 2 ; and southern 
black codes, 57 ; character, 87 ; 
and Alabama claims, 162, 
1 68; rupture with Grant, 
165; deposed from chair of 
foreign relations committee, 
1 66, 169; rupture with Fish, 
1 68; on Grant s militarism, 
194; and negro social equal 
ity, 214; civil rights bill, 255; 
Lamar s eulogy, 267; bib 
liography, 343. 348, 350, 355- 

Supreme Court, and Congress 
(1867), 89, 94; attitude tow 
ards reconstruction, 89; 
stands aloof on reconstruc 
tion measures, 256-258; de 

prived of reconstruction juris 
diction, 257; Texas vs. White, 
statehood, 257; legal-tender 
decisions, 258-260; interpre 
tation of war amendments 
and enforcement acts, 260- 
265; policy of these decisions, 

TARIFF, post-war opposition to 
reduction, 141; reform move 
ment (1872), 193; platforms 
on, 196, 199; revision under 
Grant, 222; corruption in 
collecting, 240; bibliography, 

Taxation in reconstructed 
states, 205. See also Internal 
revenue, Tariff. 

Tennessee, post-war conditions, 
9; war -time reconstruction, 
14, 16; loyal government 
recognized, 36 ; readmitted, 
69 ; proscription of ex-Confed 
erates, 125; radicals lose con 
trol, 184; bibliography, 353. 
See also Reconstruction. 

Tenure of office act, provisions, 
90; Stan ton author, 91; sus 
pension and removal of Stan- 
ton, 99, 101; and impeach 
ment of Johnson, 102, 105. 

Territories, negro suffrage, 94. 

Territory, yearning for, 151; 
Alaska, 156, 157; negotia 
tions for Danish West Indies, 
i 7 ; for Santo Domingo, 163 ; 
bibliography of expanson, 

Terry, A. H., report on Georgia 
outrages, 181; on Federal in 
terference, 204. 

Texas, reconstruction delayed, 
no; readmitted, 180; radi 
cals lose control, 247. See 
also Reconstruction. 

Texas vs. White, 257. 

Thirteenth Amendment, ratified 
in South, 40; in force, 53. 



Thomas, Lorenzo, secretary of 
war ad interim, 101. 

Thompson, Jacob, and assassi 
nation of Lincoln, 20. 

Thurman, A. G., electoral com 
mission, 329. 

Tilden, S. J., as governor, 301; 
nominated for president, 302 ; 
letter of acceptance, 302; de 
clared defeated, 338; bibli 
ography, 348, 351. See also 
Elections (1876). 

Tilton, Theodore, Beecher scan 
dal, 246; as editor, 347. 

Toombs, Robert, bibliography, 

3S 1 - 

Treaties, Washington (1871), 

Truman, B. C., report on south 
ern conditions, 47-50. 

Trumbull, Lyman, reports 
Freedmen s Bureau bill, 59; 
moderate reconstructionist, 
88; votes to acquit Johnson, 
106; and Liberal movement, 
195, 196; "visiting states 
man," 312; counsel before 
electoral commission, 334; 
bibliography, 343. 

Tweed ring, 229, 230. 

UNION, effect of Civil War on, 


Union army, disbandment, 24. 
Union Leagues, 115. 
Union men and "scalawags," 

Union Pacific Railroad. See 

Pacific Railway. 
United States vs. Cruikshank, 

United States vs. Reese, 263. 

tional Union Convention," 74; 
abandons war issues (1874), 

Vance, Z. B., confined, 35. 

Vanderbilts, formation of trunk 

lines, 148, 225; popular de 
nunciation, 227. 

Van Winkle, P. G., votes to ac 
quit Johnson, 106; asks pat 
ronage, 107. 

Vetoes, Johnson s Freedmen s 
Bureau, 60, 68 ; ineffectual, of 
civil rights bill, 64; of recon 
struction act, 96; Grant s, of 
inflation bill, 239. 

Virginia, loyal government, 15, 
16; loyal government recog 
nized, 36; reconstruction de 
layed, 119; vote on disfran- 
chisement, 179; readmitted, 
1 80; conservatives control, 
1 80; bankrupt, 215; bibliog 
raphy, 354. See also Recon 

Virginius affair, 172. 

"Visiting statesmen," 311, 312. 

WADE, B. F., radical, 88; Santo 
Domingo commission, 164; 
bibliography, 350. 

Waite, M. R., chief - justice, 
263; United States vs. Reese, 

Warmoth, H. C., deposed, 215; 
factional fight, 217. 

Washburne, E. B., and state 
portfolio, 177. 

Washington, treaty of, 167. 

Watterson, Henry, report on 
southern conditions (1865), 
47; agreement with Hayes s 
friends, 339. 

Watts, J. W., as elector (1876), 

Watts, T. H., confined, 35. 

Weed, S. M., "visiting states 
man," 312. 

Weed, Thurlow, on Johnson s 
February 22 speech, 62; bib 
liography, 351. 

Welles, Gideon, tour with John 
son, 81; bibliography, 349. 

Wells, D. A., and Liberal move 
ment, 195, 196. 


Wells, J. M., Johnson recog 
nizes as governor, 36. 

West, and paper money, 131, 
238, 239; new party move 
ments (1874), 246. See otso 

West Virginia, radicals control, 

Wheat, post-war development, 


Wheeler, W. A., Louisiana com 
promise, 276; nominated for 
vice-president, 300; declared 
elected, 338. See also Elec 
tions (1876). 

Wheeler compromise, 276. 

Whiskey ring, 283-286; bibliog 
raphy, 354. 

White, A. D., Santo Domingo 
commission, 164; bibliogra 
phy. 349- 

White Leagues, 248, 269. 

Whittlesey, Eliphalet, as Freed- 

men s Bureau commissioner, 

Willey, W. T., and trial of John 
son, 107. 

Williams, G. H., attitude tow 
ards South, 216; and chief- 
justiceship, 263, 278; resigns, 
277. 1^ 

Williams, Thomas, and im 
peachment, 103. 

Wilson, Henry, and southern 
black codes, 57; character, 

Wilson, J. F., moderate recon- 
structionist, 88 ; and impeach 
ment, 103. 

Wilson, J. M., Credit Mobilier 
investigation, 232. 

Wirz, Henry, trial, 22. 

Wyoming, territory organized. 

YAZOO CITY, race riot, 279. 






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