The Facts of Reconstruction eBook

John R. Lynch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 248 pages of information about The Facts of Reconstruction.

The bitter and desperate struggle between the two factions of the Democratic party in the State of Mississippi in this contest, forcibly illustrates the fact that the National Republican party made a grave mistake when it abandoned any further effort to enforce by appropriate legislation the war amendments to the Constitution.  In opposing and denouncing the questionable methods of the extreme and radical faction of their own party, the conservative faction of the Democrats believed, expected, and predicted that such methods would not be acquiesced in by the Republican party, nor would they be tolerated by the National Government.  If those expectations and predictions had been verified they would have given the conservative element a justifiable excuse to break away from the radicals, and this would have resulted in having two strong political parties in that section to-day instead of one.  But when it was seen that the National Republican party made no further opposition to the enforcement of those extraneous, radical and questionable methods, that fact not only had the effect of preventing further opposition on the part of the conservative Democrats, but it also resulted in many of the politically ambitious among them joining the ranks of the radicals, since that was then the only channel through which it was possible for their political aspirations to be gratified.

The reader cannot fail to see that under the plan in force in Mississippi there is no incentive to intelligence; because intelligence does not secure access to the ballot-box, nor does the lack of it prevent such access.  It is not an incentive to the accumulation of wealth; because the ownership of property does not secure to the owner access to the ballot-box, nor does the lack of it prevent such access.  It is not a question of intelligence, wealth or character, nor can it be said that it is wholly a question of party.  It is simply a question of factional affiliation.  The standard of qualification is confined to such white men as may be in harmony with the faction that may happen to have control for the time being of the election machinery.  What is true of Mississippi in this respect is equally true of the other States in which schemes of various sorts have been invented and adopted to evade the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution.



The Congressional elections of 1890 resulted in a crushing defeat for the Republicans.  This was due, no doubt, to the McKinley Tariff Bill which became a law only about a month before the elections of that year.  Congress convened the first Monday in December, 1889, and that session did not come to a close until the following October.  The Democrats in Congress made a bitter fight against the McKinley Tariff Bill, and, since it was a very complete and comprehensive measure, a great deal of time was necessarily consumed in its consideration and discussion.  When it finally became a law the time between its passage and the elections was so short that the friends of the measure did not have time to explain and defend it before the elections took place.  This placed the Republicans at a great disadvantage.  They were on the defensive from the beginning.  The result was a sweeping Democratic victory.

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The Facts of Reconstruction from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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