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John R. Lynch
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about The Facts of Reconstruction.
the use and distribution of Federal patronage.  The chief mistake on the part of those who thus believe, and who act in accordance with that belief, grows out of a serious lack of information about the actual situation.  In the first place their action is based upon the assumption that the Solid South,—­or what remains of it,—­is an outgrowth of an honest expression of the wishes of the people of that section, whereas, in point of fact, the masses had very little to do with bringing about present conditions and know less about them.  Those conditions are not due primarily to the fact that colored men are intimidated by white men, but that white men are intimidated by the Democratic party.  They are not due primarily to the fact that colored men are disfranchised, but that white men are prevented from giving effective expression to their honest political opinions and convictions.

The disfranchisement of the colored men is one of the results growing out of those conditions, which would not and could not exist if there were absolute freedom of thought and action in political matters among the white people.  The only part that the so-called Race Question plays in this business is that it is used as a pretext to justify the coercive and proscriptive methods thus used.  The fact that the colored man is disfranchised and has no voice in the creation and administration of the government under which he lives and by which he is taxed does not change the situation in this respect.  His presence,—­whether he can vote or not,—­furnishes the occasion for the continuance of such methods, and, as long as intelligent persons, especially at the North and particularly in the Republican party, can be thus fooled and deceived they will not be discontinued.

The announcement of President Taft’s Southern policy, therefore, was received by the present leaders of the Democratic party at the South with satisfaction and delight, not on account of the official recognition that members of their party were to receive, for that was of secondary importance, but on account of the fact that they could clearly see that their contention about the so-called race question was thus given a national sanction, which would have the effect of making that question serve them for several more Presidential campaigns.  It was giving a new market value to this “watered stock,” from which they would derive political dividends for a much longer period than they otherwise would.  They could thus see to their unbounded glee that if a man of President Taft’s intelligence and experience could thus be deceived as to conditions at the South, they would not have very much difficulty in deceiving others who were not believed to be so well informed.

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