But again, the question may be asked, if the reconstructed State Governments that were organized and brought into existence under the Congressional Plan of Reconstruction were not a disappointment and a failure, why is it that they could not and did not stand the test of time? The author hopes and believes that the reader will find in one of the chapters of this book a complete and satisfactory answer to that question.
It will be seen that the State of Mississippi is made the pivotal one in the presentation of the facts and historical points touched upon in this work; but that is because Mississippi was the field of the author’s political activities. That State, however, was largely typical, hence what was true of that one was, in the main, true of all the other reconstructed States.
The author was a member of Congress during the settlement of the controversy between Hayes and Tilden for the Presidency of the United States, resulting from the close and doubtful election of 1876,—a controversy that was finally decided through the medium of the Electoral Commission. The reader will find in the chapter on that subject many important facts and incidents not heretofore published.
Why was it that the able and brilliant statesman from Maine, James G. Blaine, died, as did Henry Clay, without having reached the acme of his ambition,—the Presidency of the United States? Why was he defeated for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1876,—the only time when it was possible for him to be elected, and defeated for the election in 1884,—the only time when it was possible for him to be nominated? The answer to these questions will be found in this book.
Then the interviews between the author and Presidents Grant and Cleveland, and Secretaries Blaine, Lamar, and Gresham will no doubt be interesting, if not instructive.
If, in writing this book, the author shall have succeeded in placing before the public accurate and trustworthy information relative to Reconstruction, his highest ambition will have been fully gratified, his sense of justice entirely satisfied.
John R. Lynch.
THE PART PLAYED BY MISSISSIPPI IN THE EARLY DAYS OF RECONSTRUCTION
The year 1866 was an eventful one in the history of this country. A bitter war was in progress between Congress and President Andrew Johnson over the question of the reconstruction of the States lately in rebellion against the National Government. The President had inaugurated a policy of his own that proved to be very unpopular at the North. He had pardoned nearly all the leaders in the rebellion through the medium of amnesty proclamations. In each rebel State he had appointed a provisional governor under whose direction Legislatures, State officers, and