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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.
a theory.  I am compelled to choose between you, on one side, and my family and personal interests, on the other.  That I have decided to sacrifice you and yours upon the altar of my family’s good is a decision for which you should neither blame nor censure me.  If I could see my way clear to pursue a different course it would be done; but my decision is based upon careful and thoughtful consideration and it must stand.”

Of course a stubborn and bitter fight for control of the Democratic organization was now on between the antagonistic and conflicting elements among the whites.  It was to be a desperate struggle between the former aristocrats, on one side, and what was known as the “poor whites,” on the other.  While the aristocrats had always been the weaker in point of numbers, they had been the stronger in point of wealth, intelligence, ability, skill and experience.  As a result of their wide experience, and able and skillful management, the aristocrats were successful in the preliminary struggles, as illustrated in the persons of Stephens, Gordon, Brown and Hill, of Georgia; Daniels and Lee, of Virginia; Hampton and Butler, of South Carolina; Lamar and Walthall, of Mississippi, and Garland, of Arkansas.  But in the course of time and in the natural order of things the poor whites were bound to win.  All that was needed was a few years’ tutelage and a few daring and unscrupulous leaders to prey upon their ignorance and magnify their vanity in order to bring them to a realization of the fact that their former political masters were now completely at their mercy, and subject to their will.

That the poor whites of the ante-bellum period in most of the late slaveholding or reconstructed States are now the masters of the political situation in those States, is a fact that will not be questioned, disputed or denied by anyone who is well informed, or who is familiar with the facts.  The aristocrats of ante-bellum days and their descendants in the old slave States are as completely under the political control and domination of the poor whites of the ante-bellum period as those whites were under them at that time.  Yet the reader must not assume that the election returns from such States indicate the actual, or even the relative, strength of the opposing and antagonistic elements and factions.  They simply indicate that the poor whites of the past and their descendants are now the masters and the leaders, and that the masters and the leaders of the past are now the submissive followers.

In the ranks of those who are now the recognized leaders is to be found some of the very best blood of the land,—­the descendants of the finest, best, most cultivated, and most refined families of their respective States.  But as a rule they are there, not from choice, but from necessity,—­not because they are in harmony with what is being done, or because they approve of the methods that are being employed and pursued, but on account of circumstances

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