Before proceeding farther, it is necessary to remark here, that, after the suppression of the Rebellion and adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which prohibits Slavery and Involuntary Servitude within the United States, it soon became apparent that it was necessary to the protection of the Freedmen, in the civil and political rights and privileges which it was considered desirable to secure to them, as well as to the creation and fostering of a wholesome loyal sentiment in, and real reconstruction of, the States then lately insurgent, and for certain other reasons, that other safeguards, in the shape of further Amendments to the Constitution, should be adopted.
Accordingly the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were, on the 16th of June, 1866, and 27th of February, 1869, respectively, proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the several States, and were declared duly ratified, and a part of the Constitution, respectively on the 28th of July, 1868, and March 30, 1870. Those Amendments were in these words:
"SECTION 1.—All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
"SECTION 2.—Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in Rebellion, or other crime, the basis of Representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
"SECTION 3.—No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or Elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in Insurrection or Rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
"SECTION 4.—The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing Insurrection or Rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of Insurrection or Rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or Emancipation of any Slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
"SECTION 5.—The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."
"SECTION 1.—The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by, the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
"SECTION 2.—The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
It would seem, then, from the provisions of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, and the Congressional legislation subsequently enacted for the purpose of enforcing them, that not only the absolute personal Freedom of every man, woman, and child in the United States was thus irrevocably decreed; that United States citizenship was clearly defined; that the life, liberty, property, privileges and immunities of all were secured by throwing around them the "equal protection of the laws;" that the right of the United States citizen to vote, was placed beyond denial or abridgment, on "account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude;" but, to make this more certain, the basis of Congressional Representative-apportionment was changed from its former mixed relation, comprehending both persons and "property," so-called, to one of personal numbers—the Black man now counting quite as much as the White man, instead of only three-fifths as much; and it was decreed, that, except for crime, any denial to United States citizens, whether Black or White, of the right to vote at any election of Presidential electors, Congressional Representatives, State Governors, Judges, or Legislative members, "shall" work a reduction, proportioned to the extent of such denial, in the Congressional Representation of the State, or States, guilty of it. As a further safeguard, in the process of reconstruction, none of the insurgent States were rehabilitated in the Union except upon acceptance of those three Amendments as an integral part of the United States Constitution, to be binding upon it; and it was this Constitution as it is, and not the Constitution as it was, that all the Representatives, in both Houses of Congress, from those insurgent States—as well as all their State officers—swore to obey as the supreme law of the Land, when taking their respective oaths of office.
Biding their time, and pretending to act in good faith, as the years rolled by, the distrust and suspicion with which the old Rebel-conspirators had naturally been regarded, gradually lessened in the public mind. With a glad heart, the Congress, year after year, removed the political disabilities from class after class of those who had incurred them, until at last all, so desiring, had been reinstated in the full privileges of citizenship, save the very few unrepentant instigators and leaders of the Rebellion, who, in the depths of that oblivion to which they seemingly had been consigned, continued to nurse the bitterness of their downfall into an implacable hatred of that Republic which had paralyzed the bloody hands of Rebellion, and shattered all their ambitious dreams of Oligarchic rule, if not of Empire.
But, while the chieftains of the great Conspiracy—and of the armed Rebellion itself—remained at their homes unpunished, through the clemency of the American People; the active and malignant minds of some of them were plotting a future triumph for the "Lost Cause," in the overthrow, in consecutive detail, of the Loyal governments of the Southern States, by any and all means which might be by them considered most desirable, judicious, expedient, and effectual; the solidifying of these Southern States into a new Confederation, or league, in fact—with an unwritten but well understood Constitution of its own—to be known under the apparently harmless title of the "Solid South," whose mission it would be to build up, and strengthen, and populate, and enrich itself within the Union, for a time, greater or less, according to circumstances, and in the meanwhile to work up, with untiring devotion and energy, not only to this practical autonomy and Sectional Independence within the Union, but also to a practical re-enslavement of the Blacks, and to the vigorous reassertion and triumph, by the aid of British gold, of those pernicious doctrines of Free-Trade which, while beneficial to the Cotton-lords of the South, would again check and drag down the robust expansion of manufactures and commerce in all other parts of the Land, and destroy the glorious prosperity of farmers, mechanics, and laborers, while at the same time crippling Capital, in the North and West.
In order to accomplish these results—after whatever of suspicion and distrust that might have still remained in Northern minds had been removed by the public declaration in 1874, by one of the ablest and most persuasively eloquent of Southern statesmen, that "The South—prostrate, exhausted, drained of her life-blood as well as of her material resources, yet still honorable and true—accepts the bitter award of the bloody arbitrament without reservation, resolutely determined to abide the result with chivalrous fidelity"—these old Rebel leaders commenced in good earnest to carry out their well organized programme, which they had already experimentally tested, to their own satisfaction, in certain localities.
The plan was this: By the use of shot-guns and rifles, and cavalcades of armed white Democrats, in red shirts, riding around the country at dead of night, whipping prominent Republican Whites and Negroes to death, or shooting or hanging them if thought advisable, such terror would fall upon the colored Republican voters that they would keep away from the polls, and consequently the white Democrats, undeterred by such influences, and on the contrary, eager to take advantage of them, would poll not only a full vote, but a majority vote, on all questions, whether involving the mere election of Democratic officials, or otherwise; and where intimidation of this, or any other kind, should fail, then a resort to be had to whatever devices might be found necessary to make a fraudulent count and return, and thus secure Democratic triumph; and furthermore, when evidences of these intimidations and frauds should be presented to those people of the Union who believe in every citizen of this free Republic having one free vote, and that vote fairly counted, then to laugh the complainants out of Court with the cry that such stories are not true; are "campaign lies" devised solely for political effect; and are merely the product of Republican "outrage mills," ground out, to order.
This plan was first thoroughly tried in Mississippi, and has hence been called the "Mississippi plan." So magically effectual was it, that, with variations adapted to locality and circumstances, this "Mississippi plan" soon enveloped the entire South in its mesh-work of fraud, barbarity, and blood. The massacres, and other outrages, while methodical, were remittent, wave-like, sometimes in one Southern State, sometimes another, and occurring only in years of hot political conflict, until one after another of those States had, by these crimes, been again brought under the absolute control of the old Rebel leaders. By 1876, they had almost succeeded in their entire programme. They had captured all, save three, of the Southern States, and strained every nerve and every resource of unprincipled ingenuity, of bribery and perjury, after the Presidential election of that year had taken place, in the effort to defeat the will of the People and "count in," the Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.
[The shameful history of the "Tilden barrel" and the "Cipher Dispatches" is too fresh in the public mind to be entirely forgotten,]
Failing in this effort, the very failure became a grievance. On the principle of a fleeing thief diverting pursuit by shouting "Stop thief," the cry of "fraud" was raised by the Democratic leaders, North and South, against the Republican Party, and was iterated and reiterated so long and loudly, that soon they actually began, themselves, to believe, that President Hayes had been "counted in," by improper methods! At all events, under cover of the hue and cry thus raised, the Southern leaders hurried up their work of Southern solidification, by multiplied outrages on the "Mississippi plan," so that, by 1880, they were ready to dictate, and did dictate, the Democratic Presidential nominations.
[Senator Wallace, of Pennsylvania, telegraphed from Cincinnati his congratulations to General Hancock, and added: "General Buell tells me that Murat Halsted says Hancock's nomination by the Confederate Brigadiers sets the old Rebel yell to the music of the Union." In the Convention which nominated Hancock, Wade Hampton made a speech, saying; "On behalf of the 'Solid South,' that South which once was arrayed against the great soldier of Pennsylvania, I stand here to pledge you its solid vote. [cheers] * * * There is no name which is held in higher respect among the people of the South, than that of the man you have given to us as our standard-bearer." And afterward, in a speech at Staunton, Virginia, the same Southern leader, in referring to the action of the Democratic Convention at Cincinnati, said: "There was but one feeling among the Southern delegates. That feeling was expressed when we said to our Northern Democratic brethren 'Give us an available man.' They gave us that man."]
While these old Rebel leaders of the South had insisted upon, and had succeeded in, nominating a man whose record as a Union soldier would make him popular in the North and West, and while their knowledge of his availability for Southern purposes would help them in their work of absolutely solidifying the South, they took very good care also to press forward their pet Free-Trade issue—that principle so dear to the hearts of the Rebel Cotton-lords that, as has already been hinted, they incorporated it into their Constitution of Confederation in these words:
"SEC. 8.—Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises for revenue necessary to pay the debts, provide for the common defense, and carry on the Government of the Confederate States; but no bounty shall be granted from the Treasury, nor shall any duty or tax on importation from Foreign Nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of industry."
It may also be remarked that, under the inspiration of those Southern leaders who afterward rebelled, it had been laid down as Democratic doctrine, in the National Democratic platform of 1856—and "reaffirmed" as such, in 1860—that "The time has come for the People of the United States to declare themselves in favor of * * * progressive Free-Trade. * * * That justice and sound policy forbid the Federal Government to foster one branch of industry to the detriment of another." But, by 1864, the Republican Protective-Tariff of 1860, had so abundantly demonstrated, to all our people engaged in industrial occupations, the beneficence of the great principle of home industrial Protection, that Tariff-agitation actually ceased, and the National Democratic platform of that year had nothing to say in behalf of Free-Trade!
After the close of the War, however, at the very first National Democratic Convention, in 1868, at which there were delegations from the lately rebellious States, the question was at once brought to the front, and, under the inspiration of the old Rebel leaders aforesaid, the Democratic platform again raised the banner of Free-Trade by declaring for a Tariff for revenue. But the mass of the People, at that time still freshly remembered the terrible commercial disasters and industrial depressions which had befallen the Land, through the practical operation of that baleful Democratic Free-Trade doctrine, before the Rebellion broke out, and sharply contrasted the misery and poverty and despair of those dark days of ruin and desolation, with the comfort and prosperity and hopefulness which had since come to them through the Republican Protective-Tariff Accordingly, the Republican Presidential candidate, representing the great principle of Protection to American Industries, was elected over the Democratic Free-Trade candidate, by 214 to 71 electoral votes-or nearly three to one!
Taught, by this lesson, that the People were not yet sufficiently prepared for a successful appeal in behalf of anything like Free-Trade, the next National Democratic Convention, (that of 1872), under the same Southern inspiration, more cautiously declared, in its platform, that "Recognizing that there are in our midst, honest but irreconcilable differences of opinion, with regard to the respective systems of Protection and Free-Trade, we remit the discussion of the subject to the People in their Congressional districts, and to the decision of the Congress thereon, wholly free from Executive interference or dictation." The People, however, rebuked the moral cowardice thus exhibited by the Democracy—in avoiding a direct issue on the doctrine which Democracy itself had galvanized at least into simulated life,—by giving 286 electoral votes to the Republican candidate, to 63 for the Democratic, —or in the proportion of nearly five to one.
Warned, by this overwhelming defeat, not to flinch from, or avoid, or try to convert the great National question of Tariff, into a merely local one, the National Democratic platform of 1876, at the instigation of the old Rebel leaders of the now fast solidifying South, came out flat-footedly again with the "demand that all Custom-house taxation shall be only for revenue." This time, the electoral vote stood almost evenly divided, viz.: for the Republican candidate, 185; for the Democratic candidate, 184;—a result so extremely close, as to lead to the attempted perpetration of great frauds against the successful candidate; the necessary settlement of the questions growing out of them, by an Electoral commission—created by Congress at the instance of the Democratic Party; great irritation, among the defeated Democracy, over the just findings of that august Tribunal; and to the birth of the alleged Democratic "grievance," aforesaid.
The closeness of this vote—their almost triumph, in 1876,—encouraged the Solid South to press upon the National Democratic Convention of 1880, the expediency of adopting a Free-Trade "plank" similar to that with which, in 1876, they had so nearly succeeded. Hence the Democratic platform of 1880, also declared decidedly for "A Tariff for revenue only."
The old Rebel leaders, at last in full control of the entire Democratic Party, had now got things pretty much as they wanted them. They had created that close corporation within the Union—that /imperium in imperio/ that oligarchically—governed league of States (within the Republic of the United States) which they termed the "Solid South," and which would vote as a unit, on all questions, as they directed; they had dictated the nomination, by the Democratic Party, of a Presidential candidate who would not dare to act counter to their wishes; and their pet doctrine of Free-Trade was held up, to the whole Democratic front, under the attractive disguise of a Tariff for revenue only.
[As Ex-Senator Toombs, of Georgia, wrote: "The old boys of the South will see that 'Hancock' does the fair thing by them. In other words, he will run the machine to suit them, or they will run the thing themselves. They are not going to be played with any longer."]
In other words, they had already secured a "Solid South," an "available" candidate, and an "expedient" Free-Trade platform. All that remained for them, at this stage, to do, was to elect the candidate, and enact their Free-Trade doctrine into legislation. This was their current work, so to speak—to be first attended to—but not all their work; for one of the most brilliant and candid of their coadjutors had said, only a few months before: "We do not intend to stop until we have stricken the last vestige of your War measures from the Statute-book."
Unfortunately, however, for their plans, an attempt made by them, under the lead of Mr. Morrison of Illinois, in 1876, to meddle with the Republican Protective-Tariff, had caused considerable public alarm, and had been credited with having much to do with a succeeding monetary panic, and industrial depression. Another and more determined effort, made by them in 1878, under the lead of their old Copperhead ally, Fernando Wood, to cut down the wise Protective duties imposed by the Tariff Act, about 15 per cent.,—together with the cold-blooded Free-Trade declaration of Mr. Wood, touching his ruinous Bill, that "Its reductions are trifling as compared with what they should be. * * * If I had the power to commence de novo, I should reduce the duties 50 per cent., instead of less than 15 per cent., upon an average as now proposed,"—an effort which was narrowly, and with great difficulty, defeated by the Republicans, aided by a mere handful of others,—had also occasioned great excitement throughout the Country, the suspension and failure of thousands of business firms, the destruction of confidence in the stability and profitableness of American industries, and great consequent suffering, and enforced idleness, to the working men and working women of the Land.
The sad recollection of these facts—made more poignant by the airy declaration of the Democratic Presidential candidate, that the great National question of the Tariff is a mere "local issue,"—was largely instrumental, in connection with the insolent aggressiveness of the Southern leaders, in Congress, in occasioning their defeat in the Presidential contest of 1880, the Republican candidate receiving 214 electoral votes, while the Democratic candidate received but 155 electoral votes.
In 1882, the House of Representatives was under Republican control, and, despite determined Democratic resistance, created a Tariff-commission, whose duty it was "to take into consideration, and to thoroughly investigate, all the various questions relating to the agricultural, commercial, mercantile, manufacturing, mining, and (other) industrial interests of the United States, so far as the same may be necessary to the establishment of a judicious Tariff, or a revision of the existing Tariff, upon a scale of justice to all interests."
That same year, in the face of most protracted and persistent opposition by the great bulk of Democratic members, both of the Senate and House of Representatives, and an effort to substitute for it the utterly ruinous Democratic Free-Trade Tariff of 1846, the Bill recommended by this Republican Tariff-commission, was enacted; and, in 1883, a modified Tariff-measure, comprehending a large annual reduction of import duties, while also carefully preserving the great Republican American principle of Protection, was placed by the Republicans on the Statute-book, despite the renewed and bitter opposition of the Democrats, who, as usual, fought it desperately in both branches of Congress. But Republican efforts failed in 1884, in the interest of the wool-growers of the country, to restore the Protective-duties on wool, which had been sacrificed, in 1883, to an exigency created by Democratic opposition to them.
Another Democratic effort, in the direction of Free-Trade, known as "the Morrison Tariff-Bill of 1884," was made in the latter year, which, besides increasing the free-list, by adding to it salt, coal, timber, and wood unmanufactured, as well as many manufactures thereof, decreased the import duties "horizontally" on everything else to the extent of twenty per cent. The Republicans, aided by a few Democrats, killed this undigested and indigestible Democratic Bill, by striking out its enacting clause.
By this time, however, by dint of the incessant special-pleading in behalf of the obnoxious and un-American doctrine of Free-Trade,—or the nearest possible approach to it, consistent with the absolutely essential collection of revenues for the mere support of the Government —indulged in (by some of the professors) in our colleges of learning; through a portion of the press; upon the stump; and in Congress; together with the liberal use of British gold in the wide distribution of printed British arguments in its favor,—this pernicious but favorite idea of the Solid South had taken such firm root in the minds of the greater part of the Democratic Party in the North and West, as well as the South, that a declaration in the National Democratic platform in its favor was now looked for, as a matter of course. The "little leaven" of this monstrous un-American heresy seemed likely to leaven "the whole mass" of the Democracy.
But, as in spite of the tremendous advantage given to that Party by the united vote of the Solid South, the Presidential contest of 1884 was likely to be so close that, to give Democracy any chance to win, the few Democrats opposed to Free-Trade must be quieted, the utterances of the Democratic National Platform of that year, on the subject, were so wonderfully pieced, and ludicrously intermixed, that they could be construed to mean "all things to all men."
At last, after an exciting campaign, the Presidential election of 1884 was held, and for the first time since 1856, the old Free-Trade Democracy of the South could rejoice over the triumph of their Presidential candidate.
Great was the joy of the Solid South! At last, its numberless crimes against personal Freedom, and political Liberty, would reap a generous harvest. At last, participation in Rebellion would no more be regarded as a blot upon the political escutcheon. At last, commensurate rewards for all the long years of disconsolate waiting, and of hard work in night ridings, and house-burnings, and "nigger"-whippings, and "nigger"-shootings, and "nigger"-hangings, and ballot-box stuffings, and all the other dreadful doings to which these old leaders were impelled by a sense of Solid-Southern patriotism, and pride of race, and lust for power, would come, and come in profusion.
Grand places in the Cabinet, and foreign Missions, for the old Rebels of distinction, now Chiefs of the "Solid-Southern" Conspiracy, and for those other able Northern Democrats who had helped them, during or since the Rebellion; fat consulates abroad, for others of less degree; post-offices, without stint, for the lesser lights; all this, and more, must now come. The long-hidden light of a glorious day was about to break. The "restoration of the Government to the principles and practices of the earlier period," predicted by the unreconstructed "Rebel chieftains" those "same principles for which they fought for four years" the principles of Southern Independence, Slavery, Free Trade and Oligarchic rule—were now plainly in sight, and within reach!
The triumph of the Free-Trade Democracy, if continued to another Presidential election, would make Free-Trade a certainty. The old forms of Slavery, to be sure, were dead beyond reanimation—perhaps; but, in their place, were other forms of Slavery, which attracted less attention and reprobation from the World at large, and yet were quite as effectual for all Southern purposes. The system of Peonage and contracted convict-labor, growing out of the codes of Black laws, were all-sufficient to keep the bulk of the Negro race in practical subjection and bondage. The solidifying of the South had already made the South not only practically independent within the Union, but the overshadowing power, potential enough to make, and unmake, the rulers and policies of the Democratic Party, and of that Union.
This, indeed, was a grand outcome for the tireless efforts of the once defeated Conspirators! And as to Oligarchal rule—the rule of the few (and those the Southern chiefs) over the many,—was not that already accomplished? For these old Rebel leaders and oligarchs who had secured the supreme rule over the Solid South, had also, through their ability to wield the power of that Solid South within the Union, actually secured the power of practically governing the entire Union!
That Union, then, which we have been wont to look upon as the grandest, noblest, freest, greatest Republic upon Earth,—is it really such, in all respects, at the present? Does the Free Republic of the United States exist, in fact, to-day?
And what next? Aye, what next? Do the patriotic, innocent-minded lovers of a Republican form of Government imagine, for an instant, that all danger to its continued existence and well-being has ceased to threaten?—that all the crises perilous to that beneficent popular governmental form have vanished?—that the climacteric came, and went, with the breaking out, and suppression, of the Rebellion?—and that there is nothing alarming in the outlook? Quite likely. The public mind has not yet been aroused to a sense of the actual revolution against Republican form of government that has already taken place in many of the Southern States, much less as to the likelihood of things to come. The people of any one of the Western, or Northern States,—take New York, for example,—feel prosperous and happy under the beneficent workings of the Republican Protective-Tariff system. Business, of all sorts, recovering from the numerous attacks made upon that prime bulwark of our American industries, if only let alone, will fairly hum, and look bright, so far as "the Almighty dollar" is concerned. They know they have their primaries and conventions, in their wards and counties throughout their State, and their State Conventions, and their elections. They know that the voice of the majority of their own people, uttered through the sacred ballot-box, is practically the Vox Dei—and that all bow to it. They know also, that this State government of theirs, with all its ramifications—whether as to its Executive, its Legislative, its Judicial, and other officials, either elective or appointed—is a Republican form of government, in the American sense—in the sense contemplated by the Fathers, when they incorporated into the revered Constitution of our Country the vital words: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of government." But they do not realize the vastly different condition of things in many States of the Solid South, nor how it affects themselves.
And what is this "republican" form of government, thus pledged? It is true that there are not wanting respectable authorities whose definitions of the words "republic," and "republican," are strongly inharmonious with their true meaning, as correctly understood by the great bulk of Americans. Thus, Brande asserts that "A republic may be either a democracy or an aristocracy!"—and proceeds to say: "In the former, the supreme power is vested in the whole body of the people, or in representatives elected by the people; in the latter, it is vested in a nobility, or a privileged class of comparatively a small number of persons." John Adams also wrote: "The customary meanings of the words republic and commonwealth have been infinite. They have been applied to every Government under heaven; that of Turkey and that of Spain, as well as that of Athens and of Rome, of Geneva and San Marino." But the true meaning of the word "republican" as applied to a "form of government," and as commonly and almost invariably understood by those who, above all others in the wide World, should best understand and appreciate its blessings—to wit: the American People has none of the looseness and indefiniteness which these authorities throw about it.
The prevailing and correct American idea is that "Republican" means: of, or pertaining to, a Republic; that "Republic" means a thing, affair, or matter, closely related to, and touching the "public;" and that the "public" are the "people"—not a small proportion of them, but "the people at large," the whole community, the Nation, the commonalty, the generality. Hence, "a Republican form of government" is, in their opinion, plainly that form which is most closely identified with, and representative of, the generality or majority of the people; or, in the language of Dr. J. E. Worcester, it is "That form of government or of a State, in which the supreme power is vested in the people, or in representatives elected by the people."
It is obvious that there can be no such thing as "a republic," which is, at the same time, "an aristocracy;" for the moment that which was "a republic" becomes "an aristocracy," that moment it ceases to be "a republic." So also can there be no such thing as "a republic" which is "an oligarchy," for, as "a republic" is a government of the many, or, as President Lincoln well termed it, "a government of the people, by the people, for the people"—so it must cease to be "a republic," when the supreme power is in the hands of the oligarchic few.
There can be but two kinds of republics proper—one a democratic republic, which is impossible for a great and populous Nation like ours, but which may have answered for some of the small republics of ancient Greece; the other, a representative republic, such as is boasted by the United States. And this is the kind palpably meant by the Fathers, when, for the very purpose of nipping in the bud any anti-republican Conspiracy likely to germinate from Slavery, they inserted in the Great Charter of American Liberties the solemn and irrevocable mandate: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government." That they meant this majority rule—this government by the many, instead of the few—this rule of the People, as against any possible minority rule, by, or through, oligarchs or aristocrats, is susceptible of proof in other ways.
It is a safe guide, in attempting to correctly expound the Constitution of the United States, to be careful that the construction insisted on, is compatible and harmonious with the spirit of that great instrument; so that—as was said by an eloquent and distinguished Massachusetts statesman of twenty years ago, in discussing this very point—"the guarantee of a Republican form of government must have a meaning congenial with the purposes of the Constitution." Those purposes, of course, are expressed in its preamble, or in the body of the instrument, or in both. The preamble itself, in this case, is sufficient to show them. It commences with the significant words: "We THE PEOPLE of the United States"—words, instinct with the very consciousness of the possession of that supreme power by the People or public, which made this not only a Nation, but a Republic; and, after stating the purposes or objects sought by the People in thus instituting this Republic, proceeds to use that supreme political power vested in them, by ordaining and establishing "this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America." And, from the very first article, down to the last, of that "Constitution," or "structure," or "frame," or "form" of government, already self-evidently and self-consciously and avowedly Republican, that form is fashioned into a distinctively representative Republican government.
The purposes themselves, as declared in the preamble, for which the People of the United States thus spake this representative Republic into being, are also full of light. Those purposes were "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."
How is it possible, for instance, that "the Blessings of Liberty" are to be secured to "ourselves and our Posterity," if citizens of the United States, despite the XVth Amendment of that Constitution, find-through the machinations of political organizations —their right to vote, both abridged and denied, in many of the States, "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude?" How, if, in such States, "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures," is habitually violated, despite the IVth Amendment of that Constitution? How, if, in such States, persons are notoriously and frequently "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law," in violation of the Vth Amendment of that Constitution? Yet such is the state of affairs generally prevalent in many States of the Solid South.
These provisions in the Constitution were, with others, placed there for the very purpose of securing "the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity," of promoting the "General Welfare," of establishing "Justice," of insuring "domestic Tranquillity" and making "a more perfect Union"—and the violation of those provisions, or any one of them, in any part of our Land, by any part of our People, in any one of the States, is not only subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary, but constitutes a demand, in itself, upon the National Government, to obey that imperative mandate of the Constitution (Sec. 4, article IV.) comprehended in the words: "The United States SHALL guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government."
[The meaning of these words is correctly given in an opinion of Justice Bronson of New York (4 Hill's Reports, 146) in these words:
"The meaning of the section then seems to be, that no member of the State shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of his rights or privileges unless the matter shall be adjudged against him upon trial had according to the course of common law. The words 'due process of law' cannot mean less than a prosecution or suit instituted and conducted according to the prescribed forms and solemnities for ascertaining guilt or determining the title to property."]
It is well that the truth should be spoken out, and known of all men. The blame for this condition of things belongs partly to the Republican Party. The question is sometimes asked: "If these outrages against citizenship, against the purity of the ballot, against humanity, against both the letter and spirit of the Constitution of our Republic, are perpetrated, why is it that the Republican Party—so long in power during their alleged perpetration—did not put a stop to them?" The answer is: that while there are remedial measures, and measures of prevention, fully warranted by the Constitution—while there are Constitutional ways and means for the suppression of such outrages—yet, out of exceeding tenderness of heart, which prompted the hope and belief that the folly of continuing them must ere long come home to the Southern mind and conscience, the Republican Party has been loath to put them in force. The—best remedy of all, and the best manner of administering it, lies with the people themselves, of those States where these outrages are perpetrated. Let them stop it. The People of the United States may be long-suffering, and slow to wrath; but they will not permit such things to continue forever.
When the Rebellion was quelled, the evil spirit which brought it about should have been utterly crushed out, and none of the questions involved in it should have been permitted to be raised again. But the Republican Party acted from its heart, instead of its head. It was merciful, forgiving, and magnanimous. In the magnificent sweep of its generosity to the erring son, it perhaps failed to insure the exact justice to the other sons which was their right. For, as has already been shown in these pages, Free-Trade, imbedded in the Rebel Constitution, as well as Slavery, entered into and became a part, and an essential part, of the Rebellion against the Union—to triumph with Slavery, if the Rebellion succeeded—to fall with Slavery, if the Rebellion failed. And, while Slavery and Free-Trade, were two leading ideas inspiring the Southern Conspirators and leaders in their Rebellion; Freedom to Man, and Protection to Labor, were the nobler ideas inspiring those who fought for the Union.
The Morrill-Tariff of 1860, with modifications to it subsequently made by its Republican friends, secured to the Nation, through the triumph of the Union arms, great and manifold blessings and abundant prosperity flowing from the American Protective policy; while the Emancipation proclamations, together with the Constitutional amendments, and Congressional legislation, through the same triumph, and the acceptance of the legitimate results of the War, gave Freedom to all within the Nation's bound aries. This, at least, was the logical outcome of the failure of the Rebellion. Such was the general understanding, on all sides, at the conclusion of the War. Yet the Republican Party, in failing to stigmatize the heresy of Free Trade—which had so large an agency in bringing about the equally heretical doctrines of State Sovereignty and the right of Secession, and Rebellion itself,—as an issue or question settled by the War, as a part and parcel of the Rebellion, was guilty of a grave fault of omission, some of the ill-effects of which have already been felt, while others are yet to come. For, quickly after the War of the Rebellion closed,—as has been already mentioned—the defeated Rebel leaders, casting in their lot with their Democratic friends and allies, openly and without special rebuke, prevailed upon the National Democracy to adopt the Rebel Free-Trade Shibboleth of "a Tariff for revenue;" and that same Democracy, obtaining power and place, through violence and fraud and falsehood at the so-called "elections" in the Solid Southern States, now threatens the Country once more with iniquitous Free-Trade legislation, and all its attendant train of commercial disasters and general industrial ruin.
Were Abraham Lincoln able bodily to revisit the United States to-day, how his keen gray eyes would open in amazement, to find that many legitimate fruits of our Union victories had been filched from us; that —save the honorable few, who, accepting the legitimate results of the War, were still honestly striving for the success of principles harmonizing with such results, and inuring to the general welfare—they who strove with all their might to wreck the Government,—were now, —through the fraudulent and forcible restriction of voters in their right to vote—at the helm of State; that these, who sought to ruin the Nation, had thus wrongfully usurped its rule; that Free-Trade—after "running-a-muck" of panic and disaster, from the birth of the Republic, to the outbreak of the Rebellion, with whose failure it should naturally have expired—was now reanimated, and stood, defiantly threatening all the great industries of our Land; that all his own painstaking efforts, and those of the band of devoted Patriots who stood by him to free the Southern Slaves, had mainly resulted in hiding from sight the repulsive chains of enforced servitude, under the outward garb of Freedom; that the old Black codes had simply been replaced by enactments adapted to the new conditions; that the old system of African Slavery had merely been succeeded by the heartless and galling system of African Peonage; that the sacrifices made by him—including that of his martyrdom—had, to a certain extent, been made in vain; that all the sacrifices, the sorrows, the sufferings, of this Nation, made in blood, in tears, and in vast expenditures of time and treasure, had, in some degree, and in a certain sense, been useless; that the Union, to be sure, was saved—but saved to be measurably perverted from its grand purpose; that the power which animated Rebellion and which was supposed to have expired in the "last ditch" with the "Lost Cause" had, by political legerdemain and jugglery and violence, been regained; that the time had actually come for Patriots to take back seats, while unrepentant Rebels came to the front; that the Republic still lived, but only by sufferance, with the hands of Southern oligarchs about its palpitating throat—a Republic, not such as he expected, where all men are equal before the law, and protected in their rights, but where the rights of a certain class are persistently trampled under foot; that the people of the Northern, Middle, and Western States, observing nothing beyond their own vicinage, so to speak, and finding that each of their own States is still Republican in its form of government, persistently, and perversely, shut their eyes to the election terrorism practiced in the Solid South by, which the 16 solid, Southern States were, and are, solidified by these conspiring oligarchs into one compact, and powerful, political mass, ever ready to be hurled, in and out of Congress, against the best interests of the Nation—16 States, not all "Republican" in form, but many of them Despotisms, in substance,—16 States, misnamed "Democratic," many of them ruled not by a majority, but by an Oligarch-ridden minority—16 States, leagued, banded, bound solidly together, as one great controlling Oligarchy, to hold, in its merciless and selfish hands, the balance of power within this Republican Union; and that these confederated Southern States are now actually able to dictate to all the other States of the Union, the particular man, or men, to whose rule the Nation must submit, and the particular policy, or policies, which the Nation must adopt and follow:
"What next?"—you ask—"What next?" Alas, it is not difficult to predict! Power, lawlessly gained, is always mercilessly used. Power, usurped, is never tamely surrendered. The old French proverb, that "revolutions never go backward," is as true to-day, as when it was written. Already we see the signs of great preparations throughout the Solid South. Already we hear the shout of partisan hosts marshalled behind the leaders of the disarmed Rebellion, in order that the same old political organization which brought distress upon this Land shall again control the Government. Already the spirit of the former aggressiveness is defiantly bestirring itself. The old chieftains intend to take no more chances. They feel that their Great Conspiracy is now assured of success, inside the Union. They hesitate not to declare that the power once held by them, and temporarily lost, is regained. Like the Old Man of the Sea, they are now on top, and they:
MEAN TO KEEP THERE—IF THEY CAN.
BIOGRAPHICAL ADDENDUM: As few readers 150 years later know of John Logan it seemed appropriate to the eBook editor to append this short biography taken from the Encyclopedia Britanica of 1911:
LOGAN, JOHN ALEXANDER (1826-1886), American soldier and political leader, was born in what is now Murphysborough, Jackson county, Illinois, on the 9th of February 1826. He had no schooling until he was fourteen; he then studied for three years in Shiloh College, served in the Mexican War as a lieutenant of volunteers, studied law in the office of an uncle, graduated from the Law Department of Louisville University in 1851, and practised law with success. He entered politics as a Douglas Democrat, was elected county clerk in 1849, served in the State House of Representatives in 1853-1854 and in 1857, and for a time, during the interval, was prosecuting attorney of the Third Judicial District of Illinois. In 1858 and 1860 he was elected as a Democrat to the National House of Representatives. Though unattached and unenlisted, he fought at Bull Run, and then returned to Washington, resigned his seat, and entered the Union army as colonel of the 31st Illinois Volunteers, which he organized. He was regarded as one of the ablest officers who entered the army from civil life. In Grant's campaigns terminating in the capture of Vicksburg, which city Logan's division was the first to enter and of which he was military governor, he rose to the rank of major-general of volunteers; in November 1863 he succeeded Sherman in command of the XV. Army Corps; and after the death of McPherson he was in command of the Army of the Tennessee at the battle of Atlanta. When the war closed, Logan resumed his political career as a Republican, and was a member of the National House of Representatives from 1867 to 1871, and of the United States Senate from 1871 until 1877 and again from 1879 until his death, which took place at Washington, D.C., on the 26th of December 1886. In 1868 he was one of the managers in the impeachment of President Johnson. His war record and his great personal following, especially in the Grand Army of the Republic, contributed to his nomination for Vice-President in 1884 on the ticket with James G. Blaine, but he was not elected. His impetuous oratory was popular on the platform. He was commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic from 1868 to 1871, and in this position successfully urged the observance of Memorial or Decoration Day, an idea which probably originated with him. He was the author of "The Great Conspiracy: Its Origin and History" (1886), an account of the Civil War, and of "The Volunteer Soldier of America" (1887). There is a fine statue of him by St. Gaudens in Chicago.
The best biography is that by George F. Dawson, The Life and Services of Gen. John A. Logan, as Soldier and Statesman (Chicago and New York, 1887).