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WHOM THE PEOPLE WILL ELECT, AND WHY.
With all the ardor, genius, and au nations, their issues simplify as their dacity of the American character, but passion deepens, until, in the heat of the with less, we trust, than its full can struggle, all the elements of the contest dor and caution, our countrymen have are fused into one ruling idea that seems plunged into the excitements of a polit- inscribed in the very heavens, in letters ical contest, scarcely exceeded in impor- of light and glory, like the cross in the tance by those of 1860 and 1864. The path of Constantine. hairsplitting platforms of the parties and The triumphs of the Republican party the merits of the candidates only enter have heretofore been won upon ques. into the contest as chips and straws tions remarkable, like all moral issues, floating upon the surface, which indi for their simplicity of statement, and cate the drift, sweep, and movement of for the vast consequences they involve. the tide that bears them along. While "Shall we extend slavery ? ” asked the it is said that principles are more im Nation in 1856. The Republican party portant than men, it is certain that plat- sprung into life to answer, "No." forms are less vital than candidates. “Shall we subdue the rebellion ?" asked The platform comes down when the the Nation in 1860. The Republican campaign is over, but the successful party, with the Bible in one hand and candidate—the coming man-has then the sword in the other, replied, “ With only begun to prepare for the duties of malice toward none, with charity for all, bis office. He it is, and not the plat- by God's help we will subdue the rebelform, who is sworn and inaugurated, lion.” “ Shall we restore the nation on who makes appointments, recommends the basis of equal rights?” asked the policies, receives ambassadors, negoti- Nation in 1866. For, more or less plainates treaties, commands the army and ly, the platforms of both parties in that navy, and exercises a power equal, if year anticipated the policies which were prudently administered, to that of Con- afterwards enacted into law. The Regress, and constitutionally equal, wheth- publican party carried every loyal State er used prudently or not, to two thirds for equal rights. Having embodied in of both houses. But even the candi- legislation the previously expressed will date, important as his qualifications of the people, the same party now comes availability, and views may be, is more before the country in a spirit which its the creature than the creator of the con convention has expressed less happily ditions which surround him. He can than its candidate. Its platform denot resist the sway of the great tide clares that, which gives him his promotion, which Reconstruction on the basis of equal bears him onward from the position of rights for all men, shall be consummated a citizen to that of, for the time, the and carried out; and that most powerful potentate in the world. The national faith towards its creditAs the platform sinks below the candi ors shall be preserved. date, so the car idate is lost in the But General Grant, in the closing senparty. However trifling eddies on the timent of his brief letter of acceptance, shore may belie the general current, the has happily struck the keynote of the essential drift and tendency of both campaign, in the brief, terse, Saxon parties are, at all times, unmistakable. words, On these, and not on the cunningly “ LET US HAVE PEACE!" evasive resolutions, or the merits of can The spirit of the Democratic party didates, the battle is really fought. In breathes in those words of their platall earnest conflicts of men, parties, and form and letters of acceptance, which
denounce negro supremacy." Their has fought, inch by inch, the battle for bond of cohesion is the assertion that a white man's government, through political rights shall be enjoyed by four years of bold and audacious and wbite men only, or, as they express it, commanding political warfare. He beunder “a white man's government." gan, backed by an able and popular
The Republican party therefore seeks Cabinet, and a very strong party in Conpeace on the present basis of reconstruc- gress. He has been vanquished at all tion; while the Democratic party aims points, and at last stands indebted to to overthrow that basis, in modes which, the magnanimity of his ablest enemies as we shall see, might easily involve for leave to serve to the end of his term. war, and possibly are wholly impracti- If the Democratic party, reinforced by cable without war.
the conservative wing of the RepubThe first issue, therefore, is whether it licans, could not, with a President of is more desirable to have a government their own heart already in the chair, wholly wbite, or one in which the polit- prevent the adoption and enforcement ical rights of the black and white races of the present reconstruction laws, how are equal; whether, if a white man's will they, without any allies, be able, by government were the more desirable, it the election of another Democratic Presis now practicable to obtain it by the ident, to repeal or overthrow them? election of Seymour and Blair, without What with greater means they could or with a civil war; and whether, if it not prevent, how shall they, with less, be desirable, but involve war, its attain- reverse ? Mr. Seymour, if elected, would ment would justify the war it would in- enter upon his office with a majority opvolve.
posing him, in both Houses, of more than The fact that the attainment of an the two thirds or three fourths which object involves war, proves that the con- have overwhelmed President Johnson. stitutional majority of the people oppose None of the existing reconstruction laws it. If they did not, the end could be ob- can be repealed while these majorities tained by legislation, without war. To shall remain ; and they must remain for assert, in a republic, that civil war is at least two years in the House and four necessary to attain any end, is to assert in the Senate. No reconstruction law the right in the minority to rule the could be repealed until Mr. Seymour's majority. To declare that it will avail, term would be about expiring. Meanis to claim a power in the minority while, seven of the ten States would have to conquer the majority in battle. As been in the Union five years, under conthe criterion of wisdom, in republics, is stitutions which confer equal rights on the approval of the majority, nothing both races. A much larger proportion is wise until the majority approve it. of blacks each year would have voted When they approve it, civil war is un- with the Democrats, and more of the necessary to carry it out. The threat whites with the Republicans, until the of war is, therefore, in the strifes of a lines dividing the races would have republic, a confession of weakness. It ceased to divide the two parties. The is evident that the election of a Dem- remaining three of the seceding States ocratic president, and his control of would also have been admitted, on the constitutional powers of his office, the adoption of constitutions conferring would not overturn the congressional equal political rights. 'There will be, policy of reconstruction, and afford us, for four years, a majority prepared to in the Democratic sense, a" white man's pass every law and constitutional amendgovernment.” The Democracy control- ment calculated to preserve, in each led Andrew Johnson as fully as they State, the enjoyment of equal political possibly could Horatio Seymour. With rights by both races. These laws, Mr. an ability and sincerity equal to those Seymour, as President, must enforce, or of Seymour, and with an experience and lay himself open to removal by impeachenergy far greater, the actual President ment. He would find himself in a di
lemma, like that which met him as Goy army could summon to his standard to ernor in 1863. Though opposed to the resist the usurpation. It is needless to war, emancipation, and the draft, he prove that Mr. Blair's proposed coup was then compelled, by his manifest d'état would result in summary defeat official duty, to forward troops and lend and ignominious punishment. Of all reluctant aid to the measures and prin. the crimes the Democratic party could ciples he condemned. So as President, commit, this would be the most stupenif he would not become a rebel, his po dous; of all its failures, the most hulitical principles must" bide their time," miliating. While its foreshadowing while his official acts conform to the won for Mr. Blair his nomination, it laws of Congress. Conscious of these sunk forever all the claims he may prefacts, Mr. Blair, Governor Orr, and other viously have had to be considered either Democratic advisers, have shown that an able or a patriotic politician. His by no constitutional exercise of his reputation for military courage and galpowers could a Democratic President lantry, like that of Arnold after his unreverse or overthrow the reconstruction rivalled treachery, remains undimmed. policies of Congress. Governor Orr But one who solicits promotion from wisely infers that they are irreversible, those recently arrayed in rebellion, by and advises the Southern people to promising to lead them in a new revolt, accept the political equality of the ceases to be a loyal citizen, far less a races as established; but to modify its patriotic statesman. evils by requiring property and educa Since it is not practicable to deprive tional qualifications of the voters of the black race of political rights by either race. Mr. Blair, however, de- electing Seymour, either without or clares that the President should prompt- with civil war, let us inquire whether ly and boldly use the army to trample a government by the white race only is under foot the laws of Congress, abolish intrinsically more desirable tban one the existing Southern State govern wherein all are equal before the law. ments, turn out their members of Con The exclusion of free black men from gress, destroy their constitutions, and political rights was a later culmination cause new ones to be adopted, based on of slavery. In other ages and countries, the white vote only. This would be a slavery had been an accident of condition, coup d'état as dangerous, despotic, and, into which the noblest men of any race if successful, as brilliant as that of Na- might fall. Here they sought to make poleon III., in stepping from the presi- it a taint in the blood, an indelible dency to the throne. Like that, it stain on the posterity and kindred of would require that the President should the enslaved. In ancient Rome or mod. first remove the general-in-chief of the ern Brazil, in the republics of Greece or army, imprison or suborn his subor of Mexico and South America, the slave, dinates, and arrest and confine the when free, became not a freedman, but leading Republican members of both a freeman. No insuperable bar excludHouses. Nothing less would prevent his ed him from the senate of Rome, none own prompt removal by impeachment. now excludes him from the imperial Unfortunately for this little enterprise, cabinet of Dom Pedro or the presidenAmerica is wholly unprepared for a cy of Chili. In Brazil, though African monarchy under any name; neither Mr. and Indian slavery still exist, no brand Seymour nor Mr. Blair is of the Napo- attaches to men of either race after leonic stock, or could pretend to revive emancipation. At all times some of the the glory of a former and historic em- highest civil, military, and judicial ofipire; and the trifling force which the cers have been persons of color. Free President could command for such an blacks and even slaves were allowed to undertaking, would be a mere corpo- fight in our War of Independence as ral's guard compared with the millions well as that of 1812. A very common whom the lawful general-in-chief of the sense of justice associates the obligation
to defend a natiou in war with a right the will of another to give or withhold, to vote upon its policies in peace. By to maintain or destroy, is slavery. In the national Constitution, and by twelve this instance the abstract principle comes of those of the original thirteen States, reinforced by palpable illustration. Unno distinction of rights or privileges, der President Johnson's plan of reconon account of color, was made. South struction, the white race of the South Carolina wrote the word “white" in enjoyed for threc years a magnificent her constitution as a limitation upon opportunity to preserve and maintain voting. In other States, free black citi the freedom of the black. They rezens, possessing the requisite qualifi- sponded by enacting codes which subcations, voted. But by the excitements jected the negro to all the hardships kindled by the slavery question, after of slavery, with none of its protection. 1820, State after State followed South They forbade him to keep arms for the Carolina in disfranchising its colored defence of his home, though, by the citizens, until only five of the New Eng common law, every American's house land States permitted the race, whose is his castle. They denied him the right emblem was the boe, to hold the ballot. to own or lease land, or to hire a house,
In the strict sense, therefore, we have thereby preventing him by law from never enjoyed the blessings of an unal- gathering his family into a household, loyed white man's government. It is and compelling its members to go out impossible to judge by experience how as servants into the families of others. great they might be. In the cup of our They required him to hire his services most sparkling political prosperity there for the year during the first weeks of have always been some dregs of " negro January, in order to confine him to supremacy," of some nectar of equal agricultural labor, and compel him to rights, according as we may affect the accept such compensations as might be “slogan” of Republicanism or Democ offered in that period. For idleness, racy. However slight the visible ad and other petty offences, they conmixture of African blood in our body- demned him to be sold into slavery, so politic may have been, it puts an end as to revive that odious institution. to all pretence that ours is, constitu- They denied him the right to sue, or tionally, a white man's government. testify, or sit on juries. Under these Our Constitution recognizes no race or and other similar laws, which the white color as entitled to monopolize citizen race, if not prevented by the military ship, suffrage, or office.
power of the United States, would have Those who still claim that emancipa- enforced, the blacks would, long ere tion was a blunder, which ought to be this, have been restored to the most atoned for by restoring the colored race abject and absolute slavery. These facts to slavery, are consistent and logical in show that the freedom of black men at affirming that it should not be allow the South is not safe where none but ed to vote. But all Americans profess white men vote. It therefore devolves now to recognize the right of the freed on those who accept emancipation, but race to be free.
As the white man re would withhold the suffrage, to point gards the ballot as the indispensable out by what means the frecdom of the weapon to preserve his own freedom, black race can be maintained without it devolves on every advocate of partial the suffrage. The Freedman's Bureau suffrage to show how black men can and military law were tried for a while. maintain their freedom with any fewer But these are despotic, and temporary weapons than white men require. What makeshifts, mere jury-masts to get into ever the argument, it involves the supe- port after a storm. To make them perriority of the black race over the white. manent, would be to abolish Republican
It may be answered that the white government at the South. Ponder the race will preserve the freedom of the problem as we will, there remains no black. The freedom which depends on alternative but to allow slavery to be
restored, or to give the ballot to the Conventions of either party adopt its negro. The white race of the South, platform and select its candidates. instead of maintaining the freedom, There is no danger of any lack of inwould restore the slavery, of the blacks. telligence in either of these acts. Each The ballot had hardly been conferred ticket represents very simple principles, when its magic spell was felt. Poli
which none can seriously misunderticians lately intent only on disfranchis stand. “Shall we sustain the party that ing the negro, immediately began to has given us freedom and the ballot, consider how they might obtain office and proposes to give us education and through his vote. That constitution promotion ? " is a question which peneof government is wisest which makes trates the thickest skull from the Potoit the interest of the governing classes mac to the Rio Grande. Rebels threatto consult the welfare of the governed. en to reënslave as frankly and plainly Benevolence is a transient emotion, but as Republicans promise equal rights and ambition is a constant quantity. Un education. Nine in ten vote for their der the President's reconstruction pol rights. The tenth man votes from affecicy, benevolent statesmen, if there were tion, fear, or regard for his late master. such, might weep over the condition One party guarantees freedom, the other of the negro. Under that of Congress, employment; one holds out education selfish politicians will strive eagerly to for his children, the other reminds him promote his welfare. One, as a magis perhaps who was kind to him in his trate, will give him the justice for sickness, and, what is equally effective, to which, without the ballot, he would whom he was kind; one appeals to his sue in vain; and for want of which he pride as a freeman, the other to his favors would be despoiled of his labor, and or sacrifices as a servant. • The negro de reduced to want and slavery. Another, cides according to his necessities or feel. as school-trustee, will provide education ings; in the main, according to his real for his children. Another, as sheriff, will personal interests. The divine mode of return his stolen property. Another, as providing for all, is to have each provide a member of Congress, may even appoint for himself. If every negro votes achim postmaster. All things work to cording to his individual interests, the gether to enslave the non-voter, and to collective interests of the entire mass maintain the freedom of the voter. It are represented by the aggregate vote. is not the effect of his vote upon the If the negro votes with the majority, his laws, but upon the law-makers and vote stands approved; with the mipoliticians. He holds in his hand the nority, he has the satisfaction of haring quid pro quo, the “something for which millions for company. Suffrage has its every official will do him equal and evils, but the denial of the suffrage is exact justice, and this is all he needs. wholly evil. The way to prepare men The blacks who vote the Republican to vote is to give them the ballot, and ticket aid in sustaining their right of
forthwith ten thousand orators mount suffrage. Those who vote the Demo the stump to give them gratuitous incratic ticket, disarm the hostility to struction. Withhold the ballot, and the their use of the suffrage, by proving same orators will prove that the floodthat they can use it as wisely as the gates of society would be unloosed if the Democrats themselves.
ballot were conferred. Pigs are of two Some have felt alarm that so large a kinds—those who are in the clover, and mass of ignorant voters should be per those who are trying to get in. The pig mitted to degrade the suffrage. But in the clover is conservative, and believes ignorance merely no more degrades in fences. The pig out of clover is radimasses of men, than simplicity with cal, and believes in passage-ways. There out immorality disgraces the individ is a great deal of human nature in ual man. The people in voting always pigs. choose simply between two tickets. Four millions of people once enslaved,