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Is The War Over?

Is The War Over? image
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?he. crisis of a hoated political campaiga is not a favorable öpportünlty for nrging nioderation, reflection and justitie,, yet it can liever be admitted that the peoplo are wit ffjöSjlablö to reason in regard to justice toward tiielr +?!);- bors. and wben the questiona of the campaign are suoh aa involve the continuation or the at'Hiulonment of a policy tendí üg to embitter aectional hatred and perpetúate iuturnal discord, the attempt to sppeal to sober reanon and honcct Iö;re of iustice oiight not to be abandonod. In thé Lllieral rflotemrat of 1872. justióe to the South wás a protailiíeat fitctot. It disi'.ppeared with the fallare of that moveinout, atü fonJ yei'rs riïörè of experiment in the policy of coerción ÍÜA flWttfeS hsvft been added. If any aincoro advocate o'? Weitj for the blacks then entertainod miegivings in regard to the resulta to be expocted frorn the restoration of the South to a full aliare in political powtr, he was aasured that the experiment of doubt and reprensión shortld have a fair trial. On the appfo&th Hf the pfoflent oampaign, littlo was satd abotit tbo Portl!i%íl (luestíon. Other isbuos fllled the pnblié illiij'l. At feeed thut the ahamö anddisgraeeof migrule in tui Bouft, bfotigiit abont by violatlon, as well of all sound doctrines of poHtiíal s"íbc s of all the theoriea of our system of governiüeüi, had so f ar affectod the publi 5 niind that the old policy of suspicion and bate would be at leaat tacitiy abaruinned. The expectation has provecí false. Other isfitles he been thrown into tho background, and we art) iigbiinf ♦.o-(Jrtv a footionul Hglit under the inspiration of náríoíí freiudice, sordid interest, ignorant dogmatism and base paaeion. The power of the current bas boon so great that it has swept away thoeo who, aa it secinsd, were to ba relied upon for intelligent fetolt agitiuBt the oid catcli-worda and tlie worn-out áppcals to ptejudice , The Northern people Heem not only to iorgfit the painful conviction which had alowly forced itaeif üpoil tin-m, that thoy were not acting wieoly or liouorably, and were purauing toward the South a disastrous policy, b'it they boast of their fidelity to prejadice, and hug theoiselvoa in their resubj x'tiou to 8Uipiclon and doubt. They havo, aa it appearSj at laat como to the point where hypterical rhetoric of the Yictor Hugo type in welcomed and rcpeated as political wijdom. Blavery is gone forsver, and the issue, as now raiaod, ia aimply this : ' ' Will tho North continue to goverii thö South aa euVjugated terri tory, and use a combination of demagoguea with the black vote, unóer coeroivo iogis!tioi. aa the machiuery to do it, or will thoy restoro the Sonth to self-government and equal rights in the Union and leave ita population, the blacks being irrovocably endowed with freedom and tho franchise, to aettle for themselves the relations in which th6y will live togetber ?" At tho cloee of the war the Northern people boasted that tñey had abown no blood thiratinefw and no deaire for revenge. Their anger was aroused. howeter, by the asaasalnatlon of Lincoln and by the attempta of some Southern Statea to legislate againat the blacks, and tliey took to a poliey of civil reprossion and political coerción which oppressed the South in all its intereats with n weight which no criminal prosccution of tho leaders ín the !vil war ever would have exerted. Iteconstructlon itis planuod and carried out as if thcra wero onlv one interest, that of tho blacks. at atake. The terrible signiücance of the Southern problem as a race problom, big witb the consouenpe( to civilization which lie in every race Btruggle, wcro ontiroly overlooked. The guidance of public opinión In cuch a criaia lay in the hands of oertain men and woraou wlio had no training whatever in history, law, politica or social aciencej ijutwhohadeaaily tacked togothor a few phrasos and notiems bearing on the emotional and. aa thoy callea it, coral aide of the conflict. Political adventurera of varioua grades quickly allied themselves with tliese persona to do the " practical work." They h3 never expeoted such an easy task in politics as tliiu, when a few commonplaces abont the vagueot and most dflicult Bocial relations, " sympathy with f reedom, " "loyalty," "equal rights," etc., etc., would be reet ived as legal tender for sterling sonso about public questions and for practical atateamanehip to mould the intereats of a great nation. These two dassee combmed paased over, naturally onougli, from the old injuatico toward tbe blacks to a dispomtion to pet them, equally removed from foatering the freo play of independence and self reliance, which ia all wo ever mean by freedom under onr inatitutions. Tiie moral leaders íilled tbe pubüc mind with Quixotic and inopoaaibleconceptions of human nature and human life. Untrained in the diflicult art of legislation, incompetent to judge of the forces which tbeir projeets would aroiiiío and be compelled to deal with, unaequainted with tbe historieal parallels which would have offered thom waroing, they aet out by arbitrary legislation to control a social revolution a thousand miles away, to employ law to make slave owuers love alavés as equals, and so make rebels loyal. Eujoying a majority eo overwhclming that an opposition could scarcely be said to exist, they crushed out snob criticiem as might have been made under tbo previous questiun, and pseeed over thePreaidcnti&l veto ith such lightness that it only adtled an element of fun to their activity. One act wae sp3edily supplemented by another, and then a tiiird was added to explaiu the otber two. Forthwith the party whoee interests were neglected or unjiiatly sacrifiood took rsfuge in cunning, and then in accret and depraved vi:lence. Other acts of Congresa followcd, each aurpaeaing the laat in the miuutenoss of its regulations, the severity of ito provisions, the power with which it eudowed disant and irresponuible official, and the reckless abnae of power to which it oncouraged them. Fiually the excoss of newly emancipa ted alavés were endowed with the franchise, chas jeopardizing the higheat and most perma nont interesta of the nation aa a makeabift to próvido for an incidental and tomporary political difliculty. The object waa-aaid to be to eecure the aafety of the blacks, although the entira oxperience since has shown that it ia more diflicult to protect tbe bl:ieki in the franchise than it was ti protect thom iu civil righ'a without it. In fact tho enfrauchisoment of tho blacks was tho cmployment of a great political end in the wsy of a small political meana, and the argumenta by which so bold a atep, freighted with such awful pissibilities, waa, aud still is, dofended. are a fair gauge of the political philosophy of those who carried it out. Noxt, howover, carne m the activity of tho political dventurerfl. Thej apoedily saw the grand field openeá to them. While the Southern miud was full of tbe reeonstruction queationa, it could uot pay atteution to ñsoal affaira. Protection to home induatry. aubaidiee, and papor-mouey infl&tion could be worked with impunity and auecess. Wbile the isauea could be kopt, at ono electioa after another, cloae to tho great questiou of "equal rights," the moet blatant orator on the favorito topic was the preferred candidate. Hia personal cbaracter, bis fitness and ability, wero not even discuaaed. Tbe arena 'fcr political corruption waa freo and eaay of acces. What wender that we have had " corruption ? " The South, howcver, preaented the grandeat chance. lloro wero oflicea which preacutfd power and chance of gain equal to Peraian satrapiea. Keaponeibility to the people amoag whom tho power waa cxercinoJ did iiot exist. Every complaint from them waa proof of energy on the part of tho oflieer in the werk espectod of hira. Kesponfibility to the Preaident waa ao distant and uneertain aa to havo uo terrora. The jiewly-oufranchised blacks offftred an opportuuity for the activity of demagORnoa 'eucb as never existed before. The arts of organización, of oloctionocring, of wire-polluig, f ballitbox stufling, of counting-in, were puruued with a zeal and akill unknown anywhere lae in the world. Ignorauce aud veuality. Jed by craft, seized upou tbe organization of civil goverameut and scattered in móekery all whioh government is meant to conserje. Tbe proofs do not belong boro. Ta'ie Mr. Nordhofi's letlors as safticient. Uuder all this a society of wliite men, with cducation, tastea, opinions and habita generally similar to those of the Northern poople, had to livo. They posaessod, at leaet at the outset, all the proporty. They kuow something of the functions and dulicw of Ooverument. They knew when ita proper aervices to the community were neglected, and could mensuro something of tbe consequeucea of its abuse. Tbey aaw ihemaelvca, tbeir proporty, the future of their children, mado the port of iguorance. Kvory remorstraiico or appeal, liowcvcr. was made tbc cause of new in-ult, now suapici n and ronowed constraiut. Tostinjonyis abftcdaut that many men in positions to command tbo rospoct of ïtuy oommuuity. aud to win leadership miywherV, aougbt by all fair ings and genfroeityto win tho affoction and I confidonco of the blacks, and that they I od oeiilly, butthat politically tbev wero ! leus agaiiist the mere name of Graut or Butler I fraudulcntly uaed by an organizcr. Heason aud srgumeut and effort to oxplain (o tae I blacks tbe effect of political mensures were ail in vüin axainnt ]w hliglitent nppeal to race and color pii jndico. The color lino WW tmposed upon tue whitcH a f oonse]uenco, beokqse theymnat stand togethef for property aud civilization against either imiocont or corrupt ignorance. It would bo aniusing, if the stako vrere not oo ceriqns, to see how some ptreons, who inveigh ngaisst thí color line, aesurae, as a matter of cours?, !ie States in which tüe bl.icks are in a majoiity must be Hepnblican, and how, while they rage abont intimidation oí !lack-i ly wiiitb8. they skip over the intimidation oí blok.i by bhuki, by Hvbich the color line in cstablishc'. The controlling factor, hovreVêf, in the developniont of rpconstmction wan the actiofi of the Federal Governmeut in uistainiug the staius. How can any fair-miuded man, who 8 at all csp&ble of putting hiiuself in another'a place, fead bhcIi accounts as are given by Mr. Nordhoff, certainl with no Southern bias, and fail to realizo what must be tho exaeperation of Sodthern men ? How can it bo expected that love for thS IMnn peaceful relations totlie negroos will ever be brXMgbt bout by this systtm ? Howlong must it go on beforéit bsgins to bear tho frnitd whieh are expectod of it? Vhereclee in Jif e does any one seo the f oreoe of suspicion, hatred, foar and distrui-t, produce lova, confldence, hannony, peace and prosperity ? Austria; after strïvinj? for fifty yeara to coerce Hungíry nnd produce hatred and discord, changed hei policy to peace and coucession, and, for ten years, she hits enjoyed sdvancing comfort and properity. f,nglani. afísr ing in vain to coerce Ireland for ceutnrioa, set about iuquiring into the causes of lrush disoontent with a view to justice, and the lires of sedition die out for want of fuel. There is for tí a greater riek in this iflternal discord from ) ntitnfe of otir noioo. It can only exiêt permánently if ibe hoad of harmony, f ree consent, common feeiilig nd mtitusl regard for rignts nd intereBts binds It together. 8ome say that the war has comented it forever, and they seem not to fear to put it to any train. Another war is in no case to be feared, but efery Fedu'al law might be annulled in the Efoüthefn Btaten unless a standing army were maiiitatned there, and tJiey might be in the Üuion, bnt not of it. We might have an armed pc ce srlch as Austria kopt up with Htingary, bat ooer o' later, if e are to live together at all, we musí aech tho path of peace, justice and conciliation. Ve milöt abandon our attempt to define for them the linee on which tbey must deal with their own social pioblomc, acd must leave them to full self-governmeut, with equal rights in the Unioa, such as we demand for ourselves. Tho Sontu now comea np to another Presidsntial oampaign as a new epoch at which its eífort fw selí-government and full rights in the ünion may ba properly repeated. Hb white poople, divldea oö other issues, are tfrëofl !.■( this ! that the firt object of all is to recover ssH-gotefnmeut. They are '"solid" 011 this issue. íheir rkHdity wonld seem to be a proof of the inteneity of tho npreesion to which they have boen subjected, tiace it bas crushed out all divisions. We are told, ho#tfrer, that this solidity is a new crime, a new proof of fletmeitt, a new exhibilion of the old rebel spirit, and th6 Wa.nimoK'i ploa of the South that the Northern peqplo wilj at litt abandon prejudice and snspieion, itsten to their griovanoes. try to understand their oase and give them relief, "u met by a ronewal of all i '.hu old war passions. If there is one dnty mofe itQp.Bratiro than another npon eveiy fair minded Northom man It U to refuse to Hsten to the oroakers of Ktispickm and fear, and t ) freo himself from the dominioö of that barbiious impulse which makes ns flrst tbink of using f orco agiinst those who do not act to snit na, and, in the light of wisdom and coicmon rane, to seek the p ith of f reedom, confideuce and oonoord. If this quoetion of the South is raiaed again, tüe answer ought to be tbat the policy of coerción ia a failure and shall not be coutinued, t'iat the power of the öeneral Government shall no longor be used ío gustfíin a horde of adveiiturers in plundering the Soatli, and that the men who would continne sectional bate shall no longer enjoy the public contidence. Up to this time it must be confessed that such has not been the effoct. Ihe politicians themselves must havo been forced to grin with contempt to soe how quickly the puppete h&ve responded to the old btring. Meanwhile the great interests which are at stake ín thia conteat havo boen lost sight of. The moral fervor of last winter hae died out amongat thoeo who, as independent, represen teel it moet distinctly. ïhe old leadtrs who had been relegated to obscurity, dssiaged aud broken in reputation, come back, now tbat tho contest is removed to their old arena, and are weloomed aa beariily na ercr. Tliey ara r citing again their old li's of phraae, and eliciting the old applause. In oth6r words, the revival of the Sauthern issue has baen the signal and the occasion for a re storation of all the old forces of oorruption, and no sign of opposition is mado, even by these who came forward distinctly as anti-corruptionists. Wo are in danger of falling back again into four years more of impotent faultflndiog, whilo we drift along without dealing with a singlo great public question, or doing anything to secnre for ourselyes the advantagt s which other natiens are reaping from advancis made in polltical and eoc'.al ecience. Bo it will be until the war is over, and the parta of the body politie, restored to peace and harmony by mutual respect aud love of justice, are able to turn their attention to hearty eo-operation in the enterpriaes and reforma which produce prospenty.


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Michigan Argus