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Fears Of A Solid South

Fears Of A Solid South image
Parent Issue
Day
3
Month
November
Year
1876
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Those who profesa to fear a Bolid Houth aro by no moans agreod as to the grounds of thoir foars. Home say that they fear repudiation, othors that they fear unlimited claim?, othora that they fear that the negroes will be deprivtd of political privileges. Tho Crst two grounds of fear do iiot appertaiu to tho l'residential elcction, bilt to national legialation in the future. If it is feared that tho Soath will send to the nntioual ■Congress ex-Confederates who will support ï'epudiation and Southern claims, it must bo romcmbered that tho only alternativo is for the South to send guch men as it has sent since reconstruetion, and the real qiiestioii ia with regard to whichsot of men is tlio fear the best foundcd. Is it more likeJy that uien without principie, reputatioii, property or any other social stako will be repudiators," or that men of property, education end social standing, whatever may be their errors in rogard to social aud political doctrines, will be ropudiators ? We aro not, howovcr, Aut up to tkia estímate of. probabilitieB. Tho record of tho Southern Representatives, ever einco repudiation in the most comprehensivo use of the term bas been a public question, is beforo us. Tho representation of tüe rccoDStiuctod States has been tlio worst element in Congress for the last six years - tho hardest to bring to any tone in to public intoresta, and the most oasily led by doubtf ui argumente and improper considoratious. On questions of public credit, thoae llspreaeutatives have been a forcé Bteadily to bo counted on on tho wrong side. If fears of repudia tion aro uow to bo raised, both experienco and probability show that this fear has a moro lotritimato object in the corrupt elementa now or recently ia power in the South than in the Confedérate or rebel clement. Jndeod, tho truo object of fear in thie regard muat bo songht entirely apart from tho Southern question, and tts repudiation under its varioua forms is tbo most nrgent (juestion of tho presont moment, it ie ono of the mischiefs of the introduction of the Southern question iuto thiaoanvaes that it helps to obscure that greatest issue. Others say that thoy foar a great masB of "claims" from the South. "Loyal" claims hnvo beOQ for yeara a great source of abuno and corruption, if one may bolieve ncwapapor rumora wlneli a prívate poraon ís m no poeition tu investígate. Southern schemea for appropriationis and subsidies have beou beforo (Jongrees for three or f our yeara iu alarming nnmbora. They liave had a solid South in favor of thom when there woro fow or no cx-CoufedcratCH in Congrosa. ïhey have been uní - versally coudomncd in the North ou general principie, as they ought to be, bnt they liave not been made ground of foar and ditri:t toward BouUiern Republicana. 8uch claims aud subsidie?, by wbonwoever brought formird, will havo to bo resisted at the proper time and in tho proper way. It a general public opinión could bearouiïodagainstthegigantic abuse of claims and subsidies in national, State and municipal governmont, it would briüg about a roform mucli noclcil in our polittoal sydtem. 80 mucli juatice thore ia in tho foar of prepoateroua chutan, but to nttach it to thu Houchern qucstiüu at thia time is to créate a OAmpaign ecarecrow and nothing moro. Tho third grouud of fear has ruiwli Rroater popular forcé, and ia far botter worth duooniii};, aince it not only tounlioa tho hoart of tho Southern qnestion, bnt aloo involves some permcious politica! dogma. It ia obaorved that in coitaiii countioa uf tho South in whioh the uogro Uei)iilj]icau voto wal very large, it hfw oeu greatly reduced or ntade to disappoar. It a iufotrod that nogroea liavo beon düirivod tjf the vote, that tbo right of tho majority Lo rn o uaa been oyertbrown, that tho coiintiuitiou ha teen mtlliiieu, nd that a fundumcntsl priDolLle of our Government, of freo governmont, ïas boon asaailed. It ia a very nignifiuant fact that tho voto has beon abiidged a-s all ■.■gcd. It ia a fct whlob demands careful gorutioy and a eorreot interprotati(;]i. There i a rlght vhiob i far more fundamental to civil liberty, and far Jesa liable to questiou than the right to vote or the right of a majority to rulo ; that is, th o right to havo good govorument. Thia ia a riglit of ovory human boing in the community. It appertains to miuoritieB, to women, to minora and to any claaaes which do not posaeas tho franchise. It is a right wbich begins when government begins, and whioh is good against autocrate, aristocrate or Democratie mnjoritioa. It ia tlie principio that govcrnmenta ahonld exiat for tbe tovernod, not for tho goyernmont. It in tlie octrino that governmont U of, for and by tho peoplo in tho strictor and more correct expressiou. It ia the Justiflcatiou of all criticism, accnuation and condomnation 'of governmenta, and, in the last rosort, it is tho juatification of rovolution. Every revolution in history, which can be jusüfied at all, is jostified on the ground that those who held th 3 powor did not give tho governol good governnieut, aecurity for Ufe, liberty, justice and proporty, The indictmeut now against tho blacks of the South s that, in proportiou as thoir numbera havo givon them an approxiraate or an actual majority, good government has been lost. They cannot evade tbis respousibility. They have boon put in a position where the gravCBt responsibilities of civilized lifo have boen put in thoir control, and they have abused the power to overthrqw somo of the most important iutereats of civilization. The onfranchisement of the negroos ie a startling illuntratioi) of tho great vico of our American political system, the divorce of politic&l piivilogea from political dutios - the real roaaon why thoso who aro called upon to undortako great political dutioa without correspondiug privilogea have declined to accede to tho demand. The uutYrage waB conferred upon the blaoks as if it had boon merely an idle instrument applicablo to ono purposo or another, instead of beinu what it in, the greateat of our political institutions, froightod with all our civil interosts. For foar lest the negrota should suffer oppreeaion from tho civil power, civil powor was put in thoir banda. They aro roaponsible if they uso it for oppression. They havo abused the power of taxation, havo loaded the community with dobt, have made legialation a farce and the adminiatration of justicea mockery. Tho civil righti whioli government ia moant to conservo they have trampled under ioot. To this terrible mdictment no antswer ia made, oxcept a commonplaco or two. It ia aaid that tho negroea havo been mialod by deeigning and crafty men. Thia ia only an extensión of tho charge, for thoso who undortake to govern cannot plead incapacity, and tho charge ia only widonod in its scope until it rcaches U8, for onr Government anpplied the designing and crafty leaders. It is said that the negroea have iiivlo great advances undor their privileges. It would indeed be worse if this terrible cost had boon incurred without return. . But wh&t has boen the result to Southern society on the balance of account ? It is said that the blacka could not bo expected to step from slavory into the position of a ruling claes. and flll tho (latios oí their new position. Tüat is preciaely tho point - they oonld not ba expected to do so, and thoso who make this reply aro condernned out of their own mouths. They took a step to reach a certain end wbich, on all roaeonablo expectation, must bring disaster in it train. Negro suffrage was an experiment. No tober man ever thought otherwise. Liko every oxperimont, it must ba judged by its resulto. Tlio question of color ought not to decide the right to tho franchise any moro than the color of tho oyes or the hair, butto take a maas of newly-enfranchised alavés, beiug a nurnerical majority of the population in many district, and to endow them every 011e with the franchise undor majoritv rule, was to imsh certaiu practical political expedienta to abBurd extremes under which they break to pieces. If any one thinks that it is the pre?-ogatioe of tho majority to rule, will he Bay that a majority which wants to do miaehief has a right to doit? Tho argumenta uaed in this connection imply that the right of the majority ia a "divine right," above critieiam nd conjoined with no duties, whilo tho duty of tho minorityiapassivo obedienco conjoined with no rights. When it ia argued that the blacks are legal votera, that they are a majority, that you cannot have good governmont unless the majority want it - felse yon have not ropublican govornment-the answer is, 80 much tho worso for republican goveinment. It is tiirned iuto a juggie by such argumcuts and risked on a etring of fallacies, and so suroly as men live to purauo their iaterosta and not to reitérate clap-trap phraaes, republicau government ou such a theory would be trampled ou in contorupt. We seo tho neod for a rigoroua rc-cxmiuation of convontional tenns and phraaes which have bscomo diatortOd or meaningleas. Tho roal significance of the decreaso of the black voto, then, ia that a rcvolutiou of ono kind or another is going on against tho black majority. Wo do wèU to underttand this and tofear it. It is tho recourse of a subject daas under misrale. It springs from bitter resentnient and hopeloes exasporation. Bome of the orators in this campaign have deacribed the Southern bpirit. Probably tliey havo not exaggerated it. Taking it as a fact, would it not bo well to try to uuderstand it? If it arouso'i foar, fear ia woll grounded in viow of a social movemeut capabie of nuch diverao autl mouxoutotis roöuliö. To what leugths may rnen go undor such circumstances? If we interforo, hall wo not (?o woll to examino carefully and deliberately to bo aure that we are right? Do wo not need to nee our way clearly before us, to know what wo aim at, to measuro our meane, to have a clear idea of the results wo oxpect ? Wo have uo indignation agaiust alavery now to Biütain ua. The South is not fighting for blavory. It is fighting for peace, order, secnrity and self-govornmeut. Aro wo preparad to talco sidos againat them and in fayor of ignoranco, misrule and corruption ? In tho preaent temper of the South the movement whicü is going on will not cease with the Presidential campaign. It will go on until the Government is in the hands of thoae who know somothing about how to use it. The snffrage once given ie irrevocable and aomo adjustment will have to be found under it. Tho question for tho Northern peoplo ia : Whether they will allow the adjustmeut to bo made by the parties directly intorested, ao that the social equilibrium may be restorcd, or will try to díctate tho courao to be adopted. If their " foar " leads them to distrust themselves and cease from interference, the adjustment will bO 1 comnli-ihod with tho minimum of social tion.

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus