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 a hoard of plunderers to the assault, under a cry for the reconstruction of the States, after the restoration of the Union had been completed. It was not a state of war maintained, after the conclusion of actual hostilities in 1865, as a means of adjusting finally the results of that struggle. It was a war begun after each of the belligerent States had resumed its normal relations to the other States; after they had conducted civil government for nearly three years as States of the Union, and under and in accordance with the Constitution. These States had abolished slavery; had accepted and ratified an amendment to the Federal Constitution submitted to them by a vote of Congress; had remodeled their own constitutions so as to conform them to the results of the war; had paid taxes; had been recognized as States by every other State in the Union, and by the President, and by the Supreme Court; had elected Representatives in Congress; and had performed every office and duty, both Federal and local, which in any way appertained to them. It was in this condition that they were found when the armies of reconstruction invaded them, overthrew the civil law, and supplanted the civil power with the military by force of arms. Not only were these States at peace, but they were so helpless in every military sense, that they could not even threaten the peace of the country. Then began the nine years war of reconstruction, that was separated from the four years war of restoration by nearly three years of peace. A peace which was only interrupted by the complainings of the people, mingled with the beastly exultations of the plunderers — as the great and silent deserts are sometimes awakened in the night by the cries of the jackalls mingled with the plaintive calls of their victims that have wandered from the caravans. It is true that in the South, as in the North, there was a strong sense of antagonism and resentment between the people after the war, but it was less aggravated from 1865 to 1867, than it was from thence to 1877. The war of reconstruction was a dishonorable oppression for an unworthy cause; and it was condemned accordingly in the hearts of good men of all sections. I will not say that none of its advocates thought it necessary or just. Those who advocated the higher law prior to 1861, and forced the shedding of blood to meet that heresy, probably felt that it was just, or even generous, to employ the army again rather than the halter to secure the destruction of the State Governments, which had always been offering obstruction to the realization of their radical schemes. But those who fought to preserve the Union and not to destroy the States have, for the ten years past, been cast down with shame and grief because
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