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[11] the condition of the country had made it possible that such a war could be waged for such a cause and against a people so helpless and unoffending.

The real purpose of the war of 1867 was to secure a presidential election. The immobility of President Johnson, like a rock in the sea, had caused a reactionary movement among the people to save the Constitution as well as the Union.

Those who wanted the Union without the Constitution — who wanted an oligarchy instead of a republic—at once discerned that nothing but a state of war in the South could justify the exercise of the power necessary to stop the reflux tide which the resistance of the President had set in motion; and so they levied war against the State governments, and marshalled an army to enforce the movement.

It was the right of local self-government in the States that stood in the way of the marplots who intended to control the presidency at every hazard. The encounter with Andrew Johnson caused them to dread a President who regarded his oath to support the Constitution, and they intended that nothing should be left to chance in the election of his successor. This purpose could only be accomplished by taking the government of the Southern States out of the hands of the people, and that could only be accomplished by war. The power to make war was the only power possessed by Congress that could touch the States in this vital point.

The war of reconstruction was waged to secure the permanent ascendancy of a political party. If the Southern States had been Republican instead of Democratic in their party associations, this war would have been spared us, and the country would have escaped a lasting disgrace.

No Democrat, North or South, engaged in this war except as he was drawn beneath the chariot wheels as a bloody victim of its cruelties.

Not all the Republicans engaged in this war. Many of those who had fought for the flag and the Union did not desire to see the proud ensign of the country floating over States that were enslaved, and a Union of States that included eleven members that were so enthralled that they could not, in any way, act without the permission of the army.

Congress at first raised this issue with the Southern States by refusing to them representation in either house. They did not neglect, however, to tax the people to whom they refused representation.

It soon became apparent that the rights and powers of home rule comprised nearly everything valuable in government, so far as it related to the personal welfare of the masses of the people. They did not repine at the neglect of Congress, or even at its aversion towards them.

At the end of three years the ostracised States had fully established the fact that their people could live and prosper for a century without.

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