United States Congress in the ninth and tenth state districts was issued. Every voter was required to give satisfactory evidence of ‘loyalty’ to the Northern government. Two persons were chosen and admitted to seats in that body. That portion of the state in the possession of the forces of the United States continued without change, under the authority of the military governor, until the beginning of 1864. Measures were then commenced by the governor for an organization of a state government in sympathy with the government of the United States. These measures were subsequently known as the ‘process for State reconstruction.’ The governor issued his proclamation for an election of county officers on March 5th, to be held in the various counties of the state whenever it was practicable. ‘It is not expected,’ said the governor, ‘that the enemies of the United States will propose to vote, nor is it intended that they be permitted to vote or hold office.’ In addition to the possession of the usual qualifications, the voter was required to take the following oath:
I solemnly swear that I will henceforth support the Constitution of the United States, and defend it against the assaults of all its enemies; that I will hereafter be, and conduct myself as, a true and faithful citizen of the United States, freely and voluntarily claiming to be subject to all the duties and obligations, and entitled to all the rights and privileges, of such citizenship; that I ardently desire the suppression of the present insurrection and rebellion against the Government of the United States, the success of its armies, and the defeat of all those who oppose them; and that the Constitution of the United States, and all laws and proclamations made in pursuance thereof, may be speedily and permanently established and enforced over all the people, States, and Territories thereof; and, further, that I will hereafter aid and assist all loyal people in the accomplishment of these results.Thus to invoke the Constitution was like Satan quoting Scripture. The election was a failure, and all further efforts at reconstruction were for a time suspended. An attempt was made at the end of 1864 to obtain a socalled convention to amend the state constitution, and a body was assembled which, without any regular authority, adopted amendments. These were submitted to the voters on February 22, 1865, and declared to be ratified by a vote of twenty-five thousand, in a state where the vote in 1860 was one hundred forty-five thousand. Slavery was abolished, other changes made, so-called state officers elected and this body of voters was proclaimed as the reconstructed state of Tennessee, and one of the United States. Such was the method adopted in Tennessee to execute the provisions of the Constitution which says:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government.