previous next

[640] on July 13, 1868, transferred the administration of civil affairs to the state officers.

I will not pursue these odious details further. Suffice it to say that Texas and Arkansas, having passed through the same military process as their sister Confederate states, were admitted to representation in Congress, the former in 1870 and the latter in 1868.

It will be seen that the power usurped by Congress was without a limitation, and extended to all the political, civil, and social relations. Many of the military commanders seem to have regarded their authority as equally comprehensive. The Attorney General of the United States, in his official opinion on these acts of Congress, addressed to the President on June 12, 1867, said:

It appears that some of the military commanders have understood this grant of power as all-comprehensive, conferring on them the power to remove the executive and judicial officers of the State, and to appoint other officers in their places; to suspend the legislative power of the State; to take under their control, by officers appointed by themselves, the collection and disbursement of the revenues of the State; to prohibit the execution of the laws of the State by the agency of its appointed officers and agents; to change the existing laws in matters affecting purely civil and private rights; to suspend or enjoin the execution of the judgments and decrees of the established State courts; to interfere in the ordinary administration of justice in the State courts, by prescribing new qualifications for jurors; and to change, upon the ground of expediency, the existing relations of the parties to contracts, giving protection to one party by violating the rights of the other party.

Many instances are then related by the Attorney General to confirm his statements. Some of these are worthy of the attention of the reader, although they may have been mentioned on a preceding page. In one district the so-called governor of a state was deposed under a threat of military force, and another person, called a governor, appointed by the military commander to fill the place—thus presenting the strange spectacle of an official entrusted with chief power to execute the laws of a state, whose authority was not recognized by the laws he was called on to execute.

In the same district a judge was, by military order, ejected from his office, and a private citizen was appointed judge in his place by military authority, and exercised criminal jurisdiction ‘over all crimes, misdemeanors, and offenses’ committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. This military appointee was certainly not authorized, as a member of a military tribunal, to try any one for an offense; he had just as little authority, as a judge of a criminal court of the state, to try and punish any offender. This person was sole judge in a criminal court

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: