by even the most enlightened and conservative people of the North
Only those who actually suffered the baneful effects of the unrestrained working of those laws can ever realize their full enormity.
The radical Congress was not content to impose upon the Southern States
impartial suffrage to whites and blacks alike.
They were not content even to disfranchise the leading rebels, according to the terms of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution
Even those would not be sufficient to put the Southern
whites under the domination of their former slaves and of adventurers from the North
, and thus to secure the radical supremacy in the reconstructed States.
Hence another and an enormous stride was taken, with the purpose of putting those States under what became known as ‘carpet-bag
’ governments, so offensive as to be nearly intolerable even to their authors.
That stride consisted in imposing the so-called ‘iron-clad oath’ upon all officers, of whatever grade or character, in all the former Confederate States
That oath excluded from office not only all who had in any way taken active part in the rebellion, but even the most constant Union men of the South
who had remained at home during the war; for not one of them had escaped ‘giving aid or comfort’ in some way to those engaged in the rebellion.
Even so conspicuous a loyalist as Judge Rives
, afterward United States
district judge, declared, after mature deliberation, that he could not take that oath, although his constant fidelity to the Union
was known to all in Virginia
I asked this noted Union man to accept the office of chief justice of the State
, but he could not take the prescribed oath.
He had permitted his boy, about to join the Confederate army, to take one of his horses rather than see him go afoot.
Perhaps the judge was too conscientious.
But it was the evil effect of the law to exclude the highly honorable and let the rascals in. Thus