The year 1870 witnessed a series of astounding convulsions in Europe
, the record of which, even while they were taking place, seemed to transcend in magnitude any preceding revolutions, partaking more of the dreams of romance, than the sober transactions of history.
The resistless march of the great German armies into the heart of France
; the capture, in rapid succession of her fortified cities and army corps
; the overthrow of the throne of Napoleon
and the imprisonment of its Emperor
; the final occupation of Rome
by the national Government of Italy
, and the annihilation at last of the Temporal sovereignty of the Pope
,—all crowded together within the space of a few months, read, even at this.
short distance of time, like a fairy tale.
In the meantime, the Federal Government
of the United States
was becoming more and more consolidated.
All the States were restored to their old places in the Union
, under Constitutions made by themselves, and approved by Congress; and once more their civil powers were administered by citizens of their own choice.
The giant form of the Rebellion
was fast moving into the dim past, and a new vista of progress and splendor was opening to the advancing Republic.
Early in the year, the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution
had been ratified by the necessary number of States, twentynine having voted for it. The announcement of the result was made on the 30th of March, by a message from the President
, and a bill was at once introduced, and speedily passed, to secure freedom of suffrage to the whole Colored population of every State in the Union
It was vain any longer in Congress to oppose the enactment;