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 Southern scalawags, and the ignorant freedmen were given the right to vote. These former slaves marched through legislative halls on plush carpets, sat with their feet on mahogany desks, and spat into imported cuspidors. In one capital they resorted to a free and continuous lunch, with ample food and drink. All these luxuries were paid for out of the pockets of their former masters. This proud race, accustomed to generations of autocratic government, ground its teeth in silent rage. But by 1876 it had by fraud or violence overturned the inverted pyramid, and once more placed the state governments in the hands of responsible men, and returned many of its former leaders to the national Congress. The reins of government had been restored to the white man. This atmosphere of turmoil was not conducive to a fine or vigorous literary product. Even so late as 1880 in Alabama ‘the assessed value of guns, dirks, and pistols was nearly twice that of the libraries and five times that of the farm implements of the state.’ For there continued the race problem to set the Southerners apart as a peculiar people. In many neighbourhoods the blacks outnumbered the whites two to one, three to one, four to one, and in the Yazoo bottom lands of Mississippi as many as fifteen to one. Their presence was viewed as a peril. It continued to be viewed as a peril during the twenty years following 1880, though the South became more and more a modem industrial community. During that period Northern capital flowed in to draw iron and coal from the South's mines, to build factories along its streams, to spin a web of railways over its territory, to gather more and more its population into the humming hives of cities. The stagnation of the years immediately following the war gave way to an alerter life. Hopelessness and despondency waned gradually. With leisure and an interest in literature came visions of new beauty, a new-found joy in life, an impulse to share with others the creations of one's mind and spirit. Yet it was even more due to the Northern periodical and the Northen publisher that in the seventies and still more in the eighties the South found a voice in literature. That voice, in prose, spoke at first in the sonorous accents of the antebellum orator. Only as means of publication were multiplied and made more available did it take on the natural tones of everyday
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