Chapter 51: reconstruction under Johnson's policy.—the fourteenth amendment to the constitution.—defeat of equal suffrage for the District of Columbia, and for Colorado, Nebraska, and Tennessee.—fundamental conditions.— proposed trial of Jefferson Davis.—the neutrality acts. —Stockton's claim as a senator.—tributes to public men. —consolidation of the statutes.—excessive labor.— address on Johnson's Policy.—his mother's death.—his marriage.—1865-1866.
The constitutional conventions and legislatures organized under President Johnson
's policy in the summer
of 1865 and the following winter annulled the ordinances of secession, repudiated the rebel debt, and accepted the thirteenth amendment.
They uniformly rejected colored suffrage, although the President
advised them to confer it to a limited extent, in order (giving as a sinister reason) that ‘the radicals, who are wild upon negro franchise, should be completely foiled in their attempt to keep the Southern States
from renewing their relations to the Union
by not accepting their senators and representatives.’1
They passed acts of apprenticeship and vagrancy, and other statutes, which reduced the freedmen to a condition of peonage, punished their breaches of contract as crimes, denied to them the power to acquire real estate
or to carry arms, and excluded them from other privileges and rights enjoyed by white persons.
This legislation represented the spirit of the people at the time, which was shown in persecutions of various kinds and in acts of violence, which finally culminated in massacres at Norfolk
, New Orleans, and Mobile
Immediately after the autumn election, Sumner
sent to the President
an appeal against his policy in a long telegraphic despatch.2
On arriving in Washington
the Saturday evening before the session began, he sought the President
at once, and passed two and a half hours with him.3
He found him ‘changed ’