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[335] the United States is now a government of one section, by that section and for that section. The Republic of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and other great men of those times has been changed into a nation ruling subject provinces; subject we say, just as really now as in 1866 in ‘reconstruction’ days when Virginia was ‘Military District No. I’; for whatever political rights we now enjoy we have only as the gift of our conquerors. As puppets in their hands the conquered States voted such amendments to the Federal Constitution as the Republican party prescribed, and occupy a position in this present Federal Union which the great Virginians of 1776 would have rejected with contempt and loathing. ‘What rights have they who dare not strike for them?’ When we are asked to be glad that the ‘Lost Cause’ was lost, let us count up what the loss has cost us, and is costing us, and promises to cost us. Consider the years of the ‘reconstruction.’ time. Gradually the apologists for it have been silenced, and no respectable Northern authority of any late date attempts to justify its shameful infamies. And there it stands, a pernicious precedent for like usurpations and tyranny in the future. Think again of the amendments to the Constitution made at that time, and passed by farcical devices, which will let any future President make more to suit himself in any future war or serious crisis. Then consider the pension burdens—the millions paid by the South to the Northern soldiers who conquered them—ever growing as the real soldiers die, till the monstrous burden has become a reproach that the best Republicans blush to mention; then the tariff, so adjusted in the long domination of the Republican party that the agricultural South gets from it next to nothing, while the money that it has to spend buys hardly two-thirds of what it would buy but for the tariff.

Is there need for any other reason than this to account for the fact that the able men whose fathers owned and farmed the lands of the South have abandoned them and gone to crowd the competition for employment by the monopolists of the cities on such terms, however humiliating, as suit their employers? Yet we are told that never were there greater opportunities for men of merit to rise. Men of what sort of merit? Does not their merit consist in their acquiescence in the present plutocratic control of the Government? Can a man, whatever his merit, win success now who declares boldly that bribery and corruption have largely brought about the present enormous accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few hundred money kings?


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