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in the old Slave States greater weight in the government of the country than they had possessed in the days of slavery. Two methods of remedying the inequality were suggested: First, to extend citizenship and the right of suffrage to the freedmen, or, secondly, to base the representation in the House of Representatives upon the number of voters in each State. In 1865 and 1866 the prejudice against the negro race was so strong that the alternative proposition was adopted.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was designed to remedy the inequality otherwise existing between the value of a vote in the old Free States and the old Slave States. This result was secured by the second section, which provided that when the right to vote for certain officers specified should be denied to any of the male citizens of any State, being twenty-one years of age and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion or other crime, the basis of representation in such State should be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens should bear to the whole number of male citizens in such State. In order to give full effect to this section, it is provided in section one that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. Equal rights and privileges are also guaranteed to all citizens.
By the third section certain disabilities were imposed upon classes of official persons who had been engaged in the Rebellion, subject, however, to the power of Congress, by a two-thirds vote, to remove such disabilities. This inhibition is now operative only upon a few persons.
By section four the validity of the public debt is recognized, including bounties and pensions to the soldiers. The assumption of debts incurred in aid of the Rebellion by the United States or by any State, is prohibited.
The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution has annulled the second section of the Fourteenth Amendment, which fixed the basis of representation; but the guarantee of citizenship and of equal rights to all, without regard to race, color, or nativity, will remain as long as a government of the people, by the people, for the people," shall
exist on this continent.
The Fourteenth Amendment was proposed to the legislatures of the several States the 16th day of June, 1866, and on the 21st day of July, 1868, Congress, by a concurrent resolution, declared that the
amendment had been ratified "by three-fourths and more of the several States of the Union," it having, in fact, been ratified by twenty-nine States in all.
By the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution the right to vote is secured to citizens of the United States in so far that it cannot be denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
The Proclamation of Emancipation and the three amendments to the Constitution are all the work of the Republican party. With the exceptions specified in regard to the Thirteenth Amendment, the Proclamation and the amendments were opposed by the Democratic party, and by Democrats generally.
The ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment was announced by the Secretary of State, March 30, 1870. The war was ended, slavery was abolished, citizenship, State and National, had been established, and the right to vote had been guaranteed to all without regard to race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The Constitution had been reformed and the nation regenerated in the short period of less than ten years.
The Republican party was drawn by its principles and driven by its necessities to the support of all these measures. The government was in its hands, it was pledged to the restoration of the Union, and to its restoration upon the basis of its perpetuity. Neither of these ends could be attained while slavery lasted. When slavery was abolished the Fourteenth Amendment became an imperative necessity, as the only means of securing an equality of political power in the hands of the men who had suppressed the Rebellion and re-established the Union. When the negro race, numbering more than a tenth of the population of the country, had been freed; when they had performed service in the army; when they had been endowed with citizenship, and all under the lead and upon the responsibility of the Republican party, that party was bound by its principles and forced by its necessities to extend the franchise to those whom it had made citizens.
By the force of circumstances, and in obedience to a logic equally inexorable, the Democratic party resisted all these changes. For thirty years and more it had supported slavery, and in return it had enjoyed the alliance and support of the slave-holding class. A generation of voters and of statesmen had been trained in the companionship and ideas furnished by such support and alliance. If not
held to their former associates by the sentiment of gratitude, nor influenced by the hope of regaining lost power, they were constrained in their action by the fact that the Republican party commanded the confidence and support of the anti-slavery men of the country. The field was occupied. In truth, however, the Democratic party remained faithful to its ancient es, not from a sentiment of gratitude for past favors, nor from the expectation of future advantages, but from an identity of ideas, to whose power it submitted itself with unreasoning and absolute deference.
THE ELECTION OF 1864, WITH A VIEW OF THE POSITIONS OF
THE DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PARTIES.
ROM the autumn of 1860 to the month of August, 1864, the Democratic party, as a national party, made no declarations of its opinions or purposes concerning the war, the re-establishment of peace, or the reconstruction of the government.
Conventions were held in the States, however, and declarations were there made. Generally those declarations contained a denial of the rightfulness of the war; or if, as in some cases, the duty or the necessity of prosecuting the war was recognized, the recognition was coupled with the claim that it should be conducted solely for the restoration of the Union. The declarations of the Democratic party assumed as an historical fact that the Union was a union between Free States and Slave States rather than a union between States without regard to their domestic institutions. Consequently, in the view of the members of that party, the restoration of the Union meant the restoration of the union of Slave States and Free States. Thus to them slavery and the Union were co-existent political facts and alike enduring. This position was consistent with the traditions of the party and it was well calculated to advance it to power in the future, if, indeed, the position was not taken for that special purpose. In the elections of 1836, 1844, 1852, and 1856 the success of the Democratic party had been due to its alliance with the slaveholding class of the South, and the leaders must have been filled with serious apprehensions that the overthrow of slavery would be followed by their defeat in the country. Those apprehensions have become history, and except for a policy of force and fraud in the South the Democratic party could not have commanded a majority in ten States in
the election of 1876 or in that of 1880. Thus is it seen that the traditions and hopes of the Democratic party alike led it to engage in the defense of the institution of slavery in the days of its peril and as its end approached.
Following the defeat of 1860 and the overthrow of the leaders of the Democratic party who were not engaged in the Rebellion, Gen. McClellan was not only advanced to the command of the army by a Republican administration, but he was accepted also as the head of the Democratic party.
The latter relation was established firmly by his letter to President Lincoln, dated at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, July 7, 1862.
Three propositions were enunciated distinctly in that letter, all of which were declined or set aside by President Lincoln.
(1.) The President was advised to assume the absolute control of public affairs. These are the words of advice: "The time has come when the government must determine upon a civil and military policy, covering the whole ground of our national trouble. The responsibility of determining, declaring and supporting such civil and military policy, and of directing the whole course of national affairs in regard to the Rebellion, must now be assumed and exercised by you, or our cause will be lost. The constitution gives you power even for the present terrible emergency."
(2.) The President was advised, or notified rather, that "neither confiscation of property, political execution of persons, territorial organization of States, or forcible abolition of slavery, should be contemplated for a moment.'
And (3.) Gen. McClellan made a tender of his services in these words: "In carrying out any system of policy which you may form, you will require a commander-in-chief of the army, one who possesses your confidence, understands your views, and who is competent to execute your orders, by directing the military forces of the nation to the accomplishment of the objects by you proposed. I do not ask that place for myself. I am willing to serve you in such position as you may assign me, and I will do so as faithfully as ever subordinate served superior."
These three propositions are indefensible, and the first and third are open to explanation only upon the theory that McClellan had lost faith in the ability of the government to suppress the Rebellion by constitutional agencies. Considered logically his scheme was this: