The United States Since The Civil War
Charles Ramsdell Lingley

Part 1 out of 9

Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Keren Vergon, Beth Trapaga
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Professor of History, Dartmouth College.




To write an account of the history of the United States since the
Civil War without bias, without misstatements of fact and without the
omission of matters that ought to be included, would be to perform a
miracle. I have felt no wonder-working near me. I can claim only to
have attempted to overcome the natural limitations of having been
brought up in a particular region and with a traditional political,
economic and social philosophy. I have tried to present as many sides
of every question as the limitations of space permitted and to look
sympathetically upon every section, every party and every individual,
because the sympathetic critic seems to me most likely to discover the

It used to be believed that history could not be written until at
least half a century had elapsed after the events which were to be
chronicled. It is of course true that only after the lapse of time
can students gain access to ample documentary material, rid themselves
of partisan prejudice and attain the necessary perspective. Unhappily,
however, the citizen who takes part in public affairs or who votes in
a political campaign cannot wait for the labors of half a century. He
must judge on the basis of whatever facts he can find near at hand.
Next to a balanced intelligence, the greatest need of the citizen in
the performance of his political duties is a substantial knowledge
of the recent past of public problems. It is impossible to give a
sensible opinion upon the transportation problem, the relation between
government and industry, international relations, current politics, the
leaders in public affairs, and other peculiarly American interests
without some understanding of the United States since the Civil War. I
have tried in a small way to make some of this information conveniently
available without attempting to beguile myself or others into the
belief that I have written with the accuracy that will characterize
later work.

Some day somebody will delineate the _spiritual_ history of America
since the Civil War--the compound of tradition, discontent,
aspiration, idealism, materialism, selfishness, and hope that mark the
floundering progress of these United States through the last half
century. He will read widely, ponder deeply, and tune his spirit with
care to the task which he undertakes. I have not attempted this phase
of our history, yet I believe that no account is complete without it.

I have drawn heavily on others who have written in this field--Andrews,
Beard, Paxson and Peck, and especially on the volumes written for the
American Nation series by Professors Dunning, Sparks, Dewey, Latané
and Ogg. Haworth's _United States in Our Own Time, 1865-1920_, was
unfortunately printed too late to give me the benefit of the author's
well-known scholarship. Many friends have generously assisted me. My
colleagues, Professors F.A. Updyke, C.A. Phillips, G.R. Wicker, H.D.
Dozier, and Malcolm Keir have read the manuscript of individual
chapters. Professor E.E. Day of Harvard University gave me his counsel
on several economic topics. Professor George H. Haynes of the Worcester
Polytechnic Institute, Professor B.B. Kendrick of Columbia University,
Professor W.T. Root of the University of Wisconsin, and Professors L.B.
Richardson and F.M. Anderson of Dartmouth College have read the entire
manuscript. Officials at the Dartmouth College Library, the Columbia
University Library, and the Library of Congress gave me especial
facilities for work. Two college generations of students at Dartmouth
have suffered me to try out on them the arrangement of the chapters as
well as the contents of the text. Harper and Bros. allowed me to use a
map appearing in Ogg, _National Progress_, and D. Appleton and Co. have
permitted the use of maps appearing in Johnson and Van Metre,
_Principles of Railroad Transportation_; A.J. Nystrom and Co. and the
McKinley Publishing Co. have allowed me to draw new maps on outlines
copyrighted by them. At all points I have had the counsel of my wife
and of Professor Max Farrand of Yale University.

Dartmouth College, June 14, 1920.



XVI 1896
XXI POLITICS, 1908-1912



The growth of the United States from 1776 to 1867

Popular vote in presidential elections, 1868 to 1896

Economic interests, 1890

Relative prices, 1865 to 1890

The New West

Railroad mileage, 1860 to 1910, in thousands of miles

Map of the United States showing railroads in 1870

Map of the United States showing railroads in 1890 (The maps showing
the railroads are from Johnson and Van Metre, Principles of Railroad
Transportation, by courtesy of the publishers, D. Appleton & Co.)

Financial operations, 1875 to 1897, in millions of dollars

Total silver coinage, 1878 to 1894, in millions of dollars

Net gold in the treasury, by months, January, 1893, to February,
1896, in millions of dollars

The presidential election of 1896

The Philippines

The Spanish-American War in the West Indies

Campaign about Santiago

The chief foreign elements in the population of the United States

The cost of food, 1900 to 1912

Morgan-Hill railroads as listed shortly after 1900

Daily newspaper circulation, 1918

Election of 1904 by counties

Caribbean interests of the United States

Election of 1916 by counties

The Western Front

Strength of the American Expeditionary Force, July 1, 1917, to
November 1, 1918

The United States--1920

The cost of food, January, 1913, to January, 1920



Abraham Lincoln in the presidential chair was regarded by many of the
politicians of his party as an "unutterable calamity"; and while the
news of Lincoln's assassination was received with expressions of genuine
grief, the accession of Vice-President Andrew Johnson was looked upon as
a "Godsend to the country." As the Civil War came to a close, Lincoln
opposed severe punishments for the leaders of the Confederacy; he urged
respect for the rights of the southern people; he desired to recognize
the existence of a Union element in the South, to restore the states to
their usual relations with as little ill-feeling as possible, and in the
restoration process to interfere but little with the normal powers of
the states. Johnson, on the contrary, "breathed fire and hemp."
"Treason," he asserted over and again, "should be made odious, and
traitors must be punished and impoverished. Their great plantations must
be seized, and divided into small farms and sold to honest, industrious
men." For a time it seemed that the curtain would go down on the tragedy
of Civil War only to rise immediately on the execution of the
Confederate leaders and the confiscation of their property. A large and
active group of Washington politicians believed in the necessity of a
stern accounting with the "rebels." Lincoln's gentleness seemed to these
bitter northerners like a calamity; Johnson's vindictiveness like a
Godsend to the country. In the conflict between the policy of clemency
and the policy of severity is to be found the beginning of the period of

Andrew Johnson was a compact, sturdy figure, his eyes black, his
complexion swarthy. In politics he had always been a Democrat. So
diverse were his characteristics that one is tempted to ascribe two
personalities to him. He was a tenacious man, possessed of a rude
intellectual force, a rough-and-ready stump speaker, intensely loyal,
industrious, sincere, self-reliant. His courage was put to the test
again and again, and nobody ever said that it failed. His loyalty held
him in the Union in 1861, although he was a senator from Tennessee and
his state as well as his southern colleagues were withdrawing. His
public and private integrity withstood a hostile investigation that
included the testimony of all strata of society, from cabinet officers
to felons in prison. Later, at the most critical moment of his whole
career, when he had hardly a friend on whom to lean, he was unflurried,
dignified, undismayed.

Although Johnson was born in North Carolina, the greater part of his
life was spent in eastern Tennessee. His education was of the slightest.
His wife taught him to write, and while he plied his tailor's trade she
read books to him that appealed to his eager intellect. When scarcely of
voting age he became mayor of the town in which he lived and by sheer
force of character made his way up into the state legislature, the
federal House of Representatives and the Senate. President Lincoln made
him military governor of Tennessee in 1862. In 1864 many Democrats and
most Republicans joined to form a Union party, and in order to emphasize
its non-sectional and non-partisan character they nominated Andrew
Johnson as Lincoln's running mate. And now this unschooled, poor-white,
slave-holding, Jeffersonian, states-rights Democrat had become President
of the United States.

It was scarcely to be expected that a man who had fought his way to the
fore in eastern Tennessee during those controversial years would possess
the characteristics of a diplomat. Even his friends found him
uncommunicative, too often defiant and violent in controversy,
irritating in manners, indiscreet, and lacking flexibility in the
management of men. The messages which he wrote as President were
dignified and judicious, and his addresses were not lacking in power,
but he was prone to indulge in unseemly repartee with his hearers when
speaking on the stump. He exchanged epithets with bystanders who were
all too ready to spur him on with their "Give it to 'em, Andy!" and
"Bully for you, Andy!" giving the presidency the "ill-savor of a corner
grocery" and filling his supporters with amazement and chagrin. The
North soon looked upon him as a vulgar boor and remembered that he had
been intoxicated when inaugurated as Vice-President. Unhappily, too, he
was distrustful by nature, giving his confidence reluctantly and with
reserve, so that he was almost without friends or spokesmen in either
house of Congress. His policies have commended themselves, on the whole,
even after the scrutiny of half a century. The extent to which he was
able to put them into effect is part of the history of reconstruction.

The close of the Civil War found the nation as well as the several
sections of the country facing a variety of complicated and pressing
social, economic and political problems. Vast armies had to be
demobilized and re-absorbed into the economic life of the nation.
Production of the material of war had to give way to the production of
machinery, the building of railroads and the tilling of the soil. The
South faced economic demoralization. The federal government had to
determine the basis on which the lately rebellious states should again
become normal units in the nation, and the civil, social and economic
status of the negro had to be readjusted in the light of the outcome of
the war. Most of these problems, moreover, had to be solved through
political agencies, such as party conventions and legislatures, with all
the limitations of partisanship that these terms convey. And they had
obviously to be solved through human beings possessed of all the
prejudices and passions that the war had aroused: through Andrew Johnson
with his force and tactlessness; through able, domineering and
vindictive Thaddeus Stevens; through narrow and idealistic Charles
Sumner and demagogic Benjamin F. Butler; as well as through finer
spirits like William Pitt Fessenden and Lyman Trumbull.

In their attitude toward the South, the people of the North, as well as
the politicians, fell into two groups. The smaller or radical party
desired a stern reckoning with all "rebels" and the imprisonment and
execution of the leaders.[1] They hoped, also, to effect an immediate
extension to the negroes of the right to vote. It was this faction that
welcomed the accession of Johnson to the Presidency. The other group was
much the larger and was inclined toward gentler measures and toward
leaving the question of suffrage largely for the future. Lincoln and his
Secretary of State, Seward, were representative of this party. The
attitude of the South toward the North was more difficult to determine.
To be sure the rebellious states were beaten, and recognized the fact.
There was general admission that slavery was at an end. But careful
observers differed as to whether the South accepted its defeat in good
faith and would treat the blacks justly, or whether it was sullen,
unrepentant and ready to adopt any measures short of actual slavery to
repress the negro.

In theory, the union of the states was still intact. The South had
attempted to secede and had failed. Practically, however, the southern
states were out of connection with the remainder of the nation and some
method must be found of reconstructing the broken federation. President
Lincoln had already outlined a plan in his proclamation of December 8,
1863. Excluding the leaders of the Confederacy, he offered pardon to all
others who had participated in the rebellion, if they would take an oath
of loyalty to the Union and agree to accept the laws and proclamations
concerning slavery. As soon as the number of citizens thus pardoned in
each state reached ten per cent. of the number of votes cast in that
state at the election of 1860, they might establish a government which
he would recognize. It was his expectation that a loyal body of
reconstructed voters would collect around this nucleus, so that in no
great while the entire South would be restored to normal relations. At
the same time he called attention to the fact that under the
Constitution the admission into Congress of senators and representatives
sent by these governments must rest exclusively with the houses of
Congress themselves. In pursuance of his policy he had already appointed
military governors in states where the federal army had secured a
foothold, and they directed the re-establishment of civil government.
The radicals opposed the plan because it left much power, including the
question of negro suffrage, in the hands of the states. A contest
between Congress and the executive was clearly imminent when the
assassin's bullet removed the patient and conciliatory Lincoln.

Lincoln's determination to leave control over their restoration as far
as possible in the hands of the states was in line with Johnson's
Democratic, states-rights theories. Moreover, the new executive retained
his predecessor's cabinet, including Seward, whose influence was
promptly thrown on the side of moderation. To the consternation of the
radicals the President issued a proclamation announcing a reconstruction
policy which substantially followed that of Lincoln. Like his
predecessor he intended to confine the voting power to the whites,
leaving to the states themselves the question whether the ballot should
be extended to any of the blacks. Wherever Lincoln had not already
acted, he appointed military governors who directed the establishment of
state governments, the revival of the functions of county and municipal
officials, the repeal of the acts of secession, the repudiation of the
war debts, and the election of new state legislatures, governors,
senators and representatives. The Thirteenth Amendment to the
Constitution, abolishing slavery, was ratified by the new legislatures
and declared in effect December 18, 1865.

During the last half of the year, the President's policy met with wide
approval among the people of the North, where both Republicans and
Democrats expressed satisfaction with his conciliatory attitude. The
South was not unpleased, as was indicated by the speed with which men
presented themselves for pardon and assisted in setting up new state
governments. Nevertheless there were disquieting possibilities of
dissension. Northern radicals could be counted upon to oppose so
moderate a policy. There was a reaction, too, against the great power
which the executive arm of the government had exercised in war time.
Congress felt that it had been thrust aside, its functions reduced and
its prestige diminished. It could be looked to for an assertion of its
desire to dominate reconstruction. Finally when ex-confederates began to
be elected to office, many a northerner shook his head and wondered
whether the South was attempting to get into the saddle once more.

When Congress convened in December, 1865, its members held a wide
variety of opinions in regard to the best method of restoring the
confederate states to the Union. On one point, however, there was some
agreement--that Congress ought to withhold approval of executive
reconstruction until it could decide upon a program of its own. Led by
Thaddeus Stevens, the radical leader of the House, a joint congressional
committee of fifteen was appointed to report whether any of the southern
state governments were entitled to representation in Congress. For the
present, all of them, even the President's own state, were to be denied
representation. With Stevens as chairman of the House Committee on
Reconstruction and Johnson in the President's chair, a battle was
inevitable, in which quarter would be neither asked nor given.

Unhappily for themselves, the southern states played unwittingly into
the hands of Stevens and his radical colleagues. The outcome of the war
had placed upon the freedmen responsibilities which they could not be
expected to carry. To many of them emancipation meant merely cessation
from work. Vagabondage was common. Rumor was widespread that the
government was going to give each negro forty acres of land and a mule,
and the blacks loafed about, awaiting the division. The strict
regulations which had surrounded the former slave were discarded and it
was necessary to accustom him to a new regime. "The race was free, but
without status, without leaders, without property, and without
education." Fully alive to the dangers of giving unrestricted freedom
to so large a body of ignorant negroes, the southern whites passed the
"black codes," which placed numerous limitations on the civil liberty
of "persons of color." In some cases they were forbidden to carry arms,
to act as witnesses in court except in cases involving their own race,
and to serve on juries or in the militia. Vagrancy laws enabled the
magistrates to set unemployed blacks at work under arrangements that
amounted almost to peonage. It is now evident that the South was
actuated by what it considered the necessities of its situation and
not merely by a spirit of defiance. Yet the fear on the part of the
North that slavery was being restored under a disguise was not
unnatural. Radical northern newspapers and leading extremists in Congress
exaggerated the importance of the codes until they seemed like a
systematic attempt to evade the results of the war. As Republican
leaders in Congress saw the satisfaction created in the South by the
President's policy, and discovered that northern Democrats were rallying
to his support, the jealousies of partisanship caused them still further
to increase their grip on the processes of reconstruction. A disquieting
by-product of the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, also began
to appear. Hitherto only three-fifths of the negroes had been counted in
apportioning representation in the House of Representatives. As soon as
the slaves became free, however, they were counted as if they were
whites, and thereby the strength of the South in Congress would be
increased. It was hardly to be expected that the North would view such a
development with satisfaction.

The first action of the leaders in Congress was the introduction of a
bill to continue and extend the powers of the Freedmen's Bureau, a
federal organization which supervised charitable relief given the
negroes, protected them in making contracts for labor and assumed a sort
of guardianship over the race in making its transition out of slavery.
The new measure was intended to continue this federal tutelage of the
blacks. The President's veto of the bill, February 19, 1866, served to
widen the breach between him and Congress and thereby postponed still
further the admission of the representatives of the southern state
governments. Three days later Johnson addressed a crowd which collected
before the White House. In the course of his speech he lost control of
himself to such an extent as to indulge in undignified remarks and
personalities, and even to charge leaders in Congress with seeking to
destroy the fundamental principles of American government. Thoughtful
men everywhere were dismayed. In the meantime a Civil Rights bill was
pending in Congress, the purpose of which was to declare negroes to be
citizens of the United States and to give them rights equal to those
accorded other citizens, notwithstanding local or state laws and codes.
The President objected to the bill as an unconstitutional invasion of
the rights of the states, but it was promptly passed over the veto.
Scarcely any members of Congress now supported him except the Democrats.
The conservative or conciliatory Republicans were lost to him for good.
Throughout the North it was felt that protection must be accorded the
freedmen against the black codes, and when the President opposed it he
lost ground outside of Congress as well as in it. "From that time
Johnson was beaten."

Stevens in the House and Sumner and others in the Senate were now in a
position to press successfully a stern, congressional reconstruction
policy to replace that of the executive. The first item in the radical
program was the Fourteenth Amendment, which passed Congress in June,
1866, although it did not become of force until 1868. It contained four
sections: (1) making citizens of all persons born or naturalized in the
United States and forbidding states to abridge their rights; (2)
providing for the reduction of the representation in Congress of any
state that denied the vote to any citizens except those guilty of
crimes; (3) disabling confederate leaders from holding political office
except with the permission of Congress; and (4) prohibiting the payment
of confederate debts. The first section was, of course, designed to put
the civil rights of the negro into the Constitution where they would be
safe from hostile legislation. The second sought to get negro suffrage
into the South by indirection at a time when a positive suffrage
amendment could not be passed. The third was to take the pardoning
power out of executive hands.

At this point there came a halt in the controversy until the country
could be heard from in the congressional elections of 1866. Both sides
made unusual efforts to organize political sentiment. Both attempted to
demonstrate their thoroughly national character by holding conventions
attended by southern as well as northern delegates. Each angled for the
soldier vote by encouraging conferences of veterans. Late in July
occurred an incident which the radicals were able to use to advantage.
A crowd of negroes attending a convention in New Orleans in behalf of
suffrage for their race became engaged in a fight with white
anti-suffragists and many of the blacks were killed. The riot was
commonly referred to in the North as a "massacre," the moral of which
was that the negroes must be protected against the unrepentant rebels.
But it was Johnson himself who furnished greatest aid to his
adversaries. Having been invited to speak in Chicago, he determined
upon an electioneering trip, "swinging around the circle," he called
it. Again he was guilty of gross indiscretions. He made personal
allusions, held angry colloquies with the crowd and at one place met
such opposition that he had to retire unheard. It mattered little that
the greater part of his speeches were sound and substantial. His lapses
were held up to public scorn and he returned to Washington amid the
hoots of his enemies. It was commonly believed that he had been
intoxicated. Probably no orator, _The Nation_ sarcastically remarked,
ever accomplished so much by a fortnight's speaking. There could be
little doubt as to the outcome of the elections. The Republicans
carried almost every northern state and obtained a two-thirds majority
in each house of Congress, with which to override vetoes.

As if impelled by some perverse fate the southern whites during the fall
and winter of 1866-67 did the thing for which the bitterest enemy of the
South might have wished. Except in Tennessee, the legislature of every
confederate state refused with almost complete unanimity to ratify the
Fourteenth Amendment. Natural as the act was, it gave the North
apparently overwhelming proof that the former "rebels" were still
defiant. Encouraged by the results of the election and aroused by the
attitude of the South toward the Amendment, Congress proceeded to
encroach upon prerogatives that had hitherto been considered purely
executive, and also to pass a most extreme plan of reconstruction.

The first of these measures, the Tenure of Office Act, was passed over a
veto on March 2, 1867. By it the President was forbidden to remove civil
officers except with the consent of the Senate. Even the members of the
Cabinet could not be dismissed without the permission of the upper
house, a provision inserted for the protection of Edwin M. Stanton, the
Secretary of War. Stanton was in sympathy with the radical leaders in
Congress and it was essential to them that he be kept in this post of
advantage. General Grant, who had charge of the military establishment,
was made almost independent of the President by a law drafted secretly
by Stanton. On the same day, and over a veto also, was passed the
Reconstruction Act, the most important piece of legislation during the
decade after the war. It represented the desires of Thaddeus Stevens and
was passed mainly because of his masterful leadership. At the outset the
new Act declared the existing southern state governments to be illegal
and inadequate, and divided the South into five military districts. Over
each was to be a commanding general who should preserve order, and
continue civil officers and civil courts, or replace them with military
tribunals as he wished. Under his direction each state was to frame and
adopt a new constitution which must provide for negro suffrage. When
Congress should approve the constitution and when a legislature elected
under its provisions should adopt the Fourteenth Amendment, the state
might be readmitted to the Union.

The Reconstruction Act was remarkable in several features. The provision
imposing negro suffrage was carried through the Senate with difficulty
and only as the result of the tireless activity of Charles Sumner.
Sumner and other radicals were determined that the blacks should be
enfranchised in order that they might protect themselves from hostile
local legislation and also in order that they might form part of a
southern Republican party. Even more noteworthy was the military
character of the Act. The President had already exercised his
prerogative of declaring the country at peace on August 20, 1866, more
than six months before the Act was passed. In the decision in the
Milligan case, which preceded the Act by nearly three months, the
Supreme Court had decided that military tribunals were illegal except
where war made the operation of civil courts impossible. Military
reconstruction was illogical, not to say unlawful, therefore, but
Congress was more interested in a method that promised the speedy
accomplishment of its purposes than it was in the opinions of the
executive and judicial departments.

Despite his dissent from its provisions, the President at once set
military reconstruction in operation. When he mitigated its harshness,
however, where latitude was allowed him, Congress passed additional
acts, over the veto, of course, extending and defining the powers of
the commanding generals. Armed with complete authority, the generals
proceeded to remove many of the ordinary civil officers and to replace
them with their own appointees, to compel order by means of the
soldiery, to set aside court decrees and even to close the courts and
to enact legislation. In the meanwhile a total of 703,000 black and
627,000 white voters were registered, delegates to constitutional
conventions were elected, constitutions were drawn up and adopted which
permitted negro suffrage, and state officers and legislators elected.
In conformity with the provisions of the Act, the newly chosen
legislatures ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution,
sent representatives and senators to Washington, where they were
admitted to Congress, and by 1871 the last confederate state was

The commanding generals were honest and efficient, in the main, even if
their stern rule was distasteful to the South, but the regime of the
newly elected state officers and legislators was a period of dishonesty
and incapacity. Most of the experienced and influential whites had been
excluded from participation in politics through the operation of the
presidential proclamations and the reconstruction acts. In all the
legislatures there were large numbers of blacks--sometimes, indeed, they
were in the majority. Two parties appeared. The radical or Republican
group included the negroes, a few southern whites, commonly called
"scalawags," and various northerners known as "carpet-baggers." These
last were in some cases mere adventurers and in others men of ability
who were attracted to the South for one reason or another, and took
a prominent part in political affairs. The old-time whites held both
kinds in equal detestation. The other party was called conservative or
Democratic, and was composed of the great mass of the whites. Many of
them had been Whigs before the war, but in the face of negro-Republican
domination, nearly all threw in their lot with the conservatives.

Not all the activities of the legislatures were bad. Provisions were
made for education, for example, that were in line with the needs of
the states. Nevertheless, their conduct in the main was such as to
drive the South almost into revolt. In the South Carolina legislature
only twenty-two members out of 155 could read and write. The negroes
were in the majority and although they paid only $143 in taxes
altogether, they helped add $20,000,000 to the state debt in four
years. In Arkansas the running expenses of the state increased 1500
per cent.; in Louisiana the public debt mounted from $14,000,000 to
$48,000,000 between 1868 and 1871. Only ignorance and dishonesty could
explain such extravagance and waste. Submission, however, was not
merely advisable; it presented the only prospect of peace. Open
resentment was largely suppressed, but it was inevitable that the
whites should become hostile to the blacks, and that they should
dislike the Republican party for its ruthless imposition of a system
which governed them without their consent and which placed them at the
mercy of the incompetent and unscrupulous. A system which made a negro
the successor of Jefferson Davis in the United States Senate could
scarcely fail to throw the majority of southern whites into the ranks
of the enemies of the Republican organization.[2]

One step remained to ensure the continuance of negro suffrage--the
adoption of a constitutional provision. In 1869 Congress referred to the
states the Fifteenth Amendment, which was declared in force a year
later. By its terms the United States and the states are forbidden to
abridge the right of citizens to vote on account of race, color or
previous condition of servitude.

While radical reconstruction was being forced to its bitter conclusion,
the opponents of the President were maturing plans for his impeachment
and exclusion from office. By the terms of the Constitution, the chief
executive may be impeached for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes
and Misdemeanors." Early in the struggle between President Johnson and
Congress a few members of the House of Representatives urged an attempt
to impeach him. Such extremists as James M. Ashley of Ohio, and Benjamin
F. Butler of Massachusetts, believed that he had even been implicated in
the plot to assassinate Lincoln. A thorough-going search through his
private as well as his public career failed to produce any evidence that
could be interpreted as sufficient to meet constitutional demands, and a
motion to impeach was voted down in the House by a large majority. So
indiscreet a man as the President, however, was likely at some time to
furnish a reason for further effort. The occasion came in the removal of
the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton.

Stanton, although of a domineering and brusque personality, had ably
administered the War Department under Lincoln and Johnson. During the
controversy between the President and Congress, Stanton had remained in
the Cabinet but was closely in touch with his chief's opponents and
had even drafted one of the reconstruction acts. Johnson had tolerated
the questionable conduct of his Secretary, despite the advice of many
of his supporters, until August 5, 1867, when he requested Stanton's
resignation. The latter took refuge behind the Tenure of Office Act,
denying the right of the President to remove him, but yielding his
office at Johnson's insistence. This episode had occurred during a
recess of Congress and, in accord with the law, the removal of Stanton
was reported when it convened in December. The Senate at once refused
to concur and Stanton returned to his office. The President now found
himself forced, by what he regarded as an unconstitutional law, into
the unbearable position of including one of his enemies within his
official family, and once more he ordered the Secretary to retire. But
meanwhile the House of Representatives had been active and had on
February 24, 1868, impeached the President for "high crimes and

The trial was conducted before the Senate, as the Constitution
provides, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court acting as the
presiding officer. The House chose a board of seven managers to conduct
the prosecution, of whom Thaddeus Stevens and Benjamin F. Butler were
best known. The President was defended by able counsel, including
former Attorney-General Stanbery, Benjamin R. Curtis, who had earlier
sat upon the Supreme Court, and William M. Evarts, an eminent lawyer
and leader of the bar in New York. The charges, although eleven in
number, centered about four accusations: (1) that the dismissal of
Secretary Stanton was contrary to the Tenure of Office Act; (2) that
the President had declared that part of a certain act of Congress was
unconstitutional; (3) that he had attempted to bring Congress into
disgrace in his speeches; and (4) that in general he had opposed the
execution of several acts of Congress. The President's counsel asked
for forty days in which to prepare their case. They were given ten,
although members of the House had been preparing for more than a year
to resort to impeachment. The trial lasted from early March to late

As the trial wore on, it became increasingly evident that the House had
but little substance on which to base an impeachment, and that the force
back of it was intense hatred of the President. It was made clear to
senators who were inclined to waver towards the side of acquittal that
their political careers were at an end if they failed to vote guilty.
The general conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church even appointed
an hour of prayer that the Senate might be moved to convict. The lawyers
for the defense so far outgeneraled the prosecutors that one who reads
the records at the present day finds difficulty in thinking of them as
more than the account of a pitiful farce. At length on May 16 the Senate
was prepared to make its decision. The last charge was voted upon first.
It was a very general accusation, drawn up by Stevens, and seemed most
likely to secure the necessary two-thirds for conviction. Fifty-four
members would vote. Twelve of them were Democrats and were known to be
for acquittal. The majority of the Republicans were for conviction. A
small group had given no indication of their position, and their votes
would be the decisive ones. As the roll was called each senator replied
"Guilty" or "Not guilty," while floor and galleries counted off the vote
as the knitting women clicked off the day's toll of heads during the
days when the guillotine made a reign of terror in France. The result
was thirty-five votes for conviction and nineteen for acquittal. As
thirty-six were necessary, Johnson had escaped. A recess of ten days was
taken during which the prosecution sought some shred of evidence which
might prove that some one of the nineteen had accepted a bribe for his
vote, but to no avail. When the Senate convened again there was no
change in the vote on the second and third articles, and the attempt to
convict was abandoned.

For the first time in many months Johnson enjoyed a respite from the
attacks of his foes. Stanton relinquished his office, and the integrity
of the executive power was preserved. The race of the dictator of the
House had been run, for Stevens lived less than three months after the

The continuous controversies of the Johnson administration almost
completely pressed into the background two diplomatic accomplishments of
no little importance. The more dramatic of these related to the French
invasion of Mexico. During 1861, naval vessels of England, France and
Spain had entered Mexican ports in order to compel the payment of debts
said to be due those countries, but England and Spain had soon withdrawn
and had left France to proceed alone. French troops thereupon had
invaded the country, captured Mexico City and established an empire with
Archduke Maximilian of Austria as its head, despite the protests and
opposition of the Mexicans under their leader Juarez. The United States
had expressed dissent and alarm, meanwhile, but because of the war was
in no position to take action.

As soon as civil strife was finished, however, Johnson and Seward took
vigorous steps. An army under General Sheridan was sent to the border,
and diplomatic pressure was exerted to convince France of the
desirability of withdrawal. The occupation of Mexico was, apparently,
not popular in France, and in the face of American opposition the French
government sought a means of dropping the project. Accordingly the
invading forces were withdrawn early in 1867, leaving the hapless
Maximilian to the Mexicans, by whom he was subsequently seized and

While the Mexican difficulty was being brought to a successful outcome,
the government of Russia offered to sell to the United States her
immense Alaskan possessions west and northwest of Canada. Secretary
Seward was enthusiastically disposed to accept the offer and a treaty
was accordingly drawn up on March 30, 1867, providing for the
acquisition of the territory for $7,200,000. The Senate, however, was
far less inclined to seize the opportunity. Little was known about
Alaska, and the cost seemed almost prohibitive in view of the financial
strains caused by the war. Nevertheless the inclination to acquire
territory was strong and there was a widespread desire to accede to the
wishes of Russia who was understood to have been well-disposed toward
the United States during the war. Under the operation of these forces
the Senate changed its attitude and ratified the treaty on April 9,
1867. By this act the United States came into possession of an area
measuring nearly 600,000 square miles, and stores of fish, furs, timber,
coal and precious metals whose size is even yet little understood.

It was not long before it became apparent that radical reconstruction
had been founded too little upon the hard facts of social and political
conditions in the South, and too much upon benevolent but mistaken
theories, and upon prejudices, partisanship and emotion. It was
inevitable that there should be an aftermath.

At the close of reconstruction in 1871, the southern negro was a citizen
of civil and political importance. As a voter, he was on an equality
with the whites; he belonged to the Republican party and his party was a
powerful factor in the politics of the South; his position was secured,
or at least seemed to be secured, by amendments to the federal
Constitution. Legally and constitutionally his position appeared to be
impregnable. In the minds of the southern white, however, the amendments
vied with military reconstruction in their injustice and unwisdom. To
his mind they constituted an attempt to abolish the belief of the white
man in the essential inferiority of the black, to make the pyramid of
government stand on its apex, and to place the very issues of existence
within the power of the congenitally unfit. To the discontent aroused by
war were added political and racial antagonism, which blazed at times
into fury. The southern whites began to invent methods for overcoming
the power of the freedmen in politics and for insuring themselves
against possible danger of violence at the hands of the blacks.

The most famous device was the Ku Klux Klan or the Invisible Empire, a
somewhat loosely organized secret society which originated in Tennessee
during the turmoil immediately after the close of the war. In theory and
practice its operations were simple and effective. Its chief officials
were the Grand Wizard, the Grand Dragon, the Grand Titan. Local branches
were Dens, each headed by a Grand Cyclops. The Den worked usually at
night, when the members assembled clad in long white robes and white
masks or hoods, discussed cases which needed attention, and then rode
forth on horses whose bodies were covered and whose feet were muffled.
The exploits of the Klan expanded, in the exaggerated stories common
among the negroes, into the most amazing achievements. The members were
thought to be able to take themselves to pieces, drink entire pailfuls
of water, and devour "fried nigger meat." Usually the person about to be
"visited" received a notice that the dreaded Klan was upon him. He was
warned to cease his political activities or perhaps to leave the
neighborhood. If the threat proved ineffective, whipping or some worse
punishment was likely to follow.

In 1872 Congress unintentionally aided in the process of overcoming
negro domination by the passage of the Amnesty Act, which restored to
all but a few hundreds of the former Confederates the political
privileges which had been taken from them by the Fourteenth Amendment.
Under the latter the great majority of former southern leaders had been
deprived of the right to hold office. On the restoration of this right
such men as Alexander H. Stephens, former Vice-President of the
Confederate States, and Wade Hampton, one of the most influential South
Carolinians, could again take an active part in politics. With their
return, the cause of white supremacy received a powerful impetus.

In taking this step, however, Congress did not intend to allow the legal
and constitutional rights of the blacks to be waived without a contest.
Reports reached the North concerning the activities of the southern
whites--reports which in no way minimized the amount of intimidation and
violence involved--and in response to this information Congress passed
the enforcement laws of 1870-1871, generally known as the "Force
Acts."[3] These laws laid heavy penalties upon individuals who should
prevent citizens from exercising their constitutional political
powers--primarily the right to vote. As offences under these acts were
within the jurisdiction of the federal courts and as the federal
officials manifested an inclination to carry out the law, the number of
indictments was considerable. Convictions, however, were infrequent. The
famous Ku Klux Act of 1871 amplified the law of 1870 and was aimed at
combinations or conspiracies of persons who resorted to intimidation. It
authorized the President to suspend the privilege of the writ of _habeas
corpus_ and made it his duty to employ armed force to suppress

Additional sting was given the enforcement laws by provision for the
superintendence of federal elections, under specified conditions, by
federal officials called "supervisors of election." The supervisors were
given large powers over the registration of voters and the casting and
counting of ballots, so as to ensure a fair vote and an honest count.
Since here, again, federal troops stood behind the law, it was manifest
that the central government would show some degree of determination in
its handling of the southern situation. Nevertheless, the result was
merely to delay the gradual elimination of the blacks from political
activity, not to prevent it. In practice the Republican state
governments in the South were continued in the seats of authority only
through the presence of the federal soldiery. In one way or another the
whites gained the upper hand, so that by 1877 only South Carolina and
Louisiana had failed to achieve self-government unhampered by federal

In the meantime the enforcement acts were being slowly weakened by the
Supreme Court in several decisions bearing upon the Fourteenth
Amendment. The significant portion of Section I of the Amendment is as

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge
the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;
nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person
within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

In several cases involving the enforcement acts, the Court found
portions of the laws in conflict with the Constitution and finally, in
1883, the decision in United States _v._ Harris completed their
destruction. Here the court met a complaint that a group of white men
had taken some negroes away from the officers of the law and ill-treated
them. Such conduct seemed to be contrary to that part of the Ku Klux Act
which forbade combinations designed to deprive citizens of their legal
rights. The Court, however, called attention to the important words, "No
_State_ shall make or enforce," and was of opinion that the
constitutional power of Congress extends only to cases where _States_
have acted in such a manner as to deprive citizens of their rights. If
_individuals_, on the contrary, conspire to take away these rights,
relief must be sought at the hands of the state government. As the great
purpose of the Ku Klux Act had been to combat precisely such individual
combinations, it appeared that the Court had, at a blow, demolished the
law. Not long afterwards the Court declared unconstitutional the Civil
Rights Act of 1875, which had been designed to insure equal rights to
negroes in hotels, conveyances and theatres. Here again the Court was of
opinion that the Fourteenth Amendment grants no power to the United
States but forbids certain activities by the states.[4]

Stuffing the ballot box was common in South Carolina and other states.
In one election in this state the number of votes cast was almost double
the number the names on the polling list. In some places the imposition
of a poll tax peacefully eliminated the impecunious freedman. In
Mississippi the state legislature laid out the "shoestring" election
district, 300 miles long and about 20 miles wide, which included many of
the sections where the negroes were most numerous, in order that their
votes might have as little effect as possible. By hook or by crook,
then, in simple and devious ways, the dangers of negro domination were
averted. Nevertheless the provisions of the law for federal supervision
of elections remained, becoming a bone of contention during a later

About 1890 there began a new era in the elimination of the negro from
politics in the South. The people of that section disliked the methods
which they felt the necessity of using, and searched about for a less
crude device. Furthermore the rise of a new political movement in some
parts of the South in the late eighties and early nineties was making
divisions among the Democrats and was encouraging attempts by the two
factions to control the negro vote. Suddenly, a relatively small number
of negro voters became a powerful and purchasable make-weight. Both
sides, perhaps, were a bit disturbed at this development. At any rate,
additional impetus was given to the movement for the suppression of the
negro. Eventually plans were originated, some of which were clearly
constitutional and all of which carried a certain appearance of

The first steps were taken by Mississippi in 1890. The new state
constitution of that year required as prerequisite to the voting
privilege, the payment of all taxes which were legally demanded of the
citizen during the two preceding years--a provision to which no
constitutional exception could be taken, and which effectively debarred
large numbers of colored voters. Further, it provided that after January
1, 1892, every voter must be able to read any section of the state
constitution or be able to give an interpretation of it _when read to
him_. As the election officials who would judge the ability of the
applicant properly to interpret the constitution would certainly be
whites, it was clear that the ignorant black would have scant chance of
passing the educational test. Several other states followed in the wake
of Mississippi, until in 1898 Louisiana discovered a new barrier through
which only whites might make their way to the voting lists. This was the
famous "grandfather clause." In brief, it allowed citizens to vote who
had that right before January 1, 1867, together with the descendants of
such citizens, regardless of their educational and property
qualifications. As no negroes had voted in the state before that date,
they were effectively debarred. Under the influence of such pressure,
the negro vote promptly dwindled away to negligible proportions. In
Louisiana, to cite one case, there were 127,263 registered colored
voters in 1896, and 5,354 in 1900. Between these two years the new state
constitution had been passed. In 1915 the Supreme Court finally declared
a grandfather clause unconstitutional on the ground that its only
possible intention was to evade that provision of the Fifteenth
Amendment which forbids the states to abridge, on account of color, the
rights of citizens of the United States to vote.

The history of the effects of the war and of reconstruction on the
political status of the negro has been concisely summarized as falling
into three periods. At the close of the war: (1) the negroes were
more powerful in politics than their numbers, intelligence and
property seemed to justify; (2) the Republican party was a power in
the South; and (3) the negroes enjoyed political rights on a legal and
constitutional equality with the whites. By 1877 the first of these
generalizations was no longer a fact; by 1890 the Republican party had
ceased to be of importance in the South; and by the opening of the
twentieth century, the negro as a possible voter was not on a legal
and constitutional equality with the white.

In the sphere of government the war and reconstruction were of lasting
importance. Preeminently it was definitely established that the federal
government is supreme over the states. Although the Constitution had
seemed to many to establish that supremacy in no uncertain terms, it can
not be doubted that only as a result of the war and reconstruction did
the theory receive a degree of popular assent that approached unanimity.
Temporarily, at least, reconstruction added greatly to the prestige and
self-confidence of Congress. During the war the powers of the President
had necessarily expanded. The reaction, although hastened by the
character and disposition of President Johnson, was inevitable. The
depression of the executive elevated the legislature and not until the
beginning of the twentieth century did the scales swing back again
toward their former position.


General. The best general account of the period 1865-1917 is to be found
in the following volumes of _The American Nation: A History_: W.A.
Dunning, _Reconstruction Political and Economic, 1865-1877_ (1907); E.E.
Sparks, _National Development, 1877-1885_ (1907); D.R. Dewey, _National
Problems, 1885-1897_ (1907); J.H. Latané, _America as a World Power,
1897-1907_ (1907); F.A. Ogg, _National Progress, 1907-1917_ (1918). The
volumes vary in excellence and interest, but set a high standard,
especially in their recognition of the importance of economic facts, and
contain excellent bibliographical material. The following single volumes
are useful: E.B. Andrews, _United States in Our Own Time, 1870-1903_
(1903); C.A. Beard, _Contemporary American History_ (1914); P.L.
Haworth, _Reconstruction and Union, 1865-1912_ (1912); P.L. Haworth,
_United States in Our Own Time, 1865-1920_; E.P. Oberholtzer, _History
of the United States since the Civil War_ (to be in several volumes, of
which one appeared in 1917, covering 1865-1868); F.L. Paxson, _The New
Nation_ (1915); H.T. Peck, _Twenty Years of the Republic, 1885-1905_
(1907), readable and especially valuable in its interpretation of the
period which it covers; J.F. Rhodes, _History of the United States from
Hayes to McKinley, 1877-1896_ (1919), lacks understanding of the period
covered. J.S. Bassett, _Short History of the United States_ (1913),
has excellent chapters on the years 1865-1912; F.J. Turner in the
_Encyclopaedia Britannica_ (11th ed.), article "United States, History
1865-1910," is brief but inclusive; the later chapters of Max Farrand,
_Development of the United States_ (1918), present a new point of view.
_The Chronicles of America Series_ (1919 and later), edited by Allen
Johnson, contains valuable volumes on especial topics. For party
platforms and election statistics consult Edward Stanwood, _A History
of the Presidency_ (2 vols., 2nd ed., 1916).

Reconstruction. The most valuable single volume on the reconstruction
period is the volume by Dunning already referred to; W.L. Fleming,
_Sequel of Appomattox_ (1919), is also excellent; J.F. Rhodes, _History
of the United States since the Compromise of 1850_, vols. VI, VII
(1906), is the best detailed account; James Schouler, _History of the
United States_, vol. VII (1913), presents a new view of President
Johnson. Valuable biographies are J.A. Woodburn, _The Life of Thaddeus
Stevens_ (1913); G.H. Haynes, _Charles Sumner_ (1909); Horace White,
_The Life of Lyman Trumbull_ (1913). On impeachment, D.W. Dewitt, _The
Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson_ (1903), is best. W.A. Dunning,
_Essays on Civil War and Reconstruction_ (ed. 1910), is strong on the
constitutional changes. Studies on reconstruction in the several states
have been published by W.W. Davis (Florida), (1913); W.L. Fleming
(Alabama), (1905); J.W. Garner (Mississippi), (1901); J.G. deR.
Hamilton (North Carolina), (1914); C.W. Ramsdell (Texas), (1910); and
others. For documentary material, W.L. Fleming, _Documentary History of
Reconstruction_ (2 vols., 1906-7), is essential. Edward Channing, A.B.
Hart and F.J. Turner, _Guide to the Study and Reading of American
History_ (1912), provides full references to a wide variety of works
covering 1865-1911. Consult also Appleton's _Annual Cyclopaedia_,
_1861-1902_. On foreign relations J.B. Moore, _Digest of International
Law_, 8 vols., (1906).

Periodical literature. The most useful periodicals are:

_American Economic Review_ (1911-); _American Historical Review_
(1895-); _American Political Science Review_ (1907-); _Atlantic
Monthly_ (1857-); _Century Magazine_ (1870-); _Harper's Weekly_
(1857-1916); _Harvard Law Review_; _History Teachers' Magazine_,
continued as _Historical Outlook_ (1909-); _Journal of Political
Economy_ (1892-); _Nation_ (1865-); _North American Review_ (1815-);
_Political Science Quarterly_ (1886-); _Quarterly Journal of Economics_
(1886-); _Scribner's Magazine_ (1887-); _Yale Review_ (1892-1911, _new
series_, 1912-).

* * * * *

[1] Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States, was held
in prison until 1867 and then released. He died in 1889. Suggestions
that General Lee, the most prominent military leader, be arrested and
tried met with such opposition from General Grant, the Union leader,
that the project was dropped. Lee died in 1870.

[2] A number of these states later repudiated their debts.

[3] The threats used to keep the negroes away from the polls are
typified in the following, which was published in Mississippi:

"The Terry Terribles will be here Monday to see there is a fair

"The Byram Bulldozers will be here Monday to see there is a fair

"The Edwards Dragoons will be here Monday to see there is a fair

"Who cares if the McGill men don't like it?

"The whole State of Mississippi is interested in the election.

"It _shall_ be a Democratic victory."

[4] In regard to segregation of the races in railroad coaches, the
Court decided, 1910, that constitutional rights are not interfered with
when separate accommodations are provided, if the accommodations be
equally good. Chiles _v._ Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Co., 218 U.S.,



Aside from President Lincoln, the most prominent personality on the
northern side during the latter part of the Civil War was General
Ulysses S. Grant. His successes in the Mississippi Valley in the
early days of the war, when success was none too common, his capture
of Vicksburg at the turning point of the conflict, and his dogged
drive toward Richmond had established his military reputation. When
the drive toward Richmond resulted at last in the capture of Lee's
army and its surrender at Appomattox, the victorious North turned
with gratitude to Grant and made him a popular idol, while the
politicians began to question whether his popularity might not be put
to account in the field of politics.

Grant himself had never paid any attention to matters of government.
In only one presidential election had he so much as voted for a
candidate, and then it was for a Democrat, James Buchanan. In 1860 he
was prevented from voting for Senator Stephen A. Douglas and against
Abraham Lincoln only by the fact that he had not fulfilled the
residence requirement for suffrage in the town where he was living.
Nevertheless in his capacity as general of the army his headquarters
after the war were in Washington and his duties brought him into
contact with the politicians and eventually entangled him in the
controversy between the President and Congress. Circumstances at
first threw him into close association with Johnson, but at the time
of the Stanton episode late in 1867 a misunderstanding arose between
them which developed into a question of veracity, and then into open
hostility. The opponents of the President took up the General's case
with alacrity and from then on the popular hero was looked upon as
the inevitable choice for the next Republican nomination.

The convention of the National Union Republican Party, as it was
called at that time, was held in Chicago, May 20, 1868, during the
interval between the votes on the eleventh and second charges of the
impeachment of President Johnson. General Grant was unanimously
nominated for the presidency and Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the
House of Representatives, for the second place on the ticket. The
platform portrayed the benefits of radical reconstruction and
defended negro suffrage in the South. In the North at that time the
black was commonly denied the vote--the Fifteenth Amendment having
not yet been ratified--and the convention accordingly declared that
the question of suffrage in all the "loyal" states properly belonged
in the states themselves. Other planks asserted that the public debt
ought to be paid in full, that pensions for the veterans were an
obligation and that immigration ought to be encouraged. The
administration of President Johnson was denounced and the thirty-five
senators who voted for his conviction in the impeachment trial were

The Democrats met at Tammany Hall in New York on July 4. Their
platform approved the pension laws, advocated the sale of public land
to actual occupants, praised the administration of President Johnson,
arraigned the radicals and declared the reconstruction acts
"unconstitutional, revolutionary, and void." If the radical party
should win in the election, the Democrats asserted, the result would
be "a subjected and conquered people, amid the ruins of liberty and
the scattered fragments of the Constitution." The regulation of the
suffrage, one plank declared, had always been in the hands of the
individual states. The most prominent place in the platform, however,
was given to the question of the public debt. Part of the bonds
issued during the war had, by acts of Congress, been made payable
in "dollars," a word which might mean either paper dollars or gold
dollars. Paper, however, was much less valuable than gold, times were
hard, and many people held the opinion that the debt could properly
be paid in paper. Such was the "Ohio idea," which was made part of
the Democratic platform.

The choice of a candidate required twenty-two ballots. Early trials
indicated the strength of George H. Pendleton, popularly known as
"Gentleman George" and the chief exponent of the "Ohio idea." Johnson
also had support. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, having failed to
obtain the Republican nomination, allowed it to be known that he was
willing to become the Democratic candidate. At length, on the
twenty-second ballot, a few votes were cast for Governor Horatio
Seymour of New York, the chairman of the convention. The move met
with enthusiastic approval, despite Seymour's insistence that he
would not be a candidate, and he was unanimously chosen.

Popular vote in presidential elections, 1868-1896]

The developments of the campaign depended largely upon occurrences in
the South. Military reconstruction had not been wholly completed in
Virginia, Mississippi, Texas and Georgia. The last of these states
had once been readmitted to the Union, but had immediately expelled
the negro members of its legislature, and was thereupon placed again
under military rule. The Ku Klux Klan was meanwhile in general
operation throughout the South and its activities, both real and
imaginary, received wide advertisement in the North. Public interest,
therefore, in the underlying issues of the campaign centered upon the
attitude of the candidates toward the southern question. General
Grant was understood to be with the radicals and Seymour with the
conservatives. The result of the election was the choice of the
Republican leader by an apparently large majority. He carried
twenty-six out of thirty-four states, with 214 out of 294 electoral
votes, but he received a popular majority of only 300,000. Examination
of the returns indicated a strong conservative minority in many of the
solid Republican states. The strength of the radicals in the South,
moreover, was due, in the main, to negro-carpetbag domination, and when
these states should become conservative, as they were sure to do, the
political parties would be almost evenly divided.[1]

The man who was now entering upon his first experience as the holder
of an elective office had risen from obscurity to public favor in the
space of a few years. Although a graduate of West Point, with eleven
years of military experience afterward, his career before 1861 had
been hardly more than a failure. He had left the army in 1854 rather
than stand trial on a charge of drunkenness; had grubbed a scanty
living out of "Hard Scrabble," a farm in Missouri; had tried his hand
at real estate, acted as clerk in a custom-house and worked in a
leather store at $800 a year. Then came the war, and in less than
three years Grant had received the title of Lieutenant-General, which
only Washington had borne before him, and had become General-in-Chief
of all the armies of the United States. Always an uncommunicative
man, he kept his own counsel during the interval between his election
and his inauguration. He saw few politicians, asked no advice about
his cabinet, sought no assistance in preparing his inaugural address
and made no suggestions to the leaders of his party concerning
legislation that he would like to see passed. His first act, the
appointment of his cabinet, caused a gasp of surprise and dismay.
Most of the men named were but little known and some of them were not
aware that they were being chosen until the list was made public. The
Secretary of State, Elihu Washburne, was a close personal friend, and
was appointed merely that he might hold the position long enough to
enjoy the title and then retire. He was succeeded by Hamilton Fish,
of New York, who proved to be a wise choice. The Secretary of the
Treasury was A.T. Stewart, a rich merchant of New York, but he had to
withdraw on account of a law forbidding any person "interested in
carrying on the business of trade or commerce" to hold the office.
The Secretary of the Navy, A.E. Borie, was a rich invalid of
Philadelphia, who had almost no qualifications for his office and
resigned at once. Better appointments were former Governor J.D. Cox,
of Ohio, as Secretary of the Interior, and Judge E.R. Hoar, of
Massachusetts, as Attorney-General.

When the Congress elected with Grant assembled in 1869 its first act
was a measure providing for the payment of the public debt in coin.
Part of the Tenure of Office Act was repealed, the President having
indicated his opposition to it. On the southern question General
Grant had earlier inclined toward moderation, but radical counsels
and the logic of events led him to join Congress in the passage of
the enforcement act and the Ku Klux Act, both of which have already
been mentioned.

It was during this, the first year of Grant's administration, that
there occurred the famous gold conspiracy of 1869. Jay Gould and
James Fisk, Jr., two of the most unscrupulous stock gamblers of the
time, determined to corner the supply of gold and then run its market
price up to a high level, in order to further certain interests which
they had recently purchased. The likelihood that the conspirators
could carry out the plan depended largely on the Secretary of the
Treasury, George S. Boutwell, who was accustomed to sell several
millions of dollars' worth of gold each month. If the sales could be
stopped Gould and Fisk might be successful. Accordingly, they got on
friendly terms with the President through cultivating the acquaintance
of his brother-in-law, were seen publicly with him at the theatre and
other places, and subsequently he wrote to the Secretary expressing
his opinion that the sales had better stop. Gould apparently was
informed of this decision by the brother-in-law, even before the
message reached the Secretary, and immediately bought up so much gold
as to run the price to an unparalleled figure. This was on "Black
Friday," September 24. The Secretary became alarmed, rumors were abroad
that the administration was implicated in the conspiracy, and at noon,
after consultation with the President, he decided to place four
millions in gold on the market. At once the price dropped, brokers went
bankrupt, and Gould and Fisk had to take refuge behind armed guards to
save their lives. The President had not been a party to the plans of
the speculators, but his blindness to their real purposes and his
association with them during the period when their scheme was being
perfected made him a target for all manner of accusations.

Further astonishment was caused by the attitude of the President toward
two of the three really able men in his cabinet. In June, 1870, he
suddenly called for the resignation of Judge Hoar. It appeared that he
was seeking votes in the Senate for a treaty in which he was interested
and that certain southern members demanded the post of attorney-general
for a southern man in return for their support. Secretary Cox's
resignation came soon afterward. He had taken his department out of
politics, had furthered the cause of civil service reform and had
protected his employees from political party assessments. These acts
brought him into collision with the politicians, who had the ear of the
President, and Cox had to retire. Both Hoar and Cox were succeeded by
mediocre men.

The treaty which caused the removal of Secretary Hoar was one that the
President had arranged providing for the annexation of San Domingo. The
Senate was opposed to ratification, but General Grant was accustomed
to overcoming difficulties and he urged his case with all the power at
his command. One result was an unseemly wrangle between the President
and Senator Charles Sumner over the latter's refusal to support
ratification. General Grant, in resentment, procured the withdrawal
of the Senator's friend, John Lothrop Motley from England, whither he
had been sent as minister, and later the exclusion of Sumner from the
chairmanship of the Committee on Foreign Relations, a post in which he
had displayed great ability for ten years. Eventually the President had
to give way on San Domingo, as the Senate did not agree with him in his
estimate of its probable value.

In its conduct of our relations with England, on the other hand, the
administration met with success and received popular approval. Ever
since the war the people of the North had desired an opportunity to
make Great Britain suffer for her attitude during that struggle.
Senator Sumner struck a popular chord when he suggested that England
should pay heavy damages on the ground that her encouragement of the
South had prolonged the war. Specifically, however, the United States
demanded reparation for destruction committed by the _Alabama_ and
other vessels that had been built in English ports. In 1870 Europe
was in a state of apprehension on account of the Franco-Prussian War,
and Secretary Fish seized the opportunity to press our claims upon
England. The latter, meanwhile, had abated somewhat her earlier
attitude of unwillingness to arbitrate, and Fish placed little
emphasis on Senator Sumner's suggestions of a claim for indirect
damages. The Treaty of Washington, signed and ratified in May, 1871,
provided for the arbitration of the _Alabama_ claims under such rules
that a decision favorable to the American side of the case was made
exceedingly probable. Each of five governments appointed a
representative--the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland
and Brazil. The meeting took place in Geneva and resulted favorably
to the American demands. England was declared to have failed to
preserve the proper attitude for a neutral during the war and was
ordered in 1872 to make compensation in the amount of $15,500,000.

The United States had need of any feeling of national pride that
might come as the result of the Geneva award, to offset the shame of
domestic revelations, for one of the characteristics of the decade
after the war was the wide-spread corruption in political and
commercial life. One of the most flagrant examples was the Tweed Ring
in New York. The government of that city was in the hands of a band
of highwaymen, of whom William M. Tweed, the leader of Tammany Hall,
was chief. Through the purchase of votes and the skilful distribution
of the proceeds of their control, they managed to keep in power
despite a growing suspicion that something was wrong. A favorite
method of defrauding the city was to raise an account. One who had a
bill against the city for $5,000 would be asked to present one for
$55,000. When he did so, he would receive his $5,000 and the
remainder would be divided among the members of the Ring. The
plasterer, for example, who worked on the County Court House
presented bills for nearly $3,000,000 in nine months. The New York
_Times_ and the cartoons of Thomas Nast in _Harper's Weekly_ were the
chief agents in arousing the people of the city to their situation.
The former obtained and published proofs of the rascality of the
Ring, mass meetings were held and an election in November, 1871,
overturned Tweed and his associates. Some of them fled from the
country, while Tweed himself died in jail.

More important both because of its effect on national politics and
because of its influence on railway legislation for many years
afterward was the Credit Mobilier scandal. The Credit Mobilier was a
construction company composed of a selected group of stockholders of
the Union Pacific Railroad, the transcontinental line which was being
built between 1865 and 1869. In their capacity of railroad
stockholders they awarded themselves as stockholders of the
construction company the contract to build and equip a large part of
the railway. The terms which they gave themselves were so generous as
to insure a handsome profit. Chief among the members of the Credit
Mobilier was Oakes Ames, a member of Congress from Massachusetts.
Late in 1867 Ames became fearful of railroad legislation that was
being introduced in Washington and he therefore decided to take steps
to protect the enterprise. He was given 343 shares of Credit Mobilier
stock, which he placed among members of Congress where, as he said,
they would "do most good." Rumors concerning the nature of the
transaction resulted finally in accusations in the New York _Sun_
during 1872, which involved the names of many prominent politicians.
Congressional committees were at once appointed to investigate the
charges, and their reports caused genuine sensations. Ames was found
guilty of selling stock at lower than face value in order to
influence votes in Congress and was censured by the House of
Representatives. The Vice-President, Schuyler Colfax, and several
others were so entangled in the affair as to lose their reputations
and retire from public life for good. Still others such as James A.
Garfield were suspected of complicity and were placed for many years
on the defensive.

Fear was wide-spread that political life in Washington was riddled
with corruption. Corporations which were large and wealthy for that
day were already getting a controlling grip on the legislatures of
the states, and if the Credit Mobilier scandal were typical, had
begun to reach out to Congress. Had the charges been made a little
earlier they might have influenced the election of 1872, which turned
largely on certain omissions and failings of the administration, and
especially of General Grant himself.

There is something intensely pathetic in General Grant as President
of the United States--this short, slouchy, taciturn, unostentatious
man who was more at ease with men who talked horses than with men who
talked government or literature; this President who was unacquainted
with either the theory or the practice of politics, who consulted
nobody in choosing his cabinet or writing his inaugural address, who
had scarcely visited a state capital except to capture it and had
been elected to the executive chair in times that were to try men's
souls. An indolent man, he called himself, but the world knew that he
was tireless and irresistible on the field when necessity demanded,
persistent, imperturbable, simple and direct in his language, and
upright in his character. The tragedy of President Grant's career was
his choice of friends and advisors. In Congress he followed the
counsels of second-rate men who gave him second-rate advice; outside
he associated too frequently with questionable characters who
cleverly used him as a mask for schemes that were an insult to his
integrity, but which his lack of experience and his utter inability
to judge character kept hidden from his view. Honorable himself and
loyal to a fault to his friends, he believed in the honesty of men
who betrayed him, long after the rest of the world had discovered
what they were. He could accept costly gifts from admirers and
appoint these same men to offices, without dreaming that their
generosity had sprung from any motive except gratitude for his
services during the war.[2]

It was inevitable, in view of these facts, that the presidential
campaign of 1872 should be essentially an anti-Grant movement, but
its particular characteristics had their origin before the General's
first election. In 1865 a constitutional convention in Missouri had
deprived southern sympathizers of the right to vote and hold office.
A wing of the Republican party, led by Colonel B. Gratz Brown, had
begun a counter-movement, intended to remove the restrictions on the
southerners, and also to reform other abuses in the state. Colonel
Brown had early received the assistance of General Carl Schurz, a man
of ability with the temperament of a reformer. The Brown-Schurz
faction had quickly increased in numbers, had become known as the
Liberal Republican party and had attracted such interest throughout
the country that a national conference was called for May, 1872, at
Cincinnati. In adopting a conciliatory southern policy, the Liberal
Republicans became opposed to the President, who had by this time
become thoroughly committed to the radical program. Other critics of
the administration, mainly Republicans, became interested in the
Liberal revolt--those who deprecated the President's choice of
associates and advisors, the civil service reformers who were aroused
by the dismissal of Secretaries Hoar and Cox, and the tariff
reformers who had vainly attempted to arouse enthusiasm for their

On account of the varied character of the elements which composed it
and the independent spirit of its members, the Cincinnati assembly
resembled a mass meeting rather than a well-organized political
conference. It numbered among its members, nevertheless, many men of
influence and repute. Some of the most powerful newspaper editors of
the country, also, were friendly to its purpose, so that it seemed
likely to be a decisive factor in the coming campaign. In most
respects the platform reflected the anti-Grant character of the
convention. It condemned the administration for keeping unworthy men
in power, favored the removal of all disabilities imposed on
southerners because of the rebellion, objected to interference by the
federal government in local affairs--a reference to the use of troops
to enforce the radical reconstruction policy--and advocated civil
service reform. The convention found difficulty in stating its
attitude toward the tariff question. It was deemed necessary to get
the support of Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York _Tribune_,
the most powerful northern newspaper of Civil War times, but Greeley
was an avowed protectionist. The platform, therefore, evaded the
issue by referring it to the people in their congressional districts,
and to Congress. But the rock on which the movement met shipwreck was
the nomination of a candidate. Many able men were available--Charles
Francis Adams, who had been minister to England, Senator Lyman
Trumbull, B. Gratz Brown and Judge David Davis of the Supreme Court.
Any one of them would have made a strong candidate. The convention,
however, passed over all of them and nominated Greeley, long known as
being against tariff reform, against civil service reform and hostile
to the Democrats, whose support must be obtained in order to achieve
success. Although a journalist of great influence and capacity,
Greeley was an erratic individual, whose appearance and manner were
the joy of the cartoonist.

The Republican convention met on June 5, and unanimously re-nominated
Grant. The platform recited the achievements of the party since 1861,
urged the reform of the civil service, advocated import duties and
approved of the enforcement acts and amnesty.

To the Democrats the greatest likelihood of success seemed to lie in
the adoption of the Liberal Republican nominee and platform. Such a
course, to be sure, would commit them to a candidate who had
excoriated their party for years in his newspaper, and to the three
war amendments to the Constitution, which the Liberal Republicans had
accepted. Yet it promised the South relief from military enforcement
of obnoxious laws, and that was worth much. Both Greeley and his
platform were accordingly accepted.

The enthusiasm for the Liberal movement which was observable at the
opening of the campaign rapidly dwindled as the significance of the
nomination became more clear. Greeley was open to attack from too
many quarters. The cartoons of Nast in _Harper's Weekly_, especially,
held him up to merciless ridicule. In the end he was defeated by
750,000 votes in a total of six and a half million, a disaster which,
together with the death of his wife and the overwork of the campaign
resulted in his death shortly after the election. As for the
Republicans they elected not only their candidate but also a
sufficient majority in Congress to carry out any program that the
party might desire.

On March 3, 1873, as Grant's first term was drawing to a close,
Congress passed a measure increasing the salary of public officials
from the President to the members of the House of Representatives.
The increase for Congressmen was made retroactive, so that each of
them would receive $5,000 for the two years just past. To a country
whose fears and suspicions had been aroused by the Credit Mobilier
scandal, the "salary grab" and the "back pay steal" were fresh
indications that corruption was entrenched in Washington. Senators
and Representatives began at once to hear from their constituencies.
Many of them returned the increase to the treasury and when the next
session opened, the law was repealed except so far as it applied to
the president and the justices of the Supreme Court.

The congressional elections of 1874 indicated the extent of the
popular distrust of the administration. In New York, where Samuel J.
Tilden was chosen governor, and in such Republican strongholds as
Massachusetts and Pennsylvania the Democrats were successful. In the
House of Representatives the Republican two-thirds majority was wiped
out and the Democrats given complete control. Even the redoubtable
Benjamin F. Butler lost his seat.

Further apprehensions were aroused by rumors concerning the
operations of a "Whiskey Ring." For some years it had been suspected
that a ring of revenue officials with accomplices in Washington were
in collusion with the distillers to defraud the government of the
lawful tax on whiskey. Part of the illegal gains were said to have
gone into the campaign fund for Grant's re-election, although he was
ignorant of the source of the revenue. Benjamin H. Bristow, who
became Secretary of the Treasury in 1874, began the attempt to stop
the frauds and capture the guilty parties. This was no simple task,
because information of impending action was surreptitiously sent out
by officials in Washington. Finally Secretary Bristow got the
information which he sought, and then moved to capture the criminals.
One of the most prominent members of the Ring was an internal revenue
official in St. Louis who, it was recollected, had entertained
President Grant, had presented him with a pair of horses and a wagon,
and had given the General's private secretary a diamond shirt-stud
valued at $2,400. Public opinion was yet further shocked, however,
when the trail of indictments led to the President's private
secretary, General Babcock. On first receiving the news of Bristow's
discoveries, Grant had written "Let no guilty man escape"; but later
he became secretly and then openly hostile to the investigation.
During the trial of Babcock, the President asked to be a witness in
his behalf. A verdict of acquittal was given, but afterwards the two
men had a private conference, and when "Grant came out, his face was
set in silence." Babcock never returned to the White House as
Secretary, but was given the post of Superintendent of Public
Buildings and Grounds. Several of the members of the Ring were
imprisoned but were later pardoned by the President. In the meanwhile
Grant seems to have been brought to believe that Bristow was
persecuting Babcock with a view to getting the favor of the reform
element in the party and eventually the presidential nomination.
Relations between the two became strained and Bristow resigned.

The last year of Grant's second administration was blackened by the
case of W.W. Belknap, who was then Secretary of War. Investigation by
a House committee uncovered the fact that since 1870 an employee in
the Indian service had paid $12,000 and later $6,000 a year for the
privilege of retaining his office. The money had been paid at first
to Mrs. Belknap, who had made the arrangement, and after her death to
the Secretary himself. The House unanimously voted to impeach him,
but on the day when the vote was taken he resigned and the President
accepted the resignation. Only the fact that he was out of office
prevented the Senate from declaring him guilty, and critics of the
administration noted that the President had saved another friend from
deserved punishment.

It would be easy to over-estimate the responsibility of General Grant
for the political corruption of his administrations. For the most
part the wrong-doing of the time began before his first election.
Democrats as well as Republicans participated in many of the
scandals. Politicians in the cities, the states and the nation seemed
to be determined to have a share in the enormous wealth that was
being created in America, and they got it by means that varied from
the merely unethical and indiscreet, to the openly corrupt. As for
the President, his own defence, given in his last message to
Congress, may be taken as the best one: "Failures have been errors of
judgment, not of intent."

Under the circumstances, however, it was natural that the
presidential campaign of 1876 should turn upon the failings of the
administration. Popular interest in the southern issue was on the
wane. Early in the election year, nevertheless, James G. Blaine,
Republican leader in the House, made a forceful attack on Jefferson
Davis, as the wilful author of the "gigantic murders and crimes at
Andersonville," the southern prison in which federal captives had
been held. Instantly the sectional hatred flared up and Blaine,
already a well-known leader, became a prominent candidate for the
nomination. Republican reformers generally favored Bristow. A
third-term boom for Grant was effectively crushed by an adverse
resolution in the House.

The Republican nominating convention met on June 14. The virtues of
Blaine were set forth in a famous speech by Robert G. Ingersoll in
which he referred to the attack on Davis: "Like an armed warrior,
like a plumed knight James G. Blaine marched down the halls of the
American Congress and threw his shining lance full and fair against
the brazen forehead of every traitor to his country." The "plumed
knight," however, was open to attack concerning a scandal during the
Grant regime, and the convention turned to Governor Rutherford B.
Hayes, of Ohio, a man of quiet ability who had been unconnected with
Washington politics, was relatively unknown and, therefore, not
handicapped by the antagonisms of previous opponents. The platform
emphasized the services of the party during the war, touched lightly
on the events of the preceding eight years, advocated payment of the
public debt, and favored import duties and the reform of the civil

The Democrats met on June 27. There was little opposition to the
nomination of Governor Samuel J. Tilden, of New York, a wealthy
lawyer who had made a record as a reformer in opposition to "Boss"
Tweed and a corrupt canal ring. The platform was distinctly a reform
document. It demanded reform in the governments of states and nation,
in the currency system, the tariff, the scale of public expense, and
the civil service. An eloquent paragraph exhibited those corruptions
of the administration which had caused such general dismay.

There was little in the campaign that was distinctive, and on
November 8, the morning after the election, it seemed clear that
Tilden had been successful. He had carried the doubtful states of
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Indiana. When the figures were
all gathered, it was found that his popular vote exceeded that of his
rival by more than 250,000. But there were disputes in three states,
Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina. Hayes would be elected only if
the electoral votes of all these states could be obtained for him.
If, however, Tilden received even one electoral vote from any of the
states, the victory would be his. Hayes was conceded 166 electoral
votes; Tilden 184. Nineteen were in dispute. The Republican leaders
at once claimed the nineteen disputed votes, and asserted that their
candidate was elected. The Democrats had no doubt of the victory of
Tilden.[3] The capitals of the three doubtful states now became the
centers of observation. Troops had long been stationed in South
Carolina and Louisiana, and others were promptly sent to Florida.
Prominent politicians from both parties also flocked thither, in
order to uphold the party interests.

In South Carolina it became evident that a majority of the popular
vote was for Hayes, although both the Democratic and the Republican
electors sent in returns to Washington. In Florida there was a board
of canvassers which had power to exclude false or fraudulent votes.
It was composed of two Republicans and one Democrat. When all ballots
had been sent in, the Democrats claimed a majority of ninety; the
Republicans a majority of forty-five. The board went over the returns
and by a partisan vote threw out enough to make the Republican
majority 924. Republican electoral votes were thereupon sent to
Washington, but so also were Democratic votes. The situation in
Louisiana was still more complicated. Political corruption and
intimidation had been commonplaces in that state. On the face of the
returns, Tilden's electors had received majorities varying from 6,000
to 9,000. As in Florida there was a board of canvassers which was
here composed of four Republicans, three of whom were men of low
character. The vote of the state was offered to the Democrats, once
for $1,000,000 and once for $200,000, but the offer was not taken.
The board then threw out enough ballots to choose all the Hayes
electors. As in the other cases, Democratic electors also sent
ballots to Washington.

There was no federal agency with power to determine which sets of
electors were to be counted, and the fact that the federal Senate was
Republican and the House Democratic seemed to preclude the
possibility of legislation on the subject. No such critical situation
had ever resulted from an election, and a means of settlement must
quickly be discovered, for only three months would elapse after the
electoral votes were sent to Washington, before the term of General
Grant would expire. The means devised was the Electoral Commission.
This body was to be composed of five senators, five representatives,
and five justices of the Supreme Court. The Senate and the House were
each to choose their five members, and four members of the Court were
designated by the Act which established the Commission, with power to
choose a fifth. It was understood that seven would be Republicans,
seven Democrats and that the fifteenth member would be Justice David
Davis, an Independent, who would be selected by his four colleagues.
On him in all probability, the burden of the decision would fall. On
the day when the Senate agreed to the plan, however, the Democrats
and Independents in the Illinois legislature chose Justice Davis as
United States Senator and under these circumstances he refused to
serve on the Commission. It was too late to withdraw, and since all
the remaining justices from whom a commissioner must be chosen were
Republicans, the Democrats were compelled to accept a body on which
they were outnumbered eight to seven.

The Electoral Commission sat all through the month of February, 1877.
Its decisions were uniformly in favor of Hayes electors by a vote of
eight to seven, always along party lines, and on March 2, it was
formally announced that Hayes had been elected. The disappointment of
the Democrats was bitter and lasting, for their candidate had
received over a quarter of a million popular votes more than his
opponent, and yet had been declared defeated. For a time there was
some fear of civil war. Tilden, however, accepted the decision of the
Commission in good faith, and forbade his friends and his party to
resist. Moreover, close friends of the Republican candidate assured
southern Democratic politicians that Hayes if elected would adopt a
conciliatory policy toward the South, and would allow the southern
states to govern themselves unhampered by federal interference.
Peaceful counsels prevailed, therefore, and the closing days of
President Grant's administration were undisturbed by threats of

The question whether Hayes was fairly elected is a fascinating one.
There is no doubt that there was fraud and intimidation on both
sides, in the disputed states. In Louisiana, for example, the
Democrats prevented many negroes from voting by outrageous
intimidation, while the Republicans had many negroes fraudulently
registered. Little is known, also, of the activities of the "visiting
statesmen," as those politicians were called who went to the South to
care for their party interests. It is known that they were well
provided with money and that the boards of canvassers contained many
unscrupulous men. Nor is it likely that politicians who lived in the
days of the Credit Mobilier and the Whiskey King would falter at a
bargain which would affect the election of a president. Republicans
looked upon the Democrats as being so wicked that they were justified
in "fighting the devil with fire." Democrats looked upon the election
as so clearly theirs that no objection ought to be made to their
taking what belonged to them. It seems certain, however, that Hayes
had no hand in any bargains made by his supporters. As for Tilden,
his wealth was such that he could have purchased votes if he had
desired to do so, and the fact that all the votes went to his rival
indicates that he did not yield to the temptation. Moreover, one of
his closest associates, Henry Watterson, the journalist, tells of one
occasion when the presidency was offered to Tilden and refused by
him. Perhaps a definitive statement of the rights and wrongs of this
famous election will never be made; for one after another the men
most intimately associated with it have died leaving some account of
their activities, but none of them has told much more than was
already known.


Dunning, Rhodes and Schouler, together with most of the works
referred to at the close of Chapter 1, continue to be useful. L.A.
Coolidge, _Ulysses S. Grant_ (1917), is not as partisan as most of
the biographies of the time and is valuable despite a lack of a
thorough understanding of the period. The following are valuable for
especial topics: H. Adams, _Historical Essays_ (1891); C.F. Adams,
Jr., and H. Adams, _Chapters of Erie_ (1886), (gold conspiracy); C.F.
Adams, Jr., _Charles Francis Adams_ (Treaty of Washington); C.F.
Adams, Jr., "The Treaty of Washington" in _Lee at Appomattox, and
Other Papers_ (1902); James Bryce, _American Commonwealth_ (vol. II,
various editions since 1888, contains famous chapter on the Tammany
Tweed ring); A.B. Paine, _Thomas Nast, His Period and His Pictures_
(1904), (Tweed ring). P.L. Haworth, _Hayes-Tilden Disputed
Presidential Election of 1876_ (1906), is a thorough study; on this
election, see also John Bigelow, _The Life of S.J. Tilden_ (2 vols.,
1895), and C.R. Williams, _Life of Rutherford B. Hayes_ (2 vols.,

* * * * *

[1] The closing months of Johnson's administration found him almost in
a state of isolation. The incoming President refused to have any
social relations with him, or even to ride with him from the White
House to the Capitol on inauguration day. After the installation of
his successor, Johnson returned to Tennessee but was later chosen to
the Senate, where he served but a short time before his death.

[2] In 1884, a year before his death, the dishonesty of a trusted
friend left him bankrupt, while a painful and malignant disease began
slowly to eat away his life. Nevertheless, with characteristic courage
he set himself to the task of dictating his _Memoirs_, or more often
penciling sentences when he was unable to speak, in order that he
might repay his debts with the proceeds.

[3] There was also a technical question concerning one elector in
Oregon, which was easily settled.



With the close of Grant's administration, the main immediate problems
connected with political reconstruction came to an end. During the war,
however, important economic and social developments had been taking
place throughout the United States which were destined to take on
greater and greater significance. The reconstruction problem looked
backward to the war; the new developments looked forward to a new
America. Reconstruction affected fewer and fewer people as time went
on; the later changes ultimately transformed the daily life of every
individual in the nation. Not only did they determine the means by
which he earned his livelihood, but the comforts which he enjoyed, the
conditions of rural or urban life which surrounded him, the ease with
which he visited other portions of the country or obtained information
concerning them, the number and variety of the foreign products that
could be brought to him, the political problems upon which he thought
and voted, and the attitude of the government toward his class in
society. Most of these changes were distinguishable during the
twenty-five years following the war and could be stated in brief and
definite terms.

From the standpoint of population, the growth of the country before
1890, although not so rapid as it had been before the war, was both
constant and important. Between 1870 and 1890 the numbers of people
increased from nearly thirty-nine millions to nearly sixty-three
millions, the rate each decade being not far from twenty-five per cent.
Six states added more than a million each to their population--New York
and Pennsylvania in the Northeast; Ohio, Illinois and Kansas in the
Middle West; and Texas in the South. No fewer than seventeen others
expanded by half a million or more--ten of the seventeen being in the
valley drained by the Mississippi River system.

Detailed study of particular sections of the country discloses a
continuous shifting of population which indicates changes in the
economic life of the people. In northern New England, the numbers
increased slowly. Both Maine and New Hampshire lost from 1860 to 1870;
nearly half of Maine's counties and nearly two-thirds of Vermont's lost
population between 1880 and 1890; the people were abandoning the rural
districts to flock to the cities or migrate to the West. Shipbuilding
fell off in Maine; the dairy interests languished in Vermont, less
wheat was being planted and the farmers, no longer growing wool, were
selling their flocks. Most of the growth was to be found in the
industrial counties. The traditional New England thrift, however, was
not lost with the migration of the people, for savings bank deposits
were increasing, and the state of Vermont was free from debt in 1880,
and all its counties in 1890. The South, between 1870 and 1890,
increased in numbers a little less rapidly than the country as a whole.
On the Atlantic Coast the greatest relative expansion was in Florida;
in the western South, in Texas. The increase was almost wholly native,
as immigration did not flow into that section.

The great expansion of the Middle West, from Ohio to Kansas, was based
upon the public land policy of the federal government. Substantially
all this region had once been in the possession of the United States,
which had early adopted the system of laying out townships six miles
on a side, with subdivisions one mile square, (containing 640 acres),
called sections. An important feature of the policy had been the
encouragement of education and of transportation through the gift
of large grants of the public land. Moreover, settlement had been
stimulated by the disposal of land to purchasers at extremely liberal
figures. In 1862 the famous Homestead Act had inaugurated a still
more generous policy. Under this law the citizen might settle upon a
quarter-section and receive a title after five years of actual
occupation, with no charge other than a slight fee. Millions of acres
were taken up in this way both by natives and by immigrants. 1,300,000
people poured into Illinois between 1870 and 1890; over 1,000,000 into
Kansas, and nearly that number into Nebraska; in the Dakotas a young
man of college age in 1890 might have remembered almost the entire
significant portion of the history of his state and have been one of
the oldest inhabitants. The frontier of settlement advanced from the
western edge of Missouri into mid-Kansas, and almost met the growing
population of the Far West, whose economic possibilities had already
attracted attention.

The discovery of gold-dust in a mill-race in California had drawn the
"Forty-niners" to

... lands of gold
That lay toward the sun.

For a few years fabulous sums of the precious metal had been extracted
from the ground by the hordes of treasure-seekers who had come from
all over the world by boat, pack-animal or "prairie schooner," around
Cape Horn, across the Isthmus of Panama or over the western mountains.
When the yield of the mines had slackened, some of the population had
filtered off to newer fields, but more had settled down to exploit the
agricultural and lumber resources of California. In Nevada a rich vein
of silver called the "Comstock Lode" had been discovered; in 1873 a
group operating the "Virginia Consolidated" mine struck the great
"bonanza," and the output reached unheard of proportions. The success
of the mines, however, was essential to Nevada, which had few other
resources to develop, and when the yield slowed down the population
growth of the state noticeably slackened. In Colorado during the late
fifties some prospectors had struck gold, and another rush had made
"Pike's Peak or Bust" its slogan. Some had returned, "Busted by
Thunder," but others had better fortune, discovered gold, silver or
lead, and helped lay the foundations of Denver and Leadville. In Idaho
and Montana, in Wyoming and South Dakota and other states, prospectors
found gold, silver, copper and lead, and thus attracted much of the
population that later settled down to occupations which were less
feverish and more reliable than mining. In general, the advance of
population into the Middle West was more or less regular, as wave on
wave made its way into the Mississippi Basin; in the Far West,
however, population extended in long arms up the fertile valleys of
Washington, Oregon and California, or was found in scattered islands
where mineral wealth had been discovered in the Rocky Mountain region.

From the standpoint of absolute growth, the expansion of most of the
far western states was not imposing, but the relative increase was
suggestive of the future. Colorado nearly quadrupled in a decade,
(1870-1880), and Washington equalled the record in the following ten
years. California grew faster from 1870 to 1890 than it had done in
the gold days, indicating that its development was based on something
more lasting than a fickle vein of ore. Meanwhile politicians were
fanning the desire of the growing territories to become states, and in
1889 Montana and Washington were admitted, and in the following year
Idaho and Wyoming. Of these, Washington alone had a population
equivalent to the federal ratio for representation in the House.[1]

Utah was kept outside for a few years longer, until the Mormon Church
gave satisfactory indication that anti-polygamy laws were being

The migration westward, which has been a constant factor in American
development since early times, continued unabated after the Civil War;
indeed the restless spirit aroused by the four years of conflict
undoubtedly tended to increase this steady shift toward the West. By
1890 approximately a fifth of the native Americans were to be found in
states other than those in which they had been born. 95,000 natives of
Maine, for example, were to be found in Massachusetts; 17,000 were in
California; and considerable numbers in every state between the two.
The North Carolinians were equally well distributed. 43,000 were in
South Carolina, 18,000 in Texas, and 5,500 in Washington. Every state
had contributed to populate every other, although in general the
migration tended to take place on east and west lines, and
predominantly westward.

Within the westward-moving tide of population were swirling
eddies--cities--which tended to attract to themselves larger and larger
proportions of the surrounding people. In 1870 two men in every ten
lived in cities whose population was 8,000 or more; by 1890 another man
in every ten had forsaken rural life. Large cities like Boston and New
York sucked in surrounding districts, and so constituted metropolitan
centers with problems new to American life. Such cities as Birmingham,
Kansas City, and Seattle were just appearing in 1880, but their growth
was very rapid; Los Angeles increased ten fold and Minneapolis
thirteen, between 1870 and 1890; Denver, having received ten newcomers
between 1860 and 1870, added 102,000 in the following twenty years.
In the country as a whole the concentration in cities was most marked
in the area north of the Potomac and Ohio rivers and east of the
Mississippi; the South remained rural, as before the war. With the
growth of urban population came questions of lighting and water supply,
street railway transportation and municipal government, industry,
education, health and morals.[2]

Immigration, another constant factor in American development,
underwent important changes during the twenty-five years from 1865
to 1890. Greater in prosperous years and smaller during years of
depression, the inward tide reached its climax in 1882, when 789,000
aliens reached the new world. That year, in several respects, was a
turning point in the history of immigration into the United States.
It was in this year that the Chinese were excluded; that immigration
from Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia became of sufficient size to be
impressive; and that the first inclusive federal immigration act was
passed. The immigration law of 1882 defined, in general, the policy
which the nation has pursued ever since. It placed a tax of fifty
cents on all incomers to be paid by the ship companies; it forbade the
landing of objectionable persons, such as convicts and lunatics; and
it placed on the owners of vessels the expense of returning immigrants
not permitted to land. All these provisions were amended or developed
in later laws, like that of 1885 forbidding persons or corporations to
prepay the transportation of laborers or to encourage immigration
under contract to perform work. The greater part of the foreign
population settled in the manufacturing and urban North. Put into
simplest terms, the census of 1890 showed that of every hundred aliens
who had come to the United States between 1870 and 1890, thirty-seven
were to be found in the states from Maine to Pennsylvania, four from
Delaware to Texas, forty-seven from Ohio to Kansas and twelve in the
Far West (for the most part Chinese).

Of the great economic interests of the United States, the most
widespread was agriculture. In the Northeast, to be sure, the amount
of improved farm land had been growing steadily less since 1850 and
the people had been turning their energies into other activities. In
the South, on the other hand, agriculture formed the main economic
resource and the twenty-five years following the war were, for the
most part, consumed in recovering from that struggle. Although
conditions varied from place to place, the situation in many portions
of the South was little short of pitiable. Not only were factories,
public buildings and railroads, houses and barns, tools and seeds
destroyed, capital and credit gone, mining at a standstill and banks
ruined, but bands of thieves infested many districts, federal officers
were frequently dishonest and defrauded the people, and the entire
labor system was wiped out at a stroke. The negroes had not been ideal
workmen as slaves; now, as freedmen, they found difficulty in
adjusting themselves to the economic obligations of their new status,
and evinced a tendency to rove about restlessly, instead of settling
down to the stern task of helping to rebuild the shattered South.

It was manifest that the first problem was to revive the agricultural
activities of the old days, and that the main resource must be cotton,
the demand for which in the markets of the North and of Europe was
such as to make it the best "money crop." A labor system was
introduced known as share-farming or cropping. Under this system the
plantation owner who had more property than he could cultivate under
the new conditions let parts of his land to tenants, supplying them
with buildings, tools, seed and perhaps credit at the village store
for the supplies necessary for the year. The tenant, who had neither
money nor credit with which to buy land, furnished the labor, and at
the harvest each received a specified share of the product, commonly a
half. The system had its disadvantages; it kept the farmer always in
debt, and since the only valuable security which the plantation owner
had was the crop--the land being almost unsalable--he insisted on
the cultivation of cotton, which was a safe crop, and avoided
experimentation and diversification. On the other hand, the system
enabled the land owner to take advantage of the labor supply and to
supervise the untutored negro,--and it kept the South alive. In
addition to the large plantations, cultivated by several tenant
farmers, the number of small farms tilled by independent owners or
renters increased. Due to this tendency and to the opening of many
small holdings in the Southwest, the size of the average farm
diminished, so that the small farmer began to replace the plantation
owner as the typical southerner.

Owing to the insistence of land owners upon cotton culture, the South
first caught up with its _ante-bellum_ production in the cultivation
of this staple, for shortly before 1880 the crop exceeded that of
1860. The production of tobacco, the second great southern crop,
sharply shifted after the war from the Atlantic Coast states, except
North Carolina, to the Mississippi region, especially to Kentucky.
Maryland, indeed, never again produced much more than half as great a
crop as she did in 1860, while Virginia did not equal her former
record until the opening of the twentieth century, although the South
as a whole recovered in the late eighties. Rice culture, likewise, did
not recover readily for South Carolina alone produced almost as much
in 1860 as the entire South in 1890, and not until the development of
production in Louisiana after 1890 did the crop assume its former
importance. The production of sugar in Louisiana in 1890 was but
little greater than it had been in 1860, and in the production of
cereals the South did not keep pace with the upper Mississippi Valley
before 1890. On the other hand the rapid growth of Texas was one of
the outstanding features of southern development during the period,
for that state improved an amount of farm land between 1870 and 1890,
roughly equivalent to the combined areas of New Hampshire, Vermont,
and Massachusetts. There was observable, moreover, a certain
hopefulness, a certain resiliency of purpose, a pride in the
achievements of the past and in the possibilities of the future. In
these respects the South was a new South by 1890.

Greater than the South as a food-producing area, was the belt of
states from Ohio and Michigan to Kansas and the Dakotas:

Where there's more of reaping and less of sowing,
That's where the West begins.

The increased occupation of the public lands, the growth of population,
improvements in transportation and the greater use of agricultural
machinery, which could be employed to advantage on the large and
relatively level farms, led to developments that were destined to have
an important effect on the history of the nation. Agricultural
machinery, such as the reaper, had been known long before the war, but
the reduction of the labor supply from 1861 to 1865 had compelled
farmers to replace men with machines. A reaper that merely cut the
grain and tossed it aside, gave way at last to one which not only cut
the grain, but gathered it into sheaves and bound the sheaves with
twine. So great was the effect of the harvester upon western
agriculture that William H. Seward declared that it "pushed the
frontier westward at the rate of thirty miles a year."

Due to the facts already mentioned, the number of mid-western farms
increased nearly a million from 1870 to 1890, and the acreage in
improved farm land grew by an amount equivalent to the combined areas
of the British Isles, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark, with a
generous margin to spare. The production of corn, wheat, oats and other
cereals became so great as to demand an outlet to the East and to the
markets of the world. Elevators for the storage of grain were
constructed with a capacity of 300,000 to 1,000,000 bushels, and
improvements were made in the methods of loading and unloading the
product. Despite the growth of the agricultural interests of the Middle
West, however, the farmer did not reach prosperity. For twenty years
after 1873 prices fell steadily both in the United States and in other
countries of the world, and the agricultural classes found themselves
receiving a smaller and smaller return for their products. Unrest grew
to distress, and distress to acute depression, while the demands of the
farmers for relief frequently determined the trend of mid-western

Relative Prices--1865-1890]

Less general than agriculture, but more characteristic of the period
after the war, was the development of manufacturing. The census of 1870
was faulty and inadequate, but it was sufficiently accurate to indicate
that the manufacturing region was preeminently that north of the
Potomac-Ohio river line and east of the Mississippi. By 1890 it was
apparent that the industrial interests were shifting slightly toward
the West; nevertheless the leading states were those of southern New
England, and New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In these states no


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