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The Republican Party of North Carolina Organizes

 
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PostPosted:     Post subject: The Republican Party of North Carolina Organizes Reply with quote

North Carolina, defeated and defenseless in 1867, was located Military Occupation District Number Two under the first Reconstruction Act of the Northern Congress. The act required that new State constitutions be framed in such a manner to grant Negro suffrage. The effect of the latter was to ensure Republican presidential victory in 1868 as Democrat Horatio Seymour lost to Ulysses S. Grant, the 5% victory margin delivered by 500,000 freedmen votes.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
www.ncwbts150.com
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

The Republican Party of North Carolina Organizes:

“Under the regime of military rule and Negro suffrage, the Republican party was organized in North Carolina. [The] party was formally launched in North Carolina at a meeting in Raleigh on March 27, 1867….[and] it embraced three elements. First, there were several thousand native whites, called “scalawags” and “squatters” by their enemies….strong Unionists who welcomed a return to the United States; devoted admirers of [W.W.] Holden; and some who disliked the recent actions of Congress but thought it wiser to submit than to defy and antagonize the Northern Radicals any longer.

[In addition there] were the Negroes, who joined the party because it gave them their freedom, the Freedmen’s Bureau and the right to vote. They constituted at least half of the party’s membership. On April 4, 1867, Holden had written in the [Raleigh] Standard: “Let our loyal people, and especially the colored people, trust no man who will not promptly and proudly say he is a Republican.”

[Then] there were the “carpetbaggers” – Northerners who had come to the State after the war, supposedly carrying all their worldly goods in a carpet bag. Some came to be permanent resident….some came to get political power and the spoils of office through control of the Negro vote. Albion Tourgee, one of the State’s leading carpetbaggers, commenting on the newly formed Republican party, admitted that “ignorance, poverty and inexperience were its chief characteristics.”

[At the 1868 State Constitutional Convention] which met in Raleigh, January 14 to March 17, 1868, there were only thirteen Conservatives and none of the customary white leadership was present. The leading carpetbaggers were Lieutenant Albion Tourgee, native of Ohio, General Bryan Laflin of Massachusetts and New York, General Joseph C Abbot of New Hampshire, Major H.L. Grant of Rhode Island and Connecticut, John R. French of New Hampshire and Ohio, and the Reverend S.S. Ashley of Massachusetts. The outstanding Negro delegates were James H. Harris, J.W. Hood, and A.H. Galloway.

The Constitution of 1868 [had] many provisions….copied from the Constitution of Ohio, Tourgee’s native State, while others were in line with progressive legislation of other Northern States. Many of the changes were modern, progressive, liberal, and democratic.

The Constitution of 1868 [had] many provisions….copied from the Constitution of Ohio, Tourgee’s native State, while others were in line with progressive legislation of other Northern States. Many of the changes were modern, progressive, liberal, and democratic. The convention cost the taxpayers about $100,000 and Conservatives denounced the waste of money and pointed out that one member living only thirty miles from Raleigh had collected travel expenses for 262 miles.

[The election of 1868 was] held April 21, 22 and 23….a new registration of voters resulted in total registration of 196,872, of which 117,428 were whites and 79,444 Negroes. The Republicans were well organized and had the support of the Union League and Federal troops located in the State. It was reported that the Republicans “sent flocks of Howard [University] Negro students” into the South to make speeches, and applied an extra $200,000 to the campaign in North Carolina through an increase in Federal marshals to step up the enforcement of the Ku Klux Act.

Accordingly, the Republican swept to victory, and the new constitution was adopted….Holden was elected governor over Conservative Thomas S. Ashe….When the Republican-dominated legislature met, it promptly ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and elected two United States senators, [scalawag] John Pool and Joseph C. Abbott [of New Hampshire]. Governor [Jonathan] Worth was forced out of office by General [Edward] Canby’s military order on July 1, and Holden assumed the governor’s office the next day.

Congress approved the new State constitution and admitted North Carolina representatives and senators on July 20, 1868. The State was back in the Union at last. But the State was in the control of the Republican party whose radical policies and Negro-carpetbag-scalawag membership were distasteful to the native white [and mostly disenfranchised] majority.”

North Carolina, The History of a Southern State, Hugh Talmage Lefler & Albert Ray Newsome, UNC Press, 1954, pp. 459-462)
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