September 19, 1868
The Dispatch returns to one of its favorite topics, "Negro Suffrage."Between bashing the "Radicals" and Reconstruction as a whole they consistently go back to two min pints when discussing African American suffrage.The first is that suffrage rights were not granted to the Black community but rather forced upon them instead and while the paper never states it they always put a connotation on this as if to suggest that it was unwillingly placed on the African American community.They also believe that suffrage for African Americans was not in the Republicans policies because of humanitarian purposes.Rather they suggest that it was only added as a cheap and unfair political tool so that they could better control the South and take it away form the white men (who according to the Dispatch had not switched parties like the Radicals had hoped).
Radicalism and Negro Suffrage. Negro suffrage at the outset of reconstruction after the war was not a sine qua non of the Radical party. It was not until the white people of the South showed irreconcilable hostility to Radicalism that the Radical party determined it to be indispensable to their continued supremacy in the Government. No man will dispute tlie proposition that had the southern white people in a body joined the party in power immediately after the war, there would not have been any such thing as forcing negro suffrage upon them. The whole matter would have been left to the States - to the white people of the States - and Congress would not have interfered with them. A prominent gentleman in this State urged the propriety of joining the Radical party with this object. Upon his view of the case, and with his morality applied to our situation and that of the northern people, he thought it perfectly justifiable ! But it was a piece of strategy absolutely impossible in the South. The southern people are utterly incapable of any such hypocrites - whatever might be the importance of the object to be gained by it. Of all her people, see the contemptibly small number who have practiced such deceit for an advantage. Imagine that the opportunity had been given at the North to practice a ruse of this sort with such immense advantage as we would have gained by resorting to it. What would have been its effect? Each man can answer for himself. The corrupt history of Radicalism plainly indicates that in that party at least there would have been no obstacle in the way of playing such a trick for party advantage.
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“Richmond Dispatch,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 1, 2023, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1131.