The Radicals - General Grant The Nation
January 2, 1869
What will become of the Republican Party? Granting black men the right to vote is the Party's last breath. When the war ends, so will the party in the war.
The Radicals-General Grant - The Nation. The Federal Congress reassembles on Tuesday next to resume the consideration of national affairs. The circumstances bearing upon its action and its motives are such that its policy will be quite beset With difficulties. It is not at a time of great excitement, amidst the strife of party contest, that the greatest embarrassment is encountered by a party in power. Its columns are then compact and disciplined, and will rally as one man upon all issues presented to them. Like soldiers, they fight for promotion and for the spoils of victory, and nothing is needed to stimulate their oourage or insure their fidelity. "But when the battle is won, and the legions are enjoying its fruits, then comes the danger. That is the time for rivalries and conspiracies, discipline is relaxed, the absence of all fear of the enemy begets discord within the ranks, and the acquisition of plunder but whets the appetite of greed and enrages the strife over the gains of victory. These, and more than these causes of trouble must be the lot of the Republican party. It was born in the war, and, like all war parties, must die as soon as the passions of civil discord subside. These passions have been prolonged by the Republicans by the most ingenious artifices, under the full conviction that they were indispensable to the existence of their party. Outside of these passions there is no promethean fire to sustain its life. Republicanism had really but one principle, and that was the negro, and the several variations upon him. These variations are nearly all played out. The last measure? the " suffrage " ? which is the last of them all - is now quavering its screeching notes upon the instruments of the wearied musicians, long since disgusted with their own music. A party without principle is only united by the rotten cords of public plunder. These cannot hold the " Outs," who will grow tired of a struggle for prizes in which they have no share. What new views and plans these may form, time will disclose. Again : The Republican party finds at its head a General ? the hero of the Federal army in the late war- elected President in obedience to the universal sentiment of popular admiration for heroes, and in no sense on account of any political opinion or theory of statesmanship ever entertained or espoused by him. He is remarkable for being a plain, blunt soldier, uninformed about partisan trickery, and having neither inclination nor skill to practice it. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that he abhors it. From such a man little can be expected in the way of aid to mere partisan schemes or connivance at frauds designed to fill the pockets of unprincipled public officers. HIs path will be too bold, his steps too steady, for their tortuous and covert marches. Their attempts to follow his lead will be quite perplexed, while it will be altogether impossible for him to degrade himself to their disreputable measures. He will, we believe, have something of a laudable ambition to restore the prosperity, and diminish the burthens of the country. They will oppose the curtailment of expenditure and the diminution of offices. He will desire to restore "peace" and harmony to his country, while discord and sectional bitterness will best promote the prospects of too many of the leaders who helped to elect him. He would restore to all southern men their political rights, while a great army of office-seekers see that their only chance for office and emolument is the restraining of the white man and the enlargement of negroes. He, having reached the highest honors of the nation, will, in all likelihood, be ambitious of building an enduring monument to his own fame by promoting the real grandeur and happiness of that political union he was chiefly instrumental in saving from destruction. They have no ambition beyond the present, for which they live and delve through all the crooked ways of partisanry. These being the prominent features of the present party and political situation at Washington, we need not be surprised at developments that may appear during this winter's session. It is already manifest that General Grant in no wise sympathizes with the extremists, and they have shown their conviction of this truth by propositions looking to the disqualification of military men for civil offices. There is a jealousy of military men and of that military power which these ultra politicians had discovered to be essential to protect them in their usurpations. Many tyrants have always in times past leaned upon the military arm that finally struck them down, and it is not improbable that history in this respect is to be repeated in our own Government. Since, then, the party of war, which has lived on strife, must die with war and strife, all must see that the Republican party is in articulo mortis. The man at the head of the Government is perhaps the most fitting to rule at the critical period of the passage of the State from out the era of revolution and discord to that of peace and prosperity- to take it out of the hands of the violent men who had learned to consider their party the nation, and the imaginary " necessity " of the day the law for their government, and bring it under the protection of law guided by wisdom and administered for the public good. Born to Command, his will cannot be frustrated by the politicians. Having the eclat of heroism - commanding the public confidence by his public devotion and his unassuming demeanor - in a period so perilous, governed by the grand motives we have supposed to actuate him, he be will be sustained by a great national party- the forerunner of that "national guard" which in time will certainly illustrate the imperial age of this American nation.
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“The Radicals - General Grant The Nation,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1231.