Southern Representation and Kindred Questions

January 9, 1866


The Dispatch highlights the repercussions of readmission and the shift of representation that would occur should freedmen be counted as people.


Universal assent appears to be given to the proposition that if the States lately rebellious be restored to rights of representation according to the Federal basis, or to the basis of number enlarged by the enumeration of all blacks in the next census, the political power of the country will pass into the hands of the South, aided, as it will be, by Northern alliances. The South claims that this will be the fact, and the North does not dispute it. It is assumed, one one side, that this alliance will be necessarily be ruinous to the country, and, on the other, that it will be beneficial. However that may be, the North is not prepared to risk the experiment. Political movements here, in and out of Congress, are not directed to one great object- the adoption of some scheme of restoration and representation which will command the assent of Congress, with the co-operation of the president. It will be some time before Congress can itself arrive at any conclusion, and, meanwhile, the lately rebel States will remain unrepresented, except Tennessee, and the test oath in application to members of Congress will be unrepealed. From the present aspect of matters it would seem probably that an attempt to reconcile conflicting views will be made upon the pan of so amending the Constitution as to base representation upon the number of voters in each state- the rule to be universal. An effort will be made to carry this amendment in Congress by the requisite majority, i the President will so far countenance it as to promise his influence to procure its ratification by the Southern States, which, it is assumed, will do anything that the President may advise. The act proposing the amendment does not require the President's assent. Twenty-five States may be counted for the amendment, but not twenty seven as yet.
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Justin Barlow


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“Southern Representation and Kindred Questions,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 29, 2023,