The Party Tyranny.

June 2, 1870


Elections should be a state and not a national matter so that partisanship doesn't dictate the outcome of elections. Fair elections will result from the elimination of individuals who are motivated to sway elections based on their respective party's agenda.


A remarkable fact appears in congressional legislation concerning the ballot-box It Is that Congress is moved by a desire to prevent the elective franchise from becoming " a force and a fraud!" Why, it would be as appropriate for the lion, the tiger, and the wolf, to enter into a treaty to put an end to murder and bloodshed. The laws of Congress for four years have been shaped to silence the public voice and overwhelm and exclude from the public service the talent, capacity, and worth of the country, and submit the governments of the southern States, at least, to the hands of mere plunderers and ignorant and incompetent persons-often criminals-such, for instance, as the Commissioner of Roads in Albemarle, who has been publicly whipped for hog-stealing. The elective franchise-" a force indeed!" Congress, for party purposes, takes possession of the ballot-box. Does any man into from that that the purity of elections is to be promoted? Do the members of Congress believe it? No; assuredly not. Mr. Sherman declares that the object of sending Federal officers to look after the ballot-box is aimed at the " repeaters," the "open violators of law, in the city of New York." This Is frank. But what will they do who appear at the polls to stop this ? Who will undertake to say that they will interfere with "repeating" on the side of the party which sends them to watch? Will they not, as partisans, feel that it is their duty to change the majority if they can ? It is now on the wrong side, according to their ideas, and, being partisan appointees under a law framed for a partisan purpose, they will altogether fail of the object of their appointment if they permit party matters to remain as they now are in Gotham! Had that city given a Radical majority of any number of thousands would any such measure have been aimed at it, "repeating" or not. " Repeating" indeed! Your repeating is heterodoxy, my retreating is " orthodoxy." So also must foreigners be crippled in their voting. Negroes must be voted, and they may be transported from one district to another to vote. But the adopted citizens not voting to suit, they must be made to conform to rigid and harsh regulations, and the papers of thousands of them must be cancelled ! This whole matter of interfering with the State elections and the State election laws is a party matter, and designed to stifle the public voice. What of State authority, however, does it leave to the States? Suppose that the voters will not submit to the authority of these men in the disguise of public servants sent to insure party vic-tories-why, then the bayonet is to be called in. What life is left in the State then ? We are amazed at the passive condition of the northern people while these encroachments are so steadily made. There is no excuse for them. The States themselves will administer the election laws with far more fairness and justice than will the agents of the Federal Government. Even - body knows this. Even Congress knows this; but the State government will not do what the ruling power in Congress wants done. Certainly there must be a limit to the despotism of numbers. Many tyrants never hold power long. Their tyranny is impracticable. They must soon be overwhelmed by public indignation, or must be swallowed up in the more effective and fortunately the more impartial despotism of one man.
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Bryce Smith


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“The Party Tyranny.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed July 4, 2022,