Changed Leaders

November 7, 1870


After much public backlash toward their ticket, the Republicans have chosen a new mayoral candidate to represent the party. In hearing this news, the conservatives have decided to fight back harder and to not relax their opposition, despite the coming "ultimate defeat of the Radicals".


The Radical party of this city has changed its nominee for Mayor, and very wisely. Its first nominee was as objectionable as a man well could be. It was an insult to this community to offer Mr. Jenkins for the Chief Magistrate of the city. That the party abandoned him so promptly and selected in his stead Mr. George W. Smith, is a striking fact. It proves, first, that the Radical party finds it necessary to respect, in some degree, public decency and the public sentiment of the white people in this city, and that they find that they dare not recklessly defy that sentiment, trusting to the negroes and the depraved whites to carry them through. In the second place, the act proves that carpetbaggery cowers before the just indignation of an outraged people, and it is found necessary to seek power and place through the influence of native citizens who have some credit in the community. These signs arc cheering. They foretell the ultimate defeat of the Radicals. These concessions show weakness, and the question is, Shall the attempt made to repair the waning energies of the party prove successful? Shall we relax our opposition to the illiberal party which sought to deprive us of our rights and of equality even with negroes, because its offensive interlopers and mercenary adventurers retire behind men who were born here, and whom we have known for years and thrust them forward as foils to the public indignation ? Assuredly not. To us it seems that our opposition should rather be invigorated and more determined than ever. Can any device commend to us such a party - a party whose history in Virginia is thickly set with insults, persecutions, the support of disfranchisements of our people, incompetency in office, faithlessness, and peculation? Oh, no! This great moral quicksand should swallow up any man, no matter how pure his previous record, who essays to secure the success of this party, covered with crimes, by becoming their candidate and apologist. If the party itself is intolerable, shall we take to our bosom the scape-goat who bears its sins? Let the public judgment be just and dignified, and let us make no terms with the party whose whole career has been one of insult, oppression, and outrage to this people, and whose stealing of the public moneys at a time when the State is trying to pay the interest on the public debt, and when large numbers of the State creditors are suffering for the want of their dividends, must impose additional burthens upon the oppressed tax-payers of the Commonwealth. No ! bad as we detest the unprincipled Radical who has been the chief author of our troubles, social and political, let us resist with redoubled energy and resolution those who come forward as apologists for him. Therefore, union and harmony, friends. Never let us forget those who would degrade us beneath the negroes, and let us always remember their apologists as more dangerous still.
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Travis Terry




“Changed Leaders,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 28, 2022,