A Good Sign
December 22, 1870
The war party is dying. With the end of the war party comes the end of any era where Congressed was "controlled by mere malice and vindictiveness." Now, many Conservatives are hopeful that in its place will come the rise a party of peace.
It is a very encouraging sign to see that party known as the war party as last discussing earnestly the propriety of abolishing all penalties and disabilities on account of the war, and to see the ablest and most influential members of that party strongly maintaining the policy of liberality, and proclaiming to be be the duty of the Government to restore equality of rights among the people and reestablish contentment and harmony by putting an end to partiality and oppression in the laws and public administration of the Government. This is indeed a sign of a very gratifying nature. No longer is congress to be controlled by mere malice and vindictiveness. There are two opinions, at least, on the subject of amnesty. For several years after the war there was but one voice amongst the Republicans, and that was for the measure of vindictiveness. And laws, based upon distrust and cherishing sectional malice, were readily passed under the pressure of the previous question by the tyranny of the two-thirds vote. This policy spread discontent and fostered hate amongst the disabled and oppressed, and that hate and discontent were transmitted to the rising generation, which would, if the oppressive policy continued, become far more bitter and resentful than their fathers; because they would not only be stirred up by their own sense of wrong, but by a sense of obligation to avenge the outrage committed upon their fathers.But at last the passions of Congressmen has so far given way to reason as to induce the better part of them to undertake righting of the wrongs done, and to establish equality if rights amongst the people. The "whipper-in" is dead, or if he is not he no longer drives the members of Congress into the support of party measure whether right or wrong.This good sign is the forerunner of better evidences of a return to reason. The war party is expiring, and the party of peace is rising in its place. It is probably that if General Grant undertakes to shield and shelter all of his partisans of extreme Radical views who are repudiated by the people, he will not long have offices to give them. They will have to put up with promises, and avoid starvation if they can until those promises are fulfilled. The doom of the war party - the party of the vindictiveness - the party that had its existence, its breath of life from the war, and can only continue to live by fanning the embers of strife - is sealed.
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“A Good Sign,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 20, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1901.