Reconstructionists Expiring Hard
March 22, 1871
Reconstruction and its supporters are a dying breed. The North is perpetuating this are failing to do so.
The reconstruction party in Congress is dying hard, and is perfectly at sea with regard to the manner of Having itself. Even with the Massachusetts Butler for a leader it is floundering in the depths of helplessness. Its last aim is special legislation even'to the extent of ousting States that have already been reconstructed, and for this'purpose the much-vaunted kuklux bills have been caucused and mooted over and'over again until the majority in Congress., not including the Democrats-are weary and disgusted with the round. In the'Senate a long debate has originated, which, notwithstanding the intense anxiety of the'House to adjourn, promises to drag its'length beyond the limits of a single week.'The far-seeing Radicals-such men as'Conkling of New York, or Dawes of Massachusetts, for instance-appreciate the'bad results which will ensure to their party'by the continuance of this discussion.'The Democrats will not suffer their'clear case to go by default, and are'ranking the Radicals very uneasy by the'presentation of facts from official-often'military-records in opposition to the slanders and unwarranted assertions of irresponsible adventurers all over the South.'The speech or Senator Bayard to-day was'not calculated to help the advocates of a'kuklux bill in the slightest degree, and'they will probably put forth their staunchest'champion to reply to it. There is a'bridge over which they can retreat, perhaps'with some credit, but with no chance of future successes-that is, by adjourning, after'the appointment of a committee to investigate the condition of affairs South, which the'Democrats do not object to. The veriest'tyro in political forethought can see that'the Radical Senators who are pursuing the'phantom reconstruction at this late day are'failing to make out a case, and it will be a'relief to them, to-morrow or next day,'when Mr. Commissioner Wade returns'with his preliminary reports from his San'Domingo experiences, to turn the tide of'attention, and give Senator Sumner a'chance to get off his great speech.'The recent events in the camp of the'Radical warriors and law-makers have,'among other things, set them thinking'about who they shall nominate for their'next President, and as there is a better'freedom from the restraint which seems to'have been imposed by the Grant faction'since the Sumner decapitation, no few are'willing to admit that they must look out'for another leader, although there is a very'large proportion who continue their allegiance to the President. There is a vague idea prevalent that they will endeavor to'harmonize their differences; but as this, if'it is attempted, will be in the interest of the'Grant wing of the party, there is not much'show for success. Perhaps it is too early to'speculate in this direction, but signs are'not wanting to convey the impression. Think, however, of conciliating Sumner'and Fish, Blaine and Butler, Farnsworth'and Butler, or Schurz and Grant, and it'will be seen what a difficulty exists, and all'this without considering the great material'issues which have not yet commenced to'engage the attention of the present Congress. It is a gratifying sign to notice the Democratic force in the House-the solid front'they present: which has more than once'interrupted bad designs on the part of the'enemy. There is the utmost harmony and'decision manifested in every proceeding'that meets earnest discussion from that'part of the House. Discussions relative to'the Democratic candidates for the next'Presidency and Vice-Presidency are rare.'The party is acting in the living present,'but with a watchful eye the future interests'of the Government and their noble organization. The ranks are close, and there'will be no wavering. The sagacious men'of the party will be called upon to counsel'together in due time, and there is not the'slightest indication of fault-finding or failure. The party will be liberal, earnest,'and anti-proscriptive in every sense ; and'just now it seems that nothing can mar the'harmony of the political organization.
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“Reconstructionists Expiring Hard,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 20, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/2018.