Letter from Washington

July 23, 1866


House agrees to admit Tennessee as a state of the Union although discrimination still remains and the state is not nearly Republican enough for the Radicals.


The House yesterday, by a large vote, agreed to admit Tennessee to the rights and privileges of a State of this Union, in the same manner as it would admit any other Power or State practically acknowledged to be foreign and outside, as the Radicals are daily asserting by their actions with regard to the excluded States. The government of Tennessee is not altogether republican enough to suit the extremists-it does not embrace negro suffrage in its Constitution, and discriminates between the whites and blacks; but the constitutional amendment-that badly-arranged cure for all deficiencies-was put forward as the only test of loyalty and fitness for representation ; so that now, however great maybe the indisposition of the Stevens Boutwell class of statesmen to admit her, may be the inconsistency of a refusal would be so glaring that they dare not oppose it any longer. It is easy to perceive that there is not a vast amount of satisfaction derived in thus admitting a new State. All during the session Tennessee has been held up as subject to a restoration of her rights and privileges at any day's session. Arkansas is thought to follow in her wake, but not until the next session, and she must ratify the amendment to enter the Stevens Congress; and if conservatism should not be successful enough in the fall to put more just notions into Radical brains, there is every probability that universal negro suffrage will also be a test of Southern loyalty, and Tennessee will perhaps be made to step out again until she can swallow that pill. The President is not now the feast hackward in making removals from office, and the only singular circumstance connected with this disposition is that the highest officials who openly condemn and denounce his policy are suffered to remain.
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Brooke Beam




“Letter from Washington,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 24, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/268.