What States Will Elect the Next President
November 2, 1866
A Radical paper suggests that the Southern states should ratify the amendment so that they can participate in the next election. The Dispatch says there is no point to participate in these elections if the best men of the South, those who supported the Confederacy, can't run and even suggests there will be another civil war if the votes of the south aren't counted.
What States will Elect the Next President. Bennett has opened upon a new scent. Having exhausted all the arguments he had in store In the vain effort to get up a party in the southern States n favor of the ratification of the constitutional amendment, he has concluded that he can perhaps offer a bribe to those States which will induce them to heed his counsels. Having shown to his own satisfaction that the southern States will never be recognized as members of the Union until the amendment shall have become part of the Constitution, and assuming that none of them will previously be allowed to vote for President, he adds: "But in the mean time, according to the precedent of Tennessee, any excluded State, upon its ratification of said amendment, will be restored to its full membership in the Government with its restoration to Congress, in other words, Virginia, for example, by ratifying the amendment, comes at once into the copartnership for the next presidency and the Congress to be elected in the same campaign; but by holding off she must await as an 'outsider' the full ratification by three-fourths of all the States." The privilege of voting for presidential electors--or, as the Herald phrases it, of coming into copartnership for the next Presidency--is one which Bennett doubtless thinks would be highly prized by the politics-loving people of Virginia. But he forgets that the amendment itself provides that none of our old politicians shall be eligible to the position of presidential electors. And, as to Congress, the test oath bars the door of that body against any and every man whom we would care to send thither. That oath does not merely, like the amendment, exclude all who, having once taken an official oath to support the Constitution of the United States, have since engaged in rebellion, &c., but excludes all who engaged in or sympathized with the rebellion, whether they overtook such an oath or not. Such representation would, as Mr. Greeley has said, be a mere mockery of the southern people, since every respectable man who remained in the southern States during the war did, in some way or other, aid and abet the so-called rebels. We have, it is true, a few Union men even in Virginia, and some of them quite respectable; but even they would not like to swallow the Congressional test oath. But is Bennett authorized to declare that the southern States will not be allowed to vote in the next presidential election? Not he. Mr. Johnson's organ has distinctly declared that they will vote, and that if the candidate they vote for shall receive a majority of the electoral votes, he will be allowed to take the office. And Mr. Johnson generally means what he says. To refresh the Herald's memory, we reproduce the following article from the National Republican of August 1, 1866: "It will be recollected by our readers who have kept the run of this paper that we intimated a suspicion several months ago that the Radical members of Congress had entered into a conspiracy against the Constitution to shut out the electoral vote in 1868 of certain southern States, and that about a month ago we stated more clearly what it was. As no senator, representative, or Radical newspaper has presumed to deny the allegation, we take it to have been true. "It is a plot that cannot be carried out with impunity. We do not believe it can be consummated without bloodshed. At all events, if the electoral votes of the States thus unlawfully excluded will elect a candidate for President who shall not be elected without them, the people will find a way to have them counted by putting the proper President elect into the Executive office, and maintaining him there by force if necessary. "The exclusion of ten States from representation in Congress goes to the utmost verge of public forbearance. No further outrage can, in our opiuion, be superadded to it without breaking the public peace and exposing the country to the horrors of another civil war, in which the people of the excluded States would have the sympathy of the civilized world." The organ does not believe that Bennett's scheme can be consummated "without bloodshed." The people will maintain the newly-elected President in office "by force if necessary." We pit Andrew Johnson against James Gordon Bennett, and await the result with comparative indifference.
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“What States Will Elect the Next President,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed December 11, 2018, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/397.