The Power of the States

February 3, 1868


Through an interesting fable including a tree and an axe the Dispatch advocates that the North will also have to undergo the same negro equality as they force in the South.


The Power of the States. It has been constantly proclaimed by the South that ultimately the northern States would necessarily be brought under the same humiliating submission to the authority, will, and caprice of the Federal Government which that Government has visited upon the southern States. The presumption of Congress in its demeanor towards Kentucky and Maryland, and the propositions to compel the northern States to submit to the same negro equality that it has established for the South, show the drift of events. The New York Herald, referring to Mr. Stevens's bill for coercing negro equality everywhere, makes apposite use of a fable. It says: "It is once more the old story of the trees and the axe. The woodman went into the forest and demanded of the fraternity of the trees the sacrifice of a single member to his necessity. All agreed to give up to him the slender ash. No sooner was the ashdown than the woodman fitted its tough stem to the head of an axe, whose edge he laid so lustily to the roots of the 'green-robed senators of mighty woods' that the forest began to disappear. 'Ah!' murmured the oak, 'if we had not consented to the fall of the first of our number we might have stood firmly for ages.' The time is apparently not far distant when the northern people may as vainly regret that in consenting to the exercise of an arrogant and outrageous power over the southern people they gave a handle to be used against their own liberties."
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Mallory Haskins


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“The Power of the States,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed July 4, 2022,