Rejection of Constitutions
March 24, 1868
In the ten Southern states excluded from the Union, state Constitution proposals are being rejected. Virginia's Constitution in particular is atrocious with rules that disfranchise many white people and give the vote to undeserving black citizens. By rejecting proposed Constitutions Virginia and her fellow Southern states will slow down Radical rule.
Rejection of Constitutions. Telegraphic news from Arkansas gives the agreeable information that that State has rejected the abominable Constitution framed for her by the negroes and white Yahoos. In North Carolina, the Convention (whose ignorance, viciousness, and barbarity were well reflected in the saturnalian exhibition which closed its session) has prepared a pill so bitter that it is hardly possible the people will swallow it. In addition to many extremely obnoxious provisions, the State has been saddled with a heavy debt, which will require to be raised next year a revenue of $2,600,000. This is more than the people can bear, and should alone be sufficient to secure the decided rejection of the Constitution. We learn from North Carolina that it will probably be voted down by a large majority. In our State, the Constitution thus far framed is abhorrent to every reflecting and patriotic man. It disfranchises more white people than the United States consituational amendment-gives unqualified suffrage to negroes and paupers-fills the counties with office-holders to prey upon the people and eat out their substance, and takes as the basis of representation in the Legislature the registration prior to the election of members to the present Convention, at which many thousand whites failed to register, thus throwing the advantage on the side of the negroes. These, with other objectionable features, insure the rejection of the work of the monstrous and unconstitutional body nowspinning out the farce in the capitol. Such a Constitution as they will give the people cannot be borne. We cannot live under it. This proud old Commonwealth will spurn it. Its adoption would drive into exile a large portion of the talent, enterprise, and industry of the State. If Arkansas, North Carolina, and Virginia, follow the example of Alabama in rejecting the Constitutions which the barbarians and white scamps propose for them, the path of the Radical party will be obstructed with a new and serious difficulty. What they will do, we cannot anticipate. We know that these States will have discharged their duty to themselves, to the nation, and to civilization. They will be able to say that if their country is dragged down to the dust by installing negro rule in the South they are innocent. The power of the sword, sustaining a blind and reckless tyranny, may force such a thing upon us; but let even this sordid tyranny know that with our consent and acquiescence it never shall be.
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“Rejection of Constitutions,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 17, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/930.