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Legal and Intellectual Opposition to the 15th Amendment from Virginia Bar Association President 1904

Discussion in 'Post Civil War History, The Reconstruction Period' started by Pat Young, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    We know that the 15th Amendment giving non-white men the right to vote was ratified in 1870. We also know that various state laws and policies were introduced following Redemption of the former Confederate states that rolled-back the ability of blacks to vote. These intensified under Jim Crow.

    While we may think of these efforts to keep blacks from voting as simply examples of naked white political power, there was an intellectual/ideological backing for them. A. Caperton Braxton was the President of the Virginia Bar Association at the start of the 20th Century. In 1904 he addressed the Association on the 15th Amendment. His address was widely reprinted and later issued as a short book in 1934. I will post some excepts from it that show the depths of intellectual opposition to the 15th Amendment from within the Bar of Virginia.

    Here is a link to the full text of the address. I suggest you read it:

    https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044031960305;view=1up;seq=5
     
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  3. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    From the foreword to the Address:

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  4. Pat Young

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    Braxton begins by saying that white Americans had never supported the broad enfranchisement of blacks:

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    Braxton offers a couple of pages of quotes from LIncoln saying he would not give blacks the right to vote.
     

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  5. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Braxton says that when states had a choice of enfranchising blacks, they chose not to:

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  6. Pat Young

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    The Emancipation Proclamation and the enlistment of black soldiers did not change white opinion on enfranchising blacks:

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  7. Pat Young

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    By the last two years of the war, however, some Northerners began to consider limited suffrage for black veterans and educated blacks:
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  8. Pat Young

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    Braxton says that this move for limited suffrage was soon superceded by the fanaticism, in his words, of the Radical Republicans:

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  9. Pat Young

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    Braxton says that pro-black bigotry led to efforts in 1865 to extend the vote to blacks:

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  10. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Republicans began to move towards black suffrage for three reasons, according to Braxton. The first reason was anger over the assassination of Lincoln. The second was fear that without black suffrage, white Southerners would gain control over the national government:

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  11. Pat Young

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    The third reason was as a means of Republican Party agrandisement:

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  12. Pat Young

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    The emerging battle over Reconstruction between President Johnson and Congress in 1865 and 1866 led Southern whites to throw in their lot with the president, i.e. the losing side:

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  13. Pat Young

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    Braxton suggests that whites should have dropped opposition to some other aspects of Reconstruction to win on the issue of opposition to black voting:

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  14. Pat Young

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    Braxton believes that if Southern states had protected the basic rights of blacks, they would have been satisfied to live in the South without having the right to vote:

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    up to p. 28
     
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  15. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    If your name is A. Caperton Braxton, and you are not a cartoon character, it begs the question, what does the "A" stand for? I have an idea, but won't repeat it.

    Pat, an outstanding thread.
     
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  16. Pat Young

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    The failure of all Southern states but Tenn. to pass the 14th Amendment led to renewed efforts to enfranchise blacks:

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  17. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    The proponents of voting for blacks are as fanatical as supporters of "female suffrage." I imagine that was the occasion of some affirmative harrumping at the club.
     
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  18. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    In the last days of 1866, Radicals in Congress began to move to expand black voting:

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  19. Pat Young

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    Over the next three months, Congress passed measures dealing with the vote:

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  20. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Braxton characterizes the Radial measures as a coup d' etat:

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  21. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    On p. 42, Braxton makes the point that while the radicals wanted universal male suffrage imposed by the Federal government, the 1868 Republican platform rejected that:

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