Minnesota: From Rejection of Black Suffrage in 1865 to Acceptance in 1868-Three Votes

Pat Young

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#1
Minnesota held three vote on extending voting rights to non-whites during the Reconstruction Era.

The first vote was in 1865, the second in 1867, and the third in 1868. Here is how the votes went:

1865: Pro-Suffrage 12,170 Anti-Suffrage 14,838
1867: Pro-Suffrage 27,461 Anti-Suffrage 28,759
1868; Pro-Suffrage 39,322 Anti-Suffrage 29,906

In the 1870 census there were 759 Blacks living in Minnesota.
 

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Pat Young

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#2
Statistics from: The Right to Vote: Politics and the Passage of the 15th Amendment by William Gillette Johns Hopkins Press (1965).
 

Carronade

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#3
From 1867 to 1868, the anti- vote grew only slightly, but there were almost 12,000 new pro- voters, a 43% increase. Either a lot of new people moved into the state or - more likely IMO - there was a significant "get out the vote" effort.
 

matthew mckeon

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The third election is tied(I'm assuming) to the presidential election. That would explain the increased turn out.

It was an issue in the 1868 election, with the issue split on party lines. How did Minnesota vote in the Grant v. Seymour election?
 

Pat Young

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From 1867 to 1868, the anti- vote grew only slightly, but there were almost 12,000 new pro- voters, a 43% increase. Either a lot of new people moved into the state or - more likely IMO - there was a significant "get out the vote" effort.
I think the presidential election in 1868 led to a full mobilization of the Republican vote.
 

Pat Young

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The third election is tied(I'm assuming) to the presidential election. That would explain the increased turn out.

It was an issue in the 1868 election, with the issue split on party lines. How did Minnesota vote in the Grant v. Seymour election?
Grant got 43,722 votes to 28,096 for Seymour. It looks like about one in ten Grant voters did not vote for black suffrage, although few of them actually voted against it. My understanding is that the 1868 suffrage provision lost in all of the counties that went for Seymour.
 
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#7
The Republicans changed strategy in 1868. The two previous votes were for amendments to the state constitution. In 1868 Republican State Senator Hanford L Gordon introduced a bill that would change the wording of a specific section of the constitution. It had the advantage that it would not appear on a separate ballot. The Democrats objected and claimed that the bill was vague and deceptive. The bill passed on a strict partisan vote and as expected voters adopted the bill on party line votes although many may not have known what the bill meant.

The national platform for Republicans in 1868 called for black suffrage in the south but called for the right of northern states to decide the suffrage issue themselves. Many Republicans in Minnesota thought this was hypocritical and wanted to eliminate the ban on non-white voting in the state constitution. With such a small black population its impact was a non issue.
 



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