The Real Enemy of Blacks Is Not Whites, It Is Poor White Southerners January 1869

Pat Young

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The New York World is often described as the newspaper that most reflected the views of the national leadership of the Democratic Party during the Reconstruction Era. This article in The World describes the Southern Elite class as the friends of the blacks and the real enemy as poor whites. The paper claims that the motive for hatred of blacks has more to do with class than race.

This is a long article that I will post in several installments.

World
Wednesday, Jan 13, 1869
New York, NY
Page: 10

crack1.JPG
 

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matthew mckeon

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In the first flush of the Populists at the end of the 19th century, poor white sharecroppers and tenant farmers made common cause with poor black sharecroppers and tenant farmers. And landlords and business leaders played the race care as hard as they could to split them up.
 

wausaubob

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But how did the southern areas get that way, even taking the republished comments as a degrading exaggeration?
Southern whites with the will to attempt to achieve something better had moved north and west before the Civil War. And the movement continued throughout the war.
People who wanted better schools, better churches, a nearby railroad and better options for their produce and livestock, and were willing to work, had already been drawn out of the south.
 

wausaubob

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How many sons of respectable families that were successful in cotton and treated their slaves with some rational decency were early victims of the Civil War?
 
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This is interesting - but confusing. It appears the writer has categorized the former slave owners - which were few comparatively - as upper class. Then there were the "low downers" or "crackers" which fall between the upper class and blacks. The writer is basically telling his audience that if you aren't a former slave owner or black, the southerners are all "low downers" or "crackers." Maybe I'm reading this wrong - but it appears that is what this "correspondent" from New York wants his readers to believe?
 

wausaubob

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The correspondent is in Georgia. The comments are published in The New York Herald. It is a degrading view of people in the south, but New Yorkers viewed most of the rest of the country in very degrading terms.
I think what is illustrated that the alliance between the New York democratic elite and the deep south was a marriage of convenience only, without a deep unity of interest. The northern Democrats eventually needed urban votes in northern states and did what they needed to do to get them.
 


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