By Robert Goldman

ISBN-10: 0823220834

ISBN-13: 9780823220830

ISBN-10: 0823220842

ISBN-13: 9780823220847

"A loose poll and a good count number" examines the efforts by means of the dept of Justice to enforce the federal laws glided by Congress in 1870-71 often called the Enforcement Acts. those legislation have been designed to implement the vote casting rights promises for African-Americans below the lately ratified 15th modification. The Enforcement Acts set forth quite a number federally enforceable crimes aimed toward struggling with white southerners' makes an attempt to disclaim or limit black suffrage. There are a number of elements of this paintings that distinguish it from different, past works during this zone. opposite to older interpretative reports, Goldman's fundamental thesis is that, the federal government's makes an attempt to guard black vote casting rights within the South didn't stop with the superb Court's opposed rulings in U.S. v. Reese and U.S. v. Cruikshank in 1875. Nor, it's argued, did enforcement efforts stop on the finish of Reconstruction and the so-called Compromise of 1877. quite, federal enforcement efforts after 1877 mirrored the continuing dedication of Republican celebration leaders, for either humanitarian and partisan purposes, to what got here to be referred to as "the loose poll and a good count." one other particular element of this booklet is its concentrate on the function of the federal division of Justice and its officers within the South within the persisted enforcement attempt. Created as a cabinet-level government division in 1870, the Justice division proved ill-equipped to answer the frequent criminal and extra-legal resistance to black suffrage by means of white southern Democrats within the years in the course of and after Reconstruction. the dep. confronted a number of inner difficulties reminiscent of inadequate assets, terrible communications, and native team of workers usually appointed extra for his or her political acceptability than their prosecutorial or criminal abilities. through the early Nineties, whilst the election legislation have been ultimately repealed by means of Congress, enforcement efforts have been sporadic at top and mostly unsuccessful. the tip of federal involvement, coupled with the wave of southern nation structure revisions, led to the disfranchisement of the majority of African-American electorate within the South via the start of the 20th Century. it's going to now not be till the Nineteen Sixties and the "Second Reconstruction" that the government, and the Justice division, could once more try to make sure the "free poll and a good count".

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Additional info for A free ballot and a fair count: the Department of Justice and the enforcement of voting rights in the South, 1877-1893

Sample text

Rather, the interests were mutual and not mutually exclusive. ” Franchise rights for blacks, in other words,was not thought of as being incompatiblewith the future well-being of the Republican party? In attempting to reconcile the idealisticand partisan motives responsiblefortheFifteenthAmendment,Gilletteprobably THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT 7 comes closest to gettingat the ”originalunderstanding” behind the amendment. The Fifteenth Amendment was indeed a moderate measure: itwas the outcomeof compromises among various men and groups of men who had different ideas as towhat a constitutional amendment involving voting rights should contain.

Between1871 and 1875 numerous cases involving the Enforcement Acts were brought in the federalincourt the %tit;h4 In fact, ”the very extent of the litigation under the enfor&ff@nt actssoonovertaxedthecapacity of the twenty-btir district of these courts” in that section. As indicated above, the majority cases were part of the government’s attempt to combat the Ku Klux Klancampaign of terror and intimidation against southern blacks. Hall? By 1875 several cases dealing with the constitutionality of the Enforcement Actshad reached the Supreme Court.

Hall, voting to sustain them. (Fairman, 1378-79) 34. Magrath, Waite, 124. Field’s arguments on the role of the courts and the war amendments would become more frequent as the years progressed. ” (Magrath, 124) 35. S. 559. 36. S. 554-55. 37. S. 556-59. Both Warren and Magrath discuss the public reaction tothe two decisions, reaction thatwas generally favorable, evenamongnorthern Republicans. ”’(130)Both authors attribute the favorable response tothe decisions to agrowing weariness with the southern race question and with the increasing desire on the part of northerners, especially Republicans, to facilitate reconciliation between the sections following the horrors of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

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A free ballot and a fair count: the Department of Justice and the enforcement of voting rights in the South, 1877-1893 by Robert Goldman


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