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History of Negro Citizenship
			
            HISTORY OF NEGRO CITIZENSHIP            695

  This plan was submitted to Congress in the Annual
Message of December, 1863. A proclamation of amnesty
offering a full pardon to all except certain specified
classes paved the way for its application. All persons
thus pardoned were invited to re-establish civil govern-
ments under certain specified restrictions.
  Under this policy the loyal citizens of Louisiana, who
had already begun to move in the matter, held a free
state convention, Jan. 8, 1864 and elected State officers
the following February.   The new Governor--Michael
Hahn--was installed Mar. 4, and to him President
Lincoln transferred the authority hitherto exercised by
the military governor.  The work thus begun was com-
pleted by a constitutional convention held early in
April. Prior to its assembling, President Lincoln in a
private letter to Governor Hahn, suggested the giving
of the elective franchise to intelligent colored men and
to those who had served as soldiers. "This," says Mr.
Blaine, "was perhaps the earliest proposition from - any
authoritative source to endow the Negro with the right
of suffrage." The convention, however, failed to accept
the suggestion, though by an overwhelming majority it
declared slavery forever abolished in the State. Thus
Louisiana was the first of the seceded States to adopt
the policy of Emancipation and to frame a free-state
constitution.  A  further significance attaches to the
action of this convention from the fact that large sec-
tions of the State had been specifically exempted from the
operation of the Emancipation proclamation, and that
the 13th Amendment had not yet been adopted. About
the same time Arkanas took similar action, and, early
in 1865, Tennessee followed substantially along the
same lines.
  But Mr. Lincoln's plan encountered strong opposition
in Congress, where its theory was disputed, Congress
claiming for itself the right of initiative, and its practi-
cal features criticised as too lenient toward those who
had resisted the national authority, and as affording in-




			
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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, Vol. 15, Num. 3

History of Negro Citizenship

W.

Volume:  15
Issue Number:  03
Page Number:  689
Date:  01/1899


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