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History of Negro Citizenship
            HISTORY OF NEGRO CITIZENSHIP           697

profound human sympathies. He loved liberty be-
cause he loved his fellowmen without distinction of
race or class. He was so constituted, to vary a figure
of his own, that he felt a blow upon another's back as
one upon his own. He was the friend of the colored
man because he was the friend of his kind.
  Mr. Johnson was an altogether different man. He
was more frequently swayed by prejudice than by rea-
son or principle. Mr. Lincoln hated slavery, as he said,
because of its monstrous injustice and inhumanity. Mr.
Johnson hated it mainly because he hated the slave-
holders. Himself a poor white and their natural cham-
pion, he had suffered in common with his class from the
injustice, the tyranny, and the arrogance of the slave-
holding aristocracy; and had been, during most of his
public life, their secret, if not their open enemy. When
the war broke out, it was perfectly natural that he
should take the side of the union, for it enabled him to
continue the old fight against the old foes. He opposed
disunion, not because of its folly, but largely because
he had a personal antipathy against its authors. He
was not an abolitionist: in fact he probably had less sym-
pathy with the abolition party than with the slave-
holders. Like people of his stamp everywhere, he re-
paid the scorn with which those above him treated him
by heaping scorn upon those below him.
  Hence it is easy to see how Mr. Lincoln's policy in
the hands of Mr. Johnson, so far as it concerned the
freedmen, would assume an altogether different charac-
ter and produce altogether different results.
  In his plan of reconstruction Mr. Lincoln had pur-
posely offered liberal terms, but had distinctly and ex-
pressly reserved to himself the right to change or mod-
ify them as circumstances should require.
  In regard to the condition of the race whom he had
freed, he magnanimously appealed to the wisdom and
the honor of Southern statesmen. With his usual cau-
tion and sagacity, he chose this method to test the tem-


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

History of Negro Citizenship


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


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