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History of Negro Citizenship
798		Church Review.

per of the Southern leaders, that he might learn how
far they were willing to accept the results of the war
and reconstruct Southern society in conformity thereto,
and, should they fail to treat the colored man with jus-
tice, as he had reserved the right, so then he would have
a clear justification for adopting a more exacting pol-
icy.  Accordingly Mr. Lincoln did not touch the ques-
tion of colored suffrage nor his plan of reconstruction,
but in a private note to Governor Hahn, urged its pro-
priety based upon intelligence and military service.
   Mr. Johnson, on the other hand, distinctly provided
that, in reorganizing the State governments, only those 
should vote who were so entitled before the war.  It is
true that Mr. Johnson, subsequently yielding to the 
great pressure of public opinion in the North, suggested
that the elective franchise should be conferred on 
persons of color who were able to read and write, and 
possessed a certain amount of property, basing his sug-
gestion, however, not upon the wisdom and justice of the 
measure, but upon the statement that the Radicals would
thus be foiled in their attempt to keep teh Southern 
States from returning to the union by refusing t accept
their Senators and representatives.  The motive thus
frankly confessed, not only proved the President's in-
sincerity, but deprived the suggestion of all force, and 
no one probably was less surprised than Mr. Johnson
himself that no heed was paid to it by those to whom
it was addressed.  Thus the new Constitutions of the 
Southern States, formed under the reconstruction pol-
icy of President Johnson, not only withheld the right
of suffrage from the colored people, but refused all re-
cognition of their citizenship, and provided no safe-
guards for their liberty.  In fact, the new Constitutions
were not new at all in any essential principle; they were
only slight modifications of the old constitutions that 
existed before the war.
   Hence, within a few months after the overthrow of
the rebellion, the very men who, by their blind folly

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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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