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History of Negro Citizenship
			
708                CHURCH REVIEW

the freedmen back to practical slavery. Fortunately,
however, the success of this scheme was frustrated by
the action of Congress.  Under its power to determine
the qualifications of its members, it refused to admit
the Southern Senators and Representatives. Yet in thus
breaking with the 'President, Congress proceeded cau-
tiously.
  Its first measure was Trumbull's Civil Rights Bill
designed to overthrow those unjust vagrant and appren-
tice laws by which the South had practically nullified
the Thirteenth Amendment and turned the freedman's
liberty into a mockery and a curse.  Following this was
the submission to the South of the Fourteenth Amend-
ment, in which the nation guaranteed the colored man's
citizenship but still left the question of his suffrage
largely in the hands of the South.     These two  acts
might be termed the first reconstruction policy of Con-
gress.
  The South's contemptuous rejection of the Fourteenth
Amendment together with other events of a significant
and damning character led to the enactment of the so-
called Reconstruction Bill, which conferred the elective
franchise upon the freedmen and under which the States
that had seceded were finally restored to their proper
place in the Federal Union.
  In view of these facts of history the following quota-
tion from Mr. Blaine's "Twenty Years in Congress" is
perfectly just:
  "The Northern State s or the Republican party which then wielded
the aggregate political power of the North, did not force Negro
suffrage upon the South or exact it as a condition of re admitting the
Southern States to the right and privilege of representation in Con-
gress until after the conditions had been rejected by the South."
  And this history of our American citizenship with its
priceless blessings, its glorious opportunities, should be
familiar to all our public leaders, and should be taught
to our children even as a part of their religious educa-
tion, for the hand of God is as evident in every event
of it as in Israel's deliverance, and the account thereof
should constitute the Book of our Exodus.




			
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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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