A must read for all who wish to study our Civil War history is Barnet Schecter’s 2005 book The Devil’s Own Work. He carefully covers the 1863 NYC Draft Riots, the major and important Civil War battles, and finally, the Reconstruction years leading up to the 1868 elections. I am focusing on the latter events, which are too sadly reminiscent of our current racial dilemma. After the terrible war and all the lives and property lost, Lincoln had to make sure that federal troops remained in the South. He did so for the protection of the freed slaves, AND most importantly, to tighten the noose on the crazed pro slavery adherents who wanted vengeance. The KKK was formed, along with many ‘ White Citizens Councils’, to do their diligence to keep ‘ The Niggers from the trough’. Foolish men like Horace Greeley, one of the original founders of the Republican Party and vehement abolitionist, put pressure on the government to ‘ Loosen the reins’. Imagine his remarks ( Listen up all you Democratic Party fools ) ” That as long as high ranking Confederates remained barred from political life in the South, they would be resentful and try to prevent blacks from voting.'”He then wrote in his newspaper, the Tribune: ” But let the North and South strike hands on the basis of Universal Amnesty with Impartial Suffrage, the resulting peace will be perfect, all embracing and enduring.”
Well, what resulted was the opposite of what Greeley hoped for. The troops were sent back up North and the terror campaigns began. Blacks who were now allowed to vote, along with white Southern Republicans, were violently attacked and kept from the polls. Of course, the freed blacks were also suppressed from owning their own homes and businesses as Jim Crow was introduced to this way of life. Schecter goes into detail as to how much of this ‘ White Only… Again’ agenda took shape after Reconstruction, and how it found a ‘ Devilish friend’ with the Northern Democrats, especially in New York City, home of the vicious draft riots of ‘ 63. In the 1868 election ex Union General Francis Blair of Missouri was selected as Democratic Party Vice Presidential candidate. He , along with most of his party’s supporters, denounced Reconstruction and called for ” White people to reorganize their own governments.” According to Schecter, the KKK , from April to November ’68, carried out terrorist onslaughts that killed hundreds of people. The tally went up to thousands throughout the south, with riots against anyone who was known to be a Republican, white or black. Bottom line: Many whites, North and South, did not wish for the blacks to remain free and somewhat independent. Question is, has 153 years changed much on this subject?
We now have, in this republic of ours, a resurgence of the ‘ Good ole days’ white supremacy overtly and covertly seeping into politics. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was always there, hidden from sight by the classic ‘ Talking around the issue ‘ by our friends, neighbors, co workers and of course politicians…. mostly Republicans. The ‘ Party of Lincoln ‘ has been saturated, decade by decade, by out and out racists… period!! The Trump Neo Fascist ( Neo Nazi?) train had passed through all those red lights along the tracks of Americana. So much so that this writer, who has always denounced Joe Biden for the Neo Con Corporate controlled puppet he is, actually voted for him and his corrupt party last November… to stop this bleeding a bit. The proper tourniquet would be to begin indicting people like Trump, Giuliani, and all the politicians and media who incited the January 6th insurrection and other violent acts. As they have used video, emails and wiretaps against leftist activists for years, we need to demand equal actions now. This is not just for our black and brown fellow citizens, rather for what the bible calls justice. ” Let justice prevail though the heavens may fall.”