By Robert Goldman
"A unfastened poll and a good count number" examines the efforts by means of the dept of Justice to enforce the federal laws glided by Congress in 1870-71 often called the Enforcement Acts. those legislation have been designed to implement the vote casting rights promises for African-Americans less than the lately ratified 15th modification. The Enforcement Acts set forth a variety of federally enforceable crimes aimed toward scuffling with white southerners' makes an attempt to disclaim or limit black suffrage. There are a number of points of this paintings that distinguish it from different, prior works during this region. opposite to older interpretative reports, Goldman's fundamental thesis is that, the federal government's makes an attempt to guard black balloting rights within the South didn't stop with the best Court's antagonistic rulings in U.S. v. Reese and U.S. v. Cruikshank in 1875. Nor, it really is argued, did enforcement efforts stop on the finish of Reconstruction and the so-called Compromise of 1877. fairly, federal enforcement efforts after 1877 mirrored the continuing dedication of Republican get together leaders, for either humanitarian and partisan purposes, to what got here to be referred to as "the unfastened poll and a good count." one other special element of this ebook is its specialize in the position of the federal division of Justice and its officers within the South within the persisted enforcement attempt. Created as a cabinet-level govt division in 1870, the Justice division proved ill-equipped to reply to the common criminal and extra-legal resistance to black suffrage by way of white southern Democrats within the years in the course of and after Reconstruction. the dept confronted numerous inner difficulties equivalent to inadequate assets, bad communications, and native team of workers frequently appointed extra for his or her political acceptability than their prosecutorial or felony abilities. via the early Eighteen Nineties, while the election legislation have been ultimately repealed by way of Congress, enforcement efforts have been sporadic at most sensible and mostly unsuccessful. the top of federal involvement, coupled with the wave of southern country structure revisions, led to the disfranchisement of the majority of African-American citizens within the South by means of the start of the 20 th Century. it's going to now not be until eventually the Nineteen Sixties and the "Second Reconstruction" that the government, and the Justice division, may once more try and make sure the "free poll and a good count".
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Additional resources for A free ballot and a fair count: the Department of Justice and the enforcement of voting rights in the South, 1877-1893
1* Gillette also defended both the moderate and partisan nature of the amendment, orwhat the Coxes termed the ”expediency” argument about theorigins of theFifteenth Amendment. Gillette pointed out that the dichotomy the Coxes attempted to draw between ”expediency” (Gillette’s view) and ”idealism” (the Coxes’ view) was ”misleading” because ”there was no conflict at the outset between the interests of the black electorate and the interests of the Republican Party. Rather, the interests were mutual and not mutually exclusive.
Van Alstyne agreed that the second sectionwas meantto insure continued Republican dominance in Congress, and that Republicans had ”considerable reason to suppose that it would succeed” in accomplishing this. (44) 4. Gillette, Right to Vote, chaps. 1 and 2. 5. S. Constitution, Amendment 15. 6. John Mabry Mathews,Legislative and Judicial Histoy of the Fifteenth Amendment (New York, 1971),20-36 and passim. 7. , 33. THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT 19 8. , 36. 9. Kirk R. Porter, A History of Supage in the United States (reprint, New York, 1971), 179.
10. Gillette,Right to Vote, 170, 172,93, and passim. 11. John and LaWandaCox,”NegroSuffrage and Republican Politics: The Problem of Motivation in Reconstruction Historiography,’’ Journal of Southern History, 33 (August 1967): 303-30. The Coxes’ work must be read in light of recent “revisionist” writingsonthe Reconstruction period. An important element in this revisionist writing has been the favorable reevaluation of the Radical Republicans. Once thought to benarrowly partisan and vindictive in their attitudes and actions toward the South and the post-War problemsof the freedman, the Radicals are now viewed as rather idealistic and honestly committed toensuring the civil and political equality of the freedman.
A free ballot and a fair count: the Department of Justice and the enforcement of voting rights in the South, 1877-1893 by Robert Goldman