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"Amendment Good For All Parties," Raleigh News and Observer, February 2, 1900

Title

"Amendment Good For All Parties," Raleigh News and Observer, February 2, 1900

Description

This article from the Democratic Newspaper the Raleigh News and Observer attempted to show that the disfranchisement amendment proposed by the Democrats in 1900 was in the best interests of all men, regardless of race or political party. It contained four lists adressed to Democrats, Populists, Republicans and African Americans, with each list containing twelve reasons why that particular group should support the amendment. While there are some differences between the lists, several themes run between the first three lists (which were all addressed to white men), including the idea that disfranchising African Americans would lead better government, fair elections, and safer communities. These similarities suggested that all white men, Populist, Democrat, or Republican, had a vested interest in maintaining white supremacy and should therefore stand with their race rather than their party in the upcoming vote. In contrast to the virulent language of the other three lists, the fourth list (which was addressed to African Americans) was more sedate. While still tinged with racist sentiment, this list treated African Americans in a slightly more respectful manner, arguing that there were at least a few black North Carolinians who might be worthy of the franchise. While it is unlikely that the Democrats found many sympathetic African-American ears for these arguments, particularly given some of the ideas expressed in the other three sections, they may have helped to persuade some whites that the amendment would benefit everyone regardless of their race.

Creator

Raleigh News and Observer

Source

"Amendment Good For All Parties," Raleigh News and Observer, February 2, 1900, North Carolina State University Library, Raleigh, North Carolina, Microfilm.

Date

1900-02-02

Contributor

Erin Glant

Type

Document

Coverage

Raleigh, North Carolina
Wake County, North Carolina

Original Format

Newspaper Article

Text

Amendment Good For All Parties.

Twelve Conclusive Reasons Why Democrats, Populists, Republicans and Negroes should Support the Amendment.

Below we sum up twelve reasons why the members of every party ought to support the Constitutional Amendment.

WHY DEMOCRATS WILL VOTE FOR THE AMENDMENT.

1. Because he is a white man, and will not be governed, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, by any inferior race, much less by a former slave, the negro. Nor will he submit to be governed by sorry white men backed by negroes.

2. Because the negro has not been improved by suffrage but made worse. It has not increased his manhood nor his capacity for government, but has increased his idleness, viciousness, insolence, and criminal propensities.

3. Because it is necessary to secure peaceful realtions between the two races. Nearly a century ago Thomas Jefferson said, "Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that the negro slave will some day be freed; and it is equally certain that the two races will never live together peaceably on terms of equaltiy." Is not this prophecy abundantly fulfilled?

Because the welfare and progress of the State demand it. The mere negro is a sufficient load to carry, a sufficient drag on our progress. The negro voter is too big a load. Our progress in every line, agricultural, commercial, manufacturing, educational, and political is hindered and clogged by the constant danger and drage of negro suffrage.

5. Because every intelligent white man in the United States now sees that unrestricted negro suffrage was a mistake when it was forced upon the South by Federal bayonets at the close of the war. If it was a mistake then, it is a mistake now, and should be corrected.

6. Because every State has the right to regulate its own suffrage qualifications. The Chinaman cannot vote on the Pacific coast, the Indian cannot vote in the West, and the negro should not vote in the South.

7. Because the negro is unfit for self-government, much less for governing the whites. If let to themselves the negroes would relapse in barbarism and soon be eating one another, as their ancestors did in Africa before the white people began to rule them.

8. Because a million Southern white men fought to prevent this iniquity, and their descendants are not going to tolerate it any longer.

9. Because the white race whether rich or poor, literate or illiterate, has shown itself worthy of the ballot by centuries of voting and by bloodshed spilled on a thousand battlefields; while the negro race has never earned its freedom, much less the right to vote.

10. Because Southern women need it for their protection against the growing insolence and lust of black brutes.

11. Because we are tired of mobs, lynchings, riots, murders, rapes, and feuds between the races cause by false hopes held out to negroes through the ballot.

12. Because it affords a peaceable solution of the race question, which otherwise will some day [sic] lead to a war of extermination.

EVERY GENUINE POPULIST WILL SUPPORT THE AMENDMENT

1. Because the negro vote has lost them every Southern State.

2. Because the negro vote keeps respectable Southern white men who believe in Republican policies from joining the Republican party.

3. Because the negro vote makes the Southern Republican Party distinctly a “nigger party” and the Democratic party distinctly a “white party.” It is not difficult to see which party will win with such a division.

4. Because, if the Republican party is not a “nigger party,” now is a mighty fine chance to show it, when the only issue is “negro suffrage.”

5. Because the “poor white” will never vote with the negro, and the Republicans cannot claim to be friends to the poor white while preferring the negro.

6. Because the settlement of negro suffrage will put an end to sectionalism, will strengthen the union, and build up the South.

7. Because it will put an end to the election riots, will diminish rapings, lynchings, mobs, etc., etc.

[8.] Because it will make the negro a better laborer, a more peaceable citizen, a more useful man and less a criminal.

9. Because it will make possible a division of the white vote, as well as the black vote, between the two parties, and willvbolish race prejudice as a  factor in
politics.

10. Because it will undo a crime and a folly put upon the South by Federal bayonets at the close of the war.

11. Because it will relieve Southern white Republicans of the disgrace and dishonor of upholding any longer this crime and folly and outrage.

12. Because the white people of the South are not going to submit any longer to this iniquity and the sooner Southern white Republicans realize this fact the better for all parties concerned.

REPUBLICANS SHOULD SUPPORT THE AMENDMENT

1. Because he believes in government by the people,for the people and of the people, which is impossible with negro suffrage.

2. Because he believes in a free ballot and a fair count, which is impossible with negro suffrage.

3. Because he believes that the people should control their own money, railroads, telegraph lines, etc. etc., which is impossible with negro suffrage

4. Because he believes in the initiative and referendum, which is impossible with negro suffrage.

5. Because he believes in more schools, large schools, better schools, which is impossible with negro suffrage.

6. Because he believes in the progress and development of Southern industries, which is impossible with negro suffrage.

7. Because he believes in “peace on earth and good will among men,” which is impossible with negro suffrage

8. Because he believes in the safety and protection of individual property against public plunder and excessive taxation, which is impossible with negro suffrage.

9. Because he believes in protecting the humblest and poorest women and girls against insult and violence, which is impossible with negro suffrage.

10. Because he hopes to see the negro a good laborer and a peaceable citizen, which is impossible with negro suffrage.

11. Because he wishes his wife and children to be safe alone at night in their little home – to go safely alone along the public road – to go safely alone in the fields and woods, which is impossible with unrestricted negro suffrage.

12. Because he believes the white men, though poor and illiterate, to be better than the negro, and to be entitled to more political power, which is impossible with negro suffrage.

SENSIBLE NEGROES WILL SUPPORT THE AMENDMENT

1. Because it takes the negro out of politics and thus removes a constant cause of race prejudice and irritation.

2. Because it destroys the leadership of bad white men, who have used the negro for thirty years to their profit and his loss.

3. Because it encourages the negro to seek education

4. Because it encourages him to acquire property.

5. Because it separates worthy and intelligent negroes from the ignorant and vicious, thus holding out reward and encouragement for progress and improvement.

6. Because it will abolish the race line in politics and make it possible for voters to be independent, if they do desire.

7. Because the Southern white man and the negroes are natural friends, were friends in slavery, desire to be friends now, but cannot be friends with universal negro suffrage.

8. Because negro suffrage is not good for all negroes. It makes most of them fools. Only the best are worthy to vote.

9. Because negro suffrage is a stumbling block in the way of the progress of the race. It is a false light luring them to destruction. It tells them to travel the road of politics, whereas they should travel the road of industry, economy, education, and self-control.

10. Because it enables worthy negroes to stand up before the world and be recognized as men, instead of being mixed up with the sorry, the vicious the idle and the criminal. It will take off the stigma of “nigger,”“nigger,” “nigger” from worthy negroes.

11. If the negro has anything in him it will give him a chance to show it.

12. It will cut loose the negro from the North and identify the negro with the South, where his interests now are and where his only future lies.

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Raleigh News and Observer, "Amendment Good For All Parties," Raleigh News and Observer, February 2, 1900, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 25, 2017, http://cwnc.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/items/show/590.