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The Election of 1870

The election of 1870 came as a total shock to both the Republican and Conservative Parties. The Conservatives had won the election by vast odds, gaining control of the North Carolina Congress. By using newspaper articles around the time of the election, Horace Raper points out that “The result of the election was hardly known when the Conservative press demanded the impeachment of Governor Holden.” (Raper 1951, 385) Governor Holden’s future was not looking bright. The Conservative Party used their new found power to their advantage. Even after their lop-sided victory in the election, the Conservatives claimed “that free elections had been impossible during the occupation of those counties by Kirk’s troops.” (Raper 1951, 387) Arguing this point, a second election was called which saw three Republican Senators replaced by their Conservative foes, and all of the Representative seats of the Counties of Alamance and Caswell being won by Conservatives. (Raper 1951, 387-388) The Conservatives now had an overwhelming majority in both the House and Senate with a total of “one hundred and eleven Conservatives versus fifty-three Republicans.” (Raper 1951, 388) The Conservatives had one thing in mind, impeachment and with those odds, it was only a matter of time before that became a reality.