Racial Divide in North Carolina
Through defending their loyalty to the Union, North Carolinian democrats admitted their inability to “love” the Union “until the treatment towards them is changed.” (Item #2813). Growing annoyed by the persistent occupation of Union forces, white southerners felt subjugated in the political landscape due to their lack of representation in the federal government. Surprisingly, these attacks centered on financial and political disparities rather than the recent passage of the Thirteenth Amendment which rendered these southern revolutionaries “impatient that an institution to which they clung should be condemned as inhuman, unwise, and unjust.” (Item #2815). Additionally, writers of The Western Democrat credited a minority of freedmen who “conduct themselves properly” through means of work as opposed to the “idle and vicious negroes” which North Carolina had grown accustomed to (Item #2816). Although these North Carolinians had acknowledged the success of several African Americans, their inability to sympathize with the lack of work and representation in politics presented to African Americans only maintained a general perception of blacks in the South. Furthermore, The Weekly Standard described blacks as “children of a larger growth,” (Item #2817). From this perspective, racial equality seemed not even a discussion topic due to the recent freedoms earned through the Thirteenth Amendment by African Americans. Feeling threatened, enough North Carolinians were struggling to keep their predispositions from publications which confirmed their interests in cultural preservation and political representation within the Union above all else.
While southern blacks continued their fight for equality, southern whites grew more and more agitated by the fact that their efforts had not yet been consoled by the federal government. “Radical Republicans expressed great concern over the state of the freedmen and women in the South,” and some even “feared that rushing to re-admit the southern states would jeopardize true emancipation and blacks would be reduced to a state of near slavery unless the white South was forced to change,” (“North Carolina Historic Sites”). As a result, Unionists hastily accepted many southerners’ identification with the Union, though individual beliefs seemed far less threatening to the progress of Reconstruction than mobilized political efforts at the state level. Moreover, it was obvious that political partisanship served as a major factor in fueling the sectional tension, where northerners and southerners were each focused on the welfare of two different groups of people. As long as the Union continued its efforts toward racial integration, white southerners—whether Unionists or not—persistently disregarded the plight of their subordinates (blacks and poor whites).