North Carolina Reinstated
As North Carolinians ventured further to gain their political recognition in the Union, federal legislators had simultaneously begun outlining the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. With much of the North Carolina public discourse focused more on their readmission to the Union, the progress of African Americans was drowned in the later pages of North Carolina newspapers. Of course not all North Carolina newspapers demonstrated ill will toward the black subjects of the state, but their growing sentiment for peaceful restoration certainly hindered North Carolinian support for racial equality. By 1868, the United States faced a pivotal election that arguably solidified the tensions between the North and South, whites and blacks, democrats and republicans. With the election and recent efforts to pass the Fourteenth Amendment, North Carolinians desperately vowed their undying allegiance to the Union. In Holden’s The Weekly Standard, an article described whites’ efforts in “training and fitting the colored race for self-government” with “a moral heroism never surpassed.” (Item #2821) Whether the push was truly for racial assimilation can be debated, but the endeavoring whites in the state of North Carolina dearly wished to participate in the upcoming presidential election. By pressuring the Republican Party of the North to sympathize with their long-endured poverty and political inactivity, the Union had no choice but to invite the state of North Carolina back into political relevancy. On July 4th, 1868, Governor W.W. Holden addressed North Carolinian citizens upon their reentry to the Union, claiming that their ratified state Constitution shall hold that “all men are equal in their political and civil rights.” (Item #2822) Most notably, The Western Democrat published an article which explained the southern democrats’ willingness to “accept whatever candidate should be deemed most available by the Democracy of the North.” (Item #2826) Here, at least in this moment in 1868, the achievement of political restoration proved satisfactory for southern democrats.