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Restricted African American Voting

In some of Tourgee’s writings, he goes beyond a simple belief that white southerners didn’t believe African Americans should be
granted suffrage rights. In many cases he describes situations in which white southerners believed in some type of conditional right of voting.  For example, some white southerners were in favor of restricted suffrage for African American in which the voting patterns
of the freedman complied with the wishes of their previous master.  In A Fool’s Errand, Tourgee describes the feeling that if African Americans will be allowed the right of voting it should be with the guidance and to the advantage of the white southerner. “We have no objection to his voting, so long as he votes as his old master, or the man for whom he labors, advises him; but, when he chooses to vote differently, he must take the consequences” (Item 586). This continues the idea that white southerners still had control over their former slaves, even though emancipation occurred. It also indicates a time in which they took a situation which was meant to promote the status of freedmen but attempted to manipulate it in order to regain their power over African Americans. Tourgee shows the view of white southerners that they believed former slaves wouldn’t have the education to vote effectively unless it was by the command and to the favor of their previous masters.