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"National Politics," December 31, 1866


"National Politics," December 31, 1866


This article identified with Reconstruction's major goal to reorganize the dismantled South. Focused on educating and reforming traditional southern white ideologies such as racial discrimination and separation, the article called for an undisturbed desire for North Carolina to rejoin the Union upon political, social, and moral grounds. Fixated primarily on North Carolina, the article showed great anxiety in trusting and relying on the state to adhere to newly-implemented political discourse regarding racial equality. Though some northerners expressed these anxieties, others seemed excited to achieve groundbreaking political assimilation of its since-lost southern states. The article demanded North Carolina's total loyalty and identification with the constitutional amendment otherwise the bill would simply continue on its path while excluding "ungoverned" southern states that continuously resisted major social change under Reconstruction. The article also investigated the partisan nature of the bill. While many Republican northerners believed it to be radical due to its inclusion of freedmen, many Democratic southern advocates saw it as rather liberal, seemingly understanding the necessity to modernize and represent a larger, more diverse population of citizens.




"National Politics: Views of the Public Press upon the Question of Reconstruction, as Embodied in Mr. Stevens' North Carolina Bill," New York Times, December 31, 1866, accessed October 21, 2014,




Adam Lipay




North Carolina

Original Format

Newspaper Article


In a somewhat similar view of the case the New Haven Journal and Courier looks upon the bill as "an immediate result of the refusal of the Southern States to accept the proposed Constitutional Amendment."  For, while Congress was willing last Summer to recognize the rebel States, on the simple conditions prescribed in the Amendment, the elections since then have demonstrated that the people are ready to indorse the more severe measures advocated by Mr. Stevens and his friends, who were then in a hopeless minority, and to "sustain any measure that shall thoroughly uproot not only disloyalty itslef, but any and all influences by which it may be enabled to renew its life and power."  Yet, while the North was thus declaring its inexorable determination, the South, the Courier says, "with a fatuity which showed that it neither forgot nor learned anything, deliberately proceeded to reject the terms upon which its treason would be forgiven, and arrogantly demanded rights in the Union which it had before utterly repudiated and to which it professed itself to be bound only by the fact or conquest."  Of the manner in which this demand will be met it says:
"The will of the people is the beginning and end of the law.  The people have emphatically said that the rebel States shall not reacquire power in the Union unless they give assurances not to disturb its future peace.  If the knot cannot be untied it must be cut.  Mr. Stevens' bill proposes to cut the knot.  That his scheme is a radical one there is no doubt.  That it would have received the assent of Congress a year ago no one believes.  That it will now pass is very probable.  The plan in itself is not essentially different from that of President Johnson.  He failed because the old rebels had the exclusive control of the ballot-box.  If Mr. Stevens succeeds, it will be because the ballot-box is opened to the freedmen, and all except real Union men are excluded from office."


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Unknown, "National Politics," December 31, 1866, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 27, 2024,