Another step in a like direction was taken when the ratification of the amendments became a matter of supreme concern, and General Hayes, united with two other Republican members of congress, drafted the following letter, which was signed by Republican members of congress and forwarded to Governor Brownlow of Tennessee: “The undersigned members of congress respectfully suggest that, as governor of Tennessee, you call a special session of the legislature of your state, for the purpose of ratifying the Constitutional amendment submitted by the present congress to the several states for ratification, believing that upon such ratification this congress will, during its present session, recognize the present state government of Tennessee and admit the state to representation in both houses of congress.” The result of this suggestion was of far reaching importance. The special session was called, the Fourteenth amendment was ratified, and the Tennessee members admitted to seats in congress in July, 1866. This ratification was the one needed to make the amendment valid. As a clear-cut and pointed statement of the political [Pg. 1046] views held by General Hayes at that time, the following, taken from one of his many speeches delivered in the Ohio campaign of 1865, will serve to an admirable purpose: “The Democratic plan of reorganization is this: The rebels having laid down their arms and abandoned their attempt to break up the Union, are now entitledas a matter of rightto be restored to all the rights, political and civil, which they enjoyed before the rebellion, precisely as if they had remained loyal. They are to vote, to hold office, to bear armsimmediately and unconditionally. There is to be no confiscation and no punishment, either for leaders or followers–no amendment or change of the Constitution by way of guaranty against future rebellion–no indemnity for the past and no security for the future. The Union party objects to this plan because it wants, before rebels shall again be restored to power, an amendment to the Constitution which shall remove all vestiges of slavery, and an amendment which shall equalize representation between the states having a large negro population and the states whose negro population is small.

–General [and soon to be President] Rutherford B. Hayes, Sept. 28, 1865 Speech in Cincinnati advocating his war comrade, General Jacob D. Cox, for Governor.

[The American Nation Its Executive, Legislative, Political, Judicial And Industrial History . . . By Benson J. Lossing, LL.D., J.K. Upton, Hon. A.G. Riddle, Hon. Thomas M. Cooley . . . Cleveland: The N.G. Hamilton Publishing Company 1895 Vol. II. Pg. 1045-46]


The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall NOT be infringed.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply