Download PDF by Robert Goldman: A free ballot and a fair count: the Department of Justice

By Robert Goldman

"A loose poll and a good count number" examines the efforts by way of the dep. of Justice to enforce the federal laws glided by Congress in 1870-71 often called the Enforcement Acts. those legislation have been designed to implement the balloting rights promises for African-Americans below the lately ratified 15th modification. The Enforcement Acts set forth more than a few federally enforceable crimes geared toward struggling with white southerners' makes an attempt to disclaim or limit black suffrage. There are a number of elements of this paintings that distinguish it from different, prior works during this region. opposite to older interpretative reports, Goldman's basic thesis is that, the federal government's makes an attempt to guard black vote casting rights within the South didn't stop with the ultimate Court's adverse rulings in U.S. v. Reese and U.S. v. Cruikshank in 1875. Nor, it's argued, did enforcement efforts stop on the finish of Reconstruction and the so-called Compromise of 1877. fairly, federal enforcement efforts after 1877 mirrored the continuing dedication of Republican celebration leaders, for either humanitarian and partisan purposes, to what got here to be referred to as "the unfastened poll and a good count." one other detailed element of this e-book is its specialize in the function of the federal division of Justice and its officers within the South within the persisted enforcement attempt. Created as a cabinet-level government division in 1870, the Justice division proved ill-equipped to reply to the frequent criminal and extra-legal resistance to black suffrage through white southern Democrats within the years in the course of and after Reconstruction. the dept confronted a number of inner difficulties corresponding to inadequate assets, negative communications, and native team of workers frequently appointed extra for his or her political acceptability than their prosecutorial or felony talents. via the early Eighteen Nineties, whilst the election legislation have been eventually repealed by way of Congress, enforcement efforts have been sporadic at top and principally unsuccessful. the tip of federal involvement, coupled with the wave of southern country structure revisions, led to the disfranchisement of the majority of African-American citizens within the South through the start of the 20th Century. it is going to now not be till the Sixties and the "Second Reconstruction" that the government, and the Justice division, may once more try and make sure the "free poll and a good count".

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Extra resources for A free ballot and a fair count: the Department of Justice and the enforcement of voting rights in the South, 1877-1893

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Section 6 of the May 1870 Enforcement Act had contained provision formaking it a felony of intimidation or for two or more persons to conspire to commit acts violence against black voters. And, as Trelease indicates, this section provided the basis for most federal prosecutions of Klan members. THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT 21 22 ”A FREE BALLOT AND A FAIR COUNT” M. Landis, The Business of the Supreme Court (New York, 1927), 65. See also Trelease, White Terror, chap. 25; and Cummings and McFarland, Federal Justice, chap.

Landis, The Business of the Supreme Court (New York, 1927), 65. See also Trelease, White Terror, chap. 25; and Cummings and McFarland, Federal Justice, chap. 12. 26. S. v. S. 214 (1876); U S . v. S. 542 (1876). 27. Charles Warren, The Supreme Court in United States History (New York, 1922),2:6014; Cummings andMcFarland, Federal Justice,24546. According to Cummings,Attorney General Williamssuspended prosecutions in the South under the Enforcement Acts in October 1874, expecting a decision bythe Court that term on the constitutionality of the acts.

542 (1876). Loren Miller,The Petitioners (New York, 1966), 158. 5. For acomplete discussion of these cases, see chap. 5 below. 6. Stanley Hirshson, Farewell to the Bloody Shirt: NorthernRepzrblicans and theNegro, 2877-2893 (Chicago,1968); and Vincent P. DeSantis, Republicans Face theSouthernQuestion:The New Departure Years, 1877-1897 (Baltimore, 1959). 7. Homer Cummingsand Carl McFarland, Federal Justice: Chaptersin the History ofJzrstice and the Federal Executive (New York, 1937), 231. This Page Intentionally Left Blank “A FREEBALLOTAND A FAIRCOUNT” This Page Intentionally Left Blank 1 The Constitutional and Political Background of Fifteenth Amendment Rights Enforcement THE ENFORCEMENT of voting rights in the South by the Department of Justice after 1877 took place within a constitutional, political, and administrative framework, the outlines of which had begun taking shape before the last federal troops were withdrawn from the South.

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