Much has been said of the abuses of “Negro Rule”during the course of these puppet governments set up during Reconstruction in the South, but as of 11 January 1870, Mississippi was not yet to that point. To be fair to the Negro, Negro Rule is a misnomer, because the people calling the shots were always white politicians aiding and abetting corruption in return for votes, both at election time and in the state house. The more accurate term, and one used routinely for the period, is Carpetbag Rule.
[I have yet to narrow down which was which among the Democrats, and I imagine I will find the two groups will polarize significantly during the course of Carpetbag Rule before finally consolidating in the wake of Republican corruption and misrule.]Doctor Franklin representing Yazoo County, but who was in fact a Carpetbagger from New York, was elected speaker of the Mississippi house. The vote for the Fourteenth Amendment was 24-2 in the senate (twelve Carpetbaggers, five Scalawags, five Negroes, and two Democrats; the two nays were both Democrats. Three Carpetbaggers, one Scalawag, and two Democrats did not cast votes). The house vote for the Fourteenth Amendment was 87-6 (thirty-four Carpetbaggers, thirteen Scalawags, one additional Republican whom I’ve yet to determine if Carpetbagger or Scalawag, twenty-six Negroes, twelve Democrats, and one member who I am unable to determine if he was Republican or Democrat. Five Democrats and one Scalawag opposed the amendment. Six Democrats and seven Republicans did not record a vote. The latter group was composed of six Carpetbaggers and one Negro who were absent, but of the six Democrats who did not cast a vote, only one was absent. The other five simply did not vote. One hundred six legislators sat in the Mississippi house.
The senate vote on the Fifteenth Amendment was 28-0 (twelve Carpetbaggers, six Scalawags, five Negroes, and five Democrats. There were no negative votes, but three Democrats and two Carpetbaggers did not cast votes). The house vote was 92-1 (thirty-four Carpetbaggers, fourteen Scalawags, twenty-six Negroes, and eighteen Democrats).
[The lone nay vote was cast by Democrat J. K. McLeod representing Greene County in south-central Mississippi. Of note, his was one of the six votes against the Fourteenth Amendment. Hmmm...might have our first Bourbon identified here.]There were 26 Republicans and 7 Democrats in the senate for a total of 33 state senators. Given the number of Democratic votes cast in support of these amendments, readmission to the Union and the end of martial law took precedent over principle. We might also conclude here that in the fall of 1869 the majority of Democrats elected to the legislature were of the New Departure persuasion. The Fourteenth Amendment had been ratified in July of 1868, so was already law, but the Fifteenth wasn’t ratified until 3 February 1870. Mississippi was the twenty-third state to approve (twenty-eight were needed to ratify). Looking at the ratification process for both those amendments, neither would have been ratified without the coercion of the Southern states, which didn’t even have a vote in Congress when those amendments were passed by that tainted assembly.
On a pragmatic note, what I liked about the subsequent sequence of votes to fill the seat is that the roll-call votes and the manner in which hopefuls were nominated, then supported, has helped me determine who was who among the Republicans in the Mississippi legislature...Carpetbagger or Scalawag.
Hiram Revels next time.
*Though I think I have a good handle on who was a Scalawag and who was a Carpetbagger, there may be a discrepancy here and there. One thing is certain, there were thirty-one Negroes and seventy-eight white Republicans, for a total of 109 Republicans, opposed to thirty Democrats making up the Mississippi legislature in the winter of 1870.