As regards the individuals who Ames put into the civil positions, James Garner in Reconstruction in Mississippi gives him the benefit of the doubt, quoting Ames as admitting he probably did take some “bad advice.” Garner actually met Ames in the course of writing his book on Reconstruction. Ames told Garner he did the best he could and filled the positions with freedmen (most illiterate) and strangers from the North. Of the few competent men put in county positions, some had never even stepped foot in the county prior and none were accepted by the locals. This had everything to do with a firm belief in “home rule.” He could have always done what Gillem had done—ignored Congress and left qualified men in their positions—after all, Mr. Arrogance wasn’t going to let anything hinder the execution of his policy.
Of the 25 appointees who became the most prominent Republican politicians in the state, not one had ever held prior public office. Eight were Negro and all but four of the whites were Northerners. One Northerner would become governor, one a U.S. Senator, one lieutenant governor, two justices of the supreme court, and two representatives to Congress. No, what Ames did and what Congress did was in pursuit of their own goals. The good of Mississippi, her taxpayers, or even her non-taxpayers didn’t matter. Ames’ actions increased animosity within the state, laid a corrupt and extravagant government on an already downtrodden people, participated in and fomented fraudulent elections, and ultimately instigated violence and revolution.
Hmmm...well, the folks were learning how bad martial law really could be.