Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/458

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and, that no greater harm has resulted is, because white intelligence has been able to exert a controlling influence and shape legislation. Certainly, while the whites were disfranchised, and the blacks politically supreme, the state of the South was intolerable. Had the Republican party, devoting its entire energies to the moral and intellectual elevation of the blacks, deferred their enfranchisement to a more reasonable day, when the race, in the mass, would be less unworthy of the ballot, the power of that party throughout the South would have been otherwise than it is to-day. The issue of the war had practically settled and silenced the old Democratic State-rights doctrine. Notwithstanding the war-engendered bitterness, a large white minority, if not a majority, at the South—partly the remnants of the old-line Whigs who antagonized the political tenets connected with the war's beginning, partly converts to results which force had imposed, partly recruits from moribund Democracy—these were ready, in good faith, to accept the new order of affairs, and act with Republicanism; and if the Republican party, rejecting the mistaken policy of seeking a foothold in the South through negro suffrage, had fostered the friendly white element, it could easily have developed this element, aided by executive patronage extending through a series of terms, into overwhelming Republican strength. Under the course pursued the almost extinct Democratic party at once revived, from a pressing sense among the whites of self-preservation. The negroes voting as a body on one side, the whites necessarily became politically massed on the other. It made little difference under what name they rallied. The term "Democrat" had been opposed to Republican in days gone by, and was now adopted. Yet thousands, banded under this party title, had no sympathy with leading and distinctive Democratic doctrines, such as those regarding the tariff, finance, or State rights. They were against negro political supremacy, as meaning disaster to the land. It had prevailed for a short period (just after the war), and left desolation in its course. The ignorance and inexperience of this unlettered mass, fresh from slavery, were immensely unequal to the science of enlightened governing. For the whites it was a matter of life or death. They became a "solid South," as any other people, similarly circumstanced, would have become. Wealth and intelligence gave them the victory, as it ever will, where numbers approach an equality—a victory that does not mean injury to the blacks, but which is the pledge for good government and order—the proof whereof is the present peaceful and prosperous condition of the Southern States, for the blacks no less than for the whites, compared with their state of wretchedness, under negro political rule, in the days following immediately upon the close of the war.

We must again ask the question, What, from this standpoint, will the upshot be when the blacks numerically will so far exceed the whites as to overcome the vantage that the superior wealth and in-