MISSISSIPPI IN 1875
TO INQUIRE INTO
THE MISSISSIPPI ELECTION OF 1875
TESTIMONY AND DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE
IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. I (ONLY)
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
Hardcover, 1020 pages
INDEX TO THE REPORTS OF COMMITTEES
OF THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
FOR THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FORTY-FOURTH CONGRESS,
By 1875, only four Southern States remained under Republican control: South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. In those States white Democrats had revived paramilitary organizations under various names: White Leagues (Louisiana), Rifle Clubs (Mississippi), Red Shirts (South Carolina. Unlike the Ku Klux Klan, these groups operated openly. Things got so bad in Louisiana that President Grant sent in federal troops , a controversial move that generated even more protest when those troops expelled several Democratic legislators after a controversial election. The backlash against the Grant administration also affected the Mississippi election of 1875. Democrats there devised a strategy called "The Mississippi Plan." The first part of the plan was to "persuade" 10-15% of white Republican voters to switch to the Democratic party. The second part of the plan was to intimidate or coerce black (mostly all Republican) voters into voting Democratic, or not voting at all. (Black held a 35% majority at the time.) Democratic "Rifle Clubs" showed up at Republican rallies, provoked riots, and shot down dozens of blacks in the ensuing melees.
Although the governor requested Federal troops to curb the violence, President Ulysses S. Grant hesitated to act, for fear that in doing so, he would be accused of "bayonet rule"-which he believed would undoubtedly be exploited by Democrats to carry Ohio in that year's state elections. Ultimately, the violence went unchecked and the plan worked as intended: during Mississippi's 1875 election, five counties with large black majorities polled 12, 7, 4, 2, and 0 votes, respectively. The Republican victory by 30,000 votes in 1874 was reversed to a Democratic majority of 30,000 in 1875.
The U. S. Senate did form a committee to investigate the acts committed in the 1875 Mississippi election, and the testimony and evidence of fraud and violence in many cases is overwhelming and pretty damning. The testimony begins with the testimony about the assassination of a white Republican candidate named William P. Haffa, and only gets worse from there - the Race Riots at Clinton, Vicksburg and Yazoo; the shooting and killing of Negro Sheriff Crosby by his white deputy; numerous sub-headings such as FRAUD AT THE ELECTION; A WHITE COMPANY IS FORMED AND MARCHES - IT FIRES VOLLEYS AND THE COLORED PEOPLE RUN; FIFTY MURDERS AFTER THE CLINTON RIOT; GOVERNOR'S HOUSE FIRED ON IN THE DAYTIME; ORDERED BY A COMMITTEE TO LEAVE CLINTON OR HE WOULD BE MURDERED; EIGHTY REPUBLICANS PREVENTED FROM VOTING IN ONE BOX; SLAVEHOLDERS PREFER TO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR OLD HANDS; ABOUT MUTILATING THE DEAD; FRAUD AND INTIMIDATION - INSPECTORS CHANGED BY THREATS; PRISONERS TAKEN OUT AND KILLED; A RIOT OR SOMETHING WORSE UPON ROLLING FORK; WHY SIX OF THE NEGROS WERE KILLED; MEN WITH ARMS STACKED LIKE SOLDIERS - GOING TO HAVE A FAIR ELECTION; SHERIFF BUCK SMITH KILLED; ARMED DEMOCRATIC CLUBS; "WE WILL KILL THE LAST ONE OF YOU!"; GOING TO CARRY THE ELECTION IF THEY HAD TO DO IT WITH WINCHESTER RIFLES; SOUTHERN LEADERS THOUGHT THE UNION WAS TO BE RESTORED "AS IT WAS"; WOMEN SEEKING THEIR CHILDREN- A CORPSE - TWO WOUNDED MEN - VERY BLOODY; SHOOTING NEGROS ALL SUNDAY; TWENTY-FOUR HOURS TO LEAVE THE COUNTY OR HANG; A COLORED MAN TAKEN OUT AND SHOT BECAUSE HE RESISTED THE RUFFIANS WHO WERE FORCING HIS DOOR; MACGRUDER ADVISED THE DARKIES TO COME ARMED; STUFFING BALLOT BOXES AT GRAND GULF; WHITE-LINERS PROPOSE TO ATTEND BARBACUE IF IT FRIGHTENS DARKIES; and my favorite - LARGE ARMED BODIES REALLY NECESSARY TO ENABLE DEMOCRATS TO HEAR REPUBLICAN SPEECHES. Those are just a few examples.
I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried! These sub-headings come across as lurid newspaper headlines. Can you imagine what's in the testimony? I just had to show some pages in the sample photos so you didn't think I was over-dramatizing it. Included here is the testimony of Mississippi governor Adelbert Ames; Senator J. L. Alcorn; Mrs. Margaret Ann Caldwell, the widow of assassinated Mississippi State Senator Charles Caldwell, and many more. To be fair, all the testimony wasn't completely negative or one-sided. There was testimony of peaceable, quiet elections in certain districts too, as well as reports of Armed Negros, Insulting Negros, Scared Whites, etc., etc. There is no question though that the overwhelming majority of the testimony and documentation presented in this report was an indictment of white Democrats and their practices. There is also a FOLDOUT MAP OF MISSISSIPPI SHOWING WHITE AND BLACK POPULATION OF THE COUNTIES IN 1870.
This is a scarce original copy of this voluminous document, 3 inches thick. It has been rebound in a modern hardcover binding preserving it very well. Excellent historical collectible of the aftermath of Reconstruction in the South.
BOOK DESCRIPTION/CONDITION: First Printing. Ex-library with markings. Thick 8vo- over 7 3/4" - 9 3/4" tall. Modern blue library binding with titles in white on spine. Some marks and scuffs on boards but very little wear. First few pages a little loose but binding good. Interior Very Good with little to complain about. 6" x 9 1/4" x 3"
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