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A History of the Republican Party by Platt

Which authorized the refunding of the debt at five


In

the decade between 1860 and 1870 the admission of four new States-- Kansas in 1861, West Virginia in 1863, Nevada in 1864, and Nebraska in 1867--had raised the total number of States to thirty-seven. In addition, six new Territories had been organized--Colorado and Dakota in 1861, Idaho and Arizona in 1863, Montana in 1864, and Wyoming in 1868. The admission of these new States, the completing of the railroad, the discovery of precious metals, and the general awakening of the North caused a large increase in the population, especially in the West. The total population of the country in 1870 was 38,558,371, of which 4,880,009 were negroes, about 4,400,000 of them living in the Southern States.

The second session of the Forty-first Congress met December 6, 1869. The President in his message advocated the refunding of the National Debt, and this was done by the Act of July 14, 1870, which authorized the refunding of the debt at five, four and one-half and four percent, payable in coin and exempt from taxation.

The sentiment in favor of a general amnesty of all persons who had engaged in the rebellion was now growing in the North, and in December, 1869, and March, 1870, Acts were passed removing legal and political disabilities from a large class of persons in the South, but a full pardon was not yet extended to all. The South at this time was most bitter against negro suffrage, and the opposition was shown in a

series of most violent outrages and murders perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klans and other similar organizations formed for the purpose of preventing the negro from voting and the "carpet bagger" from living in the community. The outrages and murders done by these organizations became so flagrant that Congress passed a special Act on April 20, 1871 (the Ku Klux Act), to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment.

The other events of Gen. Grant's administration were chiefly of a diplomatic nature, and it is not necessary to dwell upon them in these pages. With the opening of 1872 came the year for another presidential campaign, and the only serious issue was the threatened split in the Republican Party over the question of the treatment of the South. The Democrats were demoralized and had no candidate, and the situation was the most peculiar and abnormal in the history of presidential campaigns. A group of Republicans in Missouri were in favor of a more liberal policy toward the South, and President Grant was roundly condemned for his military rule. This movement became known as the Liberal Republican movement, and a convention was called to meet in Cincinnati on May 1st. This year also witnessed the organization for political action of the Prohibition Party and the Labor Reform Party. The latter held the first of the political conventions and met at Columbus, Ohio, February 22, 1872. Judge David Davis, of Illinois, was nominated for President, and Judge Joel Parker, of New Jersey, for Vice-President; both subsequently withdrew, and in August this party nominated Charles O'Conor for President, who also declined. The platform of the Labor Reform Party demanded lower interest on and taxation of government bonds; the repeal of the law establishing the national banks and withdrawal of the national bank notes; the issue of paper money based on the faith and resources of the nation to be legal tender for all debts; exclusion of the Chinese; no more land grants to corporations, and the organization of a National Labor Reform party. The National Prohibition Convention also met in Columbus, Ohio, on February 22d, and nominated James Black, of Pennsylvania, for President, and Rev. John Russell, of Michigan, for Vice-President.


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