I have been pulling together all the research notes that I’ve accumulated over the past 7-8 years, as well as adding new ones to the pile. Maybe one day I’ll combine it all into a book?
In researching the "Reconstruction" section I discovered a man I’d never heard of before, one Benjamin H. Hill, of Georgia. The guy got up in front of a crowd which included Radical Republicans in 1867 and literally "ripped ’em a new one!" The first passage is from that speech. The second passage is from an article he wrote later. I have yet to encounter a more succinct account of what the "Reconstruction Period" was all about than what this guy had to say. I love this guy! He spared no one and he took no prisoners!
Send this to anyone you know who thinks that Reconstruction was a happy little story of social progress! Eric Foner and Dr. John Latschar (supt of Gettysburg) can put this in their respective pipes and smoke it!!!
By the way, does anyone know anything more about Mr. Hill? There seems to be a paucity of material on him.
"The Tragic Era", By Claude G. Bowers
Benjamin H. Hill’s 1867 Speech in Atlanta, Pages 211 – 212
“Oh I pity the colored people who have never been taught what an oath is, or what the Constitution means. They are drawn up by a selfish conclave of traitors to inflict a death-blow on the Republic by swearing them to a falsehood. They are to begin their political life with perjury to accomplish treason…they are neither legally nor morally responsible – it is you, educated, designing white men, who thus devote yourselves to the unholy work, who are the guilty parties. You prate about your loyalty. I look you in the eye and denounce you…morally and legally perjured traitors…Ye hypocrites! Ye whited sepulchers! Ye mean in your hearts to deceive him, and buy up the Negro vote for your own benefit”….
And then, to the Negroes: “They tell you they are you friends – it is false. They tell you they set you free – it is false. These vile creatures never went with the army except to steal spoons, jewelry and gold watches. They are too low to be brave. They are dirty spawn, cast out from decent society, who came down here to seek to use you to further their own base purposes…Improve yourselves; learn to read and write; be industrious; lay up your means; acquire homes; live in peace with your neighbors; drive off as you would a serpent the miserable dirty adventurers who come among you…and seek to foment among you hated of the decent portion of the white race.”
"The Tragic Era", By Claude G. Bowers
Benjamin H. Hill’s Treatise, “Notes on the Situation” 1867, Page 214
“And universal Negro suffrage? Ignorance is more easily duped than intelligence, and knaves have always been advocates of conferring power on fools; and so fools have generally thought of knaves as their best friends. Yes, they go like fattened ox with pretty ribbons streaming from their horns, frisking to the slaughter. Do Radicals say they wish to elevate the black race? These Radical traitors and their Southern tools alone desire to degrade the white race. And their purpose? To secure these 10 States to keep the Radical Party in power in the approaching presidential election…to retain by force and fraud the power they are losing in the detection of their treason in the North. Thus they annul the Constitution in the name of loyalty; exterminate the black race in the name of philanthropy; disenfranchise the white race in the name of equality; pull down all the defenses of life and prosperity in the name of liberty, and with blasphemous hosannas to the Union, they are rushing all sections and all races into wild chaotic anarchy; and all, that traitors may hold the power they desecrate, and riot in the wreck of the prosperity they destroy.”