...as in the imperative (i.e. you, youth, progress). This blog is updated by politically active young people. Issues that will be discussed are those which concern young voters and are of concern to young voters.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

"Modernity and The Other:" Part 1

As my friend and co-author of this blog pointed out in his last entry, it should be asked by the Democratic Party why the ordinary citizen who votes Republican seems to vote entirely against his best interests. Certainly it must be noted that the spin can confuse some voters into thinking, like 52% of American young voters, that the Republicans have better ideas when it comes to National Security, per se.

But there is reason in the madness. (Indeed, voting for Republicans is madness). It is as complex as our individual identities, and the history of our nation.

Lessons from Lincoln:

1864 - Much of the US has been reduced to rubble during the worst war in American history. While President Lincoln and his army are in the midst of fighting the Civil War, he and Congress debate over how to reincorporate the South into the Union. He believes that in order to recreate the functioning, though unhappy, union that the US was only 4 years past, the South must be forgiven of its misdeeds and reconstructed as quickly as possible, while the "Radical Republicans," sought to punish the former Confederate states for the atrocities of slavery, as well as gross harm, and near overthrow, of the US government.

In July of that year, the Wade-Davis Bill would be brought before the President. The bill, pushed by Radical Republicans, whom had taken control of Congress, had the following five provisions according to Wikipedia:

  1. Until states were readmitted, they would be under the control of a governor appointed by the president.
  2. The provisional governor would enroll all white men. If over 50% of them took the "Ironclad Oath," these same loyalists would be allowed to elect a constitutional convention. No one who held any Confederate office or served in the confederate army would be allowed to vote for this convention. The "Ironclad oath," attested that the white male had never borne arms against the Union or supported the confederacy. Considering the numbers in the Confederate Army, historians believe it would have been impossible for a southern state to meet this requirement, leaving the states in limbo.
  3. The new constitution must abolish slavery, punish Confederate leaders by distributing their property, and repudiate debts collected during the war. After meeting these conditions, a state could finally be readmitted to the Union.
  4. Freedmen, although not citizens, were to be granted federal Habeas corpus rights, and former masters who denied freedom to the enslaved were subject to federal fines and imprisonment. If the bill passed, the federal government would be able to intrude into any state by emancipating slaves immediately and transferring legal authority over ex-slaves from state to federal courts.
  5. Senior Confederate civil officials and military officers of the rank of colonel and higher would lose their U.S. citizenship.
Lincoln, realizing that a successful democracy was one in which all citizens are engaged by their government, pocket vetoed the legislation. The War ended on April 9, 1865, and at that time both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line anticipated an immediate repatriation of the Confederacy into the Union with the moderate Lincoln at the helm of the nation. Confederate General Robert E. Lee was even famously allowed to keep his sword and his horse at the surrender at Appomattox. But the rejoining of the Union would soon take a very different timbre. On April 14, 1865, America's greatest president of the past two centuries was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer, John Wilks-Booth.

...And the Failures of Johnson:

During the 1864 election, Lincoln had chosen Tennessee Democrat Sen. Andrew Johnson, the only Southern Senator to remain loyal to the Union, as his running mate, in hopes of providing a more unifying ticket to the soon-to-be reuniting nation. After his assassination, Johnson assumed the presidency of the US, to disastrous consequences.

Johnson soon pardoned even the most divisive figures of the former Confederate army, and restored all land back to its pre-War owners. He allowed "The Black Codes" to be instituted, which prevented the newly emancipated African-American population of the South from being full-fledged American citizens, and, of course, denied their right to vote.

In response to Johnson's outrageous actions, the Congress passed the Freedmen's Bureau Bill, guaranteeing some rights to the ex-slaves. The Bill was vetoed by Johnson. Later, in furthered defiance, the Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill, which was also vetoed by Johnson. This veto would result in the first overturned veto in US History. It would be a precursor to the rest of the Johnson presidency. The Congress later passed the 14th Amendment, which was intended to provide full citizenship and equal rights to all African-Americans. The Congress even tried to impeach the president, and only failed by one vote.

The relationship between Johnson and Congress was a nasty power battle, in which both sides sought to damage the other by attacking cronies and constitutuents. Johnson sought to damage the Republican vote in the South by keeping ex-slaves from voting, and verbally attacking Radical Republicanism. Congress not only sought to limit the powers of the president and remove him from office, but also attacked and embittered the reconstructing South. The fiery battle continues today in the US: The political divide in this country still rests upon the Mason-Dixon Line.

Next Time:

In my next segment of "Modernity and The Other," I will discuss why this conflict has lead to the identity gap between Northerners and Southerners, why white Southerners refuse to vote for progress and Democrats, why the third-world rejects the modernity of the first-world, and how the rejection of the values of the progressive values of the North by white Southerners has lead to an America that pre-emptively and without reason invades fellow sovereign nations, denies global warming, and runs itself into bankruptcy, and how the rejection of "modernity" by third-world nations has lead to global terrorism.

...And I will hyperlink everything, and spellcheck everything, etc. But right now, I must get to sleep. For those of you who don't know, I have a contracting job which requires me to wake at 6:10.


Blogger progressyouth said...

getting hyperlink

4:44 PM


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