1. See for example, Melton Alonza McLaurin, The Knights of Labor in the South (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, Inc., 1978). For an overview, see Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and the Black Worker, 1619–1973 (New York: International Publishers, 1976), Chapter 4.
2. The Exodus is discussed in Vol. II, pp. 305–52.
3. For a discussion of the Freedman’s Bank and its demise, see Vol. II, note 3.
4. James L. Pugh (1820–1907) had been a prominent secessionist and a member of the Confederate Congress before entering the Senate in 1880. Born in Georgia, he moved to Alabama with his parents, where he attended school, and studied law. Admitted to the bar in 1841, he began to practice in Eufaula and became involved in politics. In 1858 he was elected to Congress where he served until January 1861, when he withdrew to join a Confederate military unit. He then served in the Confederate Congress from 1861 to 1865. Pugh became President of the Democratic State Convention in 1874, and a member of the state constitutional convention in 1875. Elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate, he served in that body from 1880 to 1897, when he retired from public life.
5. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was the last major piece of civil rights legislation to be passed by Congress until 1957. The 1875 bill declared it illegal to deny blacks equal access to public “accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement.” In 1883, however, in a strict construction of the constitutional authority of the states to regulate themselves, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional.
6. The reference to Negroes as a “Hamitic Race” stems from the Biblical story of Ham (Cham). The original story in Genesis 9 and 10 was that after the Flood, Ham had looked upon his father Noah’s nakedness as he lay drunk in his tent. Noah’s other two sons, Shem and Japheth, had covered their father without looking upon him. When Noah awakened, he cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, saying that he would forever be a “servant of servants.” Over the ages, this simple allusion to slavery became associated with Africans because it was believed that Africans were descended from at least one of Ham’s sons. When this alleged connection became widely accepted in western thought during the seventeenth century, it was normally used to explain blackness rather than slavery. Gradually it took on the added burden of rationalizing slavery.
7. George Washington Williams (1849–1891) joined the military at the age of fourteen, and even though discharged because of his youth, he promptly reenlisted and served as a sergeant-major in General N. P. Jackson’s staff. He was wounded in Texas, then joined the Mexican Army for a year, and later enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry. Passed over for promotion, Williams resigned at the age of twenty. He attended Newton Theological Institution and in 1874 graduated, the first Afro-American ever to do so. Thereafter he served as a pastor in Boston, Editor of the Commoner in Washington, D.C., and then as a minister in Cincinnati. He read law in the office of Alphonso Taft, was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1879, and that same year was elected to the Ohio legislature. Between 1876 and 1883 Williams researched and published his two-volume History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880, which was immediately recognized as the best book on Negro history published in the nineteenth century. It has since become a classic. He later published a less well-known volume on the History of the Negro Troops in the War of Rebellion. Subsequently, Williams visited the Congo, and served as U.S. Minister-Resident to Haiti from 1885 to 1886.
8. For a biographical sketch of Frederick Douglass, see Vol. I, note 8.
9. John P. Green, a black Ohio state senator, was founder of Labor Day in Ohio.
10. The Freeman was a weekly edited by T. Thomas Fortune, the author of an influential book, Black and White: Land, Labor, and Politics in the South, published in 1884. In his book Fortune advanced the single tax idea of Henry George (see Vol. III, note 16), that at the root of most economic misery lay “land monopoly,” or control of the land by a select few. Fortune argued that since blacks were primarily laborers, it was natural that they should side with other workers in a revolt against the monopolists for a “juster distribution of the results of labor.” The future struggle in the South, he was convinced, would not be between the races, but between labor and capital. Thus workers black and white must unite. Fortune shrank from the direction his own analysis led him, however. In fact, coupled with his clarion calls for class solidarity for the impending struggle was a plea for accommodation to the very society he condemned. That society, he argued, was governed by immutable laws of competition to which the Negro must adjust in order to survive.
11. From the outset the Knights of Labor did not exclude male workers because of color or race, political or religious belief, or place of birth—unless they were Chinese. When efforts were made to organize local assemblies of Chinese in New York and Philadelphia, the General Executive Board of the Knights refused to grant them charters. Black workers were prominent in the fight to admit the Chinese. Frank J. Ferrell (see Vol. III, Introduction and p. 134), an outstanding black leader of the Knights, made a special effort to get the GEB to reverse its stand.
12. John Roy Lynch (1847–1939) was born in Vidalia, Louisiana, to a white father and a black slave mother. His father left provisions that Catherine Lynch and their children were to be freed should anything happen to him, but his wishes were not carried out. His mother and her children were sold and carried to Natchez. After the Union troops occupied that city, Lynch attended night school, but received most of a good classical education from private instructors. Lynch also worked as a photographer until 1869, when he was appointed justice of the peace by the Republican governor. Active in the Republican Party, he was elected to the state legislature that year for two terms, the second term as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Lynch was then elected to two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1872 and 1876. At twenty-six Mississippi’s first black representative was the second youngest man ever to sit in that body. Lynch remained active in Republican politics in his state, and later served as an officer during the Spanish-American War. After the war he moved to Chicago and became a member of the Illinois bar. In 1913 he published a now well-known account of Reconstruction, The Facts of Reconstruction, and later an autbiography, Reminiscences of an Active Life.
13. George Washington Cable (1844–1925) served with the Confederate cavalry, and after the war became a reporter for the New Orleans Picayune. As a free-lance writer he began to publish stories about Louisiana life. His essays criticizing the rising system of segregation within the post-Reconstruction South infuriated native whites, and in 1885 Cable moved to Massachusetts. His books include The Silent South (1885), Strange True Stories of Louisiana (1889), and The Negro Question (1890).
14. For a biographical sketch of Isaac Myers, see the Introduction and Document 7 in Vol. I, Part XI.
15. Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794–1877) was born on Staten Island, New York. He emerged into the world of high finance after gaining control over most of the ferry lines running between New York and New Jersey, expanded his holdings to the Hudson River, and opened several overseas shipping lines. Vanderbilt invested in railroads during this period as well. After acquiring the New York Central, he parlayed the line into a major railroad system. When he died Vanderbilt left a $100,000,000 fortune to his son, William Henry (1821–1885), who in turn doubled the family fortune.
Jay Gould (1836–1892) was another New York financier who, along with James Fisk and Daniel Drew, acquired the Erie Railroad in 1868. Noted for his ruthless entrepreneurial tactics, he and Fisk attempted to corner the gold market in 1869. In the 1870s and 1880s Gould built a group of railroad lines in the trans-Mississippi West. The “Gould system,” as it was known, became one of the six largest railroad systems in the nation (see Vol. III, note 23).
16. “Saint-Simonianism” referred to the social theories of Claude-Henri de Rouvray, Count de Saint-Simon (1760–1825). The French social scientist and philosopher was convinced that society needed to be reorganized along the new philosophical guidelines of “positivism.” In this new system, leadership would be entrusted to a scientific elite which alone was capable of ordering the world and taming nature for the welfare of mankind. The author of many works, most of them outlined the contours of the new technocratic order.
“Henry Georgism” referred to the ideas of the American reformer, Henry George (1839–1897). His theories regarding the causes of poverty and inequality distinguish him as one of the few original American economic theorists. His book Progress and Poverty (1879) sold over two million copies before 1900, and made him an international figure. According to George, poverty was attributed to rent. He proposed a single tax on land as the appropriate remedy. The single tax theory called for the elimination of unearned income (speculative gain), and by insuring equal access to natural resources, would prevent monopoly and promote equality for all social classes.
17. Peter M. Arthur (1831–1903), associated with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers from its inception in 1863, was elected Grand Chief Engineer of the Brotherhood in 1874 and held that office until his death.
18. The Labor Bureau, now the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, was established in 1884 to gather data on wages, working conditions, unemployment, the cost of living, and related data, to facilitate a more intelligent understanding of economic conditions. The Bureau was the only significant result of a series of hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Education and Labor in 1883 to examine the relations between labor and capital. See the Introduction to Vol. III, Part I.
19. “A Douglass” was an obvious reference to the major black American spokesman of his time, Frederick Douglass (see Vol. I, note 8).
“Senator Bruce” was a reference to Blanch Kelso Bruce (1841–1898), the first Negro to serve a full six-year term in the United States Senate. Born a slave in Farmville, Virginia, he spent the Civil War years teaching school in Missouri, and worked as a printer, and a porter on a steamboat. After the Civil War he established himself as a successful planter in Mississippi. Bruce rose quickly in Mississippi Republican politics, holding numerous state offices before being elected to the U. S. Senate in 1874. Bruce remained a powerful influence in the Republican Party after leaving the Senate in 1880. He was reportedly the most wealthy black individual in the land. During the 1890s Bruce served as Recorder of Deeds in Washington, D.C., and as Register of the Treasury.
20. Terence Vincent Powderly (1849–1924) was born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. At seventeen he was apprenticed to learn the machinist trade, joined the Machinists’ and Blacksmiths’ Union in 1871, and soon became a prominent figure in that organization. In 1874 Powderly was initiated into the Knights of Labor, rising to become Grand Master Workman in 1879. He held this post until 1893, during which time the Order was the most powerful labor organization in the United States. In 1878 Powderly was elected to the first of three consecutive terms as Mayor of Scranton on the Greenback-Labor ticket.
As a labor leader, Powderly showed himself an idealistic reformer, but inadequate to the task of achieving immediate economic gains for workers. This stemmed in part from his view of the Knights as an educational mechanism. It would reform society by demanding that the government regulate all utilities, trust, and monopolies, and abolish various social evils such as child labor. He opposed the craft union method of organization because he believed that the skilled laborer should assist the unskilled worker. Also, he opposed strikes and placed little importance upon demands for better pay, hours, and conditions as an end in themselves. Powderly perceived these as short-term solutions which ultimately would come to pass anyway as society was reformed.
A ready intelligence assisted Powderly in acquiring a sound classical education on his own. He had begun to study law before his retirement from the Knights of Labor and in 1894 he was admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania. Having assisted William McKinley in his pursuit of the Presidency, in 1897 Powderly was rewarded with an appointment as United States Commissioner-General of Immigration. He wrote numerous essays on labor, but is best remembered for his personalized history of the labor movement, Thirty Years of Labor, 1859 to 1889 (1889).
Charles H. Litcheman (1849–1902) was the National Secretary of the Knights of St. Crispin (see Vol. II, note 25), and General Secretary of the Knights of Labor in 1882.
21. For an explanation of these events, see Vol. III, pp. 91–101.
22. Boycotts were not mentioned in the Knights of Labor’s Constitution and seldom employed during the first years of the organization’s existence. But by 1885 the Order had become the most successful boycotting agency in the history of the American labor movement. The term “boycott” became so common that it was frequently used interchangeably with strike. Bradstreets’ (Dec. 19, 1885) listed 196 boycotts as having taken place throughout the country in 1885, of which 59 ended successfully, 23 were failures and 114 were still pending at year’s end.
23. In spite of the Knights’ hostility to the strike as a weapon, the Order attained its greatest membership when it became involved in strikes. The walkout against the Missouri Pacific Railroad, the backbone of Jay Gould’s southwestern system, was no exception (also see Vol. III, notes 15 and 24).
In October 1884, Gould slashed wages ten percent, and by March 9, 1885, the walkout became general along all points of the southwestern railroad system involving 10,000 miles of track and 4,500 workers in Missouri and Texas. Local assemblies leaped to the support of the strikers. Aware that popular sympathy was on the side of the workers, the Gould management ordered the wage cut rescinded. The company also agreed that no worker would be dismissed for participating in the strike. The prestige of the Knights soared, but Gould had no intention of coexisting with the union. The Gould management decided to destroy the local assemblies by discharging the leaders and their most militant followers. By June 16 the company had locked the men out, and the Knights reciprocated by ordering a strike against Gould. But Gould retreated temporarily by suggesting a conference of the interested parties, and headed off the strike. The Knights demanded the dismissal of all scabs, and the reinstatement of all discharged men. They also demanded assurance that no future discrimination would be shown to members of the Order. Gould agreed to the terms presented by the Knights.
It soon became clear after the settlement in 1885, however, that Gould had no intention of permitting a union to exist within his system. In violation of the agreement, Knights were fired, overtime work went unpaid, and wages were not restored to pre-strike levels. The showdown came on the Texas and Pacific Railroad early in 1886, and soon spread throughout the southwestern system. Unfortunately for the railroad workers, many of the engineers, firemen, brakemen, and conductors remained at work because they had received preferential treatment. Thus the workers were divided and conquered. Also, this time Powderly and the Knights of Labor gave only lip-service to the workers’ effort, and the Gould management refused to negotiate with him. Meanwhile, the attack upon the workers reached new heights of fury. Yet, with strikers being shot and arrested, Powderly confined himself to lecturing Gould on his responsibilities as a leading industrial spokesman.
On April 12, 1886, the House of Representatives ordered an investigation of the strike, and three days later, a committee of seven Congressmen left for a tour of the strike area. Long hearings were held after which the committee wrote a report finding many of the strikers’ grievances justified. Nevertheless, the committee did an about-face and declared that the real cause of the strike was the fault of “Martin Irons, chairman of the executive board of District Assembly 101” (see Vol. III, note 24).
The workers saw things differently, and recognized that they had been sold out by Powderly. By the end of April 1886, it was clear the strike was lost. On May 4 the walkout officially ended with an unconditional surrender. The first Gould strike marked the peak of the Knights’ membership—the second Gould strike marked the beginning of the end for the Order. See Philip S. Foner, History of the Labor Movement in the United States, Vol. II (New York, 1955), pp. 50–53, 83–86.
24. Martin Irons, Socialist Chairman of D. A. 101’s executive board, directed the initial stages of the Knights of Labor strike against Jay Gould’s southwestern railroad system (see Vol. III, note 23). His militant strategy and tactics frightened the top leadership of the Order, however, and by March 1886, Powderly decided to intervene. The Grand Master Workman immediately informed top management officials that Irons’ policies did not reflect those of the Order. When Powderly sought a conference with the Gould management, he was told that a conference could take place only when the workmen were on the job. Thus Powderly ordered Irons to yield to these terms and send the men back to work. But Irons refused to surrender to such a crushing defeat after his followers had suffered so much already, and instead called on the workers to prepare for a last-ditch battle. The positive response of the strikers forced Powderly to agree to a continuation of the walkout.
When the Congressional investigating committee studying the strike released its report, the committee charged that Irons was the real cause of the strike, for had he not refused to follow Powderly’s orders, the strike would have ended. The committee failed to explain why the strikers felt betrayed. Irons himself was, like other strike leaders, blacklisted in every industry, and deprived of any opportunity to earn a living as a worker.
Misfortune hounded Irons. His wife died during the strike and his furniture was seized to pay his debts. Forced out of every subsequent job he attempted to lecture but failed, and during his last years was reduced to keeping a small saloon lunch counter in Missouri. He died in 1900, but his memory was venerated in 1910, when under the auspices of the Missouri State Federation of Labor, a monument was placed above his grave paying tribute to Irons as a “Fearless Champion of Industrial Freedom”. See Philip S. Foner, History of the Labor Movement in the United States, Vol. II (New York, 1955), pp. 84–86.
25. Fitzhugh Lee (1835–1905) was born in Fairfax County, Virginia. His father was an elder brother of General Robert E. Lee, and his mother was a granddaughter of the Revolutionary philosopher George Mason, and a sister of Senator James M. Mason. Lee graduated from West Point in 1856, and after receiving a dangerous wound fighting Indians in Texas, he was named Assistant Instructor of Tactics at West Point. When the Civil War came, Lee joined the Confederate cavalry. After compiling a distinguished battle record, he received a commission of major-general. His family name and personal popularity won Lee the governorship of Virginia in 1885. His four-year term was undistinguished, but he did solidify the Democratic hold over the state.
26. Little is known about Victor Drury except that he was a leader in District 49 of the Knights of Labor, and formerly had been an important figure in the French sections of the First International in the United States. Also, Drury was among the few members of the Knights’ General Executive Board to favor the admission of two Chinese local assemblies in New York, both organized by Timothy Quinn, District Master Workman of 49, and Frank J. Ferrell, the most famous Negro in the Order.
John Brown (1800–1859) grew up in Ohio, and after several moves, settled in North Elba, New York. Violently anti-slavery, Brown raised his sons to hate the institution as well. Five of his sons moved to Kansas in 1854 to participate in the anti-slavery agitation, and the father joined them in 1855. Brown believed himself to be the Lord’s instrument chosen by God to destroy slavery. In Kansas the Browns were involved in the heavy border warfare between the pro and anti-slavery forces. He led a party which killed five innocent pro-slavery men and he became notorious for this “Pottawatomie Massacre.” Returning East, on October 16, 1859, Brown and about twenty anti-slavery radicals captured the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry in western Virginia, to assist fugitive slaves and to establish a base for a slave insurrection. Captured two days later, Brown was convicted of treason and hanged. Radical abolitionists mourned the loss of a martyr, while southerners condemned him as an insane fanatic.
27 An authoritative source on Hiram F. Hoover is Thomas W. Kremm and Diane Neal, “Clandestine Black Labor Societies and White Fear: Hiram F. Hoover and the ‘Cooperative Workers of America’ in the South,” Labor History 19 (Spring 1978): 226–37.
28. For a brief biographical sketch, see Vol. III, note 16.
29. Donelson Caffery (1835–1906) was born on his father’s sugar plantation near Franklin, St. Mary’s Parish, Louisiana. Caffery attended a private school in Baltimore, Maryland, read law in an office in Franklin, Louisiana, and then attended Louisiana University. Upon graduation he became a sugar planter. Although he did not favor secession, when it came he joined a military unit, serving as a lieutenant on the staff of Brigadier-General W. W. Walker. After the Civil War, Caffery engaged in the practice of law and in sugar planting, and worked energetically to rid the state of carpetbaggers. In 1879 he was elected delegate to the state constitutional convention. Caffery was elected to the state senate in 1892, and later that year he was appointed to fill an unexpired term in the U.S. Senate. In 1894 he was reelected and served in the Senate until 1901. During his public career Caffery was known as a man true to his principles even when it ran counter to his own economic interest. Thus he incurred the wrath of his fellow sugar planters when he opposed a bounty on sugar.
30. Beginning in 1910, the International Workers of the World made a determined effort to recruit black members. A massive educational campaign was launched to convince blacks that they had no real chance in white unions; only the IWW would organize them on a completely equal basis, skilled or unskilled. All IWW journals participated in this educational campaign, including Voice of the People, the southern organ of the IWW, published in New Orleans. The editor of this journal was Covington Hall. Mississippi-born and a one-time adjutant general in the United Sons of Confederate Veterans, Hall became a radical, a Socialist, and an active organizer for the IWW, especially among Negroes in the South. He regularly featured appeals in the Voice urging white workers in the South to remember how racism had always been used by the ruling class to divide black and white to the injury of both. He predicted that no real progress in the conditions of life could be realized until the workers of both races united. In issue after issue, Hall drove home the message: “The workers, when they organize, must be color blind. . . . We must aim for solidarity first, and revolutionary action afterwards.”
31. William E. Chandler (1835–1917) was born and died in Concord, New Hampshire. After graduation from Harvard Law School in 1854, he served a few years as court reporter, then turned to politics. In 1863 he was elected to the New Hampshire legislature, and was reelected twice more. During the Civil War he vigorously supported Lincoln, and was rewarded with an appointment as Solicitor and Judge-Advocate General of the Navy Department. President Johnson appointed Chandler as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. In 1867 he returned to the practice of law, and became an important figure in the Republican Party organization. Although he played a significant role in the final election of Rutherford B. Hayes to the Presidency, he was disgusted with the President’s friendliness toward the South, and later issued a manifesto which charged Hayes and the Democrats with a corrupt bargain, whereby Hayes won the election in return for a withdrawal of federal troops from the South. When Chester Arthur became President, Chandler was appointed Secretary of the Navy, in which capacity he began a policy of transforming the naval fleet from wood to steel-constructed ships. In 1887 Chandler was elected to the Senate to fill a vacant seat, and won reelection in 1889, and again in 1895.
32. For a biographical sketch of Jefferson Davis, see Vol. I, note 53.
Robert Edward Lee (1807–1870), was Commanding General of the Confederate armies during the Civil War. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the son of “Light Horse Harry” Lee of Revolutionary War fame, Robert graduated from the U.S. Military Academy (Class of 1829) and joined the Corps of Engineers. He married Mary Curtis in 1831 and lived in Arlington House a Curtis family estate near Washington, D.C., until the Civil War. Lee’s career included service in the Mexican War, Superintendent of West Point, and Regimental Commander in Texas. Lee had no sympathy for secession, but when it came he assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia, and in 1865 finally became Commander-in-Chief. He surrendered at Appomattox in April 1865, then served as President of Washington College until his death. One year later it was renamed Washington and Lee University.
Thomas Jonathan (“Stonewall”) Jackson (1824–1863), was born in West Virginia and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1846. After service during the Mexican War, he taught mathematics at Virginia Military Institute. When the Civil War began he served as an officer in the Confederate Army. At the first battle of Bull Run, Jackson stood as firm as a “stonewall,” according to a fellow officer, and thereafter was referred to by that sobriquet. Considered a brilliant military tactition, he won acclaim in the Shenandoah campaigns, at the second battle of Bull Run, and at Antietam. Jackson was at the peak of his powers in 1863 when he was mortally wounded by one of his own sharpshooters while reconnoitering.
33. “U. S.” is an abbreviation for “union statistician,” an office in the local assembly which was the equivalent of treasurer.
34. “R. S.” is an abbreviation for “recording secretary.”
35. Charles Foster (1828–1904) was born in Fostoria, Ohio, a name which commemorates his father. His formal education was scanty and Charles worked for many years as an assistant, then partner in the family business. Foster expanded his business interests and amassed a fortune, much of which he lost in the 1890s. Although an ardent Republican, Foster did not enter politics himself until the 1870s when he served three consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1879 he was elected Governor of Ohio. President Harrison named Foster Secretary of the Treasury in 1891, in which post he favored sound money and high tariffs. Upon the expiration of Harrison’s term, Foster returned to private business in Ohio.
36. William Windom (1827–1891) was born to Quaker parents in Ohio. He graduated from Martinsburg Academy and then read law in the offices of Judge R. C. Hurd of Mount Vernon. Admitted to the bar at twenty-three, Windom began his practice and entered politics as a Whig. In 1835 he moved to Winona in the Minnesota Territory. There he practiced law and was elected to Congress as a Republican in 1858 when Minnesota became a state. Windom served in the House until 1869, and allied himself with the Radical wing of the party. In 1870 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and was then reelected for a second term, but resigned in 1881 to become Secretary of the Treasury in the administration of James Garfield. After the President’s death, Windom was selected to complete his own term in the Senate. In the Senate Windom served on several powerful committees, and was particularly aggressive about internal improvements. He lost the election of 1883, moved east, and never again returned to Minnesota. In 1889 Windom was once again called upon to be Secretary of the Treasury. He held that office until his sudden death in 1891.
37. William McKinley (1843–1901) was born in Niles, Ohio. During the Civil War he served in the Union Army, then returned to Canton, Ohio, where he practiced law. Elected to Congress in 1876 as a Republican, McKinley served in that body until 1891, with the exception of one term. His position on high tariffs gained the attention of powerful industrialists, especially Mark Hanna of Ohio, who engineered McKinley’s campaign for the governorship (1892–1896), and secured for him the Presidential nomination in 1896. On domestic issues McKinley was hardly distinguishable from other Presidents of his day, but in the field of foreign affairs, he is noted for his imperialistic ventures in Cuba and the Far East. McKinley was shot and killed on September 6, 1901, by the anarchist, Czolgosz, while attending the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, New York.
38. John Sherman (1823–1900), the younger brother of the renowned Civil War general, William Tecumseh Sherman, was an Ohioan who practiced law in Cleveland. He helped to organize the Republican Party in Ohio, and thereafter entered upon a long career in public service. Sherman was elected to several terms in the House of Representatives between 1855 and 1861, and then to the U.S. Senate from 1861 to 1877. A fiscal conservative, Sherman acted as a moderate during Reconstruction. When Rutherford B. Hayes became President in 1877, Sherman was appointed Secretary of the Treasury until 1881 when he returned to the Senate. Sherman remained in the Senate until President McKinley appointed him Secretary of State, an office he was forced to resign that same year because of ill health.
39 McLaurin, The Knights of Labor in the South, p. 148.
40. Ida B. Wells (1869–1931), born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, was left to support four siblings when only fourteen. Still, she managed a formal education, studying at Rust College and Fisk University. Miss Wells became one of the leading anti-lynching crusaders, beginning her career in Memphis as a journalist for the Living Word, a black weekly. As editor and co-owner of the Memphis Free Speech, in 1892 she wrote a startling expose of white lynchers for which she was forced to flee Memphis. In New York Miss Wells found employment for another black weekly, the New York Age, and in 1895 married another journalist, Ferdinand L. Barnett. Three years later she led a delegation to the White House to protest the continuance of black lynchings in the South.
41. John Jarrett (the correct spelling), born in England in 1843, emigrated to the United States where he became Vice President of the Sons of Vulcan in 1873. He served as President of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers from 1879 to 1883.
42. The Union Labor Party was organized in Cincinnati in 1887. It attempted to unite the remnants of the Greenback-Labor Party with discontented industrial workers during a period of extreme conflict between capital and labor. Although the party was short-lived, it ran Alson J. Streeter for President of the United States, but polled only 147,000 votes.
43. The “Calhoun” and “McDuffy” referred to are John Caldwell Calhoun (1782–1850), and George McDuffie (1790–1851), both of whom were senators from South Carolina.
Calhoun practiced law in South Carolina after graduation from Yale and, through marriage, became a wealthy planter. Most of his adult life was spent in public service at the highest levels of government, serving in Congress from 1811 to 1817, as Secretary of War from 1817–1825, and as Vice President from 1825 to 1832. Calhoun resigned the office for a seat in the U.S. Senate from 1832–1844. In 1844 he became Secretary of State, then returned to the Senate from 1845–1850.
McDuffie was also a South Carolinian. Born to very poor parents, he was educated at South Carolina College under the sponsorship of an interested employer. After graduation in 1813, he was admitted to the bar, commenced practice in Edgefield, and entered politics. McDuffie was soon elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, served two terms, and returned from 1821 to 1834 to become Governor of South Carolina. In 1842 McDuffie was elected to the U.S. Senate, but resigned to return to private life in 1846. Although he was born in poverty, McDuffie eventually merged into the very upper levels of Carolina society.
Both Calhoun and McDuffie became champions of “states rights,” as it came to be called. McDuffie followed Calhoun’s lead in challenging the federal government’s power to regulate tariffs during the Nullification Crisis of the early 1830s. Also, both men attempted to defend the South from the charges of the abolitionists, and devised the pro-slavery argument that is referred to in this passage. The cornerstone of the “Calhoun and McDuffie Doctrine” was that, since blacks and whites were so different, it was “natural” for one to subjugate the other—especially since whites allegedly were the superior race. This line of reasoning sprang from a pseudo-anthropological premise which had been present in racial thought before Calhoun and McDuffie, and continued for over half a century afterward. In the late nineteenth century it was resuscitated to justify the system of de jure segregation.
44. Andrew Jackson (1767–1845) was born on the South Carolina frontier, fought in the Revolution at thirteen, and was orphaned at fourteen. After reading law he was admitted to the bar and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he built his estate, The Hermitage. In a long and illustrious political career, Jackson served as the state’s first representative in Congress, was elected to the Senate, but resigned to become a judge on the Tennessee Supreme Court. Also a major general in the state militia, Jackson was a noted Indian fighter. He was commissioned Major General in the U.S. Army, and at the Battle of New Orleans (1815) decisively defeated the British during the War of 1812. Although the treaty had already been signed, his exploits earned him national acclaim as the “Hero of New Orleans.” Jackson became the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1824, and although he won the popular vote, the electoral majority was lost to John Q. Adams. Four years later “Old Hickory” was swept into the White House by a decisive electoral vote. During a stormy two terms as President, Jackson virtually revolutionized that office, making it a strong and independent branch of the government.
45. The term “Jim Crow” originated in the ante-bellum minstrel show, but came to be applied to laws passed by southern states during the late nineteenth century which created a racial caste system. This system of racial segregation remained intact until the civil rights movement swept the American South between 1955 and 1965.
“Judge Lynch” refers to the extra-legal execution of an alleged criminal by a mob, which in effect becomes the “judge and jury.” The word itself is believed to have originated with a Virginian named Lynch who led a small band of vigilantes during the Revolutionary Era which meted out punishment to loyalists and outlaws. In the South, lynching became a form of social control over blacks who lived under the threat of “Judge Lynch” for breaking racial taboos. From 1882 to 1936 there were 4,672 persons lynched in the United States, 3,383 of whom were black.
46. James R. Sovereign of Iowa was a newspaper editor who supplanted Terence V. Powderly as Grand Master Workman of the Knights of Labor in 1894.
47. The Populist Party first met in national convention at Omaha, Nebraska, in 1892 to find a remedy for the economic ills of debt-ridden farmers in the South and West. The platform was drawn up by the veteran reformer, Ignatius Donnelly, and called for a flexible currency system, a graduated income tax, postal savings banks, public ownership of the railroads, an eight-hour work day, the direct election of senators, the secret ballot, and the unlimited coinage of silver to expand the money supply. The party’s Presidential candidate, James B. Weaver, polled over one million votes. In 1896, William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic candidate, succeeded in gaining the support of the Populists, but failed to win the election. When the two major parties incorporated the Populist Party’s platform in the late 1890s, it ceased to exist.
48. Historians know very little about R. M. Humphrey, who became the General Superintendent of the Colored Alliance. An obscure itinerant white minister from Lovelady, Texas, Humphrey was virtually unknown before assuming this post, and with the demise of the Colored Alliance, he sank back into obscurity. Humphrey was described as “an Elderly man . . . with plain speech and a free blunt manner,” who reportedly was popular among Negroes because of his many years of Baptist missionary work among them, and for his fair dealings with blacks who worked on his plantation. His selection probably was tempered by the fact that, as a white spokesman, he could openly express a militance that would be denied to blacks. To Humphrey goes much of the credit for spreading the organization among southern blacks.
49. For an explanatory discussion of the Grangers, see Vol. II, note 66.
50. The Caucasion was a white racist newspaper published in Shreveport, Louisiana.
51. The Federal Elections bill, which had been recommended by President Benjamin Harrison (see Vol. III, note 63) in his annual message of 1889, came to the floor of Congress in 1890. The bill was designed to give more protection to blacks in the exercise of their right to vote. In his message, Harrison noted that the bill had encountered heavy resistance from the southern bloc, which intended to eliminate the black vote in the South. To the end of his term, Harrison pushed for passage of the Elections bill, but was unable to gain its passage because southern congressmen were solidly against it. Southern politicians who were busy installing segregation were uninterested in protecting the black franchise.
52. The main ideas behind the sub-treasury plan are most succinctly stated in the so-called Ocala Demands of December 1890, adopted by the Southern Alliance: “We demand that the government shall establish sub-treasuries or depositories in the several states, which shall loan money direct to the people at a low rate of interest, not to exceed two percent per annum, on non-perishable farm products, and also upon real estate, with proper limitations upon the quantity of land and amount of money.” From the Proceedings of the Supreme Council of the National Farmers’ Alliance and Industrial Union (1890), p. 32.
53. In this context, the “single tax party,” and the advisability of Southern Alliancemen to support it, refers to the followers of Henry George (see Vol. III, note 16).
54. John James Ingalls (1833–1900), was born in Middleton, Massachusetts. Ingalls graduated from Williams College, read law for two years, and was admitted to the bar in 1857. The following year Ingalls moved to Kansas, and settled in Atchison where he entered political life. During the Civil War Ingalls served as a judge advocate in Kansas, and as Editor of the Atchison Freedom’s Champion. Beginning in 1872 Ingalls served three terms in the Senate and, after losing his bid for reelection in 1890, devoted his time to lecturing and writing magazine articles.
55. J. H. Turner was National Secretary of the National Farmers’ Alliance and Industrial Union. As a leader in the agrarian reform movement, he founded the Record Review, one of several newspapers which interpreted the movement from a socialist perspective, a view emphatically rejected by pragmatic populist politicians. Also, Turner was a leading proponent of single-plank populism, which advocated the free coinage of silver as a cure-all for the farmers’ ills. Populist politicians charged that Turner intended to move the agrarians into the Democratic Party, a charge that rings of truth, since Turner immediately announced his support for William Jennings Bryan in 1892 and intimated that the People’s Party now had no reason to exist. Critics charged that he sold out to the Democrats for patronage.
56. Henry Woodfin Grady (1850–1889), was a graduate of the University of Georgia. As the Editor of the Atlanta Constitution from 1879 to 1889, he became a major spokesman for the “New South,” which accepted the doctrines of northern capitalism and made a strong case for the industrialization of the South. The machine would save the poverty-stricken region, if only northern financiers would invest their capital in the South and leave the racial problems to southerners.
57. Robert Toombs (1810–1885) graduated from Union College in 1828, and returned to his home in Georgia to practice law. As a member of the planter class, he found quick entry to political life, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1845 to 1853, and then in the Senate from 1853 to 1861. Although he stood firmly for the Union, he resigned from his Senate seat in 1861 when Lincoln was elected, and helped to organize the Georgia secessionists. During the Civil War he commanded a brigade, and after the fighting, played an instrumental role in the struggle to overthrow Radical Reconstruction.
58. The convict lease system was used primarily in the southern states during the late nineteenth century. Under this system, prison convicts were leased to a contractor for a specified sum and for a fixed period of time. Normally, the leasees lodged, clothed, fed, controlled, and disciplined the convicts which they leased. The system was frought with abuse, with blacks vastly overrepresented in the prison populations. Negroes were arrested for trivial reasons, or for no reason at all, and sentenced to work out their fines. The contract usually gave the leasing company cheap labor, while the state eliminated the expense of prison maintenance. Convicts worked at a wide variety of jobs. For example, in Georgia they supplied cheap labor for the construction of railroads, while in Alabama and Tennessee thousands of black convicts labored in the coal mines. The barbarity associated with the system caused periodic public outcries, until, by 1910, most states had outlawed the leasing of prisoners to private entrepreneurs.
59. “Washington and Lincoln” is an obvious reference to Presidents George Washington (1732–1799), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).
60. Benjamin Ryan Tillman (1847–1918), a farmer-politician, became a “radical” leader of the poor upcountry South Carolinians who won the governorship from 1890–1894. Although Tillman’s rhetoric usually was couched in terms of class warfare, he distinctively excluded Negroes from the struggle. As Governor he initiated progressive reforms, but his ideas about racial supremacy, the stock-in-trade of southern demagogues, helped install de jure segregation in South Carolina. His anti-Negro attacks were so crude that “Pitchfork Ben” made most sensitive people wince.
Andrew Johnson (1808–1875) succeeded Abraham Lincoln when the latter was assassinated in 1865. Johnson’s opinions regarding Reconstruction collided with those held by the Radicals, and led to Johnson’s impeachment in 1868. Critics charged that he catered “to the rankest bourbon ideas.” meaning that he was conservative on racial issues, and refused to grant equal civil rights to blacks. He therefore vetoed most Radical legislation that came before him.
61. Grover Stephen Cleveland (1837–1908) was born in New Jersey, the son of a Presbyterian minister. When his father died, Cleveland apprenticed himself to a law office, and was admitted to the bar in 1859. He entered Democratic politics in Buffalo, New York, where he had moved, and was elected Mayor. As a reformer, Cleveland attracted sufficient acclaim to win him the governorship of New York in 1882, where he furthered his reputation by opposing the corrupt Tammany machine. Running as a “good government” candidate, Cleveland defeated James G.Blaine for the Presidency in 1884. He lost his bid for reelection in 1888, but won the office again in 1892. As President he supported civil service reform, opposed the spoils system, and favored lower tariffs. His effort to preserve the gold standard alienated the more radical elements in the Democratic Party, and the rift became irreparable when Cleveland used federal troops in the Pullman Strike of 1894.
Chester Alan Arthur (1830–1886) graduated from Union College in 1848 and practiced law in New York City. An ardent Republican, President U. S. Grant rewarded his loyalty with an appointment as Collector of Customs for the port of New York. The customs house had always been scandalously corrupt, but Arthur transformed it into such a machine that President Rutherford Hayes removed him from office in 1878. Arthur was a close ally of Senator Roscoe Conklin of New York, a leader of the “Stalwart” wing of the party. So, when James Garfield was nominated as the Republican standard-bearer in 1880, the convention nominated Arthur as the vice presidential candidate to appease ‘the Conklin group. Garfield won the election, but when he was assassinated in 1881, Arthur moved into the White House. To everybody’s surprise, Arthur demonstrated a capacity for reform, and opposed the more obnoxious abuses of the spoils system. He lost his bid for renomination, however, whereupon Arthur returned to New York City and died a few years later.
Frederick “Douglas” is a misspelling of Douglass. See Vol. I, note 8.
62. “Trotter” is a reference to James Monroe Trotter (1844–1912), a prominent nineteenth-century Negro. Trotter was born in Mississippi, but grew up in Ohio where he received a modest education. During the Civil War, he served as a lieutenant in the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, a black regiment. Active in Boston politics, he was appointed Assistant Superintendent in the city post office, but resigned the position because of racial discrimation. Trotter was then nominated for Recorder of Deeds in Washington, D.C., a traditionally Negro appointment. Approval was delayed by political opponents, but finally the Senate approved Trotter’s appointment on March 4, 1887, to succeed Frederick Douglass. His son, William Monroe Trotter (1872–1934), became a well-known black activist during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
63. Benjamin Harrison (1833–1901) of Ohio was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States. Benjamin graduated from Miami University (Oxford) in 1852, and practiced law in Indianapolis, where he became a well-established corporation lawyer. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1881 to 1887, and in 1888 was chosen by the Republicans to run for the Presidency against Grover Cleveland. Even though Cleveland won a plurality, Harrison won the electoral vote. Personally honest, he was, nevertheless, unable to check the spoilsmen of his own party. Harrison lost the reelection race to Cleveland in 1892, and returned to his Indianapolis law practice.
“Ex-Senator Bruce (colored)” was a reference to Blanch K. Bruce (see Vol. III, note 19).
64. Frederick Douglass (see Vol. I, note 8) escaped from slavery in 1838 by successfully posing as a free sailor travelling from Baltimore to New York. His intended wife, Anna Murray, a free black woman, followed him to New York where they were married and subsequently had several children. Years after the death of his first wife, Douglass shocked more timid souls by marrying Helen Pitts, a white woman. According to Douglass, it was a sin for which “I was to be ostracized by white and black alike.” The daughter referred to in this passage was probably Rosetta, whom Douglass employed in his office while he was Marshal and Recorder of Deeds in Washington, D.C. Her husband, Nathan Sprague, disgraced the family, and Rosetta frequently found herself and six children in dire financial straits. Douglass gave Rosetta a position in his office to provide her with a means of support.
65. James Zachariah George (1826–1897) was a U.S. Senator from Mississippi. Born in Georgia, he moved with his family to Mississippi when still a boy, and attended school there. He served with the Mississippi Rifles under Col. Jefferson Davis during the Mexican War. Afterward he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1847, and practiced in Carrollton. As a member of the Mississippi secessionist convention, George voted for withdrawing from the Union. During the Civil War he rose to brigadier general, and thereafter, became Chairman of the Democratic State Executive Committee. Appointed judge on the state Supreme Court in 1879, and then Chief Justice, finally he was elected to the U.S. Senate for three consecutive terms between 1880 and 1897.
66. John Percival Jones (1829–1912), U.S. Senator from Nevada, was born in England, and emigrated to America with his parents while still an infant. From his home in Cleveland, Ohio, he and several other young men sailed a vessel around Cape Horn and up to San Francisco to search for gold. In Trinity County, California, he served as sheriff, state legislator, and later lost a bid for the lieutenant-governorship. In 1867 he moved to Nevada and became part owner in the silver mine which earned him a fortune. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1873 on the Republican ticket and retained that seat for the next thirty years. As might be expected, he was a champion of free silver.
67. James McMillan (1838–1902), a Canadian, came to Detroit in 1855 where he became a contractor for the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad, and the manager of the Michigan Car Company, which built freight cars. Along with John S. Newberry, he organized Newberry & McMillan, a highly successful railroad and ship–building enterprise. As Chairman of the Republican State Committee, he reorganized the party in 1886 and thereby insured himself of a political power base in the state. In 1889 he was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served until his death in 1902.
68. Henry William Blair (1834–1920) was born in New Hampshire. After an irregular elementary education, he read law and was admitted to the bar in 1859. During the Civil War he rose to Lieutenant-Colonel in the New Hampshire Volunteers, but a critical wound forced his discharge. Between 1875 and 1891 Blair served in the U.S. House and then the Senate. Upon retirement he resumed his legal practice in Washington, D.C. A man of strong humanitarian feelings, and firm religious convictions, he opposed Chinese immigration, the sale of liquor, worked tirelessly for the improvement of public education, supported woman suffrage, and had a deep concern for the welfare of industrial laborers.
69. Leonidas Lafayette Polk (1837–1892) was born in North Carolina. Orphaned at fourteen, he became a farmer as his father had been. In 1860, and again between 1865 and 1865, he served as a member of the state legislature. After the Civil War Polk sat in the first state constitutional convention. A long-time advocate for the establishment of a state Department of Agriculture, he was appointed its first commissioner when that agency was founded in 1877. For a few years he also edited the Raleigh News, and later began publishing the Progressive Farmer to teach better agricultural methods and to promote the organization of political clubs among farmers. Polk allied himself with the new Southern Alliance, and his paper became one of its official organs. In 1887 he became national Vice President of the Alliance, and two years later its President. Polk planned to attend the Omaha convention in July 1892, to nominate a Presidential candidate for the People’s Party, but death suddenly terminated his career.
C. W. Macune was born in 1851 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As a young man he drifted throughout the West, but finally settled in Texas. A highly versatile man of quick intelligence, he read law, practiced medicine, and was so well-informed on agricultural issues that in 1886 he was elected Chairman of the executive committee of the Texas State Alliance. Once he assumed the presidency of that organization, Macune did more than anyone to spread the Alliance across the South. In 1889 he became Editor of the National Economist, the major organ of the Southern Alliance. Macune was a gifted platform speaker, and never wanted for an idea to solve any problem. He founded a cooperative store for members, and was originator of plans for a farmers’ cooperative insurance plan, and the sub-treasury plan (see Vol. III, note 52). When the Populists failed to gain the Presidency in 1892, Macune advocated a return to a non-partisan reform strategy. But his influence was now greatly curtailed. Charges that he and Benjamin Tillman (see Vol. III, note 60) had circulated a pamphlet denouncing James Weaver, the Populist Presidential candidate in 1892, undermined his effectiveness in the movement. Other embarrassing questions arose concerning the possibility of corruption which prompted his resignation. Thereafter Macune disappeared from public view.
William Alfred Peffer (1831–1912) was born and attended school in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and began teaching at fifteen. After serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, he settled in Kansas to practice law. Peffer also published three newspapers: the Wilson County Courier, the Coffeyville Journal, and the Populist Kansas Farmer. After a term in the Kansas State Senate, Peffer was elected in 1891 to the U.S. Senate as a Populist, but failed to be reelected. In 1898 he made an unsuccessful bid for the governorship.
70. Although “Culinary” is the preferred spelling, the sources consistently used “Cullinary.”