By Robert Goldman
"A loose poll and a good count number" examines the efforts via the dept of Justice to enforce the federal laws glided by Congress in 1870-71 referred to as the Enforcement Acts. those legislation have been designed to implement the balloting rights promises for African-Americans less than the lately ratified 15th modification. The Enforcement Acts set forth quite a number federally enforceable crimes aimed toward fighting white southerners' makes an attempt to disclaim or limit black suffrage. There are numerous facets of this paintings that distinguish it from different, prior works during this quarter. opposite to older interpretative experiences, Goldman's fundamental thesis is that, the federal government's makes an attempt to guard black vote casting rights within the South didn't stop with the preferrred Court's adverse rulings in U.S. v. Reese and U.S. v. Cruikshank in 1875. Nor, it's argued, did enforcement efforts stop on the finish of Reconstruction and the so-called Compromise of 1877. particularly, federal enforcement efforts after 1877 mirrored the ongoing dedication of Republican celebration leaders, for either humanitarian and partisan purposes, to what got here to be known as "the unfastened poll and a good count." one other targeted element of this booklet is its specialize in the function of the federal division of Justice and its officers within the South within the endured enforcement attempt. Created as a cabinet-level government division in 1870, the Justice division proved ill-equipped to reply to the common felony and extra-legal resistance to black suffrage by way of white southern Democrats within the years in the course of and after Reconstruction. the dept confronted quite a few inner difficulties similar to inadequate assets, terrible communications, and native team of workers usually appointed extra for his or her political acceptability than their prosecutorial or criminal abilities. by means of the early Eighteen Nineties, while the election legislation have been ultimately repealed through Congress, enforcement efforts have been sporadic at most sensible and principally unsuccessful. the top of federal involvement, coupled with the wave of southern kingdom structure revisions, led to the disfranchisement of the majority of African-American citizens within the South by means of the start of the 20th Century. it will no longer be till the Nineteen Sixties and the "Second Reconstruction" that the government, and the Justice division, might once more try to make sure the "free poll and a good count".
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Additional resources for A free ballot and a fair count: the Department of Justice and the enforcement of voting rights in the South, 1877-1893
Hence, ”the conclusion is irresistible, that these counts [of the indictment] are too vague and general. . It follows that they are not good and sufficient in law. ” In the first instance only two sections out of a comprehensive body of prohibitory legislation THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT 17 were voided, and in the second case only the indictments based on other sections of the same legislation were dismissed by the Court. "38 That the Reese and Cruikshank decisions did leave intact congressional power to protect black voting rights in the South is evidenced by the fact that two months after the two decisions were handed down Congress repassed the two sections voided in Reese along with all of the other sections of the May 1870 Enforcement Act.
The Coxes also questioned Gillett’s conclusionsas to the importanceof Republican concern for northern black voters. After examining post-1869 election returns in severalnorthern states, the Coxes maintained that the enfranchisement of northern blacks had little effect on the fortune of the Republicanparty in the years following the ratification of the amendment. 11 In theEpiloguetothe1969edition of hiswork,Gillette responded to the Coxes’ essay. For one thing, he out pointed that the Coxes’ argument was mostly one of historical hindsight sincethey attempted toexaminethemotivationbehindthe amendment by looking at the ”consequences” that followed its passage.
4 President George Washingtonappointed Edmund Randolph 28 ”A FREE BALLOT AND A FAIR COUNT” of Virginia as the first attorney general. As attorney general, Randolph had absolutely no staff to assist him and received a salary of only fifteen hundred dollars, which hehad to supplement with continued private legal practice inorder to earn a living. The Judiciary Act did not give the attorney general cabinetlevel status. Indeed, the presidential cabinetwas itself an extraconstitutionaldevelopment,begun under Washington’sfirst administration, and not recognizedas a body until 1793.
A free ballot and a fair count: the Department of Justice and the enforcement of voting rights in the South, 1877-1893 by Robert Goldman