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By W R Brock
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Additional info for An American Crisis: Congress and Reconstruction 1865–1867
Ben Butler wrote to Henry Wilson, with a copy to Thaddeus Stevens, suggesting a preamble to a Reconstruction Act which would declare the negroes entitled to the rights of citizens, and that Congress, acting upon the second section of the Thirteenth Amendment, should declare void all discriminatory State legislation, and adding that 'the whole preamble seems to be necessary in order to hold the weak kneed brethren of the Republican party, who are troubled upon the question whether the States are in or out of the Union will be carried by the claim that they ought to vote to admit some States so as to have ratified the Constitutional Amendment by the requisite majority'.
This neglect has been unfortunate for the report was the work of a humane and unusually intelligent man who had immersed hirnself for six months in the problems of the South. Schurz was ahle to appreciate the tragedy of the South and left it 'troubled by great anxiety'. ' He respected the gallantry of the South though lamenting that it had been 'wasted 1 t 3 The Reminiscences of earl Schur, (New Y ork, 1908), In, 157 ff. McKitrick, op. , 163-4, 193-4. Reminiscences ofearl Schur" Reminiscences ofearl Schur" In, :WI-~.
The proclarnation went on to appoint a provisional governor 'whose duty it shall be, at the earliest practicable period, to preseribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper for convening a eonvention composed of de1egates to be chosen by that portion of the people ... who are loyal to the United States, and no others'. Loyalty was defined as willingness to take the oath prescribed in the amnesty proclarnation. 2 The Reconstruction proclarnations eame like a tonic to the demoralized South.
An American Crisis: Congress and Reconstruction 1865–1867 by W R Brock