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156 years later, a look back at the aftermath of the Civil War (which took place 78 years after the US Constitution was written)

{ The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments crumbled to dust in the face of armed white resistance, intimidation and terror perpetrated against blacks in elections in various Southern states.

In August 1874, resurgent Democrats in Alabama used an array of coercion, targeted assassination, and in one instance in Eufaula in Barbour County, the murder of seven blacks and the wounding of some seventy more on Election Day to defeat an already divided Republican interracial coalition.
In Mobile, blacks were driven from polls by white mobs, and in other places ballot boxes were burned. In September 1874 in New Orleans, in the "Battle of Liberty Place," a throng of thirty-five hundred "White Leaguers," composed largely of Confederate veterans, drove black militiamen and Metropolitan Police away from official buildings and took over city hall, the statehouse, and an arsenal.
Mississippi produced the worst violence of all. Municipal and county elections in and around Vicksburg in August-September 1874 pitted "White League Clubs" (Democrats) against a weakening Republican Party, led by the Northern-bred governor Adelbert Ames.
Grant refused for too long to intervene in Mississippi, and by fall some three hundred blacks had been killed in political terror throughout the countryside.
In 1875 statewide election campaigns white vigilante mobs attacked and shot people with impunity in broad daylight.
The Democrats' "Mississippi Plan" used intimidation as well as murder to keep blacks from the polls in several key black belt counties.
Grant's inaction left Ames' government on its own to face the crisis; Ames was forced to resign and leave the state in what amounted to a violent coup d'├ętat.
The one surviving black Republican from Mississippi in Congress, John Roy Lynch, said that the results of the armed white-supremacist revolt in his state meant that "the war was fought in vain."
Ames called it a "revolution ... by the force of arms- and a race ... disfranchised [and] returned to ... an era of second slavery."
- Frederick Douglass, Prophet of Freedom, David W. Blight, 2019 Pulitzer Prize Winning biography. (Chaper: "What Will Peace Among The Whites Bring?"


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