By Robert Goldman
"A loose poll and a good count number" examines the efforts by way of the dept of Justice to enforce the federal laws glided by Congress in 1870-71 often called the Enforcement Acts. those legislation have been designed to implement the vote casting rights promises for African-Americans below the lately ratified 15th modification. The Enforcement Acts set forth a number federally enforceable crimes geared toward battling white southerners' makes an attempt to disclaim or limit black suffrage. There are a number of points of this paintings that distinguish it from different, previous works during this region. opposite to older interpretative reports, Goldman's fundamental thesis is that, the federal government's makes an attempt to guard black balloting rights within the South didn't stop with the ideally suited Court's adverse rulings in U.S. v. Reese and U.S. v. Cruikshank in 1875. Nor, it truly is argued, did enforcement efforts stop on the finish of Reconstruction and the so-called Compromise of 1877. relatively, federal enforcement efforts after 1877 mirrored the continuing dedication of Republican social gathering leaders, for either humanitarian and partisan purposes, to what got here to be referred to as "the loose poll and a good count." one other specific point of this ebook is its specialise in the function of the federal division of Justice and its officers within the South within the persisted enforcement attempt. Created as a cabinet-level government division in 1870, the Justice division proved ill-equipped to reply to the frequent felony and extra-legal resistance to black suffrage via white southern Democrats within the years in the course of and after Reconstruction. the dept confronted a number of inner difficulties comparable to inadequate assets, terrible communications, and native body of workers usually appointed extra for his or her political acceptability than their prosecutorial or criminal talents. by means of the early Eighteen Nineties, whilst the election legislation have been eventually repealed by way of Congress, enforcement efforts have been sporadic at most sensible and mostly unsuccessful. the tip of federal involvement, coupled with the wave of southern country structure revisions, led to the disfranchisement of the majority of African-American citizens within the South through the start of the 20 th Century. it will no longer be till the Sixties and the "Second Reconstruction" that the government, and the Justice division, could once more try and make sure the "free poll and a good count".
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Additional info for A free ballot and a fair count: the Department of Justice and the enforcement of voting rights in the South, 1877-1893
39. S. Revised Statutes, 5506-32. As will be discussed later, when the constitutionality of the revised sections came beforethe Supreme Court again, the Court reversed itself by holding that the Fifteenth Amendment did confer a positiveright of suffrage. S. 651 (1884). 40. S. Revised Statutes, 5506-32. 41. C. Vann Woodward, ”Seedsof Failure in Radical Race Policy,”in American Counterpoint: SZavery and Racism in the North-South Dialogue (Boston, 1971),163-83. 2 “A Meet Person Learnedin the Law”:The Attorney General and the Justice Department before 1877 THERESPONSIBILITYfor enforcing the Fifteenth Amendment and the congressional legislation supplementing that amendment lay with the federal Department of Justice, officially organized 1870.
It important is to note, however, that in this legislation the attorney general was not givenany sort of control over the district attorneys and marshals. 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.
1 In this instance, the specific segment of the federal government being considered is the Department of Justice and 26 ”A FREE BALLOT AND A FAIR COUNT” the administrationof federal policyand laws with regard to voting rights in the South. With few exceptions, administrative history of the nineteenth century in the United States has generally been a neglected area of critical study. This neglect is especially evident in considering the role of the administration of justice in American constitutional historyin the lastquarter of the nineteenth century.
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