The Political History of Virginia during the Reconstruction/PREFACE

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This monograph does not attempt to deal with the economic, social and constitutional features of the reconstruction. The investigation is chiefly concerned with political parties. It demonstrates the following facts:

(1) The Alexandria government formed the nucleus of the Republican party in Virginia, and reconstructive measures were attempted at Alexandria before the end of the war.

(2) President Johnson wished to restore the Southern States to their former position, consequently his policy should not be called reconstruction, the term applying properly to the action of Congress.

(3) The Republican party in Virginia was for the most part opposed to unlimited negro suffrage, until the Philadelphia convention of 1866, when "manhood" suffrage became a party measure.

(4) The opposition of the Virginia Republicans to Johnson's State government and their adverse testimony before the reconstruction committee played a considerable part in occasioning the reconstruction of Virginia.

(5) The Freedmen's Bureau and the Union League were the agencies which drew the freedmen into the Republican party.

(6) In the beginning of the reconstruction a considerable and influential part of the conservative people, chiefly Whigs, attempted to unite with the blacks in the Republican party, but were repulsed by them; in fact, the extreme radical attitude of the freedmen was one of the chief causes of the united opposition of the whites to negro suffrage.

(7) The policy of the Republicans in the constitutional convention of 1868 was to make the negro a full citizen by granting him suffrage, the right to office-holding and jury-service; to provide him with education; and to give him the chance of attaining economic independence.

(8) The restoration of Virginia was due to the joint action of the conservatives and of the Republicans hostile to extreme radicalism.