By Robert Goldman
"A loose poll and a good count number" examines the efforts through 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 lower than the lately ratified 15th modification. The Enforcement Acts set forth a number of federally enforceable crimes geared toward scuffling with white southerners' makes an attempt to disclaim or limit black suffrage. There are numerous points of this paintings that distinguish it from different, past works during this region. opposite to older interpretative reviews, 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 excellent Court's opposed rulings in U.S. v. Reese and U.S. v. Cruikshank in 1875. Nor, it really is 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 continuing dedication of Republican occasion 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 targeted element of this booklet is its concentrate on the position of the federal division of Justice and its officers within the South within the persisted enforcement attempt. Created as a cabinet-level govt division in 1870, the Justice division proved ill-equipped to answer the common 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 reminiscent of inadequate assets, bad communications, and native team of workers usually appointed extra for his or her political acceptability than their prosecutorial or felony talents. by way of the early Eighteen Nineties, while the election legislation have been eventually repealed by way of Congress, enforcement efforts have been sporadic at top and mostly unsuccessful. the top of federal involvement, coupled with the wave of southern country structure revisions, led to the disfranchisement of nearly all of African-American electorate within the South through the start of the 20 th Century. it'll now not be until eventually the Sixties and the "Second Reconstruction" that the government, and the Justice division, could once more try to 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
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. Intheyearsfollowing asanexecutivedepartmentin Reconstruction, implementation of national policywith respect to the protectionof black political rights in the Southwas thus in thehands of an administrative agencythat was not only relatively new but for the most part decentralized in its organizational structureand bureaucratically unprepared to handleefficiently such an important and complex task.
2. S. Constitution, Amendment 14, sec. 2. 3. Seealso Joseph B. , 1956). The most extensive analysis of the politics behind the passage of the second section can be found in W. W. Van Alstyne, ”The Fourteenth Amendment, the ‘Right’ to Vote, and the Understanding of the Thirty-Ninth Congress,’’ Supreme Court Alstyne, the section was passed Review (1965): 33-86. Van Alstyne agreed that the second sectionwas meantto insure continued Republican dominance in Congress, and that Republicans had ”considerable reason to suppose that it would succeed” in accomplishing this.
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.
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