THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. XLV JULY, 1941 No. 1
THE LAREDO CITY ELECTION AND
RIOT OF APRIL, 1886
By SEB. S. WILCOX
The Devil was granted permission one day
To select him a land for his own special sway;
He looked around for a month or more,
And ripped and snorted and terribly swore;
But at last was delighted a country to view,
Where the prickly pear and mesquite tree grew;
After a survey brief he took up his stand
On the eastern shore of the Rio Grande.
-"The Rio Grande," by an Army Officer.
The present quotation would hardly fit in with the present
order of things in the Laredo of today. But when one recalls
that it was written by an army officer from the north who had
come down to the border section immediately after the Civil
War, its application is readily understood. The country was
then in the throes of the Reconstruction period.
The Republican party was in power in Washington. The war
had just closed, and the assassination of President Lincoln
placed Andrew Johnson in the President's chair. Johnson en-
deavored with all his power to reorganize the two warring sec-
tions after the ideas of the martyred President and to bring
about a gradual and peaceful reconstruction of the country.
But the opposition in the United States Congress, under the
radical leadership of Thaddeus Stevens, was too strong for him.
Impeachment proceedings were instituted, but failed to accom-
plish Johnson's removal. At the following national election
General U. S. Grant defeated Johnson, and Grant became an
easy tool in the hands of the radical element then in complete
control of the country.1
'See Claude G. Bowers, The Tragic Era, for a history of reconstruction.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/. Accessed January 30, 2015.