The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 26
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
manded that the court should decide whether they were constitu-
tional or otherwise. It was only necessary, for the purposes of
the case, to ascertain whether or not these acts had recognized the
existing governments as established. This, in the opinion of the
court, the Reconstruction Acts had done. These acts had pro-
nounced the governments illegal, and had made them subject to
the military authority and, finally, to the paramount authority of
the United States. As a matter of fact, the district commanders
had, in numerous cases, superseded the State authorities, and had,
in the case of Texas, removed the governor. This showed a very
doubtful respect for the Johnson governments, but a respect, in
the eyes of the court, sufficient to warrant the assumption that
they had been recognized by the political power. In denouncing
the government as illegal, the law had mentioned the name of that
government. It had, therefore, recognized it as existing and es-
tablished. It may be said, furthermore, in development of this
ingenious idea, that, although the destruction of these govern-
ments was threatened and provided for, Congress had not actually
destroyed them. When the State government of Texas, also, had
been superseded and the governor removed, the successor had been
recognized by the agent of Congress, General Sheridan. The po-
litical power of the government, through him, had taken action,
and the court was estopped from further inquiry. That govern-
ment, so organized, represented the State of Texas, and had given
its sanction to the efforts of the attorneys who were prosecuting
the case; and "the necessary conclusion is that the suit was insti-
tuted and prosecuted by competent authority." Texas, having
been declared a State despite the vicissitudes undergone, had a
government capable of representing its interests. The plea of a
lack of jurisdiction was, therefore, dismissed.
In this elaborate opinion, the Supreme Court had adopted the
forfeited-rights theory in practically all the decisive arguments
concerning the status of the Southern States. In answering the
question, whether Texas, in consequence of her rebellious course,
ceased to be a State in the American Union, the desire to pre-
serve the historic continuity of legal development involved the
court in logic of questionable soundness when it came to reconcile
the action of Congress with the theory it chose to adopt. "His-
toric continuity" was merely a high-sounding name, however, for
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916, periodical, 1916; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/m1/34/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.