The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916 Page: 27
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Texas v. White
the theoretical continuity of the Union and the existence of the
States had nothing to do with the practical disruption of relations
between that Union and the States. The court was wrestling
with the problem, in the first place, of acquiescing judicially in
the results of the Congressional Reconstruction as accomplished
facts, which it would be politically unwise to disturb; and, in the
second place, of rescuing the States from the position of hopeless
inferiority, which the Congressional policy seemed to portend for'
them. Among those who desire a continuation of the federal sys-
tem, this opinion should, therefore, be held in regard. Inconsist-
ent, however, with this end was the interpretation placed upon
the phrase "republican form of government." In this regard the
words of Chief Justice Chase read more like the political pamphlet
of the agitator than the calm, dispassionate opinions popularly
supposed to be the result of judicial reasoning. Like the political
pamphlet, its significance was lost sight of as soon as the stress
of the issue which occasioned its production was relieved.3"
"Inclusion of the negro in the suffrage was particularly agreeable to
Chase as a politician. He had been as radical as any in demanding the
enfranchisement of the freedmen, and, therefore, had been greatly dis-
appointed when the Johnson governments had declined to extend the ballot
to them. A letter to John Russell Young is interesting in connection with
this general subject. "I start with the premises that Congress has full
power to govern the rebel States until they accept terms of restoration
which will insure future loyalty, the fulfilment of national obligations, the
repudiation of all rebellion and the obligations of rebellion; and the secur-
ity of all rights for all men; and that the acts of Congress must be con-
strued with reference to these ends, liberally; .
"I don't want to see Congress set aside the provisional State govern-
ments. It would be a very mischievous measure in its effects on private
rights, and lead to much litigation, and very seriously retard, I fear, the
restoration of order and prosperity to the South. Congress may well pro-
vide that the military commander may remove State officials who put them-
selves in the way of reconstruction; and that their successors may be
elected by Universal suffrage, but I would not have military commanders
authorized to appoint their successors, unless temporarily;" . . .
See also letter to Gen. Schofield, May 7, 1865, Forty-six Years in the
Army, 373. Letter to Justice S. J. Field, endorsing the work of the Com-
mittee on Reconstruction. Warden, Chase, 526; Hart, Chase, 339, 340.
The opinion of the court, in this particular connection, has not had, as
yet, any noticeable effect upon subsequent legal history. So far as the
writer is aware, it has not been referred to for a controlling precedent in
any later case. On the other hand, there have been opinions and decisions
which have gone far to overthrow the doctrine which Chief Justice Chase
here enunciated. The opinion, indeed, in Minor v. Happersett is, in effect,
contradictory. In this case, decided in 1874 (21 Wallace, 162), the
plaintiff, a woman, denied that the government of the State of Missouri
was republican in form because it restricted the elective franchise to males,
thus debarring without cause many eligible citizens. Chief Justice Waite,
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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/m1/35/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.