The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935 Page: 50
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Some promise of relief came when President Grant (in ac-
cordance with permissive legislation bestowed upon him by Con-
gress) finally directed that elections be held on the Constitution
and for a State government. The elections, participated in by
those who had been made voters in the most recent revision of
the registration lists, and held between November 30 and Decem-
ber 3, 1869, resulted in a huge majority for the Constitution:
72,366 to 4,928.43 At once the extreme radicals began sniping
at the Constitution because of the leniency toward rebels. A
group of bitter-enders, led by M. C. Hamilton, wrote to Reynolds
that provision for the punishment of false swearing and perjury
in office-holding had been omitted in Section One, Article Twelve,
of the new Constitution; and that although the Fourteenth
Amendment had been incorporated into the Constitution, the
third section could not be executed. They continued: "As it
stands any man can take that oath falsely and then publicly
boast that he has done so, and not be punished. We have had
so much false swearing with impunity, already. that the neces-
sity of stopping it is imperative." They asked Congress to pass
legislation to remedy the defect. The request travelled through
the proper channels, from Adjutant General to General of the
Army to the Judge Advocate General to the Secretary of War
to the House.44 A similar protest, from a local radical at Aus-
tin, was read into the Congressional Globe by Representative
William Lawrence, who added: "There is quite a large infusion
of the old rebel element in the Legislature-elect, which threatens
to give us trouble in the election of United States Senators, and
many other matters . . 45 Nothing was done about the sit-
uation, for Congress was as Greeley expressed it, sick unto death
at the way in which Southern Republicans kept "hanging around
the neck of the North."46
Already there had arisen that old problem, which was met at
this stage of reconstruction in almost every State, as to whether
the new radical government was provisional in the sense used in
the reconstruction acts, and as to whether, therefore, officers must
take the iron-clad oath. "This question comes up daily from all
"Sen. Mis. Doe. 77 (41 Cong. 2 Sess.), p. 35.
IHouse Ex. Doc. 60 (41 Cong. 2 Sess.), Vol. 6.
"Globe, January 13, 1870, pp. 431-2.
4Quoted by Ramsdell, Reconstruction in Texas, p. 269.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935, periodical, 1935; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/m1/58/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.