The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935 Page: 51
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Radical Disfranchisement in Texas, 1867-70
parts of the State and must be settled by an Order," telegraphed
Reynolds to the Chief of Staff. "I think," he continued, "they
should take the [iron-clad] oath . . . all Government in
Texas is provisional until the State shall be represented in Con-
gress47 . . ." This statement makes it evident that Reynolds
was a good Republican General in that he was trying to produce
as radical a State Government as he could. The principle of
the third section of the Fourteenth Amendment, which had been
written into the State Constitution, stood as a high bar between
rebels and office, but Reynolds was going beyond the requirements
of the third section. He was adding a still harder test, the iron-
clad oath of July 2, 1862, which made a man swear that he had
never been in the rebellion at all. The third section would allow
office-holding by those who had fought in the rebellion but who
had never held office before the rebellion; the iron-clad limited
office-holding to original Unionists. The latter would reduce the
number of eligibles seriously.
Reynolds's justification for requiring the iron-clad oath from
newly elected State officials was that the reconstruction acts made
all Southern governments provisional and subject to the United
States; therefore, the State officials were national officers, all of
whom must take the iron-clad oath. But this interpretation had
not been customary during the reconstruction procedure in other
States. Elsewhere, if the radical officials could qualify under the
third section of the Amendment, that was sufficient. In fact, it
was generally agreed that the radical governments were not pro-
visional (that is, subject to the United States) in the sense that
the Johnson Governments were provisional; therefore, the offi-
cers were, in other States, installed under the provisions of the
new Constitution in each case. Under such an interpretation,
the only restriction in Texas should have been the third section
of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Reynolds called the new legislature into session for February
8, 1870, and ordered that all members be required to take a
stringent oath, either the iron-clad or the oath of July 11, 1868.41
He added: "Any member holding the certificate of election and
declining to take and subscribe the above oath, will vacate his
"7"Letters Sent," Vol. 2 for 1869, Vol. 4 of the series, p. 405.
"The oath prescribed for those who had been restored to the franchise
by Congressional action.
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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/m1/59/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.