Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 11 of 58
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RECONSTRUCTION IN TEXAS. 11
official vampires, and put in office, in their stead, men of integrity
and intelligence who were identified in interest and sympathy with
the hopes and desires of the great mass of the people. To effect
this necessary change the co-operation of the negro was indispensable..
That co-operation was obtained through the free and voluntary
act of the negro. It was not secured by force or intimidation.
The forty acres of land and the mule so long promised the negro
had died to the hope. The few offices his race had secured did not
satisfy the rank and file. While Lincoln had freed the negro, he did
not furnish him with bread, or the wherewith to obtain it, or
exempt him from labor, which was his ideal of freedom. He was
sharp enough to realize that his main dependence was on his old
master, and that the robbery of the old master was destroying the
crutch on which he leaned. He was thus in a condition to lend a
complying ear to the request of the white man, to vote for honest
intelligent officials; and especially when that request was accompanied
by reasons that came down to the level of his comprehension,
and were tangible and perfectly satisfactory to his mind, he did
not hesitate to do so; and in this way the vote of the negro was
controlled, has been controlled, and will be controlled by the white
people of the South in all matters of State and local interest, in the
line of honest intelligent government, in the benefits of which the
negro has been as large a partaker as the white man. It is a natural
law that intelligence should dominate ignorance. The intelligent
white man will rule, not only for his own welfare, but the welfare
of the negro, who in the mass has neither the tact nor the intelligence
to govern himself, much less anybody else.
The bright prospect and feeling of hopeful security for person
and property which the organization of the State government,
under the orders of President Johnson, had inspired in the people
of Texas received a rude shock from the reconstruction legislation
passed by the Federal Congress. This legislation was unexpected,
and revived the feeling of alarm and insecurity that weighed like
an incubus upon the people, immediately after the cessation of hostilities.
The idea of the people of Texas being delivered, person
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Wood, William D. Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago, book, 1902; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14387/m1/11/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .