The Readjuster Movement in Virginia

The Readjuster Movement in Virginia

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The Readjuster Movement in Virginia

The Readjuster Movement in Virginia

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Excerpt

The half century just ended is the "Dark Age" of the South. Beginning with the attempt of Radicals to build upon the ruins of the old a foreign and ultra-democratic system, this period is probably now coming to its end in the educational and economic renaissance. And the overlapping of the two ages may be studied today, throughout the older South, in farm and factory, state debt and schools, in poor white and aristocrat and "substantial citizen," and in the still uncertain status of the negro citizen and voter.

After the brief reign of Radicalism, during the "Dark Age," came a time of reaction, when "Confederate Brigadiers" ruled, and the South was "solid." This was good. Times were exceedingly "hard," however, and heavy depression lay upon the spirit of the people. The excesses of Radicalism had disgusted many. So the gradual democratic advance discernible under the old system, to which war should have imparted a stimulus, was sharply checked.

During this time of reaction there occurred in most, if not all, of the Southern states a series of independent movements, some of which are still manifesting themselves. The earlier of these movements were aided by the vote of the negro; the later, by the prejudice against him. In all, however, the leaders professed themselves inspired with zeal for the interests of the common white man. And it is not improbable that, studied closely and together, these movements may prove to have been, in origin and effects, democratic -- an outworking of forces . . .

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