RECONSTRUCTION: EXPERIMENTS AND IDEALS
"GOD uses a good many ugly tools to dig up the stumps and burn off the forests and drain the swamps of a howling wilderness. He has used this old Egyptian plow of slavery to turn over the sod of these fifteen Southern States. Its sin consisted in not dying decently when its work was done. It strove to live and make all the new world like it. Its leaders avowed that their object was to put this belt of the continent under the control of an aristocracy which believes that one-fifth of the race is born booted and spurred and the other four-fifths ready for that fifth to ride. The war was one of freedom and democracy against the institutions that rest on slaves. It will take ten years for the country to shed the scar of such a struggle. The state of society at the South that produced the war will remain and trouble the land until freedom and democracy and the spirit of the nineteenth century takes its place. Only then can we grapple the Union together with hooks of steel, and make it as lasting as the granite that underlies the continent."
These were the brave words of a Southern newspaper, the Galveston Bulletin, in January, 1867, in the mid-throes of reconstruction. So it was that the best minds of the reunited nation foresaw and accepted the path on which we still are slowly mounting; often slipping, stumbling, falling, but still getting upward.
When, on January 31, 1865, the vote of the House com-