November 1, 1860: The “threat” of Negro suffrage

Negro Suffrage
Later (1866) Poster opposing Negro Suffrage

In the Richmond (VA) Daily Dispatch of November 1, 1860, a couple of items appeared warning of the danger that black Americans would be allowed to vote. The fear of African-Americans voting seems to have been second only to the fear of them marrying white women in its ability to foment an emotional response in the South.

Negro Suffrage to be Tested in Congress.
–In the Sixteenth Congressional District of Ohio, Cutler, Republican, was elected by sixty-four majority over Jewett, Democrat. In a large number of precincts negroes voted the Republican ticket, and in consequence the Democratic candidate was defeated. The Marietta Republican gives the number of negroes voting in several precincts.–enough to decide the result — and intimates that the election will be contested. As the Constitution of the State provides that no one shall vote if he is not a white citizen of the United States, all persons of negro blood are disqualified from voting. This is a plain proposition, which the House of Representatives affirmed, in the contested election case of Vallandigbam vs.Campbell, two years ago!

Universal Negro Suffrage.
–At the next election in New York, a vote is to be taken upon the question of extending to colored voters the same rights which are now exercised by the whites. Under the constitution of that State, as at present, the colored voter is required to possess real estate worth $250, to have been three years a citizen of the State, and one year resident in the district where he votes.

By the way, the Richmond Daily Dispatch is available online in digital form starting with the November 1, 1860 issue. See the link on the right under “Newspapers”.

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