September 14, 1865: An anxious parent

An item in the Cape Girardeau Weekly Argus, 9/14/1865. Apparently a local is getting a little snarky about the new “Drake” constitution of Missouri, passed in April, 1865, which included

the ‘Ironclad’ or ‘Kucklebur’ Oath, which was contained in Article 2. It required teachers, lawyers, clergy, and all voters to promise that they had not committed a long list of disloyal acts. These groups were targeted for their influence over the general population.

Editor Argus:

I should be very much gratified to have the following questions answered by some of the radical officials of this city.

1st. Under the provisions of the now constitution is a Sabbath school teacher required to take and file the oath of loyalty.

2nd. Where a teacher is employed to instruct the children in a private family is that teacher required to take and file the oath of loyalty.

3rd. In case where parents become the teachers of their children around their own fireside, are the parents liable to punishment under the new constitution for failing to take and file the oath of loyalty.

An Anxious Parent

I reproduce below the full text of the Ironclad Oath clause from the 1865 constitution with the bit about teachers in bold:


At any election held by the people under this Constitution, or in pursuance of any law of this State, or under any ordinance or bylaw of any municipal corporation, no person shall be deemed a qualified voter, who has ever been in armed hostility to the United States, or to the lawful authorities thereof, or to the Government of this State; or has ever given aid, comfort, countenance, or support to persons engaged in any such hostility; or has ever, in any manner, adhered to the enemies, foreign or domestic, of the United States, either by contributing to them, or by unlawfully sending within their lines, money, goods, letters, or information; or has ever disloyally held communication with such enemies; or has ever advised or aided any person to enter the service of such enemies: or has ever, by act or word, manifested his adherence to the cause of such enemies, or his desire for their triumph over the arms of the United States, or his sympathy with those engaged in exciting or carrying on rebellion against the United States; or has ever, except under overpowering compulsion, submitted to the authority, or been in the service of the so-called “Confederate States of America;” or has ever left this State, and gone within the lines of the armies of the so-called ” Confederate States of America,” with the purpose of adhering to said States or armies; or has ever been a member of, or connected with, any order, society, or organization, inimical to the Government of the United States, or to the Government of this State; or has ever been engaged in guerrilla warfare against loyal inhabitants of the United States, or in that description of marauding commonly known as “bushwhacking;” or has ever knowingly and willingly harbored, aided, or countenanced any person so engaged; or has ever come into or left this State, for the purpose of avoiding enrollment for or draft into the military service of the United States; or has ever, with a view to avoid enrollment in the militia of this State, or to escape the performance of duty therein, or for any other purpose, enrolled himself, or authorized himself to be, enrolled, by or before any officer, as disloyal, or as a Southern sympathizer, or in any other terms indicating his disaffection to the Government of the United States in its contest with rebellion, or his sympathy with those engaged in such rebellion; or, having ever voted at any election by the people in this State, or in any other of the United States or in any of their Territories, or held office in this State, or in any other of the United States, or in any of their Territories, or under the United States, shall thereafter have sought or received, under claim of alienage, the protection of any foreign government through any consul or other officer thereof, in order to secure exemption from military duty in the militia of this State, or in the army of the United States: nor shall any such person be capable of holding in this State, any office of honor, trust, or profit under its authority; or of being an officer, councilman, director, trustee, or other manager of any corporation, public or private, now existing or hereafter established by its authority; or of acting as a professor or teacher in any educational institution, or in any common or other school; or of holding any real estate or other property in trust for the use of any church, religious society or congregation.

This entry was posted in Loyalty oath, Missouri, Reconstruction. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *