January 11 and 18, 1866: Loyalty oaths, and anti-suffrage sentiment

The Cape Girardeau Weekly Argus of January 11 and 18th both had some items of interest. Firstly, as we’ve seen, though the paper is strongly Unionist, the editorial policy favors union (and restoration of the status of the seceded states) with no rights for the former slaves beyond their freedom. So in the January 11 issue, we see a couple of items simply ridiculing any consideration to black Americans as citizens, or (heaven forfend) “ladies”. To set black suffrage as a condition for readmission of the southern states is to be the “Disunion Party”. And the Union League is excoriated for being too supportive of blacks, in language that was then merely coarse, but is now quite offensive. On the 18th, two proposed amendments to the Missouri Constitution are mentioned without comment — one to relax the loyalty oath, and one to enfranchise blacks.

The Senate of Louisiana received a communication from “loyal ladies” who wished to present them with a flag. The Senators gravely resolved to accept it, and appointed the hour for speech-making, &c. Before the time arrived, it was discovered that they were “colored ladies”, whereupon the Louisiana Senate promptly declined the intended honor.


The Disunion Party

The Anti-Slavery Standard, in commenting on the policy of the President, says:
“His purpose, however, remains unchanged, and every desperate expedient he clutches at only shows how resolute he is to save his own scheme though he destroy the nation in the attempt.

That purpose we believe may be stated in a sentence: To bring back the States without Negro Suffrage. To that the President makes everything else bend. – We, therefore, on the other hand, demand that everything shall bend to the purpose of keeping them out until Negro Suffrage is secured.”


Short Catechism of the Union League

It is supposed that no one can enter he inner door of the League room without being able to answer the following questions, in the language given below. It is a dark chamber; dark business; all about the darkie — all is silent as the grave.

The G.D.U.S.C.M.P. breaks the spell by addressing the noviciate thus:

For what purpose are you here?

Answer. To worship the niggers.

2nd Who are the niggers?

Ans. The superior race of mankind. The most exalted, wise, lovely, sweet scented, and beautiful people of the earth.

3d. For whom was this world made?

For niggers.

4th. Can you give me the origin of this beautiful race?

They had no beginning — existed from eternity. They were present when the world was created, and first suggested the origin of the white trash.

5th. What is the chief end of white men?

To glorify, worship and honor niggers.

6th. For what was the revolution fought?

For the nigger.

7th. What was the object of the Federal Constitution?

For the black race.

8th. What is the most important country of the world?


9th. What race of mankind is the most enlightened?

The African. They built the pyramids, wrote the scriptures, built the tower of Babel, founded Troy, invented the telegraph, railroads, whipped the rebels, defeated the Declaration of Independence, and broke up the Federal Union.

Response — All hail, Afreeka.


Cape Girardeau Weekly Argus 1/18/1866:

Missouri Legislature
Several amendments to the Constitution have been introduced into this body, two of which seem to find considerable favor there – the striking out of the clause against preachers, teachers, and lawyers, and giving negroes the right of suffrage after 1876.

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