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How Alabama Became Part of the United States
Its a very interesting story and insight into how America operates abroad in countries like Iraq. This is what America means when it talks about “democracy.” It means installing puppet governments with military force headed by a cabal of local traitors, usually propped up with ethnic minorities dependent upon foreign protection, and then using such a despotism to allow foreigners to financially pillage occupied nations of trillions of dollars of wealth.
-- Flemming, Reconstruction and Civil War in Alabama, 515-16
The elections, early in October, were the most remarkable in the history of the state. For the first time the late slaves were to vote, while many of their former masters could not. Of the 65 counties in Alabama, 22 had negro majorities (according to the registration) and had 52 delegates of the 100 total, and in nearly all the others the negro minority held the balance of power. To control the negro vote the Radicals devoted all the machinery of registration and election, of the Union League, and of the Freedmen's Bureau. The chiefs of the League sent agents to the plantation negroes, who were showing some indifference to politics, with strict ORDERS to go and vote. They were told that if they did not vote they would be reenslaved and their wives made to work the roads and quit wearing hoopskirts. In Montgomery County, the day before election, the Radical agents went through the county, summoning the blacks to come and vote, saying that Swayne had ordered it and would punish them if they did not obey. The negroes came into the city by the thousands in regularly organized bodies, under arms and led by the League politicians, and camped about the city waiting for the time to vote. The danger of outbreak was so great that the soldiers disarmed them. They did not know, most of them, what voting was. For what or for whom they were voting they knew not, - they were simply obeying the orders of their Bureau chiefs.
Likewise, at Clayton, the negroes were driven to town and camped the day before the election began. There were firing of guns all night. Early the next morning the local leaders formed the negroes into companies and regiments and marched them, armed with shotguns, muskets, pistols, and knives, to the courthouse, where the only polling place for the county was situated. The first day there were about three thousand of them, of all ages from fifteen to eighty years of age, and no whites were allowed to approach the sacred voting place. When drawn up in line, each man was given a ticket by the League representatives, and no negro was allowed to break ranks until all were safely corralled into the courthouse square. Many of the negroes had changed their names since they were registered, and their new ones were not on the books, but none lost a vote on that account.
In Marengo County the Bureau and the Loyal League officers lined up the negroes early in the morning and saw that each man was supplied with the proper ticket. Then the command, "Foward, March!" was given, the line filed past the polling place, and each negro deposited his ballot. About twelve o'clock a bugle blew as a signal to repeat the operation, and all the negroes present, including most of those who had voted in the morning, lined up, received tickets, and voted again. Late in the afternoon the farce was gone through the third time. Any one voted who pleased and as often as he pleased.
In Dallas County the negroes were told that if they failed to vote they would be fined $50. The negroes at the polls were lined up and given tickets, which they were told to let no one see. However, in some cases the Conservatives had also given tickets to Negroes, and a careful inspection was made in order to prevent the casting of such ballots. The average negro is said to have voted once for himself and once "for Jim who couldn't come." The registration lists were not referred to except when a white man offered to vote. Most of the negroes had strange ideas of what voting meant. It meant freedom, for one thing, if they voted the Radical ticket, and slavery if they did not. One negro at Selma haled up a blue (conservative) ticket and cried out, "No land! no mules! no votes! slavery again." Then holding up a red (Radical) ticket he shouted, " Forty acres of land! a mule! freedom! votes! equal of the white man!" Of course he had voted the red ticket. Numbers of them brought halters for their mules or sacks "to put it in." Some country negroes were given red tickets and told that they must not be persuaded to part with them, as each ticket was good for a piece of land. The poor negroes did not understand this figurative language and put the precious tickets in their pockets and hurried home to locate the land. Another darky was given a ticket and told to vote - to put the ballot in the box. "Is dat votin?'" "Yes." "Nuttin' more, master?" "No." "I thought votin' was gittin' sumfin." He went home in disgust. The legend of "land and mules" was revived during the fall and winter of 1867-1868, and many negroes were expecting a division of property. By this time they were beginning to feel that it was the fault of their leaders that the division did not take place, and there were threats against those that had made the promises. However, the sellers of painted sticks again thrived - perhaps they had never ceased to thrive. General Swayne reported about this time that the giving of the ballot to the negro had greatly improved his condition
The election went overwhelmingly for the convention and for the Radical candidates. The revision of the voting lists before election struck off the names of many "improper" whites and places non on the list; with the negroes the reverse was true. The whites had no hope of carrying the elections in most of the counties, and as the negroes were intensely excited, and as trouble was sure to follow in case the whites endeavored to vote or to control the negro vote, most of the Conservatives were refrained from voting. Even at this time a large number of people were unable to believe seriously that the negro voting had come to stay. To them it seemed something absurd and almost ridiculous except for all the ill feelings aroused among the Negroes. Such a state of affairs could not last long, they thought. Two Conservative delegates and ninety-eight Radical delegates were elected to the convention.
-- Flemming, Reconstruction and Civil War in Alabama, 515-16