Stone Collection: Volume 20 - Item 14
14. James G. Blaine, L. Q. C. Lamar, James A. Garfield, Alexander H. Stephens, Wendell Phillips, Montgomery Blair, Thomas A. Hendricks, “Ought the Negro to Be Disenfranchised? Ought He Have to Have Been Enfranchised?” North American Review 268 (March 1879): 225-83.
Six reactions to an article by the first author in which he argues that although African American males should have been enfranchised during Reconstruction, the problems generated by their enfranchisement justifies their disenfranchisement in order to avoid racial conflict. However, Blaine argues that, practically speaking, the disenfranchisement of African American males will not happen now that it has occurred. Lamar agrees with Blaine’s point of view, while Hampton thinks that African Americans should never have been enfranchised in the first place, although he agrees that disenfranchising them now is a practical impossibility. Garfield believes that African Americans should have been enfranchised and that they should not be disenfranchised, while Stephens avoids answering the questions and uses the space allotted to his response to claim that the South is not trying to disenfranchise African Americans. Phillips believes that African American males should have been enfranchised and that they should not be disenfranchised because they have acquitted themselves with honor at the polls. Blair argues that the two questions are essentially the same; namely, African American males should have been enfranchised only if they proved worthy of the privilege. Finally, Hendricks argues that the questions are moot because African American males have not been given a fair chance to exercise their right to suffrage, thus they can not be fairly judged as far as enfranchisement is concerned. Blaine ends the article with a summary of the reactions and a restatement of his position.