Saturday, June 7, 2014


The racism of the mid-nineteenth century never ceases to amaze me. However, in my opinion, why it was that way is important to try to understand. 

I found the above article in the May 12, 1870, edition of the Cynthiana News, a Kentucky newspaper. The changes that the post-Civil War constitutional amendments meant for Kentucky were frightening to many of the state's whites, who had previously only dealt with most African Americans through the social control of slavery. Now, there was no more slavery, blacks were to be considered citizens and received the attending rights, and of course - and maybe scariest - black men had gained the right to vote.  

While those amendment changes help in explaining the racism presented in this article, its logic is difficult to figure. Abraham Lincoln had argued back in 1858 in the debates he held with Stephen A. Douglas, that just because a man (or party) believed that African Americans were created equal, that did not necessarily mean - or lead - to a white man wanting to marry a black woman. 

However, I suppose there is no logic needed when it comes to propaganda, which is what this article is to me. There is no solid evidence backing up its claims and its only intent was to prevent whites from voting for the Republican Party. Apparently strategies such as this worked well in Kentucky; where a Republican governor was not elected until 1895, and former Confederates dominated politics in the state into the 20th century. In addition, many of those white Kentuckians who had fought for the Union in the Civil War held no favor for the Republican Party and fused with former Confederates in the Democratic Party. 

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