“The South Has Learned Nothing and Forgotten Nothing”
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[CIVIL WAR / RECONSTRUCTION].
Pamphlet. “Is the South Ready for Restoration?” [Lindley Smith]. Stamped “From Board of Publication of the Union League of Philadelphia.” 20 pp., 5⅞ x 9 in.
“If they transfer their allegiance from the narrow boundaries of particular States to the wider claims of a glorious nationality; if they admit past errors; if they are willing to cultivate the kindly and fraternal feelings for us which are so confidently claimed of us for them—then we will joyfully bury the hatchet, welcome them back to their places in the capitol of the nation, and allow no memory of the past to sully the bright prospect of the future …”
“Neither Congress nor the loyal people of the North desire the further punishment of the South … [However,] “like the Bourbons, the South has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Unabashed, unhumiliated, unrepentant, it comes up to us with its old swagger, yielding nothing and demanding everything … It acknowledges only the empire of force. While we exerted our power, it respected us … The Democracy, hungering for the spoils of place and power, is eager to renew that alliance and to sell the country for its miserable mess of pottage. It rests with the people to say whether these schemes shall be baffled, or whether we shall supinely permit the renewal of an agitation which will convulse the country for a generation…”
The Union Leagues arose during the Civil War as a function of white middle-class activism in Philadelphia, New York City, and other parts of the North. During Reconstruction (1865-1876), the Union Leagues spread to the South, where black freedmen enrolled, in one of the first steps toward politicization, to support the Republican Party and the idea of equal rights.