Newspaper Clippings Politics and other things.
After first siding with President Lincoln and the Moderate Republicans for a more lenient Reconstruction policy,
as governor of Maine
Chamberlain advocated firmer Reconstruction measures. His speeches after the Compromise of 1877,
however, might leave one thinking that Chamberlain opposed Reconstruction. Here it is seen that in 1872 Chamberlain still
stood by the Radicals in supporting Grant and Reconstruction over the Liberal Republican Horace Greeley.
Reconstruction would come to an end nonetheless, in 1871 Congress removed the Iron Clad Oath over Grant's veto
allowing ex-Confederates to take an active role in politics once more. By 1872 the Supreme Court case United States v. Cruikshank
overturned federal charges against white Democrats who massacred a militia of freedmen, stating that the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies only to state action,
not to actions by individual citizens. It concluded that the plaintiffs had to rely on state courts for protection.
To make matters worse the Democrats had regained a majority in the House making further civil rights legislation unlikely.
The Compromise of 1877 effectively ended reconstruction in the South. The Republicans
agreed to pull troops out of the South in exchange for Rutherford B. Hayes being awarded the disputed presidential election.
With the Constitution barring them from further action, Chamberlain now supported President Hayes
and his Southern Strategy. Described as follows,
"First, he wanted to eliminate acts of violence committed against Blacks in the name of politics. Secondly, Hayes believed that the "best white southerners" would adhere to the three amendments relating to Black rights.
Thirdly, he advocated education and federal aid to bolster the southern economy. Lastly, he endorsed strong, honest local self-government in the region. He believed that by making Black votes necessary for office,
white southerners would work vigorously to protect Black voters."1