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New York state election, 1866

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1866 New York state election was held on November 6, 1866, to elect the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, a Canal Commissioner and an Inspector of State Prisons, as well as all members of the New York State Assembly. Besides, the voters were asked if a Constitutional Convention should be held in 1867, which was answered in the affirmative with 352,854 votes for, and 256,364 against the convention.[1]

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Transcription

>> Well, okay, let's go back to the 14th Amendment. Congress passes it. It's got to go out to three-quarters, it's got to be ratified by three-quarters of the states. The 14th Amendment becomes the issue, you might say, in the congressional elections of 1866. In that year, in that summer, fall, Andrew Johnson, unlike other presidents, takes a leading role in supporting candidates, mostly Democrats, who are in favor of his Reconstruction policy. He tries to form a new political coalition. He has something called the National Union Convention. But very few Republicans are willing to go with him. Most of the people now backing Johnson are Democrats, North and South. Johnson's effort to mobilize support in the North is injured by riots, race riots that break out in the South in the summer of 1866, leading to scores of deaths of African Americans, and of some white people, too. In Memphis, there's the Memphis riot which leads to 50 deaths, virtually all blacks, in a kind of an attack on black homes and black schools. Even worse, the New Orleans riot in the summer of 1866. These are images of the New Orleans riot. People, often police, shooting at black people. The inside of the convention hall. What happened in New Orleans was, if you remember when I was talking about Louisiana in the Civil War, the Reconstruction of Louisiana in the Civil War. They had this constitutional convention, it abolished slavery, didn't give any rights to blacks, but it said it, it authorized the president of the convention to reconvene if desired. And in 1866, with Confederates, basically in control of Louisiana, the old constitutional convention tries to reconvene. And the meeting of that leads to a riot where armed whites are assaulting the building, including the local police now allied with these, you know, ex-Confederates. And something like 40 people are killed, several hundred wounded. And again, the image of the South in Northern eyes that these riots portray, is one -- you know, that they are not willing to accept the results of the Civil War, that there is this violence against African Americans. Local authorities are not willing to do anything about it. The army has to be sent in to put down the violence. And these things really undermine whatever support there was for Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policy. Johnson breaks with tradition and goes into the North campaigning for congressional candidates who will support his policy. This is unprecedented. The so called "swing around the circle." He travels all around the North, support -- But it turns into an utter disaster. Johnson starts exchanging epithets with people in the audience. People yell things out at him. He starts yelling curses back at them. [laughter] Bantering with the crowd. He's not very dignified as a president, so to speak. He tells the Northern people they're ignorant, they don't really know what's going on in Congress. He becomes more and more self-pitying. He starts comparing himself with Jesus Christ, saying people want kill -- he's willing to sacrifice himself for the nation. [laughter] And by the time the swing around the circle is over, whatever support Johnson had has evaporated. Here's an image of an anti-Johnson, here's an image of, someone wrote on a placard of Johnson, you see, "I am king," and put a little crown on his head. This is a Democratic cartoon. It's from the governor's election in California. This is the Republican candidate for Governor, I believe. But this is overt use of racism in the campaign. It's kind of hard to see. I think it's reproduced in my book, I can't remember. You've got the governor and you've got a black -- this is negro suffrage and what's to come -- you've got the governor, you've got a black guy, on top of him is a Chinese, on top of him is sort of a Native American, you see, with an arrow. And then someone is bringing along a monkey, saying, well, if these guys can vote, let's give monkeys the right to vote. So this is, you see, the absolute overt racism as, you know, the critique of the Radical policy of black -- black suffrage will lead to all these other disasters if followed. Well, the result of the elections, of course, is that the Republicans sweep to way beyond two-thirds control of both houses of Congress, rendering Johnson totally irrelevant. And this leaves the question of the 14th Amendment up in the air, because to get three-quarters of the states, some Southern states are going to have to ratify the 14th Amendment. There are a few leading Southerners, one guy we'll talk about next week, James Alcorn, one of the leading planters of Mississippi, says, you know, it looks like the Northern public actually doesn't support Andrew Johnson, and we better really be prudent here. Why don't we ratify the 14th Amendment. Because Congress had said, if the South ratifies the 14th Amendment, Southern states, they can come back into the Union. And Alcorn says, let's do that, we really have no alternative. But most Southern leaders say, absolutely not, the 14th Amendment is a complete violation of all our liberties. And so, legislature after legislature in the South rejects the 14th Amendment, by overwhelming majorities. In the South Carolina legislature, only one member votes in favor of ratification. In Georgia, only two. The whole South, only 20 or 30, where 700 or 800 legislators vote against it. And they are egged on by Democrats in the North, and they're egged on by Johnson. Johnson keeps saying, don't ratify the 14th Amendment, and they'll never enact black suffrage. He keeps telling the South, don't worry, don't worry. Of course, it happens, two months after he starts saying this, it does happen. And so he's completely out of touch with political reality by this time.

Contents

History

The delegates to the "Conservative Union" state convention arrived on September 10 at Albany, New York. This convention was the result of the still ongoing party re-alignment after the American Civil War. It was called by the Democratic Party with the intention to give the War Democrats, who had joined the Republicans in the National Union, and other conservative Republicans, an opportunity to return to the Democratic Party. Thurlow Weed was a delegate. John Adams Dix was talked of to be nominated for governor.[2] The convention met on September 11 and 12 at Tweddle Hall. Sanford E. Church was temporary chairman and president. Mayor of New York John T. Hoffman (a Democrat of Tammany Hall) was nominated for governor by acclamation. Robert H. Pruyn (a Republican) was nominated for lieutenant governor on the first ballot (vote: Pruyn 169, Harlow L. Comstock 85). William W. Wright (who had been Canal Commissioner from 1862 to 1863) for Canal Commissioner, and Francis B. Gallagher for prison inspector, were also nominated by acclamation.[3]

Result

The whole Republican ticket was elected in a tight race, with a majority of about 14,000 votes out of more than 700,000.

The incumbent Governor Fenton was re-elected.

82 Republicans and 46 Democrats were elected for the session of 1865 to the New York State Assembly.

1866 state election results
Office Republican ticket Conservative Union ticket
Governor Reuben E. Fenton 366,315 John T. Hoffman 352,526
Lieutenant Governor Stewart L. Woodford 366,970 Robert H. Pruyn 351,947
Canal Commissioner Stephen T. Hayt 367,194 William W. Wright 351,643
Inspector of State Prisons John Hammond 367,345 Francis B. Gallagher 359,072

Notes

  1. ^ The Constitutional Convention was held, but the changes were rejected by the voters.
  2. ^ THE ALBANY CONVENTION in NYT on September 11, 1866
  3. ^ NEW YORK STATE CONVENTION in NYT on September 13, 1866

Sources

See also

New York gubernatorial elections

This page was last edited on 14 June 2018, at 15:29
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