15. Vindication
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363 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 15 VINDICATION Soon after the completion of the Treaty of Washington, the administraWLRQ ·VVLJQDWXUHDFKLHYHPHQWD5HSXEOLFDQR΀FHKROGHUZURWHWR%DQcroft Davis that it would constitute “the best electioneering document of the day,” removing “all threatening storm-clouds” on the political KRUL]RQ,QWKHPRQWKVDIWHULWVUDWLÀFDWLRQ*UDQWKLPVHOIWKRXJKW´:H have a very promising chance of securing a loyal Administration of the government” in the next year’s presidential election. Although he FODLPHG´QRSDWHQWULJKWWRWKHR΀FHµDQGVDLGLWZRXOG´EHDKDSS\ day for me when I am out of political life,” few Americans, either friends or enemies, doubted that he desired a second term. Certainly the main LVVXHWKDWKDGGUDZQKLPLQWRKLVÀUVWFDQGLGDF\WKHSUREOHPRIWKH South, remained central and unsettled. He wrote to Adam Badeau in November 1871, “I do feel a deep interest in the republican party keepLQJ FRQWUROO>VLF@RIDͿDLUVXQWLOWKHUHVXOWVRIWKHZDUDUHDFTXLHVFHGLQ E\DOOSROLWLFDOSDUWLHV:KHQWKDWLVDFFRPSOLVKHGZHFDQDͿRUGWRTXDUrel about minor matters.” Quarreling had, of course, marked much of KLVWLPHLQR΀FHDQG*UDQWZDVQRWRQHWRZDONDZD\IURPDÀJKW$V he later recalled, 1872 was the only year he truly desired to run for president . Having endured years of “the bitterness of political and personal RSSRQHQWVµKHZDVHDJHUWRÀQGRXW´KRZWKHFRXQWU\IHOWµ1 7KHELWWHUQHVVLQWHQVLÀHGDVDQHZURXQGRISUHVLGHQWPDNLQJDSproached . For some, revolt within the Republican Party had begun when CHAPTER 15 364 WKH\IDLOHGWRZLQSDWURQDJHLQÁXHQFHZLWKWKHSUHVLGHQWEXWDIWHUWZR DQGDKDOI\HDUVWKHIDFWLRQDOLVPUHÁHFWHGGLͿHUHQFHVRYHUSROLF\DV well. Some conservatives, who increasingly took on the label of Liberal Republicans, denounced Grant for what they considered to be militaristic centralization in his approach to the South and called for amnesty for DOOH[&RQIHGHUDWHV6RPHWKRXJKWKHKDGJLYHQLQVX΀FLHQWVXSSRUWIRU DUHGXFHGWDULͿ2WKHUVGRXEWHGWKDWKHZRXOGIDLWKIXOO\LPSOHPHQWWKH reform measures being crafted by the Civil Service Commission. But the opposition to Grant also bore a cultural dimension. The elite reformers who liked to regard themselves as the nation’s “best men” believed the president was, at his core, “vulgar-minded” and “ill bred.” One Liberal complained, “He seems to have forgotten our principles and the PHQ who made him what he is.” As the 1HZWKHP@JHQHUDOO\IRU*UDQWµ7KDWSRSXODUIHDOW\SRVHGD huge obstacle to the Liberal project to unseat the president.2 During the long stretch when Congress was out of session from spring to fall 1871, Liberals around the country began to discuss strategy for the coming election year. They could not simply rely on the Democratic Party to defeat Grant’s reelection, because that party lacked, as J. D. Cox put it, “the moral elements necessary for a healthy and reformatory organization.” Instead, Liberals should draw the “reform” element from both parties into a “third movement,” as Carl Schurz called it, to defeat both Grant and the Democrats. Schurz hoped to transfer to the national stage the success achieved by the Liberal Republicans of Missouri in 1870 VINDICATION 365 by cultivating “a very large number of Southerners” who “detest Grant” but “care nothing about the Democratic party.” In September 1871 he told a large audience in Nashville that the best way for southerners to WKURZRͿWKH´PRQDUFKLFDOSROLFHVWDWHµFRPPDQGHGE\*UDQWZDVWR unite with the Liberal Republicans. Similarly, revenue reformers such as Amasa Walker favored “a new arrangement of parties” that would reject Republican protectionism and advocate “sound economic issues.”3 Some Liberals harbored the belief that they could seize the Republican Party apparatus from the Grant men. Their experience at New York’s state convention in late September 1871 taught them how futile that hope was, when administration loyalists led by Roscoe Conkling crushed a movement headed by 7ULEXQH editor Horace Greeley and anti-administration senator Reuben Fenton. The demoralized Fenton-Greeley contingent had no choice but to walk out. Despite crescendoing criticism from both Liberals and Democrats, Grant remained popular, as evinced by Republican victories in the fall 1871 RͿ\HDUHOHFWLRQV,QWKHNH\VWDWHVRI2KLRDQG3HQQV\OYDQLDZKHUH Republicans heartily endorsed the national administration, the party posted solid wins in October, with substantial gains over the previous year...


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