Learn about how Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America (1835), viewed democracy, freedom, and religion.
Hamburg, South Carolina, was an all-black town on the border with Georgia, an area that was a stronghold for the Democratic Party. Hearing news of white militias forming in surrounding towns, the intendant (or mayor) of Hamburg, John Gardner, formed an all-black militia of 84 men and, with the following letter, asked the governor to arm them as part of the state’s National Guard.
An article in the Washington Post about the events in Ferguson, published two days after the incident, provides larger context for the shooting."}">An article in the Washington Post about the events in Ferguson, published two days after the incident, provides larger context for the shooting.
In February 1875, Alabama’s black Republican legislators sent a petition to the US Congress, noting that "the Democratic Party of Alabama has made, and is now making, a deliberate and persistent attempt...to change the penal code and criminal laws of Alabama so as to place the liberty and legal rights of the poor man, and especially of the poor colored man, who is generally a Republican in politics, in the power and control of the dominant race who are, with few exceptions, the landholders, and Democratic in politics." The petition goes on to say that if this action is allowed to stand, the war to preserve the Union would have been a "grand mistake."
This reading is excerpted from Daniel Chamberlain’s address to the Republicans of South Carolina after President Hayes removed federal troops from the state, allowing Democrats to take over the state government.
When the Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791, the liberties it provided were withheld from the hundreds of thousands of Africans living in slavery. In a public letter to Thomas Jefferson, a free African-American Benjamin Banneker challeneged the treatment of blacks and the continued existence of slavery.