by Al Benson Jr.
Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America
How about a little “change” in your state government, brought to you by a young man who talked quite well, well enough that he truly sounded convincing–without really ever telling you much of anything?
Right off the bat I know who comes to mind that fits that description–Comrade Obama. He did lots of talking, though often in a condescending manner, because, if the truth be known, he really looked down on all of us that were not raving socialists. But this isn’t about him (thank Heaven). Rather it’s about one of his illustrious predecessors who was imbued with the same Marxist mindset and operated somewhat in the same way–with the state house controlling everything in Louisiana. This sterling individual, Henry Clay Warmoth, was a radical Republican, of the same stripe as those Donnie Kennedy and I wrote about in Lincoln’s Marxists.
Henry Clay Warmoth (interesting that he was named after the man Thomas DiLorenzo characterized as a national socialist) was born in 1842 in McLeansboro, Illinois–in what was to become the “land of Lincoln.” During the War of Northern Aggression he served in the Union army in Missouri. He was wounded at the Battle of Vicksburg, but was dishonorably discharged for promoting exaggerations in regard to Union losses in that battle. Such behavior did not bother Mr. Lincoln, though, who reinstated Warmoth’s military status. He was commissioned a judge in the Department of the Gulf Provost Court in 1864 by no less a military luminary than General Nathaniel (Commissary) Banks of Red River Campaign fame, (or infamy, depending on how you view his loss in that campaign to a Confederate force with decidedly inferior numbers).
But. for Warmoth, the army wasn’t where the long green was. So, in 1865, Warmoth decided to run for Congress.
Looking for a constituency that would help to support his aspirations, Warmoth arrived in New Orleans and latched onto the newly freed blacks, seeking to convince them that he would be their “main man” in government if only they’d elect him. He must have been good at spinning windys because he won. However, after Lincoln’s assassination, the Yankee Marxists that controlled the Congress declined to seat any Southern representatives, even those that didn’t have Southern accents. Why they refused him a seat when he was one of them is hard to figure. They surely must have known his origins. Anyway, he returned to New Orleans.
However, in 1868, Winfield Scott Hancock was removed as the Military Commander of the Fifth Military District, which took in both Louisiana and Texas, and Hancock’s handpicked successor also resigned. This opened the way for a special election in 1868 and Warmoth ran for Governor as a Republican, an election he won narrowly over a Democrat. Then the financial fun and games began in earnest. Warmoth wasn’t in the game to do the good folks of Louisiana any favors. He was profoundly interested in the big bucks!
Under Warmoth’s gentle guidance the state’s bonded debt ascended from $6 million to $25 million, and was reputed, at one point, to have been around $100 million. After all, what’s a few million here or there among friends, as long as it all ends up in the right pockets.
Even in our day, Warmoth’s reputation has continued to live after him. On http://www.sos.louisiana.gov on the Secretary of State’s page, there is a reference to Mr. Warmoth. It states, in part: “Henry Clay Warmoth epitomizes the corruption of Louisiana politics during Reconstruction and at other times as well. Elected Governor at age 26 as the Republican candidate, Warmoth speculated in state bonds and treasury notes, profited from part ownership in the newspaper which held the contract for state printing, and created the State Returning Board to supervise election returns. The Board had the power to throw out votes from any precinct thought to have tainted results. Radical Republicans used the Board to maintain power by enabling them to steal elections from the Conservative Democrats.” In other words, how the Board acted depended on whose ox was supposed to be gored.
Claud Bowers, in his expose of “reconstruction” The Tragic Era noted: “…and a few weeks later, at the age of twenty six, he (Warmoth) was elected Governor. His enemies were soon to comment on his capacity to save one hundred thousand dollars a year on a salary of eight thousand dollars and to accumulate a million in four years.” Some of our modern politicians have probably taken a page or two from Warmoth’s political playbook. But why should anyone find this extraordinary? Isn’t this what the Carpetbaggers came south for in the first place?
Bowers went on to describe the legislature in session in Mechanics Hall in New Orleans under the reign of Warmoth. He observed: “It is a monkey house…with guffaws, disgusting interpolations, amendments offered that are too obscene to print…Bad in the beginning, the travesty grows worse. The vulgarity of the speeches increases; members stagger from the basement bar to their seats. The Speaker in righteous mood sternly forbids the introduction of liquor on the floor.” Bowers noted that corruption was inevitable and that some members who were openly charged with bribery were not even offended. The truth didn’t bother them much one way or the other.
Bowers informed his readers that: “Measures involving millions, many criminal, and having to do with railroads, canals, and levees are passed without examination and members vote vast sums into their pockets openly, defiantly. One outraged legislator, when confronted with his outright thievery, had the gall to respond with ‘What we give to the community is without money and without price. It is so valuable that the price may not be fixed–there is no standard’.” In other words, these political charlatans were out there doing so much good for the state of Louisiana that they should have been allowed to steal all they wanted as just compensation for their valiant efforts in behalf of the people of Louisiana! Do you now begin to wonder why Southerners hated, and still hate, “reconstruction” in spite of all the pious lies told to them by our current crop of Marxist “historians?”
Warmoth pretty much had the state in his back pocket at that point. Through his control of the managed media, the prostitute press, (yes folks, it was the same then as now) part of which he owned a share in, he “brought pressure to bear in favor of four measures intended to give him dictatorial power and prolong his reign. The Registration Bill made every parish registration official his minion, and gave them power to accept or reject votes without interference from the courts…The Election Bill superceded sheriffs on election day with Warmoth’s appointees, forbade the courts to interfere and authorized him to deny certificates of election to successful candidates as he saw fit…The Constabulary Bill authorized Warmoth to name a chief constable in each parish, who could name a deputy, and these were absolute. And the Militia Bill empowered him to organize and equip as many men as he wished and place one hundred thousand dollars at his disposal for the purpose.”
When oppressed Southerners protested to the legislature, rather angrily at times, Bowers noted that: “…behind the legislature was Warmoth, behind him his militia and constables; and behind them federal bayonets–and the laws went into operation.”
This all was a glowing example of the “hope and change” wrought by “reconstruction” not only in Louisiana but all over the South. It was a glowing testimony of the “transparency” of all the “reconstruction” governments. The compassionate concern for the people they were robbing blind was about on the same level as is the concern for us today that emanates from Washington in our current phase of “reconstruction.”
Is it any wonder that many of us think that “reconstruction” never really ended, but just continued on under more euphemistic titles–like multi-culturalism or diversity, or civil rights–all culturally Marxist ploys for what is really cultural genocide for the South.
“Reconstruction” is still alive and well today, not only in the South, but all across the country both in government schools at all levels, and elsewhere.