|Other County Histories | Civil War | 1886 | 1913 Vol. 2 | 1916 | Depression ||
Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 1. History
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Almost a half of a century ago there was a memorable campaign waged by the democrats and liberal republicans. It was the result of the test oath prescribed by the so-called Drake Constitution of Missouri which was adopted in state convention on the 18th day of April, 1866, by a vote of thirty-eight to fourteen and which was to be presented to the voters for adoption on the 6th of June following. The campaign resulted in much bitterness. Although the war was practically over there yet remained remnants of bushwhacker organizations and the presence of these furnished cause for keeping bands of the regular volunteer militia in the field to preserve peace.
General Blair made a state-wide canvass and denounced the new constitution as unconstitutional, ex post facto and void with the Constitution of the United States, and scoring in bitter terms the extreme radicals of the state for the enactment of a measure that disfranchised some sixty thousand citizens. The excitement ran high throughout the state, and in some places attempts were made to break up the meetings of the people. At Louisiana, Missouri, open violence was threatened. General Blair, on taking the platform there first laid a brace of pistols before him and remarked that he understood there was to be some killing there that day, and that before commencing his speech he proposed to take a hand in it himself. There was no killing, and his speech proceeded without interruption.
General Blair's speech at Chillicothe was quite fully reported at the time for publication in the Missouri Republican. He began by remarking that "vital issues were involved as well as principles never before questioned since our first revolution, especially the right of free speech, as guaranteed by the American Constitution."
That "the efforts of the radical party in this state to stifle by violence a free and full exercise of the constitutional privilege of free speech was anti -republican, revolutionary and designed to perpetuate in power the hands of the radical party in this state."
Hundreds of honest old citizens were disfranchised by the third section and. denied the ballot in the decision of this great issue before the people, the issue being the adoption or rejection of an organic law which was to govern them and their children after them, generation after generation. On the part of the radicals it was alleged that had the Confederate armies been successful the law would become reactionary and no Union soldier or militiaman would be allowed a vote and if the threat made by General Price in the early sixties was put into execution the $250,000,000 worth of property belonging to the Federals of the state would be confiscated for the benefit of the loyal Confederates. In the whole state only 85,478 votes were polled at the election as follows: For the new constitution, 43,670; against, 41,808; majority for the new constitution, 1,862. Then on the 4th day of July following, the new constitution went into effect. The vote in Livingston county was 431 for and 155 against its adoption. Outside of Chillicothe only 36 votes were cast against it as follows: Chillicothe, 119;Springhill, 9; Grand River, 8; Mooresville, 7; Monroe, 5; Cream Ridge, 3; Blue Mound, 3; Greene, 1.The third section of the new constitution was as follows:
"At any election held by the people under this constitution, or in pursuance of any law of this State, or any ordinance or by-law of any municipal corporation, no person shall be deemed a qualified voter who has ever been in armed hostility to the United States, or to the lawful authorities thereof, or to the government of this state; or has ever given aid, comfort, countenance or support to persons engaged in any such hostility; or has ever, in any manner adhered to the enemies, foreign or domestic, of the United States, either by contributing to them, or by unlawfully sending within their lines money, goods, letters, or information, or has ever disloyally held communication with such enemies, or has ever advised or aided any person to enter the service of such enemies; or has ever, by act or word, manifested his adherence to the course of such enemies, or his desire for the triumph over the armies of the United States, or his sympathy with those engaged in exciting or carrying on rebellion against the United States; or has ever, except under overpowering compulsion, submitted to the authority, or been in the service of the so-called 'Confederate States of, America;' or has ever left this state, and gone within the lines of the armies of the so-called 'Confederate States of America' with the purpose of adhering to said states or armies, or has ever been a member of, or connected with, any order, society or organization inimical to the government of the United States, or to the government of this state; or has ever been engaged in guerilla warfare against loyal inhabitants of the United States, or in that description of marauding known as 'bushwhacking;.' or has ever knowingly or willingly harbored, aided or countenanced any persons so engaged; or has ever come into, or has ever left this state for the purpose of avoiding enrollment for, or draft into, the military service of the United States; or has ever, with a view to avoid enrollment in the militia of this state, or to escape the performance of duty therein, or for any other purpose, enrolled himself, or authorized himself to be enrolled, by or before any officer as 'disloyal' or as a 'southern sympathizer,' or in any other terms indicated his dissatisfaction to the Government of the United States in its contest with the rebellion, or his sympathy with those engaged in such rebellion; or ever having voted at any election by the people of this state, or in any other of the United States, or in any of their territories; or held office in this state or any other of the United States, or any of their territories; or under the United States shall hereafter have sought or received, under any claim of all alienage, the protection of any foreign government, through any consul or other officer thereof, in order to secure exemption from military duty in the militia of this state, or in the army of the United States. Nor shall any such person be capable of holding in this state any office of honor, trust, or profit under its authority; or of being any officer, councilman, director, trustee, or other manager of any corporation, public or private, now existing or hereafter established by its authority; or of acting as a professor or teacher in any educational institution, or in any common or other school; or of holding any real estate or any property in trust for the use of any church, religious society, or congregation.
"But the foregoing provisions in relation to acts done against the United States shall not apply to any person not a citizen thereof who shall have committed such acts while in the service of some foreign country at war with the United States, and who has since such acts been naturalized, or may hereafter be naturalized under the laws of the United States; and the oath of loyalty hereinafter prescribed, when taken by such person, shall be considered as taken in such sense."