Democratic Nomination


 "It Don't Cover the Case, Governor."
  Cartoonist:  George Colt
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   September 2, 1876, p. 719

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
Cartoonist George Colt mocks New York Governor Samuel Tilden's letter of acceptance, characterizing the Democratic presidential nominee's views as "financial mysticism" and "political sophistry." The cartoon's main point is to expose the conceit that Tilden's words could paper over violence against blacks, which white Southern Democrats encourage, support, and perpetrate.

As military forces gradually withdrew from the South and as Northern support of Reconstruction waned, Democratic, white-only, "Redeemer" governments gained power throughout the South. In 1876 South Carolina was one of the three remaining states that had not undergone "redemption," and which still had federal troops present. The Democratic party in the state was divided and racial tensions were high.

In July 1876 two white farmers exchanged heated words with a black militia in the predominately black town of Hamburg, South Carolina. The white men brought in reinforcements, igniting a race riot. Twenty-five blacks were captured, with five of them subsequently murdered, and the property of the black townspeople was ransacked. One white man was killed.

Within South Carolina, the incident strengthened the Redeemer faction of the Democratic party, which would win the fall elections. Nationally, the Hamburg Massacre became a symbol of the anti-black, anti-Reconstruction violence of some Southern Democrats. Seven white men were indicted for murder, but the case was dropped after the Redeemers assumed office.













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