"The Power of Avenging Justice"

George Clemenceau

In the following excerpt George Clemenceau, a journalist from France, discusses the Radical Republicans and their policy of reconstruction. He argues that is it vital that freedmen have access to land and land ownership:

The real misfortune of the negro race is in owning no land of his [sic] own. There cannot be real emancipation for men who do not possess at least a small portion of the soil. We have had an example in Russia. In spite of the war, and the confiscation bills, which remain dead letters, every inch of land in the Southern states belongs to the former rebels. The population of free negroes has become a nomad population, congregated in the towns and suffering wretchedly there, destined to be driven back eventually by poverty into the country, where they will be forced to submit to the harshest terms imposed by their former masters. It would be too much to expect those masters of their own accord to conciliate the negroes by conceding them a little land in order to secure their cooperation. They are still too blinded by passion to see their own best interests.


Source: Excerpted from American Reconstruction 1865-1870 and the Impeachment of President Johnson by George Clemenceau. New York: The Dial Press, 1928.

Arguments for Confiscation
George Clemenceau
J. McKaye
Abolitionist Wendell Phillips
General Rufus Saxton
Radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens

History 122

HIST 122 Syllabus


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