Edward N. Akin


With the end of Reconstruction in 1876, the national Republican party abandoned the blacks of the South to state governments controlled by native southern whites. This traditional textbook interpretation of the plight of blacks in the Bourbon South rested on two implicit assumptions: the black was dependent on national Republicanism for protection; and, with the end of this protective system, blacks ceased to be a viable independent political element.1 When blacks did vote during the Bourbon era, they were pictured as sheep being led by conservative whites. An example of this voting behavior in an urban setting is recounted in a recent study of Augusta, Georgia, during this period. The author graphically describes the “boozed and bought” Negroes doing the bidding of the white conservative “ring” on election day.