||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Sunday, July 10, 2011
What If: Reconstruction worked in Louisiana
In this what-if, Governor Henry Clay Warmoth in Louisiana is like Governor Edmund Davis in Texas. Warmoth prepares in advance. He stacks Louisiana's courts with politically-active blacks and pro-Union Southerners. He corresponds closely with Texans like Davis about the Red River and the Gulf. He recruits outside his state for his national-guard. He grooms Kellogg as his successor.
Kellogg's election (or not) is equally chaotic and the Radicals still take the Colfax courthouse in 1873, but this time Warmoth has prepared Kellogg's response. Reconstruction loyalists arrive at Colfax on Easter weekend to smash the white militia; or (perhaps more likely) soon enough to catch those involved on their merry way home. Kellogg waves the bloody shirt and buys more time from the North. Louisiana and Mississippi go decidedly for Hayes in 1876, requiring no dispute over the Electoral College. Louisianans retain their confidence that Reconstruction is still in force for a few more years yet.
I expect that blacks in Texas (under Coke) and in Arkansas would flee their states toward their southeastern neighbour. Louisianan "Redeemer" whites would slip away north and west. Louisiana then becomes a black-majority and black-power state.
Could this process happen without "incidents" much like those of Colfax and Coushatta? Would Louisiana go more like Barbados? like Rhodesia? or more like Haiti, Angola, Mozambique, and now South Africa? I know Louisianans today; I know the answer to this question. Black Louisianans then were no better.
Here're some more serious questions. What happens to Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina (I assume that blacks flock hither from the states to their north, too)? What do Northerners think when they watch this process play out?
Would this process have been more likely to create the most aggregate happiness for the most people, than did the Redemption process?
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