The Union League of Texas

 



By July 18, 1871, Norris Wright Cuney was appointed president of the Galveston Union League.

 

Loyal League Catechism
 Version B

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THE POSITION
OF THE
Republican and Democratic Parties.

A DIALOGUE BETWEEN A WHITE REPUBLICAN AND A COLORED CITIZEN.

Published by the Union Republican Congressional Committee, Washington, D. C.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
THE MARTYR FOR LIBERTY.

The following is a dialogue between a newly enfranchised freedman and a sound Radical Republican. The new-made voter is seeking light upon the subject of his political duties, and his Radical friend gives him plain facts, and demonstrates clearly with which party he and all like him should act. It would be well for colored voters generally to seek out some tried Radical friend and question him upon all subjects about which they have any doubt. The dialogue is submitted with the hope that the facts set forth therein will remove doubts from the minds of many who have been unable to receive proper information upon the position in which they should stand at this time:

THE DIALOGUE.

Question. With which party should the colored man vote?

Answer. The Union Republican party.

Q. Why should the colored man vote with that party?

A. Because that party has made him free and given him the right to vote.

Q. Was Mr. Lincoln a Republican?

A. He was a Republican President.

Q. Are all the Republicans in favor of universal freedom?

A. They are.

Q. What is the difference between Radicals and Republicans?

A. There is none. The word Radical was applied to the Republican party by its enemies, and has been accepted by it.

Q. The Radicals and Republicans are then one and the same party?

A. They are, and they are all in favor of freedom and universal justice.

Q. What is the meaning of the word Radical as applied to political parties and politicians?

A. It means one who is in favor of going

 

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to the root of things; who is thoroughly in earnest; who desires that slavery should be abolished, that every disability connected therewith should be obliterated, not only from the national laws but from those of every State in the Union.

Q. Is Mr. Sumner a Republican?

A. He is and a Radical, so are Thad, Stevens, Senator Wilson, Judge Kelley, Gen. Butler, Speaker Colfax, Chief Justice Chase, and all other men who favor giving colored men their rights.

Q. To which party do the friends of the colored men in Congress belong?

A. To the Republican Party.

Q. What is a Democrat?

A. A member of that party which before the rebellion sustained every legislative act demanded by the slaveholders, such as the Fugitive Slave Law, and the attempt made to force slavery upon the Western Territories.

Q. What was the position of the Democratic Party during the war?

A. It opposed the war; declared Mr. Lincoln's management of it a failure; resisted every measure in Congress looking to emancipation, and denounced the Government for arming colored men as soldiers.

Q. What has that party done since the surrender of the rebels?

A. It has sustained Mr. Johnson in his efforts to restore your old masters to power in the country, and opposed every act for your benefit which the Republican Congress has adopted.

Q. Is it known by any other name?

A. It is also known as Conservative, Copperhead and rebel. Under each name it is still the same enemy of freedom and the rights of man.

Q. Would the Democrats make slaves of the colored people again if they could?

A. It is fair to presume they would, for they have opposed their freedom by every means in their power, and have always labored to extend slavery.

Q. Would Democrats allow colored men to vote?

A. No! They have always opposed it in Congress and in the various State Legislatures.

Q. Who abolished slavery in the District of Columbia?

A. A Republican Congress and Abraham Lincoln, a Republican President.

Q. Who freed the slaves in the South?

A. Abraham Lincoln, the Republican President, by proclamation.

Q. Who passed the Freedman's Bureau Bill?

A. A Republican Congress by more than a two-thirds vote over the veto of Andrew Johnson, the leader of the Democratic or Conservative party.

Q. Who gave us the Civil Rights Bill?

A. The same Republican Congress.

Q. What party gave us the right to vote?

A. The Republican party.

Q. What has the Democratic, Conservative or Copperhead party ever done for the colored people?

A. It has tried to keep them in slavery, and opposed giving them the benefit of the Freedmen's Bureau and Civil Rights Bills, and the right to vote.

Q. Why cannot colored men support the Democratic party.

A. Because that party would disfranchise them, and, if possible, return them to slavery--and certainly keep them in an inferior position before the law.

Q. With whom do the disloyal white men of the South desire the colored men to vote?

A. With the Democratic party.

Q. Would not the Democrats take away all the negroes' rights?

A. They would.

Q. Then why do they pretend to be the best friends of colored men?

A. Because they contend they are fitted only for slavery, or an inferior position, and are happier in either condition.

Q. How would it suit them to be served in the same manner?

A. They would not endure it. They call themselves a superior race of beings, and claim they are born your rulers.

Q. Why do they not do unto others as they would be done by?

A. Because they are devoid of principle, and destitute of all sense of justice where the colored man is concerned.

 

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Q. Do all white people belong to a party which would treat us in that way?

A. They do not. There are many who have stood up nobly for your rights, and who will aid you to the end; indeed, all true Republicans are such.

Q. To what party do the white people of the South belong?

A. The larger portion belong to the Democratic party.

Q. Are the slave-holders and the leaders of the rebellion members of that party?

A. They are, and would not regard you as having any right if they were in power.

Q. The colored men should then vote with the Republican or Radical party?

A. They should, and shun the Democratic party as they would the overseer's lash and the auction block.

Q. Has the Republican party ever deceived the colored people?

A. It has not. While the Democratic party has always been opposed to their freedom, their education, and their right to vote, the Republican party has always been their friend.

Q. To what party do the leading colored men belong?

A. Without exception they belong to the Republican party.

Q. What are the most prominent principles advocated by the Republican party?

A. Equal rights before the law and at the ballot box for all men without regard to race or color; that is, that every man shall have the same rights and liberties as any other man.

Q. Does not the Military Reconstruction Act secure to us these rights?

A. Yes, but you may yet be deprived of them if your enemies get into power.

Q. What would the people think if the colored men voted with the Democratic party?

A. The people of the North would think that they did not fully understand their own rights nor the duties devolving on them; and the people of the South would proudly say: "We have always told you that the negro did not wish to be free."

Q. What use has been made of the money which the colored people of the Southern States have paid as taxes?

A. It has been used to establish schools for white children; to pay the expenses of making and executing laws in which the colored men have had no voice, and in endeavoring to have the Supreme Court set aside the law which gives you the right to vote.

Q. What! are the Democrats using my own money to take away my rights?

A. They have always done so, and will continue to while they remain in power.

C. Can this be right?

A. It can not, but it is what you have always received, and such treatment as you will continue to receive from the Democratic party.

Q. Some people say that if we vote against the white people of the South it will make them our enemies and we will be destroyed. Is it so?

A. This will not be the case, because they will try to befriend you to secure your vote.

Q. But they say that we shall be discharged from work if we dare vote the Republican ticket. Will they do that?

A. You should remember that your labor is worth just as much to the man who employs you as his money is to you.

Q. You would advise us then to disregard these threats and vote with the Republican party?

A. Most certainly I would. Had you not rather suffer, or even starve to death, than to aid a party to reŽnslave you? Remember your former condition and avoid a return to chains and slavery--"Give me liberty or give me death."

Q. The white people South say that the Republicans of the North do not care for the colored men only so far as they can use them to continue in political power. Is that true?

A. It is not.

Q. What is the reason that several of the Northern States do not give us the right to vote?

A. Chiefly because they have in the past been controlled by the Democratic party. In the Western States where what are called the "Black Laws" exist, which

 

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forbid colored people to live there, there are large bodies of whites who moved originally from the slave States, and carried the hatred and prejudices of slavery with them.

Q. What has the Republican party done, in those States about such laws?

A. Tried to abolish them as fast as it obtained power. It publiciy advocates their repeal.

Q. Well, I am satisfied. You have clearly shown me my duty, and I shall impart the information to my people.

A. Let me say to you further, that the Democratic party will use all means to get the colored people to put it in power again, but you must remember what has been its past record, and see to it that you do not trust it in the future. In order that you may work to the best advantage for the success of the party which has been and still is your true friend, you should have an organization, or association, where you can bring together your people, and such white men as belong to the Republican party. You want to be so organized that you will act as one man, lest your enemy gain the victory You should organize Union Leagues and Republican Clubs. Here is a Constitution for a Union Republican Club. You can take this and call together some of your Republican friends, have them sign it, and elect the officers provided therein. Then hold a meeting once in each week, talk these matters over, read newspapers and take such measures as will result in conveying to every colored man the correct view of his duties at this time. This is the Constitution of which I speak:

{CONSTITUTION.

ARTICLE I.

NAME.

This Club shall be known as the Union Republican Club of--, (name of town,) county of--, State of --.

ARTICLE II.

This Club is organized for the purpose of advancing the interests of the Union Republican party in this State and throughout the nation. It will strive to elevate labor, educate the ignorant, and sustain the cause of universal justice.

ARTICLE III.

OFFICERS.

The officers of this Club shall be a President, two Vice Presidents, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and an Executive Committee of five members. The above named officers shall be elected at the first meeting in January and July in each year, and they shall hold over until their successors are duly elected and qualified.

ARTICLE IV.

DUTIES OF OFFICERS.

The officers of this Club shall perform the duties required of similar officers by ordinary parliamentary usage. The Executive Committee shall prepare business for the meetings of the Club and make such arrangements as shall secure a good attendance. They shall also make such efforts as may be in their power to make the meetings interesting and profitable.

ARTICLE V.

QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERS.

The only qualifications necessary to become a member of this Club should be a good moral character and an expressed determination to support the principles of the Union Republican party.

ARTICLE VI.

REVENUE.

The expenses of this Club shall be defrayed by voluntary contributions from among the members and others.

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