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RESOLUTION

Declaring the admission of the State of Alabama into the Union.

WHEREAS, In pursuance of an act of congress, passed on the second day of March, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen, entitled "An act to enable the people of the Alabama territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union, on an equal footing with the original states," the people of the said territory did, on the second day of August, in the present year, by a convention called for that purpose, form for themselves a constitution and state government, which constitution and state government, so formed, is republican, and in conformity to the principles of the articles of compact between the original states and the people and states in the territory northwest of the river Ohio, passed on the thirteenth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, so far as the same have been extended to the said territory by the articles of agreement between the United States and the state of Georgia: Resolved by the senate and house of representatives of the United States of America in congress assembled, That the state of Alabama shall be one, and is hereby declared to be one, of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original states, in all respects whatever. Approved December 14, 1819.

(3 U. S. Stats. at Large, 608.)

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To provide for the more efficient government of the rebel states. Whereas, No legal state governments or adequate protection for life or property now exists in the rebel states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina

, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Arkansas ; And whereas, it is necessary that peace and good order should be enforced in said states until loyal and republican state governments can be legally established; Therefore,

Be it enacted by the senate and house of representatives of the United States of America in congress assembled, That said rebel states shall be divided into military districts and made subject to the military authorits of the United States as hereinafter prescribed; and for that purpose

Virginia shall constitute the first district; North Carolina and South Carolina the second district; Georgia, Alabama and Florida the third district; Mississippi and Arkansas the fourth district; and Louisiana and Texas the fifth district.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the president to assign to the command of each of said districts an officer of the army not below the rank of brigadier-general, and to detail a sufficient military force to enable such officer to perform his duties and enforce his authority within the district to which he is assigned.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of each officer assigned as aforesaid to protect all persons in their rights of person and property, to suppress insurrection, disorder, and violence, and to punish, or cause to be punished, all disturbers of the public peace and criminals, and to this end he may allow local civil tribunals to take jurisdiction of and try offenders, or, when in his judgment it may be necessary for the trial of offenders, he shall have power to organize military commissions or tribunals for that purpose, and all interference, under color of state authority, with the exercise of military authority under this act, shall be null and void.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That all persons put under military arrest by virtue of this act shall be tried without unnecessary delay, and no cruel or unusual punishment shall be inflicted; and no sentence of any military commission or tribunal hereby authorized, affecting the life or liberty of any person, shall be executed until it is approved by the officer in command of the district and the laws and regulations for the government of the army shall not be affected by this act, except in so far as they conflict with its provisions; Provided, That no sentence of death, under the provisions of this act, shall be carried into effect without the approval of the president.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That when the people of any one of said rebel states shall have formed a constitution of government in conformity with the constitution of the United States in all respects, framed by a convention of delegates elected by the male citizens of said state twenty-one years old and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, who have been resident in said state for one year previous to the day of such election, except such as may be disfranchised for participation in the rebellion, or for felony at common law; and when such constitution shall provide that the elective franchise shall be enjoyed by all such persons as have the qualifications herein stated for electors of delegates; and when such constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the persons voting on the question of ratification who are qualified as electors for delegates; and when such constitution shall have been submitted to congress for examination and approval, and congress shall have approved the same; and when said state, by a vote of its legislature elected under said constitution, shall have adopted the amendment to the constitution of the United States proposed by the thirty-ninth congress, and known as article fourteen;

and when said article shall have become a part of the constitution of the United States, said state shall be declared entitled to representation in congress, and senators and representatives shall be admitted therefrom on their taking the oath prescribed by law; and then and thereafter the preceding sections of this act shall be inoperative in said state; Prorided, that no person excluded from the privilege of holding office by said proposed amendment to the constitution of the United States shall be eligible to election as a member of the convention to frame a constitution for any of said rebel states, nor shall any such person vote for members of such convention.

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That until the people of said rebel states shall be by law admitted to representation in the congress of the United States, any civil government which may exist therein shall be deemed provisional only, and in all respects subject to the paramount authority of the United States at any time to abolish, modify, control, or supersede the same; and in all elections to any office under such provisional governments all persons shall be entitled to vote, and none others, who are entitled to vote under the fifth section of this act; and no person shall be eligible to any office under any such provisional governments who would be disqualified from holding office under the provisions of the third article of said constitutional amendment.

SCHUYLER COLFAX, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

LA FAYETTE S. FOSTER, President of the Senate pro tempore.

VETO OF RECONSTRUCTION BILL.

WASHINGTON, March 2, 1867. To the House of Representatives:

I have examined the bill “to provide for the more efficent government of the Rebel States" with the care and anxiety which its transcendent importance is calculated to awaken. I am unable to give it my assent for reasons so grave that I hope a statement of them may have some influence on the minds of the patriotic and enlightened men with whom the decision must ultimately rest.

The bill places all the people of the ten states therein named under the absolute domination of military rulers; and the preamble undertakes to give the reason upon which the measure is based and the ground upon which it is justified. It declares that there exists in those states no legal governments and no adequate protection for life

or property, and asserts the necessity of enforcing peace and good order within their limits. Is this true as matter of fact?

It is not denied that the states in question have each of them an actual government, with all the powers-executive, legislative, and judicial—which properly belongs to a free state. They are organized like other states of the Union, and, like them, they make, administer, and execute the laws which concern their domestic affairs. An existing de facto government, exercising such functions as these, is itself the law of the state upon all matter within its jurisdiction. To pronounce the supreme law-making power of an established state illegal is to say that law itself is unlawful.

The provisions which these governments have made for the preservation of order, the suppression of crime, and the redress of private injuries, are in substance and principle the same as those which prevail in the Northern States and in other civilized countries. They certainly have not succeeded in preventing the commission of all crime, nor has this been accomplished anywhere in the world. There, as well as elsewhere, offenders sometime escape for want of vigorous prosecution, and occasionally, perhaps, by the inefficiency of courts or the prejudice of jurors. It is undoubtedly true that these evils have been much increased and aggravated, North and South, by the demoralizing influence of civil war and by the rancorous passions which the contest has engendered. But that these people are maintaining local governments for themselves which habitually defeat the object of all government and render their own lives and property insecure is in itself utterly improbable, and the averment of the bill to that effect is not supported by any evidence which has come to my knowledge. All the information that I have on the subject convinces me that the masses of the Southern people and those who control their public acts, while they entertain diverse opinions on questions of federal policy, are completely united in the effort to reorganize their society on the basis of peace and to restore their mutual prosperity as rapidly and as completely as their circumstances will permit.

The bill, however, would seem to show on its face, that the establishment of peace and good order is not its real object. The fifth section declares that the preceding sections shall cease to operate in any state where certain events shall have happened. These events are, first, the selections of delegates to a state convention by an election at which negroes shall be allowed to vote; second, the formation of a state constitution by a convention so chosen; third, the insertion into the state constitution of a provision which will secure the right of voting at all elections to negroes and to such white men as may not be disfranchised for rebellion or felony; fourth, the submission of the constitution for ratification to negroes and white men not disfranchised, and its actual ratification by their vote; fifth, the submission of the state constitution to congress for examination and approval, and the actual approval of it by that body; sixth, the adoption of a

certain amendment to the federal constitution by a vote of the legislature elected under the new constitution; seventh, the adoption of said amendment by a sufficient number of other states to make it a part of the constitution of the United States. All these conditions must be fulfilled before the people of any of these states can be relieved from the bondage of military domination; but when they are fulfilled, then immediately the pains and penalties of the bill are to cease, no matter whether there be peace and order or not, and without any reference to the security of life and property. The excuse given for the bill in the preamble is admitted by the bill itself not to be real. The military rule which it establishes is plainly to be used, not, for any purpose of order or for the prevention of crime, but solely as a means of coercing the people into the adoption of principles and measures to which it is known that they are opposed, and upon which they have an undeniable right to exercise their own judgment.

I submit to congress whether this measure is not in its whole character, scope, and object without precedent and without authority, in palpable conflict with the plainest provisions of the constitution, and utterly destructive to those principles of liberty and humanity for which our ancestors on both sides of the Atlantic have shed so much blood and expended so much treasure.

The ten states named in the bill are divided into five districts. For each district an officer of the army, not below the rank of a brigadiergeneral, is to be appointed to rule over the people; and he is to be supported with an efficient military force to enable him to perform his duties and enforce his authority. Those duties and that authority, as defined by the third section of the bill, are “to protect all persons in their rights of person and property, to suppress insurrection, disorder, and violence, and to punish or cause to be punished all disturbers of the public peace or criminals.” The power thus given to the commanding officer over all the people of each district is that of an absolute monarch. His mere will is to take the place of all law. The law of the states is now the only rule applicable to the subjects placed under his control, and that is completely displaced by the clause which declares all interference of state authority to be null and void. He alone is permitted to determine what are rights of person or property, and he may protect them in such way as to his judgment may seen proper, It places at his free disposal all the lands and goods in his district

, and he may distribute them without let or hindrance to whom he pleases. Being bound by no state law, and there being no other law to regulate the subject, he may make a criminal code of his own; and he can make it as bloody as any recorded in history, or he can reserve the privilege of acting upon the impulse of his private passions in each case that arises. He is bound by no rules of evidence; there is, indeed, no provision by which he is authorized or required to take any evidence at all. Everything is a crime which he chooses to

SO, and all persons are condemned which he pronounces to be

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