The whipping of Richard Moore: reading emotion in reconstruction America.
The whipping of Richard Moore was in many ways an unexceptional event in the context of Reconstruction. That it occurred in a rural hamlet of Lincoln County, Tennessee--a state whose early and truncated Reconstruction experience has led historians to focus on other regions in the South and underplay the state's significance--might remove this incident even further from the agenda of historical study. Within Tennessee, where the rural phenomenon of Ku Klux violence first emerged, many more prominent incidents of violence existed--from the Memphis riot of 1866 to the assassination of State Senator Case in 1867 and an epidemic of hate crime murders in 1868. (2) But I want to argue that the significance of this incident lies in its very ordinariness. The whipping of Richard Moore was not, as was the Memphis Riot of 1866, a bloody rupture in the fabric of society--it was a common occurrence in the rural heartlands of the postwar South, and one that captured a full measure of the emotional forces that at the time w ere shaping the contours of a post-emancipation society. Moreover, I want to argue that the historian of Reconstruction can only hope to deal sufficiently with the genetic and emotional character of events through a close examination of a localized incident, such as the whipping of Richard Moore. As Clifford Ceertz remarked nearly thirty years ago, "small facts speak to large issues," and, as we shall see, the narrators of Richard Moore's whipping thoroughly demonstrate this point in their conflation of seemingly trivial, everyday occurrences with constructions of a broader meaning. (3) In the contested and politicized narratives of this single event we find refracted an entire universe of Reconstruction politics and the emotional forces behind them.
Before engaging the narrative accounts of the whipping of Richard Moore, the event needs to be positioned briefly in local, state, and federal contexts. At the national level, passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866 promised civic equality before the law and empowered the federal government to protect the rights of all citizens regardless of race. This was followed by the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which divided the former Confederate states--with the exception of Tennessee--into five military districts and set out a program to reconstitute state governments and provide for universal manhood suffrage, while stopping short of any redistribution of land or wealth to former slaves. Radicals in Congress made readmission to the Union for former Confederate states conditional on their ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, which tacitly required the extension of the franchise to African American men. Republican lawmakers, many of whom were agnostic on civic issues relating to the freedmen, were buoyed by a growing public disgust in the North at the recalcitrance of Southern states. Despite their private misgivings, the Republican leadership were determined to ride to victory in the congressional and presidential elections of 1868 on a ticket of liberal rights for all men. (4)
Exceptional circumstances in Tennessee had led to the state being the first to enter a period of Reconstruction. The apparatus of state government had been in Union hands since early 1862, and Tennessee avoided the draconian Black Codes that other Southern states enacted in 1866 to curtail the freedom of newly liberated slaves. Instead, William G. Brownlow's Radical Republican government, appointed by departing military governor Andrew Johnson in January 1865, had moved quickly to secure its position by officially emancipating slaves, ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment, and disfranchising with increasing severity former Confederate sympathizers. In his post-inauguration message, Brownlow pledged protection for the freedmen from "those who fought to perpetuate slavery" and who would "show the emancipated slave no quarter." (5) But Brownlow's hard line reflected a penchant for partisan demagoguery; his promises to the freedmen were largely disingenuous and belied a personal antipathy toward African Americans. I n his message to the Assembly that ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, Brownlow noted that black enfranchisement did not "suit my natural prejudices of caste." (6) Nonetheless as one legal historian has remarked, Tennessee "remained unusually solicitous of black rights among Southern states"--free blacks in Tennessee had held the franchise from 1796 through 1834, and the logic of Tennessee's relatively moderate institutional racism, together with Brownlow's desire to impress Republicans in Washington D.C., as well as to shore up his domestic support, led to the enfranchisement of black males in February 1867. That this was initially more an act of political expediency than racial egalitarianism was made clear by the explicit denial to blacks in the franchise bill of the privileges of sitting on juries and holding public office (though petitions from Freedmen got these restrictions lifted in 1868). (7) Once black males were enfranchised, Union League organizers coordinated the political participation of freedme n, giving Brownlow an emphatic reelection victory in August 1867, the first election in which freedmen voted. (8)
Because of its increasing dependence upon the black vote, the Brownlow regime lacked any legitimacy in the eyes of the majority of whites outside of the Republican stronghold of East Tennessee. In fact, under a revised franchise law of April 1866 it had become increasingly difficult for Conservative whites to prove their wartime loyalty and get a certificate of registration to vote from Brownlow-appointed election commissioners. Moreover, any individual who had voluntarily fought against the United States was permanently disfranchised. (9) Under these circumstances, with freedmen boldly exercising their new freedoms to vote, to move about at will and to sell their labor at competitive rates, the racist attitudes of many whites (who had failed in their efforts to court the black vote in the 1867 state elections) hardened and emerged in new forms of subjugation. Terrorist groups, some of which were associated with the loosely organized cabals of the counter-revolutionary Ku Klux Klan, increased their attacks on African Americans and their white Republican allies and through a general rural anarchy challenged the Republican Party's ability to rule. In July 1868, Brownlow called the state legislature back into special session and urged that Assemblymen renew an act calling up the state militia and pass punitive legislation against the nightriders. (10) The Assembly, in turn, set up a Joint Military Committee that began holding public hearings addressing Ku Klux violence--including the testimony of victims such as Richard Moore. In the summer of 1868, then, political contestation over the Reconstruction project at the national level had reached its zenith and in Tennessee had arrived at a critical juncture. Tennesseans of all political stripes agreed that a state of acute civic crisis existed in the state and especially in the rural counties of Middle Tennessee. (11)
Lincoln County--Richard Moore's birthplace (12) and the scene of his assault in 1868--had been spared from much of the devastation visited upon the region during the Civil War. The local economy--a mixture of corn, wheat, and fruit production, with some livestock--recovered with surprising speed and although the first postwar harvests were short, neither black nor white residents seem to have suffered undue privation during the years of Reconstruction. (13) Nonetheless Lincoln County was a typically hostile environment for the freedmen and women of Middle Tennessee. In the early postwar years freedmen organized to advance their political rights, joining Union Leagues and attending meetings of the Republican Party, but Conservative whites often stymied their efforts. For example, in 1865, shortly after Congress established the Freedmen's Bureau, over one thousand freedmen petitioned the Bureau to appoint as Lincoln County agent a local man who had proven himself sympathetic to their needs. (14) Influential whi tes blocked the nomination, however, and the Bureau made an appointment that pleased the Conservatives. (15) Consequently, the role of the Freedmen's Bureau in Lincoln County was limited to overseeing the negotiation of employment contracts, and almost no progress occurred in other areas--such as establishing freedmen schools and in securing the civil and political rights of freedmen in local courts. (16)
State Senator William Wyatt, one of a handful of leading citizens in Lincoln County who had opposed the secessionist tide, now stood almost alone in engaging in a genuine effort to reconstruct society on more egalitarian terms. He lived in the same rural neighborhood as Richard Moore and, as we will see, Senator Wyatt was likely the one who took the victim's story to Nashville and arranged for his testimony before the Joint Military Committee of the State Assembly. A farmer and self-educated schoolteacher (he had run for many years the largest school in Lincoln County) Wyatt also served as an elder in the anti-slavery wing of the Reform Presbyterian Church. As early as 1833, members of Wyatt's church had migrated from Lincoln County to Cedarville north of the Ohio River to escape the moral ambiguities of slavery. During the Civil War, the Reverend Dr. James C. Wyatt, William Wyatt's son, volunteered for the New York Highlanders, while his father was entrusted to Tennessee's military governor Andrew Johnson as a "good Union man." After the war, William Wyatt donated land for the establishment of an African American church and after his election as state senator in 1867 was devoted to the Radical Republican program in Nashville. (17)
Despite the efforts of Senator Wyatt, however, most whites in Lincoln County had supported the Confederate cause. (18) Indeed, Calaway G. Tucker and Allen L. Anderson, two men named by Richard Moore as his leading assailants, were both local landowners and veterans of the "Swan Creek Guards," a Lincoln County unit of the 32nd Tennessee Confederate infantry. (19) Men like Captain Tucker took issue with every aspect of the new social world that Radical Republicans in Nashville and Washington seemed determined to secure. As Stephen Ash has observed, whites throughout Middle Tennessee bristled at assertions of black independence, insisted on treating freedmen as they had treated slaves, persisted in their conviction of black inferiority, and withdrew from the paternalistic arrangements of slavery that had provided a measure of support to the black family in an otherwise brutally exploitative world. (20) The editor of the Fayetteville Observer, Lincoln County's leading Conservative newspaper, spoke for many local whites in declaring that "if the negro is entitled to vote, he is certainly entitled to hold public office. We maintain that he is entitled to neither." (21) In effect, the maintenance of white supremacy became the social and political goal for most whites. Without access to the franchise, many whites found that the Ku Klux, gangs of disguised white terrorists who first emerged after the war in neighboring Pulaski, Tennessee, gave hopeful expression to their anti-Republican sentiments. In 1867 a chapter of the Pulaski Klan became active in Lincoln County.
Although the catalog of violence in Lincoln County in 1867-1868 suggests at times explicitly political motives in the choice of victims, much of that violence seems personally driven and while encouraged by newspaper editors (and doubtless other community leaders) appears to lack coordination. (22) Regardless, the overall effect was chilling: by February 1868 the situation in Lincoln was so serious that agents of the Freedmen's Bureau were unwilling to risk injury by visiting the county to investigate reports of Klan atrocities. (23) At about the same time, the county Sheriff resigned his office after his house was searched by the nightriders. In the March county elections an elector was shot and wounded in the court house as he cast a ballot. Shortly thereafter, Senator William Wyatt was taken forcibly from his home and assaulted by a gang of 40-50 Ku Klux. In the face of threats and intimidation, freedmen and Republican whites began to abandon their crops and leave the county, heading to Nashville for their own protection. (24) It was in this context, then, that the whipping of Richard Moore occurred.
The sources relating to the whipping of Richard Moore tell conflicting stories that cannot easily be reconciled. Moreover, the incident and the subsequent commentary about the incident (including my own) are inseparably bound, making up a compound event of action, narrative, and primary and secondary interpretation. (25) What I attempt to do here is to provide a partial reconstruction of the event from two polarized perspectives: the perspective of Richard Moore and his Republican Party supporters, and that of Moore's assailants and their supporters in the Conservative press. Before Moore testified, accounts of the incident had quickly appeared in two newspapers. First, on 3 August, the Nashville correspondent of the Radical Cincinnati Gazette, a paper that did not ordinarily publish crime reports from rural counties in Middle Tennessee, filed a story of the whipping under the headline "More Outrages by the Ku-Klux Democracy." Ten days later, the conservative editor of the Fayetteville Observer in Lincoln Cou nty, under the title "A Whipped Negro," published a rebuttal of the Cincinnati account. And then, on 18 August, the victim of the assault testified in Nashville before the Joint Military Committee of the Assembly. On 2 September, the Assembly published an account of Richard Moore's testimony as part of the Joint Military Committee's final report, which was distributed nationally and presented by a delegation of Tennessee legislators to President Johnson in Washington, D.C. (26) The Tennessee General Assembly published five thousand copies of the report; many newspapers picked it up, including the New York Times on 13 October 1868.
The Cincinnati Gazette, which in effect broke the story of the whipping, had for many years presented a Republican critique of the South and now carried an abolitionist fervor into the postwar world. (27) Like most nineteenth-century newspapers, the Gazette was unashamedly partisan in supporting the legislative program of Radical Republicans in Congress. (28) Throughout the spring and summer of 1868, as national political coverage focused on the presidential nominating conventions of the two major parties, the Gazette reported on the political situation in southern states and paid particular attention to affairs in Tennessee. The paper's Nashville correspondent filed a succession of stories (at least fourteen were published during July 1868 alone) that reported on incidents of Ku Klux violence in Tennessee and the efforts of the Radicals to combat the terror. (29) On 11 July the paper noted that "accounts of the atrocities committed by the Klan in Lincoln and Marshall counties come up daily and would fill col umns of the Gazette." (30) In a dispatch on 15 July the Nashville correspondent spelled out his belief about the origins and intentions of the Ku Klux and the threat that the insurgency posed to the reunited Republic:
The present condition of things in the State is too bad to be endured.... Many months since a secret society was organized in Giles County, called the Ku-Klux Klan. They always appeared in the dead hours of night, and in deep disguise. For some time they claimed that the society had no other object than mere sport, but it soon became apparent that it was a military organization made up chiefly of discharged Confederate soldiers, and that its object was revolution. During the pendency of the trial of Andrew Johnson, the operations of this secret rebel army were suspended, but on the very day his acquittal was announced their depredations were resumed, and with increased vigor. It is now a fact ... thousands of young men in Middle and West Tennessee have organized themselves into a secret military force, for the purposes of overthrowing liberty in this State. (31)
In referring to the Ku Klux as a "secret military force," the Gazette's correspondent drew direct parallels between incidents of postwar violence, the Confederate war effort, and antidemocraric secret societies. This analysis fit neatly with the Gazette's position on the Democratic Party, whose leaders, the paper editorialized, "oppose reconstruction; seek to regain power in order that they may use it to destroy liberty; and undo the work which the war accomplished." (32) The coordination of localized acts of terror with the turn of national events smacked of conspiracy, implying that the threat could spread to other states. The Gazette was thus determined to exploit the bad publicity generated by Ku Klux violence in order to demonize a conspiratorial Democratic Party and, at the same time, press the Republican Party's cause. It was in this context that the paper noted on 4 August the attack on Richard Moore. "Last Thursday night," the short report ran,
the Ku-Klux Democracy in Lincoln County, six miles from Fayetteville, took a discharged colored soldier named Richard Moore and whipped him until life was nearly extinct. His sole offense was that he has been a Federal soldier. In the same neighborhood early last week another colored man was hung up by the neck until he was nearly dead, in order to make him tell where his arms were, which they had commanded him to deliver up. These facts have been communicated by a gentleman from Lincoln County whose word can not be impeached. (33)
In this account of the whipping, which is quoted in full, Richard Moore, though "colored," was clearly identified by the Gazette as "one of us." In an act of what Lynn Hunt has termed "imagined empathy," the Gazette implicitly included Moore in its community of loyal unionists. (34) Moore was not described as a former slave or even a freedman, but as a "discharged soldier," a veteran, whose only offense to Southern whites was to have served the Union cause. The victim was contrasted with the oppositional presence of the "Ku-Klux Democracy," a designation that again underscored the paper's belief that isolated incidents of violence were part of a coordinated campaign of insurrection. This inference was made explicit for the reader in the comparison of the Moore whipping with another assault "in the same neighborhood" only a few days prior. Here the purpose of the assault was not to injure a faithful servant of the Union but to gain possession of any weapons that blacks could use in self-defense. The paper warn ed its readers against former rebels whom it believed were actively campaigning to intimidate and disarm loyal citizens of the Republic in order to continue the Confederate cause of state autonomy and white supremacy.
The Cincinnati Gazette's report on the whipping drew a rapid-fire response from the main newspaper in Lincoln County. "There is more truth in [the Gazette's] statement than usually characterizes [their] articles," the editor of the Fayetteville Observer allowed sarcastically on 13 August in an editorial riposte.
"Richard Moore was whipped by some unknown persons," the Observer thundered, "though not unmercifully, and not for being a Federal soldier, for he never was one, but for conduct that would have brought the same or worse punishment to a white man." The paper continued:
While a slave Dick was recognized as a bad Negro. Since emancipation, he has gone "from bad to worse," adding insult and abuse to his other faults, and obtrusively boasting that "no d--d white man should run over him," he "had been at the bottom, but was now a top rail," etc. No notice was taken of his course, until his outrages culminated in a wanton defamation of the character of a respectable white lady. Then they "went for him."
Clearly, the Observer resented the intrusion of the northern press into the domestic affairs of Lincoln County. What the Gazette had portrayed as a heinous assault on a Union veteran by recalcitrant rebels, the Observer saw as a deserved whipping of a bad man, a former slave. Richard Moore was not a citizen, the Observer implied, he was our Negro, "Dick"--a rebellious and contentious wretch of a man who had outraged white sensibilities to such an extent that self-appointed guardians of social morality were justified in disciplining him. The Observer's deft reduction of Moore from deserving veteran to social miscreant was matched by its redefinition of his assailants from "Ku-Klux" conspirators to "unknown persons. "To possess inside information on Ku Klux activities, while affecting ignorance about Klan personnel, was a standard disclaimer among white newspaper editors. (36) The use of quotation marks in the story--"from bad to worse," "went for him"--suggests also that the editor had received a first-hand ac count of the incident from an assailant, or was himself an eyewitness to or participant in the beating. Or perhaps it was merely a rhetorical ploy to lend authenticity to the account while distancing the white community from responsibility for the beating. In any case, as the Observer revealed in its tacit endorsement of the attack on Richard Moore, the activities of the Ku Klux attracted wide support from within the white community even if their actions violated the law. Earlier in the year, in remarking on the presence of the Ku Klux during the county elections, the Observer had intentionally fueled their mystique and justified its existence as a response to government tyranny. "Can it be," the paper asked rhetorically, "that the salvation and restoration of the blighted South is thus in process of silent mysterious demonstration?" before answering, "we admit illusion in nothing that portends hope." Finally the paper advised its readers to register their suffering metaphorically: "Freshen the blood-sign upo n your door post so that the avenger may pass." (37)
These two newspaper accounts of the whipping diverge so widely that they scarcely seem to represent the same event. They illustrate dramatically conflicting visions of postwar society and the highly politicized context in which news was presented in the presidential election year of 1868. (38) Our third source, Richard Moore's testimony, adds much additional detail (see Appendix One), but is clearly a mediated account of Moore's actual deposition. The published account of Moore's testimony begins with a third-person description of the victim ("he is 22 years of age ...") and moves seamlessly through an omniscient description of the Ku Klux presence in Lincoln County ("there is an organization of masked men...") to a first person description of the assault ("They told me ..."). The text is not, it seems, a transcript of an illiterate farmhand's testimony but rather an edited and rewritten account that focuses on the key details from the picture that Republican investigators imagined. This picture had three ess ential features: the certifiable existence of "this Klan;" the motive for the assault being that Moore "was with the Union army during the late war"; and the partisan political purpose of intimidating blacks and suppressing the Republican vote. The testimony closes with a clincher: all of Moore's assailants were "rebels, [and] are for Seymour and Blair," the Democratic Party's presidential ticket in the 1868 election.
Taken together, what do these three texts--the victim's testimony and the newspaper reports--reveal about the emotive forces behind the narrative constructions of the event? A social theory of emotions is useful here in understanding the forces behind the collision of competing interests in events, which then structures the narrative frames used by commentators to describe what happened. (39) In the aftermath of the Civil War, the contexts of social life in southern states and political affairs on local, state, and national levels were a cocktail of extraordinary emotional intensity. For Richard Moore and other African Americans, fear and hardship went hand-in-hand with jubilant expectations of what freedom might bring; with a sense of social and political empowerment; and with the hope that their families and communities could live without the interference or control of whites. For the editor of the Fayetteville Observer and other vanquished Confederate sympathizers, emotions were charged with the lingering traumas of war, occupation, and defeat; by the struggle to reestablish livelihoods amidst social dislocation; by the fears and hostilities aroused by the liberation of African Americans; and by the U.S. Congress's liberal conception of civil rights and its ambitious efforts to force an interracial democracy on southern states as a precondition for readmission to the Union. For white Republicans like Senator William Wyatt, his Radical colleagues in Nashville, and the reporters and editors of the Cincinnati Gazette, reactions to challenges to their authority and efforts to undermine the legislative fruits of a hugely sacrificial war were angry and vengeful. The visceral emotions of both sides, then, fed directly into hundreds of violent encounters in Middle Tennessee between competing social groups in the summer of 1868. A social theory of emotions encourages us to situate violent events and the narratives about violence within a wider cultural and emotional setting. Particular details of the event, including r hetorical or metaphorical devices, can then suggest the emotive drives behind the actions of individual participants.
Emotions encapsulated within and aroused by the whipping of Richard Moore contained heavy doses of anger, frustration, and moral indignation. The psychological term "hot cognition" helps explain how the feelings aroused by the whipping then framed the adversarial nature of the narratives that commentators constructed to explain and justify the event. "Hot cognition" (the term is Robert B. Zajonc's) refers to the perception of an event through a template of prior expectations and is seen by political scientist William A. Gamson to be the primary factor in the construction of political meaning. (40) Gamson argues that there are three general types of interpretive frames used in the construction of meaning that together make up a narrative: injustice frames (a sense of righteous anger that is driven by hot cognition); adversarial frames (a sense that the issues pit "us" against "them"); and supportive frames (a sense that change is possible through collective action). (41) Injustice, Gamson argues, is the primar y frame that "facilities adoption of the other elements" and predisposes the overall commentary to contain adversarial elements. (42) We see this in the various commentary on the whipping. Richard Moore's sense of injustice at being flogged led to his testimony that implied both an "us" versus "them" adversarial frame as well as tacit endorsement of the legislature's supportive frame that change was possible through the state's intervention in the social affairs of rural counties. Moore's assailants' anger at his supposed insult to a "respectable white lady," together with an overall sense of injustice at the illegitimacy of Republican rule, determined an adversarial framing against African Americans, Republican officials in Nashville and Washington, and the Republican press.
In general terms, then, the narratives of the whipping were emotively driven and adversarial in nature. But we can go further than this. By focusing on particular details of the three accounts we can infer and detail in historical terms the layers of specific meaning that commentators built into their narratives of the event. I do not wish to suggest that our reading of these narratives can be closed or definitive. Nonetheless, each of the texts bears the imprint of a community perspective that we can view in historical terms to describe the emotions firing these starkly partisan renderings of the "truth." (43) Taking the competing groups of commentary one at a time, we begin with Richard Moore's assailants and their Conservative apologists.
The first explanation that we can draw from the statements of Moore's assailants and their apologists in the press is that their construction of the whipping was an assertion of white supremacy. Driven by the "hot cognition" that Moore had provoked in acting out his freedom within the context of state and federal Reconstruction, the assailants constructed their interpretation of the event through an injustice frame. Moore antagonized his assailants, the Fayetteville Observer noted, by boasting that "no d--d white man should run over him," that he "had been at the bottom, but was now a top rail." By 1868 these expressions of black social autonomy had become standard phrases of political contestation. To African Americans, such metaphors symbolized the freedom that blacks had won as electors and as free laborers, and yet to whites they represented their worst fears about Reconstruction--that Republicans would unjustly impose a program of reunion and subjugate whites beneath blacks. Such fears had potency throug hout Middle Tennessee in the late 1860s because African Americans like Richard Moore could exercise the franchise whereas his assailants had lost the right to vote. (44) Moreover, Moore's boasts, if indeed he uttered them, were not merely the words of a braggart. By 1868 the policies articulated by Republicans in power supported Richard Moore's assertion of civil equality. But as Saidiya Hartman has powerfully argued, emancipatory discourses from Republicans on the rights, liberty, and equality of freedmen, produced a powerful sense of white entitlement and effected new forms of racial domination. (45) Frustrated in their efforts to contest the emergence of a biracial democracy through political and judicial channels, the assailants moved extra-judicially to punish Moore for offending white sensibilities and to remind him of the commonplace assumption among whites that this was a white man's society. (46)
Assertions of white supremacy in the apologists' perspective went hand-in-hand with an adversarial framing of "whiteness" versus "blackness" in which a mediating emphasis was placed on forms of etiquette. (47) The Fayetteville Observer persisted in its production of Richard Moore's blackness in negative terms. The diminutive name "Dick" was a clear indication of the paper's effort to infantalize Moore and to deny his right to equality with whites. Always known to whites as "a bad Negro," since the war Moore had added "insult and abuse to his other faults." Contrast this with the honor of his white assailants who felt duty-bound to avenge the "wanton defamation of the character of a respectable white lady." Etiquette in this incident was expressed in gender terms. In antebellum times, a field slave such as Richard Moore would scarcely have dared to address with authority a white woman of the planter class, let alone hurl stinging insults her way. But the social flux of the postwar world created an unstable soc ial situation in which received constructions of race and gender were increasingly questioned. Whereas the presence of male slaves was once only a minor threat to the chastity of white women, the free movements of African American men became so threatening to whites that offense was taken from a perception of the mildest insult. As Martha Hodes has observed, after the end of slavery "whites focused on the taboo of sex between white women and black men with a new urgency." (48) We do not know what Moore was alleged to have said or done in the supposed insult. He may have said nothing. But Moore's "offensive" behavior would not have needed to amount to much, for the public places of the South were the sites of intense struggle between competing visions of social order, and gender etiquette was quickly becoming a code with which to enforce a reinvented subjugation of African Americans. As exclusively male enterprises, white terror groups made women the special objects of their attention. The sexualization of pol itics in the Reconstruction era became a vital plank in the white supremacist campaign to segregate whites from blacks and, as Laura Edwards has remarked, to structure "black male sexual power... under the authority of white propertied men. (49)
Adversarial framing clarifies two further contexts--the economic and the political--that inform the whipping of Richard Moore. The description of Moore as a "bad Negro" likely meant that he was seen as a difficult and insubordinate worker; and an unstable labor force was especially troubling to the white landowners of Lincoln County after the war. Back in November 1865 the Observer had acknowledged whites' dependence on black labor and called for some means of controlling him and of enforcing a discharge of his duties." "In a word," the paper editorialized, "something is wanted in lieu of the white man's late control of the negro, as his master. Without this, negro labor will prove utterly worthless." (50) Some county landowners envied the importation of Chinese laborers into Memphis and dreamed that the new Pacific Railroad would bring "a heavy influx of Coolies who will naturally assume the station now being vacated by the negroes." (51) Circumstantial evidence suggests that Moore's employers may have been among his assailants: two of his attackers, Calaway G. Tucker (who owned 173 acres) and Allen L. Anderson (93 acres) were landowners in the vicinity of Moore's residence. Interpreted, then, in an economic sense, the whipping of Richard Moore registers the effort by whites to reassert old disciplinary prerogatives over slaves.
In political terms, the assailants meant to suppress black support for the Republican Party and galvanize black electoral support for the Democrats through intimidation. Richard Moore recalled that his assailants ordered him not to vote for the Radicals, saying that "all would be right ... if I would join them and be a good Conservative." In the 1867 gubernatorial election, Conservatives made an earnest pitch to win the black vote, but although the Lincoln County News referred to "a noble few who had the boldness to cast their fortunes with our glorious party" the pleas largely fell on deaf ears. Despite promises to reward freedmen with employment and patronage, few blacks were persuaded to vote for the Democrats. (52)
The assailants' preferred form of punishment also provides insight into their motivations. The choice of whipping underscored the attempt to continue an antebellum form of punishment and to reinvent techniques to control the black body. The whip had been the omnipresent instrument of a slaveowner's power, and its use, or the threat of its use, operated as a means of discipline as well as a way to extract from a slave the maximum in productive labor. But as historians of slavery have noted, in a world where the master depended upon the productive cooperation of his slaves, the threat of punishment was often more effective than the use of the whip. (53) As one planter explained to the Southern Patriot, "the fear of punishment is the principle to which we must and do appeal, to keep them in awe and order." (54) Generally, fifteen to twenty lashes was deemed appropriate, with forty lashes reserved for more serious offenses. As James Henry Hammond stipulated in his plantation manual, "The highest punishment must n ot exceed 100 lashes in one day and to that extent only in extreme cases." (55) The Tennessee Code of 1858 permitted justices of the peace to authorize up to forty lashes for offenses ranging from unlawful assembly to selling goods without authorization. (56) Compare these prewar judicial and paternalistic limits with the 175 lashes that Richard Moore said he received from his many assailants. Reading the whipping as a text, we see a stark contrast between the calculus that determined the use of the whip under slavery and the orgy of violence that Moore was alleged to have endured. Even the choice of instrument used on Moore, "a strap of leather, with a buckle on its end," symbolized greater disregard for the victim. In disciplining their slaves, masters had generally used strip that bruised but did not break the skin. (57) Yazoo-Mississippi Delta planter J. W. Fowler had written in 1857 that punishment of slaves "must never be cruel or abusive, for it is absolutely mean and unmanly to whip a negro from mere passion or malice." (58) With the collapse of the legal and political pillars supporting slavery, it seems that "passion" and "malice" towards freedmen engendered new forms of punishment and domination, replacing the paternalistic ownership of the black body. Under slavery, the certainty of white-on-black violence had sought to keep slaves in check. But during Reconstruction, the Ku Klux replaced the certainty of violence with the severity of an often arbitrary punishment in an uncertain social world. (59)
We also gain perspective on the event by comparing it with analogous incidents. Such comparisons serve two purposes. First, analogous incidents can corroborate, or at least make believable, some of the apparently absurd claims of participants. Second, comparisons also help us to think about why the event took the course it eventually did and how it might have developed differently.
From newspaper accounts, Freedmen's Bureau reports, and the proceedings of the Joint Military Committee in Nashville, a common profile of assaults on the freedmen of Tennessee emerges. Frequently, a band of armed men in disguise made several attacks in a single night. Although random violence occurred, assaults were usually premeditated. The standard ritual involved visiting the victim at his home during the night and either calling him outside or forcibly abducting him. A series of taunts followed, designed to impress upon the victim the reasons he had been selected for abuse. The victims were overwhelmingly black men although the nighrriders also targeted white Republican officeholders and schoolteachers and were not above assaulting black women if their men could not be found. The normal punishment involved stripping the victim and inflicting a gang-whipping of often several hundred lashes. Later, the victim was warned that the assailants would return and inflict a severer punishment if he persisted to off end white sensibilities. Blacks were ordered not to vote or to support Conservative candidates, and both blacks and whites were generally told to leave the district. (60)
Occasionally, a whipping turned murderous and resulted in a shooting or lynching. Two factors appear to have been crucial in the transformation of the whipping ritual into a murder: the seriousness of the supposed offense and resistance on the part of the victim. Incidents from Lincoln County demonstrate how the sequence of events could transform an assault into murder. In June 1868 the Ku Klux seized from jail a black man under arrest for the alleged rape of a white woman and hanged him from the limb of a tree. (61) Three months later, an African American family resisted an assault by the Ku Klux and engaged in a shoot-out that resulted in fatalities on both sides. (62) Murder, however, was not the goal of most incidents of Ku Klux violence; death undermined the purpose of their assaults, which was to strip freedmen of their manhood and send victims back as emissaries of warning to the black community.
This analysis of the statements of Richard Moore's assailants reveals a range of emotions--political impotence, economic insecurity, racial hatred--which fueled efforts to transform antebellum modes of discipline into powerful weapons of terrorism. These factors converged in the whipping of Moore on 30 July 1868. By contrast, Richard Moore and his supporters framed their account of the incident with a different set of emotive meanings. Yet, as with the Conservative account, Republicans brought a sense of injustice to their version of the event that also led to a framing of the incident in adversarial terms.
To the Cincinnati Gazette and Republican commentators in Nashville, the extra-judicial punishment meted out to Moore was an outrageous violation of the victim's civil rights. Out of this sense of injustice they cast their interpretations of the event in adversarial terms, contrasting the "Klan" or the "Ku-Klux Democracy" with "Radical" and "federal" agencies. The published testimony of Richard Moore explicitly referred to the symbols of his freedom--his pistol, his certificate of registration to vote--that represented the trophies of honor and equality won during the Civil War. In seeking to rob Moore of these symbols, his assailants engaged in a counter-revolutionary exercise to deny a "discharged colored soldier" the enjoyment of his new liberties. The freedoms of Richard Moore, Republican accounts implied, were safer in the hands of true Union men. The respectful tone of Republican commentaries toward the victim, together with the endorsement of his citizenship by the invitation to address legislators in N ashville, demonstrated at least a rhetorical commitment of Republicans to stand by the freedmen.
Republican pledges of civil rights for African Americans was set against the conspiratorial efforts of former Confederates to deny Richard Moore his new liberties. As Moore was reported to have testified, the Klan was an "organization" engaged in a systematic campaign of intimidation. The Cincinnati Gazette's account linked the assault on Moore to another atrocity, and the Republican authors of the Joint Military Committee's report collected a sheaf of similar accounts to buttress its charge of a systematic attempt to subvert republican government. When Tennessee Republicans visited Washington and presented President Johnson with a copy of the Joint Military Committee's report, they declared that the "midnight travels and depredations" constituted an effort by those who supported the Confederacy to "overturn the State Government of Tennessee." (63)
The report suggested that the conspiracy was so large that only "better protection," as the framers of Moore's testimony described it, could secure the safety of Union men. "Better protection" meant the militarization of Reconstruction, a program initiated by the Reconstruction Act of 1867, which was already underway in all the Confederate states--but not in Tennessee. Tennessee Republicans designed the hearings of the Joint Military Committee explicitly to garner public support for Governor Brownlow's intention of mobilizing the militia to confront Kukluxism at the county level and to convince federal authorities of the need to commit further troops. Republicans in Nashville turned Moore's testimony toward this goal, and on 10 September, a week after the Joint Military Committee published its report containing Moore's testimony, the Tennessee Assembly granted Governor Brownlow extraordinary measures to suppress the insurgent activities of terrorists. Legislators also gained success on the federal level: afte r meeting with the delegation from Tennessee, President Johnson ordered that additional troops be made available in Tennessee. (64)
This last point is suggestive of the causal significance of the whipping of Richard Moore. To bring this into clearer perspective, let's draw the lens of our microscope away for a moment and revisit the placement of the whipping incident within the broader historical continuum. Clearly, this single incident, while packed with meaning and significance, does not possess tremendous causal power vis-a-vis large-scale voting patterns and the political contest over Reconstruction's policies. Reconstruction did not end in Lincoln County because Captain Tucker and his associates whipped Richard Moore. But that is not to say that the whipping was inconsequential in the minutiae of daily life in Lincoln County, nor does it obviate the explanatory power of the event for historians. To appreciate the causal significance of this whipping incident, we need to look at many such incidents in the aggregate and assess the collective power of white terrorism as cause and effect.
What broad causal explanations can we provide for the whipping incident? The first point to make is that the timing and intensity of white terror in Reconstruction was attuned to developments in state and national affairs. As historian Stephen Ash has observed, "white antagonism toward blacks [throughout Middle Tennessee] waxed and waned in response to political news from Nashville and Washington." (65) It was likely no coincidence then that the attack on Richard Moore occurred three days after the Tennessee General Assembly began an emergency legislative session to meet the challenge posed by the Ku Klux. It was also no coincidence that the resurgence of Kukluxism in Tennessee, in the spring of 1868 emerged at the high tide of Republican efforts nationally to reconstruct Southern society. The Ku Klux in Lincoln County had lain low, for example, while Conservatives contested the county elections of March 1868, and virtually ceased activities when state militia patrolled local precincts. As the Gazette observe d, President Johnson's acquittal in his impeachment trial of May 1868 stimulated a revival of Klan activities in Tennessee. (66) The sequencing of the whipping reveals the assailants' cognizance of national and state events. They told Moore to take his bloody shirt--the ancient symbol of sacrifice that had gained fresh currency during political battles over Reconstruction--and present it to the Radical Governor of Tennessee. It seems clear that in the minds of the assailants' apologists, the assault on Richard Moore was not simply a form of terror against former slaves--it also was an attack on federal and state Republicanism.
Second, assessing violent incidents in the aggregate, what was their overall effect on Reconstruction in Lincoln County and in Tennessee? In electoral terms, the intimidation of black and white Republicans had a devastating impact. In the 1867 gubernatorial election, 780 electors in Lincoln County had voted to reelect Brownlow. In the 1868 presidential election, the lawlessness that pervaded the county led to Governor Brownlow withdrawing his electoral commissioner from Lincoln County. Conservatives consequently dominated the local electoral process and only four votes were cast for the Republican candidate Ulysses S. Grant. On a broader scale, eight counties in Middle Tennessee saw a fifty percent decline in Republican votes between elections in 1867 and 1868. (67) In addition to suppressing the Republican vote, the white terror shut down civil administration in Lincoln County, rendering the Freedmen's Bureau and County Court inoperative. When assault charges were filed in the Circuit Court late in 1868 agai nst numerous individuals with alleged connections to the Klan, the judge did not show up, and the local constable could not find twelve white jurors who were willing to serve. (68) Then, when the special legislative session of the Tennessee Assembly called up the state militia to protect freedmen and prosecute terrorists, prominent whites from Lincoln County went to Nashville and assured the authorities that order would be restored. (69) Although mobilized in a few neighboring counties, militia forces were never sent to protect Richard Moore and his kinsmen.
This scenario was not limited to Lincoln County. In Maury County, to the northwest of Lincoln, a similar process occurred in the wake of lawless depredations by local Ku Klux (who were known as "Pale Faces"). Despite the presence of state militia in the spring of 1868, Conservative whites in Maury combined terror tactics with a civic boycott and patrician appeals for the reestablishment of law and order, to render Reconstruction inoperable. This pressure by local whites placed the Radical political coalition in Nashville under severe strain. Thomas Alexander, whose 1950 work still marks him as the leading historian on Tennessee's political reconstruction, identified a range of factors that led to the undoing of Reconstruction in Tennessee in early 1869--factionalism between native unionists and political outsiders; the defections of moderates; a waning enthusiasm for the Republican Party among black voters; and unfavorable rulings from the Supreme Court. Alexander further noted that other sources of weakness came from the pressure of kukluxism in the rural provinces of Tennessee and from the insistent radicalism of Republican leaders in Washington. (70) This analysis, however, is conceived from the top down and fails to prioritize causative factors. My reading of the unraveling of Tennessee's Reconstruction--written from the rural provinces looking inward toward centers of political power--suggests that the ferocity of white supremacist sentiment was the primary factor in bringing Radical Reconstruction to an early demise. A close study of violent incidents such as the whipping of Richard Moore permits us to take the temperature of white supremacy. This intimadatory silence led to the defection of moderate leaders, increased factionalism within the Radical coalition, and depressed the support of African Americans. Most importantly, white supremacists mounted a challenge to civic authority by presenting state authorities with a stark choice: give up the cause of the freedmen or engage us in guerrilla war. It was a challenge that the Republican Party, for all its language about civic freedoms for blacks, was not prepared to meet with sufficient force. In effect the rural counties of Middle Tennessee were "redeemed" for the white supremacist cause in 1868 and its redemption, so called, appears to have been achieved largely through propaganda, intimidation, and violence driven by an implacable emotional opposition to both the demagogic and democratic designs of southern Republicanism. (71) Tennessee's Reconstruction experience was a truncated affair, but the battle in Middle Tennessee between state authority and kukluxism during the long, hot summer of 1868 stands as a sober prelude to the unraveling of the Reconstruction project throughout former Confederate states over the ensuing nine years.
The political role of violence is a key theme in the contested annals of Reconstruction historiography. It was as central to the Dunning school's Jim Crow-era description of an unjust imposition of central government authority upon the white South, as it is to today's revisionist argument that white southerners used violence to undermine a well-intentioned effort to reconstruct the South along interracial lines. (72) But although today's Reconstruction historians have moved toward integrating violence into a broader matrix of social and political affairs, they generally treat the subject with a traditional set of methodological tools that does not exploit as fully as possible the emotionological context that inform narrative accounts of violent episodes. I have suggested that there is much to be gained from viewing incidents of violence not merely as catalogs of political dispute and social discord (so many whippings, so many murders ... ), but also as a means of reading the emotive forces behind Reconstructi on--which is an essential part of understanding social behavior and the framing of political narrative during the Reconstruction experience. This microhistory of Reconstruction in Tennessee has used competing narratives of a single incidence of violence to take the temperature of politics in Tennessee during the late 1860s and reveals, in particular, the emotional ferocity behind Conservative reactions to black freedom. An emotionological reading of narrative accounts of the whipping of Richard Moore shows how a consciousness of meaning emerges from the emotional processing of experience on the template of prior expectations, and how in turn this consciousness frames and sustains political action. I have also suggested that by focusing on particular features of this incident it is possible to detail in historical terms the ways in which emotions were shaped by centuries of slavery and racism, decades of sectional hostility, and by over seven years of civil unrest. These emotions contained, in both the Conserv ative and Republican commentary, a sense of injustice and righteous anger, shaping and framing social commentary in adversarial terms that further escalated hostilities.
Appendix One Richard Moore's testimony
Mr. Richard Moore, of Lincoln County, being called and duly sworn as directed by law, deposes and says:
He is 22 years of age; that he lives in the 12th district, Lincoln County, Tennessee: has lived in that settlement all of his life; is by occupation a farmer. That there is an organization of masked and armed men in that county, whipping, shooting, and driving from their homes, the colored people of the county, and also Union white men. This Klan began to operate some time last Spring, and has been kept up ever since, but with more violence for the last two months. On Saturday night last, two weeks ago, sixteen of this Klan came to my house and knocked me down with sticks and their pistols, beating me severely; and after they had cut my head to the skull in several places, took me from the house and stripped me, and whipped me with a strap of leather, with a buckle on its end, stricking me 175 licks. This Klan asked me if I was a Radical. They called on me for my certificate of registration [to vote], which I did not give them. They called upon me for my pistol, and I told them that I had sold it. I was with the Union army during the late war, in Government employ! They told me that I nor no other colored man should vote in the Presidential election. I have been told by rebels in the county, that negroes should not vote with the Radical party in that county. That they, and all the Radicals of the county, should be killed first. But that when the colored men would vote for them all would be right, and the country would then have peace, but not till then; that if I would join them and be a good Conservative, I might do anything I pleased to the Radicals, and should not be hurt for it. I do not believe that any colored or white Union man is safe in that county, or will be until there is better protection given.
The Klan which whipped me told me to take my shirt and do like old Bill Wyatt did, "carry in to Brownlow's Legislature;" and if I did this they would kill me certain; and that if "old Bill Wyatt came back there they would kill him, certain." This is Senator William Wyatt, of which they were speaking.
I know some of the Klan--Capt. Tucker, James Bennett, John Clark, L. Anderson, and his son, Richard Anderson, Andrew Tait, John Steverson and Mr. Hill.
All my near neighbors, and all rebels, are for Seymour and Blair. (73)
Acknowledgements: This paper, conceived in conversation with Larry J. Griffin, was presented in earlier versions at Vanderbilt University and at the 1993 Tennessee Conference of Historians at the University of Tennessee, Martin. The author thanks the following scholars for their critical evaluations: Don H. Doyle, Meaghan N. Duff, James A. Epstein, Tim Huebner, Cheryl A. Hudson, David S. Karr, Kimberly Kellison, Jane G. Landers, Samuel T. McSeveney, Helmut W. Smith, Molly M. Wood, and especially Larry J. Griffin.
(1.) State of Tennessee, Report of Evidence Taken before the Military Committee in Relation to Outrages Committed by the Ku Klux Klan in Middle and West Tennessee (Nashville, 1868), 46-47. For the full text of Richard Moore's remarks see Appendix One.
(2.) For general commentary on violence in Reconstruction-era Tennessee, see Thomas B. Alexander, Political Reconstruction in Tennessee (Nashville, 1950), 49-68, 176-199; Allen W. Trelease, White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction (Baton Rouge, 1971), 3-48, 175-188. The Case assassination is described in Charles L. Lufkin, "Forgotten Controversy: The Assassination of Senator Almon Case of Tennessee," West Tennessee Historical Society Papers 39 (1985): 37-50. Two recent studies of the 1866 Memphis riot have appeared in these pages: Altina L. Waller, "Community, Class and Race in the Memphis Riot of 1866," Journal of Social History 18 (1984): 233-246; Kevin R. Hardwick, "'Your Old Father Abe Lincoln is Dead and Damned': Black Soldiers and the Memphis Race Riot of 1866," Journal of Social History 27 (1993): 109-128.
(3.) Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York, 1973), 3-32, quotation from p. 23.
(4.) Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution (New York, 1988), chapters 7 & 8; Michael Les Benedict, A Compromise of Principle: Congressional Republicans and Reconstruction, 1863-1869 (New York, 1974); Xi Wang, The Trial of Democracy: Black Suffrage and Northern Republicans, 1860-19 10 (Athens, Ga., 1997), 1-48.
(5.) Alexander, Political Reconstruction in Tennessee, quotation on p.72.
(6.) William Ganaway Brownlow, message to General Assembly of October 2 1865-May 28 1866, reprinted in House and Senate Journals (Nashville, 1866), 11.
(7.) Rogers M. Smith, Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History (New Haven, 1997), 257; Thomas B. Alexander, "Political Reconstruction in Tennessee, 1865-1870" in Richard 0. Curry, ed., Radicalism, Racism, and Party Realignment: The Border States During Reconstruction (Baltimore, 1969), 57; Paul H. Bergeron, Stephen V. Ash, and Jeanette Keith, Tennesseans and Their History (Knoxville, 1999), 165-172.
(8.) The Republican party in Tennessee did not need black votes to win the governor's election of 1867 but was in jeopardy of losing its majorities in the Assembly without the support of blacks. Alexander, Political Reconstruction in Tennessee, 141-162.
(9.) Ibid., 98-112.
(10.) Brownlow's message reprinted in House Journal of the Extra Session of the Thirty-Fifth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee Convened at Nashville, Monday, 27 July 1868 (Nashville, 1868).
(11.) Alexander, Political Reconstruction in Tennessee, 18-32, 69-78, 110-111; Noel C. Fisher, War at Every Door: Partisan Politics and Guerilla Violence in East Tennessee, 1860-1869 (Chapel Hill, 1997), 166-169; Trelease, White Terror, 3-48.
(12.) Moore's early genealogy is difficult to recover with precision. It appears, however, that he was born around 1846 and was likely one of four slaves owned by either M.S. or Henry Moore. This finding is based upon two facts: Richard Moore's 1868 testimony that he had been a resident of district 12 his whole life; and second, that M.S. and Henry Moore owned land in district 12 and possessed in 1860 a male slave of Richard Moore's approximate age. The Moore family descended from one of the first settlers of Lincoln County, W. D. Moore, who was awarded land for his part in the war of 1812. In 1860, eleven Moores owned slaves in Lincoln County. The median size of ownership among the Moores was three slaves, with an average of 4.27.
(13.) James B. Bright to Dr. Charles G. Bright, 29 March, 1869, Douglass-Maney Family Papers, Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA); Monthly Reports, 26 May and 30 June 1866 in Selected Records of the Tennessee Field Office of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 (hereafter cited as FB Records), microfilm roll 40.
(14.) Francis Allen et al. to Clinton B. Fisk, 10 August 1865, FB Records, roll 38.
(15.) Fayettevilie Observer, 5 April 1866; Lincoln County Court, 1 October 1865; Resolution to Clinton B. Fisk, quoted in The Volunteer (Lincoln County Historical Society, Spring 1990), TSLA.
(16.) As late as March 1868, the Bureau had organized no freedmen's schools in Lincoln County and the regional agent for Middle Tennessee noted that "there is more opposition to schools for freedmen in this county than any I know of." See Monthly Report, 31 March 1868, FB Records, roll 41.
(17.) Curran Pope to Andrew Johnson, April 30, 1862, Papers of Andrew Johnson, 5, ed. by Leroy P. Graf and Ralph W. Haskins, (Knoxville, 1979), 354; Deed Book 2, page 8; "Diary of James C. Wyatt," unpublished diary in the possession of Don Wyatt of Fayetteville, Lincoln County. I am grateful to Mr. Wyatt for pointing me in the direction of these sources.
(18.) The Lincoln County News referred to the ubiquity of Confederate sympathies among whites in the county when commenting rhetorically on the bias in local hearings to assess loyalist loses during the war years: "Who is the man who never gave aid or encouragement to the rebellion at some time, or in some way?" Lincoln County News, 4 July 1868.
(19.) Anderson had married William Wyatt's niece on Christmas Day, 1839. Helen Crawford Marsh, compiler, Lincoln County, Tennessee Official Marriage Records, 1838-1880 (Shelby, Tenn., 1974).
(20.) Steven V. Ash, Middle Tennessee Society Transformed 1860-1870: War and Peace in the Upper South (Baton Rouge, 1988), 193-195.
(21.) Fayetteville Observer, 28 May 1868.
(22.) This matches Allen Trelease's conclusion that in general Klan activities quickly lost whatever control their central coordinators had over activities at the local level. Trelease argued that individual acts of Ku Klux violence "fed on a race hatred which transcended politics." Trelease, White Terror, 28-35.
(23.) Monthly Report, Pulaski, Giles County, 29 February 1868, FB Records, roll 41.
(24.) See Lincoln County State Senator William Wyatt's testimony to the Joint Military Committee. State of Tennessee, Report of Evidence Taken before the Military Committee, 15-18.
(25.) On event analysis, I have found the following to be the most useful: Gordon Leff, History and Social Theory (Tuscaloosa, 1969), 52-70; Dale H. Porter, The Emergence of the Past: A Theory of Historical Explanation (Chicago, 1981), 40-62; Larry J. Griffin, "Temporality, Events, and Explanation in Historical Sociology: An Introduction," Sociological Methods & Research 20, no. 4 (1992): 403-7; Larry J. Griffin, Paula Clark, and Joanne C. Sandberg, "Narrative and Event: Lynching and Historical Sociology," in W. Fitzhugh Brundage, ed., Under Sentence of Death: Lynching in the South (Chapel Hill, 1997).
(26.) William H. Wisener, Sr., et al. to Andrew Johnson, 11 September 1868, in The Papers of Andrew Johnson, 15, eds. Paul H. Bergeron et al. (Knoxville, 1999), 45-50.
(27.) Eric Foner, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (New York, 1970), 43, 50, 52; Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism: A History of Newspapers in the United States through 260 Years: 1690 to 1950 (New York, 1950), 283, 459.
(28.) See the editorial in the 1 July 1868 edition of the Cincinnati Gazette.
(29.) Cincinnati Gazette, July 1, 2, 4, 6, 11, 14, 15, 21, 25, 29, 31, August 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 17, 18, 29, 22, 20, and September 3, 7.
(30.) Cincinnati Gazette, 11 July 1868.
(31.) Cincinnati Gazette, 15 July 1868.
(32.) Cincinnati Gazette, 1 July 1868.
(33.) Cincinnati Gazette, 4 August 1868. Who was the newspaper's source? We may assume from the designation "gentleman" that the source was a white, male landowner. The character of the story clearly suggests that the source was a pro-Union man. Moreover, we can deduce that the source was familiar with events in Lincoln County and had reason to visit Nashville and fraternize with the political correspondents of northern newspapers. Republican State Senator William Wyatt fits this profile. As already noted, Wyatt was himself the victim of terrorists and as one of a few elected state officials to become victim of the Ku Klux, Wyatt likely attracted the interest of newspapermen. Identifying Wyatt as the source for the Gazette's piece provides a plausible answer to the conundrum of how the story of the Richard Moore's assault was spirited out of Lincoln County and traveled via the pen of a scribe in Nashville to the columns of a northern newspaper and, ultimately, the precincts of state and federal power.
(34.) Lynn Hunt, "Tracing the Origin of Human Rights," unpublished Bryn lecture delivered at Vanderbilt University 28 March 2000. Hunt is obviously drawing on Benedict Anderson's neat turn of phrase in Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London and New York, 1991).
(35.) Fayetteville Observer, August 13, 1868. Emphasis in original. See also, Ash, Middle Tennessee Society Transformed, 221, which first alerted me--albeit obliquely--to Richard Moore's story.
(36.) Trelease, White Terror, 32-34, 62-67, 84-87. See also Lincoln County News, 14 March 1868.
(37.) Fayetteville Observer, 14 March 1868. Emphasis in original.
(38.) The Fayetteville Observer rejoined the debate in October when a copy of the Joint Military Committee's Report of Evidence reached their office. Linking Moore's testimony with that of Sen. William Wyatt, the paper printed both testimonies with an editorial questioning the veracity of both witnesses and remarking that both were "Hard Down" on Lincoln County (in other words, disloyal). "About Dick Moore," the editor remarked "we have but little to say, as any statement that he may make is not worthy of belief.... The white men to whom he specifically refers know no more of the Ku Klux Klan, we are satisfied, than does 'Hon.' Mr. Wyatt." Fayetteville Observer, 22 October 1868.
(39.) Emotions--the feelings that result from a complex set of interactions between the subjective and objective--are inextricably linked to the social world and are informed by both cultural preconceptions (emotionological context) and the transgressionary impulses of individual will (emotional experience). A consciousness of meaning emerges from this emotional processing--and in turn, this consciousness labels and frames particular symbolic features of an event in ways that continue to represent the depth of emotion the event provoked as well as the relation of the event to established cultural contexts. My discussion of emotion and its significance in framing political consciousness is chiefly indebted to Arlie Hochschild, The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling (Berkeley, 1983) and William A. Gamson's Talking Politics (New York, 1992). On the distinction between emotionology and emotion, and for a very instructive overview of the study of emotions by historians, see Peter N. Stearns with Car ol Z. Stearns "Emotionology: Clarifying the History of Emotions and Emotional Standards," American Historical Review 90 (October, 1985): 813-836; see also, Paul R. Kleinginna, Jr., and Anne M. Kleinginna, "A Categorized List of Emotion Definitions, with Suggestions for a Consensual Definition," Motivation and Emotion 5 (1981): 345-379. I concur with Barbara H. Rosenwein's recent call for "jettisoning the hydraulic view" of emotions in favor of a cognitive view of how "emotions are part of a process of perception and appraisal, nor forces striving for release." Rosenwein, "Worrying about Emotions in History," a Review Essay, American Historical Review 107 (June 2002): 821-45, quotations from 836, 845.
(40.) Gamson, Talking Politics, 7,32; Robert B. Zajonc, "Feeling and Thinking: Preferences Need No Inferences," American Psychologist 35 (1980): 151-175.
(41.) Gamson, Talking Politics. On injustice frames see 31-58; for adversarial frames, see 84-109; for collective frames, see 59-83.
(42.) Ibid. 111-114, quotation from 113.
(43.) There is a danger here of oversimplification, of drawing contrasting perspectives in dichotomous terms from shards and glimpses of evidence. Texts, as literary scholars remind us, are multi-authored and polyphonic and embody open-ended and often ironic meanings for readers; this is no less true of our three brief commentaries on the whipping of Richard Moore than it is for a literary masterwork. Richard Moore was no more the single author of his testimony than the editors of the Fayetteville Observer were faithful and disinterested recorders of the assailants' private motives. Both accounts contain the suggestion of multiple authors.
(44.) Curiously, there is no evidence that Richard Moore voted in the 1867 gubernatorial election. In a July 1867 listing of the qualified voters from Lincoln County, Moore's name doesn't appear among the 87 black electors from District 12. None of his named assailants were among the 41 eligible white voters from District 12, and none appeared on the electoral rolls in neighboring districts. Lincoln County News, 27 July 1867.
(45.) Saidiya V. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America (New York, 1997), 116. Hartman draws upon Foucault: "right should be viewed ... not in terms of a legitimacy to be established, but in terms of the subjugation that it instigates." Michel Foucault, "Two Lectures" in Power/Knowledge: Selected Knowledge and Other Writings, 1972-1997 ed. and trans. by Cohn Gordon (New York, 1980), 95-96.
(46.) In the inaugural issues of the Lincoln County News, the proprietors, who disclaimed any party affiliation, expressed the commonplace assumption of white supremacy: "While we fully recognize the death of slavery and accord to the black man certain rights and privileges, we yet contend that ours is a white man's government, so intended by our fathers." Lincoln County News, 10 February 1866.
(47.) For an excellent account of the function of etiquette in mediating black-white relations, see Jane Dailey, "Deference and Violence in the Postbellum Urban South: Manners and Massacres in Danville, Virginia," Journal of Southern History 83, no.3 (1997): 553-590.
(48.) Martha Hodes, "The Sexualization of Reconstruction Politics: White Women and Black Men in the South after the Civil War," Journal of the History of Sexuality 1993 3(3): 402-407, quotation from page 403. See also Joel Williamson, The Crucible of Race: Black and White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation (New York, 1984).
(49.) Laura F. Edwards, Gendered Strife and Confusion: The Political Culture of Reconstruction (Urbana, 1997), 10-11.
(50.) Fayetteville Observer, 16 November 1865. In a 7 March 1867 editorial, the Observer remarked on the dangers of "idle negroes."
(51.) Lincoln County News, 17 August 1867.
(52.) Lincoln County News, 3 August 1867. In June 1868, the Cincinnati Gazette noted that the Conservatives had tried unsuccessfully to win the black vote in 1867 but "now all attempts by Conservatives to win black support have been abandoned and the KKK have attempted to win over elections." Cincinnati Gazette, 17 June 1868.
(53.) Kenneth M. Stampp, The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South (New York, 1956), 174-175; Eugene D. Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (New York, 1972), 64-65.
(54.) Southern Patriot, 10 February 1826, quoted in William W. Freehling, Prelude to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, 1816-1836 (New York, 1966), 66.
(55.) Plantation Manual in Hammond Papers, quoted in Ulrich B. Phillips, American Negro Slavery: A Survey of the Supply, Employment and Control of Negro Labor as Determined by the Plantation Regime (New York, 1918), 271.
(56.) See Caruthers and Nicholson, Compilation of the Statutes of Tennessee, 675-76, and Meigs & Cooper, The Code of Tennessee, 502, 506, 507-508, quoted in Arthur F. Howington III, "The Treatment of Slaves and Free Blacks in the State and Local Courts of Tennessee," unpublished Ph.D. diss., (Vanderbilt University, 1982), 129.
(57.) Stampp, Peculiar Institution, 175-176.
(58.) Phillips, American Negro Slavery, 270.
(59.) Robyn Wiegman makes a similar point: "The transformation from slavery to 'freedom' was characterized by a rearticulation of cultural hierarchies in which terrorism provided the means for defining and securing the continuity of white supremacy." Wiegman, "The Anatomy of Lynching," Journal of the History of Sexuality 1993 (3): 445-467.
(60.) This account of the whipping ritual during Tennessee's Reconstruction is drawn from a myriad of primary sources, including State of Tennessee, Report of Evidence Taken before the Military Committee; accounts of violence provided by Freedmen Bureau agents in Giles, Maury, and Lincoln counties and sent to the assistant and subassistant commissioner's office in Nashville; and a miscellany of newspaper sources from Nashville and other Middle Tennessee towns. "Affadavits," Subassistant Commissioner of the Subdistrict of Nashville, Superintendent 1866-1870, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land ("Freedmen's Bureau"), RG 105, 3579, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); "Reports of Violence," Subassistant Commissioner of the Subdistrict of Nashville, Tennessee, RG 105, 3575, NARA; "Reports of Outrages, Riots, and Murders," Office of the Assistant Commissioner, Nashville, Tennessee, RG 105, 3394; "Affidavits Relating to Outrages," Office of the Assistant Commissioner, Nashville, Tenness ee, RG 105, 3402; "Register of Letters Received and Endorsement," Subassistant Commissioner, Pulaski, Tennessee, RO 105, 3593. For a secondary source commentary in general agreement with this profile, see Trelease, White Terror, 28-29.
(61.) Lincoln County News, 20 June 1868.
(62.) Lincoln County News, 12 September 1868.
(63.) William H. Wisener, Sr., et al. to Andrew Johnson, September 11, 1868, in Bergeron, ed., Papers of Andrew Johnson 15, 45-50.
(64.) Ibid., 51 n. 6; House Ex. Docs., 40 Cong., 3 Sess., No. 1, Pt. 1, "Annual Report of the Secretary of War," xxx-xxxi (Ser. 1367).
(65.) Ash, Middle Tennessee Society Transformed, 197.
(66.) Trelease, White Terror, 28-46.
(67.) The counties were Davidson, Giles, Lincoln, Maury Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson. Thomas B. Alexander, "Political Reconstruction in Tennessee," Ph.D. Dissertation (Vanderbilt University, 1947), 321.
(68.) Lincoln County Circuit Court Minute Books, 2 & 3 November 1868, Vol. Nov. 1867-Nov. 1869, TSLA; Lincoln County News, 7 November 1868.
(69.) Lincoln County News, 10 January 1869.
(70.) Alexander, "Political Reconstruction in Tennessee," 73-74.
(71.) Richard Zuczek has chronicled a similar process of redemption in South Carolina. See his State of Rebellion: Reconstruction in South Carolina (Columbia, 1996). In the long term, as George C. Wright has argued, the forms of racial violence that were first fashioned or reinvented during Reconstruction flourished after the 1880s once white rule was fully restored. The connection, it seems, was one of frequency as well as of kind. In time, Lincoln County, where during Reconstruction violence was both frequent and effective, became one of four Tennessee counties "most prone" to lynching activity after 1882. Wright, Racial Violence in Kentucky 1865-1940: Lynchings, Mob Rule, and "Legal Lynchings" (Baton Rouge, 1990) 59-60; Stewart E. Tolnay and E. M. Beck, A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930 (Urbana, IL, 1995), 46.
(72.) Compare, for example, E. Merton Coulter, The South During Reconstruction, 1865-1877 (Baton Rouge, 1947), 40-41,119-138, with Foner, Reconstruction, 119-123.
(73.) State of Tennessee, Report of Evidence Taken before the Military Committee, 46-47.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Author:||Harcourt, Edward John|
|Publication:||Journal of Social History|
|Date:||Dec 22, 2002|
|Previous Article:||One Nation Underground: The Fallout Shelter in American Culture. (Reviews).|
|Next Article:||Children's envy and the emergence of the modern consumer ethic, 1890-1930.|