Confessions of a Carpetbagger: The White Man’s Revolution of 1876

Gov. Daniel Chamberlain reflects on the fall of BRA in South Carolina

South Carolina

Here is Gov. Daniel Chamberlain, the carpetbagger from Massachusetts, describing the overthrow of BRA in South Carolina by General Wade Hampton III in the White Man’s Revolution of 1876.

This is an amazing article written for The Atlantic Monthly in 1901 from the perspective of an old man looking back on the failed experiment of BRA and the political death of the “Afro-American.”

Freedom has failed before in America. It failed even more spectacularly at the state level in South Carolina than in modern Birmingham or Detroit:

“The overthrow of Republican or negro rule in South Carolina in 1876 was root-and-branch work. The fabric so long and laboriously built up fell in a day. Where was fancied to be strength was found only weakness. The vauntings were turned to cringing of terror. Poltroons and perjurers made haste to confess; robbers came forward to disgorge, intent only on personal safety; and the world saw an old phenemonon repeated – the essential and ineradicable cowardice and servility of conscious wrongdoers. The avalanche caught the innocent with the guilty, the patriot and reformer with the corruptionist, the bribe giver and bride taker. It could not be otherwise; it has never been otherwise in such convulsions.

There is an important inquiry still to be noticed and answered: How did the victors use their victory? The answer seems to be, “Not altogether well,” but emphatically, “As well as could have been expected,” – as well as the lot and nature of humanity probably permit. Some unfair, unjust, merely angry blows were struck after the victory was won. For the rest, forebearance and oblivion were the rule. Good government, the avowed aim, was finally secured. Economy succeeded extravagance; judicial integrity and ability succeeded profligacy and ignorance on the bench; all the conditions of public welfare were restored.

Of secondary results, it is hardly necessary to this review and picture of reconstruction in South Carolina to speak; but it would be an impressive warning for other cases if it were added that the methods of 1876 have left scars and wounds which generations of time cannot efface or heal. The appeal for the truth of this remark may be safely made to the most ardent defender of those methods. The price of what was gained in 1876 will long remain unliquidated. No part of it can ever be remitted. The laws of human society, not written in statute books, proclaim that wrong and wrong methods are self-propagating. Long before Shakespeare told it, it was true, even from the foundation of the moral order:

“We but teach
Bloody insurrections, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor; this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
To our own lips.”

Every present citizen of South Carolina knows, and those who are truthful and frank will confess, that the ballot debauched in 1876 remains debauched; the violence taught then remains now, if not in the same, in other forms; the defiance of law learned then in what was called a good cause survives in the horrid orgies and degradation of lynching.

The chapter of recent events covered by this paper is made up largely of the record of mistakes and crimes followed by the sure, unvarying retributions which all history teaches are the early or late result of evil courses in nations and states as well as in individuals. To whom, humanly speaking, are these woes and wastes chargeable? The answer must be, to those who devised and put in operation the congressional scheme of reconstruction – to their unspeakable folly, their blind party greed, their insensate attempt to reverse the laws which control human society.

The designed plan of this paper does not extend to any discussion of the always grave topic of the negro race in South Carolina and the South. It has abundantly appeared in what has already been written that that race was used as the tool of heartless partisan leaders. As in all such cases, the tool was cast aside when its use ended. We can look on the picture, – the negro enslaved by physical chains for two centuries and a half, then bodily lifted into freedom by hands other than his own, next mercilessly exploited for the benefit of a political party, and heartlessly abandoned when the scheme had failed – what heart of stone, we say, would not be touched by these undeserved miseries, these woeful misfortunes, of the negro of the United States?

What had the negro to show after 1876 for his sufferings? Merely the paper right to vote, – a right which he had no earthly power or capacity to use or to defend; while, with smug faces, with hypocritic sighs and upturned eyeballs, the soi-disant philanthropists and charitymongers of the North looked on the negro from afar, giving him only an occasional charge to still stand by the grand old party that had set him free!

To all who feel a real solicitude for the welfare of the Southern negro, it ought to be said that the conditions of his welfare lie in reversing at all points the spirit and policy of reconstruction which brought on him this Iliad of woes. Philanthropy without wisdom is always dangerous. Disregard of actual conditions is never wise. The negro depends for his welfare, not on the North, but on the South; not on strangers, however friendly or sympathetic in bestowing bounty, but on his own white neighbors and employers. Whatever can be done to promote good relations between him and his neighbors will well be done; whatever is done which tends otherwise will be ill done. By industry and thrift the negro can secure all he needs, both of livelihood and of education; whatever is given him gratuitously promotes idleness and unthrift. With all emphasis let it be said and known – and the writer’s knowledge confirms the saying, as will like knowledge acquired by any honest and clear-sighted person – that the negro at the South is not, in the mass or individually, the proper object of charity.

And of his education let a word be said. Education is, no one disputes or doubts, essential to the welfare of a free and self governing community. The negro in his present situation is not an exception to the rule. But what sort of education does he need? Primarily, and in nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of one thousand, he does not need, in any proper sense of the words, literacy, scientific, or what is called higher education. It is not too much to say that, up to this time, a great amount of money and effort has been worse than wasted on such education, or attempts at such education, of the negro. To an appreciable extent, it has been a positive evil to him. Give him, or rather stimulate him to provide for himself, education suited to his condition: to wit, abundant training in the three R’s; and after that, skill in handicraft, in simple manual labor of all kinds, which it is his lot to do – lot fixed not by us, but by powers above us. If there be aspiring spirits in the race, capable of better things, this is the soil from which they may rise, rather than from hotheads of forcing grounds – the so-called negro colleges and universities now existing in the south. Beyond this, let the negro be taught, early and late, in schools and everywhere, thrift, pecuniary prudence and foresight, the duty, the foremost duty, of getting homes, property, land, or whatever constitutes wealth in his community. Above all things, let him be taught that his so-called rights depend on himself alone. Tell him, compel him by iteration to know, that no race or people has ever yet long had freedom unless it was won and kept by itself; won and kept by courage, by intelligence, by vigilance, by prudence. Having done this, let Northern purses be closed; let sympathy and bounty be bestowed, if anywhere, upon the far less favored toilers nearer home, and leave the negro to work out his own welfare, unhelped and unhindered. If these simple methods are adopted and rigorously observed, the Negro problem out our South will flow toward solution, and the flood of ills flowing from reconstruction as imposed from without will at last be stayed; and they can be stayed in no other ways. Constitutional limits of aid by legislation have already been reached and overpassed. Rights, to be secure, must, in the last resort, rest on stronger supports than constitutions, statutes, or enrolled parchments. Self-government under constitutions presupposes a firm determination, and mental, moral and physical capacity, ready and equal to the defense of rights. Neither the negro nor the white man can have them on other terms.”

About Hunter Wallace 12379 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. It was all said and done by 1903. See the NYT’s for Feb 7, 1903.

    “Mr Root says Negro Suffrage has Failed.”

    subtitled: Franchise Has Not Elevated Blacks —- His Explanation of Growing

    Opposition to Colored Office Holders

  2. Thank you. If ever there was a voice to articulate the vast sums WASTED on non-White Education, this should be inscribed and mounted on the other side of the Lincoln Memorial, after we add the words omitted from what currently is written, just for the fairness of being true to history, if nothing else.

  3. Stumbled across this site a few minutes ago. I had no idea that blogs like this existed. Can only conclude that you are all fucked in the head…

  4. Cracker Red Neck Religion, Thats Right and its the only thing that will work for Victory! Truth From Who Is God and click OTHER ARTICLES. NEWS THE SPARK FOR VICTORY! White Mans Revolution of 2011 and 2012! Ha! Ha!

  5. There’s a strong argument to be made that the USA is re-fighting its Civil War time and again, especially through its foreign policy. The point that diversity does not work, and that each group prefers self-rule, is true for both black and white. Black demands for self-rule in the 1960s probably reflected the failure of Northern administration of rule “in the interest of” African-Americans, when the racial angle was a justification and the actual goal was unmitigated power to the more liberal party. Shades of 1789: whether it is poor people, or minorities, the leftist always chooses his pity targets wisely and uses them like hostage shields.

    @Chris: And why would you want to do that? With total ethnic separation, you could talk about anything you wanted, at which point it would make no sense to bring up obsolete conflicts and crass ethnic slurs.

  6. Perhaps if any of you were native Americans you might have a leg to stand on. However, seeing as most Americans are 1/19989th every other nationality, somehow remaining influential by the powers of McDonalds and the Kardashians, there really is no argument here other than to suck it the fuck up and remember the infamous words of Jefferson (you guys must hate him…huh?)
    @Bewildered European: We should have tea sometime
    PS. Not even the Phelps discriminate against negroes…Now that should tell you something

  7. @Hunter: I didn’t ask you to remember the philosophies of Jefferson did I? Just his words. Used in many anti-racism speeches across the globe.

    @Chris: That comment in no way makes any sense. Quite like this article.

  8. Jefferson was a pioneer of what you would call scientific racism. He believed until the end of his life that blacks were an inferior race who ought to be deported to Africa. Thousands of blacks were deported to Liberia.

  9. Jefferson was an idiot then (clearly)…How did he not foresee that writing ‘All men are born equal’ at the beginning of the American constitution, would one day be useful to any ethnic minority wishing to advance a political cause? He really should have thought to asterix that with ‘terms and conditions apply’ like any good racist would.
    The point is not that they are not Jefferson’s words, it’s that it is written in plain English on the single most important document in American History. Full Stop.

    Also, you keep telling me about black people being deported as if somehow that information helps your argument? Like that is the right thing to do?

    Do you know who also believed in scientific racism?

  10. *Are Jefferson’s words.**

    **Terms and Conditions Apply

  11. No, it is part of a larger document that accuses King George III of siding with the merciless Indian savages and inciting domestic insurrections among us. Leftists are incapable of reading the Declaration of Independence.

  12. Jefferson did believe that black people were an inferior race. He believed they should be colonized in Africa. He most definitely did not believe in social equality or biological equality.

    Black people had rights … which they could enjoy in Africa.

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