James L. Alcorn
| United States Senator |
December 1, 1871 – March 3, 1877
|Preceded by||Hiram R. Revels|
|Succeeded by||Lucius Q. C. Lamar|
|28th Governor of Mississippi|
March 10, 1870 – November 30, 1871
|Lieutenant||Ridgley C. Powers|
|Preceded by||Adelbert Ames|
|Succeeded by||Ridgley C. Powers|
|Member of the Mississippi Senate|
|Member of the Mississippi House of Representatives|
|Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives|
James Lusk Alcorn
November 4, 1816
Golconda, Illinois Territory
|Died||December 19, 1894 78) (aged|
Friars Point, Mississippi
|Political party||Whig, Republican|
|Alma mater||Cumberland College|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
James Lusk Alcorn (November 4, 1816 –December 19, 1894) was a Republican governor and a U.S. senator during the Reconstruction of his adopted state of Mississippi.
The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C.
Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd largest and 34th-most populous of the 50 United States. Mississippi is bordered to the north by Tennessee, to the east by Alabama, to the south by the Gulf of Mexico, to the southwest by Louisiana, and to the northwest by Arkansas. Mississippi's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson is both the state's capital and largest city. Greater Jackson, with an estimated population of 580,166 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in Mississippi and the 95th-most populous in the United States.
A moderate Republican, Alcorn engaged in a bitter rivalry with Radical Republican "carpetbagger" Adelbert Ames, who defeated him in the 1873 Mississippi gubernatorial race. He briefly served as a brigadier general of Mississippi state troops in Confederate Army service during the early part of the American Civil War. Among the Confederate generals who joined the post-Civil War Republican Party, only James Longstreet had been of higher rank than Alcorn.
In the history of the United States, carpetbagger was a derogatory term applied by former Confederates to any person from the Northern United States who came to the Southern states after the American Civil War; they were perceived as exploiting the local populace. The term broadly included both individuals who sought to promote Republican politics, and those individuals who saw business and political opportunities because of the chaotic state of the local economies following the war. In practice, the term carpetbagger was often applied to any Northerner who was present in the South during the Reconstruction Era (1863–1877). The term is closely associated with "scalawag", a similarly pejorative word used to describe native White southerners who supported the Republican Party-led Reconstruction.
Adelbert Ames was an American sailor, soldier, and politician who served with distinction as a Union Army general during the American Civil War. A Radical Republican, he was military governor, U.S. Senator, and civilian governor in Reconstruction-era Mississippi. In 1898, he served as a United States Army general during the Spanish–American War. He was the last Republican to serve as the state governor of Mississippi until the election of Kirk Fordice, who took office in January 1992, 116 years since Ames vacated the office.
The 1873 Mississippi gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 1873, in order to elect the Governor of Mississippi. This election marked the last time a Republican was elected Governor of Mississippi until 1991, 118 years later.
Alcorn was born near Golconda in the Territory of Illinois to James Alcorn and Hanna Lusk, a Scots-Irish family. He attended Cumberland College in Princeton, Kentucky, and from, 1839 to 1844 served as deputy sheriff of Livingston County, Kentucky. He was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1838 and for six years practiced law in Salem, Kentucky. He served in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1843 before he moved the follow year to Mississippi.
Golconda is a city in and the county seat of Pope County, Illinois, United States, located along the Ohio River. The population was 726 at the 2000 census. Most of the city is part of the Golconda Historic District.
The Territory of Illinois was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 1, 1809, until December 3, 1818, when the southern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Illinois. Its capital was the former French village of Kaskaskia.
Cumberland College in Princeton, Kentucky, was founded in 1826 and operated until 1861. It was the first college affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In 1842, the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination withdrew its support from Cumberland College in favor of Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. In doing so, the denomination intended to simply relocate the school from Princeton to Lebanon, but Cumberland College remained open without denominational support until the Civil War.
Alcorn set up a law office in Coahoma County.As his law practice flourished and his property holdings in the Mississippi Delta increased, he became a wealthy man. In 1850, he built a three-story house at his Mound Place Plantation in Coahoma County, at which he resided with his family. By 1860, he owned nearly a hundred slaves and held lands valued at a quarter of a million dollars. Alcorn served in the Mississippi House of Representatives and Mississippi Senate during the 1840s and 1850s being one of the leaders of the then Whigs in the state. In the Mississippi legislature Alcorn pushed for construction of levees to protect Delta counties from flooding. A levee district was established in 1858 through his efforts. He ran for Congress in 1856 but was defeated.
Coahoma County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 26,151. Its county seat is Clarksdale.
The Mississippi Delta, also known as the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state of Mississippi which lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. The region has been called "The Most Southern Place on Earth", because of its unique racial, cultural, and economic history. It is 200 miles (320 km) long and 87 miles (140 km) across at its widest point, encompassing about 4,415,000 acres (17,870 km2), or, almost 7,000 square miles of alluvial floodplain. Originally covered in hardwood forest across the bottomlands, it was developed as one of the richest cotton-growing areas in the nation before the American Civil War (1861–1865). The region attracted many speculators who developed land along the riverfronts for cotton plantations; they became wealthy planters dependent on the labor of black slaves, who comprised the vast majority of the population in these counties well before the Civil War, often twice the number of whites.
Roseacres is an unincorporated community in Coahoma County, Mississippi.
Alcorn was a delegate to the special Mississippi convention of 1851 called by Democratic Governor John A. Quitman, who as an opponent of Henry Clay's Compromise of 1850 advocated secession.Alcorn joined the Mississippi Unionists to thwart Quitman's plans. Like many other Whig planters, Alcorn opposed secession, pleading with the secessionists to reflect for a moment on the realities of national balance of power. He foretold a horrific picture of a beaten South, "when the northern soldier would tread her cotton fields, when the slave should be made free and the proud Southerner stricken to the dust in his presence." However, in January 1861, at the Mississippi state convention he joined the secessionists and was elected to the Committee of Fifteen to prepare the Ordinance of Secession.
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.
John Anthony Quitman was an American lawyer, politician, and soldier. As President of the Mississippi Senate, he served one month as Acting Governor of Mississippi as a Whig. He was elected Governor in 1850, as a Democrat, and served from January 10, 1850 until his resignation on February 3, 1851, shortly after his arrest for violating U.S. neutrality laws. He was strongly pro-slavery and a leading Fire-Eater.
Henry Clay Sr. was an American attorney and statesman who represented Kentucky in both the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives, served as seventh speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and served as the ninth U.S. secretary of state. He received electoral votes for president in the 1824, 1832, and 1844 presidential elections and helped found both the National Republican Party and the Whig Party. For his role in defusing sectional crises, he earned the appellation of the "Great Compromiser."
When secession was declared, Alcorn, although born in what became in 1818 the free, pro-Union state of Illinois, cast his lot with the Confederacy and was appointed as a brigadier general of the Mississippi state militia. Alcorn during the war was in uniform for about eighteen months of inconspicuous field service, mainly in raising troops and in garrison duty. After the resignation of several major generals of the Mississippi state troops, including Jefferson Davis, Earl Van Dorn, and Charles Clark, Alcorn became eligible for promotion in rank, but was passed over because his political foe, John J. Pettus, was the governor of Mississippi at the time.
The Confederate States of America — commonly referred to as the Confederacy — was an unrecognized republic in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves. Convinced that white supremacy and the institution of slavery were threatened by the November 1860 election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln to the U.S. presidency on a platform which opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories, the Confederacy declared its secession in rebellion to the United States, with the loyal states becoming known as the Union during the ensuing American Civil War. Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens described its ideology as being centrally based "upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition".
Jefferson Finis Davis was an American politician who served as the only President of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. As a member of the Democratic Party, he represented Mississippi in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives prior to switching allegiance to the Confederacy. He was appointed as the United States Secretary of War, serving from 1853 to 1857, under President Franklin Pierce.
Earl Van Dorn was a United States Army officer and great-nephew of Andrew Jackson, fighting with distinction during the Mexican–American War, against several tribes of Native Americans, and in the Western theater of the American Civil War as a Confederate general officer. The former military installation Camp Van Dorn is named for him.
At the start of the Civil War, Alcorn was ordered to proceed with his troops to central Kentucky; then he was stationed at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. In October 1861, Alcorn raised three regiments of militia troops committed to sixty-days of service in Mississippi and led his brigade to Camp Beauregard, Kentucky, at which he served under General Leonidas Polk. His field service ended after his brigade was disbanded in January 1862. Alcorn was taken prisoner in Arkansas in 1862, was paroled later in the year, and returned to his Mound Place Plantation in Mississippi. In 1863, he was elected to the Mississippi state legislature, where he joined critics of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
During the war, Alcorn spent a fortune raising and supplying troops. Additionally, in 1863 his plantation was raided by General Leonard Ross' troops during the Yazoo Pass Expedition, part of the Vicksburg Campaign.However, he managed to preserve part of his wealth during the war by trading cotton with the North. In November 1863, Alcorn wrote to his wife: "I have been very busy hiding & selling my cotton. I have sold in all one hundred & eleven bales, I have now here ten thousand dollars in paper (Green backs) and one thousand dollars in gold." After the war, he was estimated to be among the fifty wealthiest men in the South.
Alcorn lost two sons. His older son, James Lusk Alcorn, Jr., committed suicide in 1879 after returning home from the war partially deaf and a drunkard (most likely from what today would be diagnosed as PTSD). An inscription on the monument at the family cemetery attributes James' death to the "insane war of rebellion" (apparently his father's words). Seventeen-year-old Henry "Hal" Alcorn ran away during the war to join the military against his father's wishes, became ill, and was left behind and captured. He was held in Camp Chase and made his way to Richmond, Virginia after the surrender. He died of typhoid fever en route to Mississippi.
Alcorn was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1865, but, like all Southerners, was not allowed to take a seat as Congress was divided over Reconstruction. He supported suffrage for freedmen and endorsed the Fourteenth Amendment. Alcorn became the leader of the scalawags, who comprised about a fourth of the Republican officials in the state, in coalition with carpetbaggers, African-Americans who had been free before the outbreak of the Civil War and freedmen. Mississippi had a majority of African-Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom were freedmen. They had no desire to vote for the Democratic Party, which had carried the 1868 elections by intimidation and violence against blacks.
Thus the vast majority of votes for Republican candidates came from African-Americans even though most of the Republican state office holders in Mississippi were whites. In 1869, James Alcorn was elected governor of Mississippi, a post he held from 1870 to 1871. As a modernizer, he appointed many like-minded former Whigs, some of them since Democrats. He strongly supported public schools for all, and a new college exclusively for blacks, now known as Alcorn State University. He maneuvered to make his ally, Hiram Revels, the president of that institution. Irritated at his patronage policy, many Republicans opposed Alcorn. They were concerned as well over his understanding of African-American interests. His hostility to a state civil rights bill was well known; so was his unwillingness to appoint black local officers where a white alternative could be found. One complained that Alcorn's policy was to see "the old civilization of the South modernized" rather than lead a total political, social and economic revolution.
Alcorn resigned the governorship to become a U.S. senator, with service from 1871 to 1877). He succeeded his ally, Hiram Revels, the first African American senator. Senator Alcorn urged the removal of the political disabilities of white southerners and rejected Republican proposals to end segregation in hotels, restaurants, and railroad cars by federal legislation;he denounced the federal cotton tax as robbery, and defended separate schools for both races in Mississippi. Although a former slaveholder, he characterized slavery as "a cancer upon the body of the nation" and expressed the gratification which he and many other Southerners felt over its destruction.
Alcorn's estrangement from Senator Adelbert Ames, his northern-born colleague, deepened in 1871, as African-Americans became convinced that the former governor was not taking the problem of white terrorism seriously enough; and, in fact, Alcorn resisted federal action to suppress the Ku Klux Klan, having instead contended that state authorities were sufficient to handle the task. By 1873, the quarrel had deepened into an intense animosity. Both men ran for governor. Ames was supported by the Radicals and most African Americans, while Alcorn won the votes of conservative whites and most of the scalawags. Ames won by a vote of 69,870 to 50,490. Alcorn withdrew from active politics in the state and accused the new governor of being incapable and an enemy of the people. This was not true, but then, neither was Ames' view of Alcorn as an insincere and possibly corrupt man. When a second African-American Senator, Blanche K. Bruce, was elected in 1874, Alcorn refused to follow the customary procedure of introducing his new colleague to the Senate. In 1875, when Reconstruction was fighting for its life against a campaign of violence from the Democrats, Alcorn emerged, only to lead a white force against black Republicans at Friar's Point. The aftermath led to at least five black people being killed.
During the Reconstruction period, Alcorn was an advocate of modernizing the South. Although a believer in white supremacy, he supported civil and political rights for African-Americans. In a letter to his wife (Amelia Alcorn, née Glover, of Rosemount Plantation in southern Alabama), he states that white Southerners must make African Americans their friend or the path ahead will be "red with blood and damp with tears."Alcorn was the founder of the Mississippi levee system and was instrumental in rebuilding the structures after the Civil War.
After his retirement from politics, he was active in levee affairs and was a delegate to the Mississippian constitutional convention of 1890, in which he supported the black disenfranchisement clause that the state's Democrats had introduced in the new constitution. He was twice married: in 1839 to Mary C. Stewart of Kentucky, who died in 1849; and in 1850 to Amelia Walton Glover of Alabama. In his later life, Alcorn practiced law in Friars Point, Mississippi, and lived quietly at his home, Eagle's Nest, in Coahoma County. He was interred upon his death in 1894 in the family cemetery.Alcorn commissioned a statue of himself and after his death it was placed on his grave.
Alcorn County is named in his honor, as is the historically black Alcorn State University, the first black land grant university.
We must make the Negro our friend. We can do this if we will. Should we make him our enemy under the prompting of the Yankees, whose aim is to force us to recognize him on a basis of equality, then our path lies through a way red with blood and damp with tears.
The 1860 United States presidential election was the nineteenth quadrennial presidential election to select the President and Vice President of the United States. The election was held on Tuesday, November 6, 1860. In a four-way contest, the Republican Party ticket of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin emerged triumphant. The election of Lincoln served as the primary catalyst of the American Civil War.
The Reconstruction era was the period in American history which lasted from 1863 to 1877. It was a significant chapter in the history of American civil rights.
Clarksdale is a city in Coahoma County, Mississippi, United States, and seat of the county.
Friars Point is a town in Coahoma County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 1,200 at the 2010 census, down from 1,480 in 2000.
The Radical Republicans were a faction of American politicians within the Republican Party of the United States from around 1854 until the end of Reconstruction in 1877. They called themselves "Radicals", with a goal of immediate, complete, permanent eradication of slavery, without compromise. They were opposed during the War by the moderate Republicans, by the conservative Republicans, and by the pro-slavery and anti-Reconstruction Democratic Party as well as by conservatives in the South and liberals in the North during Reconstruction. Radicals led efforts after the war to establish civil rights for former slaves and fully implement emancipation. After weaker measures in 1866 resulted in violence against former slaves in the rebel states, Radicals pushed the Fourteenth Amendment and statutory protections through Congress. They disfavored allowing ex-Confederates officers to retake political power in the South, and emphasized equality, civil rights and voting rights for the "freedpeople", i.e. people who had been enslaved by state slavery laws within the United States.
In United States history, scalawags were white Southerners who supported Reconstruction after the American Civil War.
Hiram Rhodes Revels was a Republican U.S. Senator, minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and a college administrator. Born free in North Carolina, he later lived and worked in Ohio, where he voted before the Civil War. He became the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress when he was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican to represent Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during the Reconstruction era.
Southern Democrats are members of the U.S. Democratic Party who reside in the Southern United States.
Randall Lee Gibson was an attorney and politician, elected as a member of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senator from Louisiana. He served as a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army. Later he was a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, and a president of the board of administrators of Tulane University.
In United States history, the Redeemers were a political coalition in the Southern United States during the Reconstruction Era that followed the Civil War. Redeemers were the Southern wing of the Bourbon Democrats, the conservative, pro-business faction in the Democratic Party. They sought to regain their political power and enforce white supremacy. Their policy of Redemption was intended to oust the Radical Republicans, a coalition of freedmen, "carpetbaggers", and "scalawags". They generally were led by the rich former planters, businessmen, and professionals, and they dominated Southern politics in most areas from the 1870s to 1910.
The history of the state of Mississippi extends to thousands of years of indigenous peoples. Evidence of their cultures has been found largely through archeological excavations, as well as existing remains of earthwork mounds built thousands of years ago. Native American traditions were kept through oral histories; the Europeans recorded accounts of historic peoples they encountered. Since the late 20th century, there have been increased studies of the Native American tribes and reliance on their oral histories to document their cultures. Their accounts have been correlated with evidence of natural events.
The State of Alabama was central to the Civil War, with the secession convention at Montgomery, birthplace of the Confederacy, inviting other states to form a Southern Republic, during January–March 1861, and develop constitutions to legally run their own affairs. The 1861 Alabama Constitution granted citizenship to current U.S. residents, but prohibited import duties (tariffs) on foreign goods, limited a standing military, and as a final issue, opposed emancipation by any nation, but urged protection of African slaves, with trial by jury, and reserved the power to regulate or prohibit the African slave trade. The secession convention invited all slaveholding states to secede, but only 7 Cotton States of the Lower South formed the Confederacy with Alabama, while the majority of slave states were in the Union and voted to make U.S. slavery permanent by passing the Corwin Amendment, signed by President Buchanan and backed by President Lincoln on March 4, 1861.
James Ronald Chalmers was an American lawyer and politician, a state senator in Mississippi and United States Congressman for several terms from the state's 6th congressional district, beginning in 1876.
Henry Clay Warmoth was an American attorney, Civil War officer in the Union Army, who was elected governor and state representative of Louisiana. A Republican, he was 26 years old when elected as 23rd Governor of Louisiana, one of the youngest governors elected in United States history. He served during the early Reconstruction Era, from 1868 to 1872.
At the end of the American Civil War, the devastation and disruption in the state of Georgia were dramatic. Wartime damage, the inability to maintain a labor force without slavery, and miserable weather had a disastrous effect on agricultural production. The state's chief cash crop, cotton, fell from a high of more than 700,000 bales in 1860 to less than 50,000 in 1865, while harvests of corn and wheat were also meager. The state government subsidized construction of numerous new railroad lines. White farmers turned to cotton as a cash crop, often using commercial fertilizers to make up for the poor soils they owned. The coastal rice plantations never recovered from the war.
In the United States, Southern Unionists were White Southerners living in the Confederate States of America, opposed to secession, and against the Civil War. These people are also referred to as Southern Loyalists, Union Loyalists, Southern Yankees or Lincoln Loyalists. Pro-Confederates in the South derided them as Tories. During Reconstruction, these terms were replaced by “scalawag”, which covered all Southern whites who supported the Republican Party.
| Governor of Mississippi |
March 10, 1870 –November 30, 1871
Ridgley C. Powers
Hiram R. Revels
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Mississippi |
March 4, 1871 –March 3, 1877
Served alongside: Adelbert Ames, Henry R. Pease and Blanche K. Bruce
Lucius Q. C. Lamar