Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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LOUISIANA, a state of the American Union, formed from territory ceded by France. (See ANNEXATIONS, I.) By the act of March 26, 1804, all that part of the French cession south of Mississippi territory, and of north latitude 33°, was organized as Orleans territory. The rest of the cession was organized under the name of Louisiana territory, changed subsequently to Missouri territory. (See MISSOURI.) The inhabitants of Orleans territory were authorized to form a state government, by the enabling act of Feb. 20, 1811; and under its first constitution the state of Louisiana was admitted, April 8, 1812. It is curious that the words "slave" and "slavery" are not used directly or by implication, unless the use of the phrase "free white male" may be so considered, in any state constitution until that of 1864, which prohibited slavery. Slavery existed in the state, not by its own organic law, but by the territorial act of congress of 1804, which permitted bona fide immigrants into the territory to take their slaves with them. (See SLAVERY.)


—BOUNDARIES. The enabling act fixed the following boundaries, which were accepted by the first constitution: Beginning at the mouth of the river Sabine; thence up the middle of the Sabine, including islands, to north latitude 32°; thence due north to north latitude 33°; thence due east to the Mississippi; thence down the Mississippi to the river Iberville; thence along the middle of the Iberville and lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain to the gulf of Mexico; and thence to the place of beginning; including all islands within three leagues of the coast. By a supplementary act of April 14, 1812, the following territory was added to the state: Beginning at the junction of the Iberville and the Mississippi; thence along the middle of the Iberville, the river Amite, and lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain to the eastern mouth of the Pearl river; up this river to north latitude 31°; thence due west to the Mississippi, and down the Mississippi to the place of beginning.


—CONSTITUTIONS. 1. The first constitution was framed by a convention at New Orleans, Nov. 4, 1811 - Jan. 22, 1812. It gave the right of suffrage to adult white male tax payers on one year's residence. Representatives were to hold office for two years, and to be possessed of $500 in land; senators to hold office for four years, and to be possessed of $1,000 in land; and the governor to hold office for four years, and to be possessed of $5,000 in land. The governor was to be chosen by the legislature from the two highest candidates in a popular election. New Orleans was made the capital. 2. The second constitution was framed by a convention at Jackson and New Orleans, Aug. 5-24, 1844, and Jan. 14 - May 16, 1845, ratified by popular vote Nov. 5, 1845. Its main object was to restrict the legislature in chartering corporations, and to prohibit state aid to corporations. Its further changes were the omission of the property qualifications for office; the lengthening of the suffrage residence to two years; the choice of the governor by popular vote, with a choice reserved to the legislature in case of a tie; and the location of the capital at New Orleans until the close of the year 1848, and thereafter at some place to be fixed by the legislature, not less than sixty miles from New Orleans, whence it was not to be removed but by a four-fifths vote of both houses. Baton Rouge was the point chosen by the legislature. 3. The third constitution was framed by a convention at Baton Rouge, July 5-31, 1852, and ratified by popular vote Nov. 1, 1852. Its main objects were to secure an elective judiciary for short terms, and to empower the legislature to grant state aid to corporations for internal improvements to the extent of one-fifth of the paid-up capital. Baton Rouge was to remain the seat of government. 4 Jan. 26, 1861, a state convention at New Orleans passed an ordinance of secession, which it refused to submit to popular vote. In the same manner it ratified the constitution of the confederate states, and substituted that title for "United States" in the constitution. 5. The fourth constitution was framed by a state convention at New Orleans, April 6 - July 23, 1864, and ratified by a small popular vote Sept. 5. It for the first time mentioned slavery in the state, for the purpose of abolishing it. There was no limitation, except for crime, on white adult male suffrage. The capital was fixed at New Orleans. This constitution remained in force in the state until March, 1867, but was not recognized by congress. 6. The fifth constitution was framed by a convention at New Orleans, Nov. 23, 1867 - March 9, 1868, and ratified by popular vote Aug. 17-18. It prohibited slavery; declared the ordinance of secession null and void; declared all citizens of the United States to be citizens of the state, and their paramount allegiance to be due to the United States; and gave the right of suffrage to all adult male citizens on one year's residence but the disfranchisement of ex-rebels was most searching and vindictive, including even those who had written newspaper articles or preached sermons in favor of the rebellion: these were neither to vote nor to hold office until they had filed with the secretary of state and published in the official journal a certificate that they "acknowledged the late rebellion to have been morally and politically wrong, and that they regretted any aid and comfort they may have given it." A committee of seven was appointed as a returning board. New Orleans continued to be the capital. 7. The sixth constitution was framed by a convention at New Orleans, April 21 - July 23, 1879. It made adult male suffrage universal, and prohibited any legislative qualification for suffrage or office. The state capital was removed to Baton Rouge—GOVERNORS: Wm. C. C. Claiborne (1812-16); Jas. Villare (1816-20); Thos. B. Robertson (1820-24); Henry Johnson (1824-8); Peter Derbigney (1828-30); Andre B. Roman (1830-34), Edward D. White (1834-8); Andre B. Roman (1838-42); Alexander Mouton (1842-6); Isaac Johnson (1846-50); Joseph Walker (1850-54), Paul O. Hebert (1854-8); R. C. Wickliffe (1858-60); Thomas O. Moore (1860-64); James Madison Wells (1864-7); B. F. Flanders (military governor, 1867-8); Henry C. Warmoth (June 25, 1868-73); Wm. Pitt Kellogg (1873-7); Francis T. Nicholls (1877-81); Louis A. Wiltz (1881-5).


—POLITICAL HISTORY. For the first twenty years of her existence as a state, Louisiana was nominally democratic; her governors belonged to that party, as well as her senators and representatives, though several of them were afterward whigs. The diversity of interests of the French and American citizens, however, formed the more usual dividing line of politics in the state. The former were at least a strong minority, and a singular evidence of its strength was a provision in the constitution which allowed members of the legislature to debate either in French or in English. The organization of the whig party, one of whose tenets was a protective tariff (see WHIG PARTY), changed the course of Louisiana, and from 1830 until 1850 the state, although not steadily whig, was the most nearly so of the southern states, except Maryland and Kentucky. Its electoral vote was given to Harrison and Taylor, the whig candidates, in 1840 and 1848; in 1844 the state was only carried for Polk, the democratic candidate, by unblushing frauds in Plaquemines parish; and in 1836, 1852 and 1856 the democratic majority in the state was under 2 per cent. of the total vote. From 1833 until 1855 the state congressional delegation was never entirely without a whig representative, and Senator Benjamin, who was elected as a whig, held his seat until his state seceded. The strong whig element in the state was the result of its large sugar planting interest, which desired protection against foreign sugars, and could not hope for it from the democratic party.


—In presidential elections the whig vote of the state was hardly decreased until the downfall of the party; in congressional elections the democrats steadily gained after 1850, as slavery became the controlling question in national politics. One New Orleans district continued to send a whig representative while there were whigs to vote for, and then sent an "American" representative, who kept his seat until March 3, 1861, after his state had seceded. Throughout the state the American party took the place of the whig organization after 1855, but with a much smaller vote; and in 1860 the state was practically unanimous for secession.


—After the capture of New Orleans by the United States forces, April 25, 1862, the former state government was transferred to Opelousas. From that point it controlled the larger part of the state during the war. June 2, 1865, the new governor under the old régime, Allen, issued a proclamation declaring his administration at an end.


—In August, 1862, Major General George F. Shepley was appointed military governor, a provisional judiciary was organized by the president's order, and a substitute for a state government was set in motion; but its authority never extended far beyond the immediate neighborhood of New Orleans. Two members of congress were elected, admitted, and held their seats Feb. 9 - March 3, 1863. Under a proclamation of the president, Dec. 8, 1863, an election for state officers was held Feb. 22, 1864, and Michael Hahn was elected governor. March 15, 1864, he was also appointed military governor by the president. A new constitution, the fourth above mentioned, was framed in 1864, under which J. M. Wells was elected governor and was inaugurated March 4, 1865. In November of the same year, apparently with the intention of introducing the late confederate portion of the state to the new constitution, he ordered a new election for state officers, at which he was again elected as the democratic candidate. Although this government was never recognized by congress, it controlled state affairs until March, 1867. The blacks, who were still disfranchised under this constitution, were much dissatisfied with it, and an attempt made by their leaders to reconvene the convention of 1864 at New Orleans for the purpose of framing a new constitution, or of revising the old one, resulted in the riot of July 30, 1866, in which several hundred negroes were killed or wounded.


—In March, 1867, Louisiana, like the other insurrectionary states, passed under military government. (See RECONSTRUCTION.) Its succession of major generals commanding was as follows: Philip H. Sheridan, March 19 - Aug. 17, 1867; Winfield S. Hancock, Aug. 26, 1867 - March 18, 1868; R. C. Buchanan, March 20 - June 25, 1868. On Sheridan's recommendation, Wells was removed from his position as governor, and Benj. F. Flanders was appointed in his stead. Under the auspices of these officials the reconstruction of the state was completed, the fifth constitution, as above given, was framed, Henry C. Warmoth was elected governor, and the state was readmitted June 25, 1868.


—For a time the republican majority in the state was undisturbed, though the first legislature had to call upon the federal government for troops. (See INSURRECTION, II.) In July, 1871, the republican party fell apart. One faction, headed by Warmoth and P. B. S. Pinchback, held the state books and records, and was supported by the "metropolitan police," a New Orleans body of men, which the governor was at liberty to use throughout the state. The other faction was led by W. P. Kellogg, F. F. Casey, collector of the port, and S. B. Packard, the United States marshal for the district; and the latter two obtained control of the party organization by holding its conventions in the custom house building, guarding it with federal soldiers, and refusing tickets of admission to the Warmoth delegates. Most of the succeeding difficulties, which soon entirely banished truth, honor and decency from Louisiana politics, seem to have flowed from this action of Casey and Packard, in prostituting the federal buildings to party use in order to compel the federal government, by defending its own property, to defend them; but the federal government, which refused to remove them from office, must take its share of the responsibility.


—Early in January, 1872, the members of the two factions in the legislature had split into two legislatures, the Warmoth body meeting in the Mechanics' Institute, and the other at first in Packard's office, and afterward in the "Gem saloon." Open conflict between them was prevented by the federal troops, and the struggle turned toward the control of the state's returning board, and the consequent control of the next legislature. (See RETURNING BOARDS.) The returning board, as constituted in 1870, was composed of the governor, the lieutenant governor, the secretary of state, and two citizens appointed by name. The governor made removals of state officials and appointments of his friends to their places, in order to secure a majority of the omnipotent returning board; the ousted officials, protesting against the legality of their removal, still claimed to be members of the board; and when each set had formally filled the "vacancies" caused by refusal to act with it, the identity of the body was obviously unascertainable. Two returning boards made their appearance, the Warmoth board and the Lynch board, alike in having the governor as a member and in claiming to be the only real board, but different in all other respects.


—After a great number of conventions had been held by various factions, the state tickets were at last narrowed down, in August, 1872, to two: one, beaded by McEnery and D. B. Penn, for governor and lieutenant governor, supported by the democrats and liberal (or Warmoth) republicans; the other, headed by Kellogg and Pinchback (who had lately abandoned Warmoth), supported by the Packard (or custom house) republicans. The formal voting took place Nov. 4, and then the real struggle began. The McEnery party, through a state judge, obtained an injunction forbidding the Lynch board to canvass the votes; but their opponents had a more potent ally in the person of the federal district judge, Durell, who not only temporarily enjoined the Warmoth board, Nov. 16, from counting the votes, but afterward committed his rival, the state judge, to jail for contempt.


—The governor now complicated the case by introducing a third returning board upon the scene. The state constitution of 1868 allows the governor to hold, until the next session of the legislature, bills whose return by him to the legislature within five days has been prevented by adjournment. A new election law had passed less than five days before adjournment, which provided for a returning board of five persons, "to be elected by the senate." Nov. 20, 1872, the governor at last signed the bill; then, since the senate was not in session to elect the members of the board, he appointed five persons, the so-called De Feriet board, to "fill the vacancies." Durell, Dec. 4, decided that he had jurisdiction under the enforcement laws, and made his injunction permanent. Dec. 5, the governor, abandoning the Warmoth board, issued a proclamation announcing the names of the new legislature as ascertained by the De Feriet board. Dec. 6, Durell issued an order, which declared the governor's proclamation to be a violation of his injunction, and directed the marshal, Packard, to seize the state house and prevent the meeting of any "unlawful assemblages." This Packard did, with the assistance of two companies of federal troops. In this place, the Packard legislature was organized Dec. 7; the McEnery legislature met in the city hall Dec. 9; and Jan. 14, 1873, Kellogg and McEnery were both inaugurated as governor.


—Two rival United States senators were elected, and the case thus came before the senate. Its committee reported that there was no government in Louisiana; that the McEnery government was most nearly a government de jure, and that the Kellogg government was most nearly a government de facto; and recommended the passage of a bill for a new election in the state. The bill failed to pass; congress adjourned without action; and the president recognized the Kellogg government, as he had informed congress, in a message of Feb. 25, he would do unless it acted in the matter. The senate committee's judgment on Durell's actions was as follows: "The orders and injunctions made and granted by Judge Durell are most reprehensible, erroneous in point of law, and wholly void for want of jurisdiction, and your committee must express their sorrow and humiliation that a judge of the United States should have proceeded in such flagrant disregard of his duty, and have so far overstepped the limits of federal jurisdiction."


—As congress had abandoned the case to the president, and the president had recognized the Kellogg government, the opponents of the latter at first contented themselves with an organized but peaceable resistance to the payment of taxes. The Kellogg legislature proceeded to enforce collection by use of the military and the contest rapidly developed into one of force, marked by such tragedies as those of Grant parish, in April, 1873, and Coushatta, in August 1874, in which the victims were almost invariably negroes. Nothing but the violent revulsion in the feelings of the north and west against such horrors enabled the federal government to continue its support of the Kellogg government. Sept. 14, 1874, the McEnery party rose in arms, wiped out for the time every vestige of the Kellogg government, and assumed control. Sept. 17 they surrendered without resistance to the federal forces, acting under instructions from Washington; and Sept. 20 the Kellogg government returned to life.


—The election in November, 1874, was accompanied by the usual republican charges against the democrats of violence in the election, and by the usual democratic charges of frauds by the returning board. Both parties, however, seemed to acquiesce in the results, which returned fifty democrats and fifty-two republicans to the lower house. The democrats, on the organization of the legislature, Jan. 4, 1875, seated their candidate for speaker in a hasty and disorderly fashion, and proceeded to seat several members whose election was contested. Thereupon Governor Kellogg sent for Gen. De Trobriand, commanding the federal troops in the city, who turned out the just seated members, and restored the house to the control of the republicans. In giving the essential facts of this affair, which caused intense excitement throughout the country, as a startling novelty in legislative organization, it should be mentioned that De Trobriand had just previously entered the hall once before, to keep the peace, at the summons of the democratic speaker.


—In March, 1875, congress, by resolution, approved the president's support of the Kellogg government; and in the following month the McEnery legislature agreed to a compromise proposed by a congressional investigating committee, the "Wheeler adjustment," so called from its contriver, Wm. A. Wheeler, afterward vice-president. Under this arrangement the committee seated a number of members whom the returning board had unseated; the democrats gained control of the lower house of the legislature; but the Kellogg government itself was not to be disturbed, but was to be "accorded all necessary and legitimate support in maintaining the laws." Under this compromise the state remained politically in peace until November, 1876, with one exception. In February, 1876, the democratic house impeached Kellogg for "high crimes and misdemeanors" committed since the date of the Wheeler adjustment; but the republican senate fixed the time of trial at less than an hour's time after the reception of the impeachment, and then acquitted Kellogg for want of prosecutors.


—The republican state ticket for 1876 was headed by the name of S. B. Packard for governor, and the democratic ticket by that of Francis T. Nicholls. The returns, as sent to the returning board, showed democratic majorities of about 8,000 for the state ticket, and from 3,459 to 6,405 for presidential electors. Gov. Kellogg, on the other hand, telegraphed north that the republicans had carried the state, and that the apparent democratic majorities were due only to democratic violence in five parishes, or counties, whose vote the returning board would certainly reject. Before the returning board met, Nov. 16, it had become evident that the result of the presidential election depended on the decisions of the returning boards of Louisiana and Florida (see DISPUTED ELECTIONS, IV.; ELECTORAL COMMISSION); and a large number of republican leaders, named by the president, and of democratic leaders, named by the democratic national committee, had arrived in New Orleans from all parts of the country to watch the progress of the count.


—The main democratic objections to the action of the board, outside of the constitutionality of the board itself, were threefold: 1. The law of 1872 required the board to be composed of "five persons, to be elected by the senate from all political parties." The democratic member had resigned, and the four remaining members (republicans) acted as the board, refusing to pay any attention to four petitions, Nov. 10, 16, 21 and 22, that a democrat should be appointed to the vacancy. 2. The board held secret sessions, from which even the United States supervisors were excluded, in order to decide the cases of contested elections. 3. The board cast out the votes of sixty-nine polls, embracing a part or the whole of twenty-two parishes, for fraud, violence or intimidation, including 13,236 democrats and 2,178 republican votes, changing the result in the state to about 4,000 republican majority. On all these points, the board rested on the absolute control which the election law gave them over the canvass of the votes, without any power of revision by any other authority. From the canvass the board announced, as elected, the republican presidential electors, state ticket, a majority of both houses of the legislature, and four of the six congressmen.


—The democratic members of the legislature, to whom the board had given certificates, refused to meet with the returning board legislature. Jan. 1, 1876, two legislatures were organized in different buildings, and Jan. 8 both Nicholls and Packard were inaugurated as governor. By the returning board's count, neither body had a quorum of the senate, but the republican legislature had a quorum of the house. Open conflict was averted, however, until the new president, Hayes, had been inaugurated. In April he sent an unofficial commission to New Orleans, by whose intervention a number of members deserted the Packard legislature, sufficient to give the Nicholls legislature a quorum in both houses. April 20 the federal troops were withdrawn; April 21 the Packard legislature disbanded; and April 25 Packard himself retired from the contest. Since that time the state has been democratic in all elections, state and federal, but there has been no political action worthy of note, except the formation of a new constitution, the sixth, in 1879.


—The state has furnished one president to the United States. (See TAYLOR, ZACHARY.) Among those who have became prominent, rather than notorious, in state politics are the following: Judah P. Benjamin, whig United States senator 1853-61, and secretary of war and secretary of state under the confederacy; Chas. M. Conrad, whig United States senator 1842-3, representative 1849-50, secretary of war under Fillmore, and a representative in the confederate congress; Benj. F. Flanders, republican representative in 1863, and military governor 1867-8; Randall Lee Gibson, democratic representative 1875-83; Wm. H. Hunt, secretary of the navy under Garfield; Josiah S. Johnston, representative 1821-3, and United States senator (whig) 1824-33; Wm. P. Kellogg, republican governor 1873-7, and United States senator 1868-72, and 1877-83; John Slidell, democratic representative 1843-5, United States senator 1853-61, and confederate commissioner to France in 1861 (see TRENT CASE); and Pierre Soulé, democratic United States senator 1847 and 1849-53, and minister to Spain 1853-5.


—The name of the province, from which that of the state was taken, was given by La Salle in 1682, in honor of Louis XIV, of France.


—See 2 Stat. at Large, 283, 701 (for acts of March 26, 1804, and April 8, 1812); authorities under ANNEXATIONS, I.; 1 Poore's Federal and State Constitutions; Martin's History of Louisiana (1829); Bonner's History of Louisiana (to 1840); Gayarre's History of Louisiana under American Domination (to 1861); Report of Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections (Feb. 10, 1873); Report of House Committee on Louisiana (Feb. 23, 1875); Senate Journal (1874-5), 475; House Journal (1874-5), 603, 25 La. Ann. Rep., 265; Story's Commentaries (Cooley's edition), § 1814 (note); and authorities under articles referred to.


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