Swing Around the Circle

Civil War ends and an attempt at racial justice was attempted.  How did things get so completely flawed?

The South 40

Swing Around the Circle
by Michael Doyle

A country brought to ruin sought salvation
From a barren wasteland in need of transformation
Businesses and plantations brought to nothing
Freedmen freed but the dusty road was not the something

Needed.. yet the Freedman's Bureau offered little
While the North's economy was more in the middle
And looking toward wealth drove a Golden Spike in Promontory
While the gaping inequality between transformed history

So many questions to be settled in the Reconstruction
Some would settle for nothing less than Southern destruction
Lincoln's view had focused on healthy reincorporation
While he sought simple loyalty, others pursued restitution

It was a matter of regaining the proper relations
Returning the South back into the bosom of our nation
It was hoped that there would be less resentment
And more the focus on working toward contentment

On attending Our American Cousin, Lincoln was shot dead
John Wilkes Booth emptied his derringer into his head
Declaring Lincoln a tyrant, Booth brought disaster to his cause
For next to come for the South would be tyrannical laws

After this assassination the national mood was dark and angry
Democrat Andrew Johnson succeeded Lincoln in the presidency
Coming from humble Tennessean origins into prominence
Johnson had less love for freedom and was lacking in eloquence

The planter war had done little for poor yeomanry
Riling against all elites, Johnson didn't seek prosperity
The Radical Republicans recoiled against reincorporation
But this was perhaps due to the failure to meet Southern obligations

With elected senators who were facing charges of treason
The Republicans would not seat these men for that good reason
And instead convened a harsh Bureau of Reconstruction
Johnson's failure to support civil rights brought his destruction

With Johnson's diminished effectiveness Congress rose
Up as a force to support the 14th Amendment they proposed
Serving to make each freedman a full rights citizen
It obligated the states to uphold the rights of these citizens

This began the process of which was called 'incorporation'
Requiring federal civil rights to be those for all in our nation
Johnson argued his case in a swing and circle noose around his neck
Nearly bringing his presidency to a near complete and ending wreck

Congress wielded its power against Lincoln's preferred edicts
Breaking up the conquered South into five military districts
Requiring the 14th Amendment's fully complete ratification
And tried to legally bar Johnson's removal of Secretary Stanton

Cross wielding the executive power in this predicament
Directly resulted in Johnson's 1868 punitive impeachment
When this tensive policy was set into its final note
Johnson's presidency was saved by only one vote

As though it was in some sort of symbolic recant
The Republicans succeeded in voting in Ulysses S. Grant
And still despite the 15th Amendment, carpetbaggers came to power
And joined with Southern Scalawags to govern this hour

The Forty Acres and a Mule did not ever quite materialize
As the sharecroppers and such were harshly marginalized
They became a kind of peonage proxy in place of outright slavery
Known by any other name in this huge misstep of history

Northern idealism was replaced with an aching weariness
The past war world was given to peaceful contrariness
Old loyalties began too, in their natural inclination
The South was home of past presidents that had their reassertion

1876's election of Hayes was a matter of mass corruption
That resulted in the final blow through its distinction
Slurs and irrelevancies were what won the casting that day
While Hayes' supporters waved a bloody shirt along the way

Black America too their anguish watched freedom slip away
A different future had promised for a much brighter day
The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were duly kept
But, for true racial justice, America surely wept

(c) March 31, 2020  Michael Doyle
All Rights Reserved

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About alohapromisesforever

Writer, poet, musician, surfer, father of two princesses.
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