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Resolutions, Democratic Party of Central and Eastern Pennsylvania in Convention, Reading, Pennsylvania, July 18, 1866.

Reading, Pennsylvania, 1861, artist's impression

Democrats of eastern and central Pennsylvania, representing around thirty counties, met in a mass meeting at Reading, Pennsylvania to demonstrate support for their party and air their grievances against the Republicans, both in the state and in the United States Congress.  Echoing what was now happening across the North, as well as the South, they passed by acclamation a short series of resolutions that laid out succinctly the emerging policy differences that would drive the rank and file of Democrats over the next crucial years in politics. These resolutions spoke against the radical Congress that would replace the Constitution with "a central consolidated government," then placed the blame for the late Civil War squarely on the intransigence of Republicans that refused "to yield their partisan prejudices for the sake of peace and union." The resolutions then spoke for the restoration of the constitutional rights of the people of the South and spoke out against the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, stating that white Americans were able to govern themselves "without the aid of an inferior race" and calling the measure "nothing but the offer of a reward to the States for granting negro suffrage, and the threat of a punishment in case of refusal."  (By John Osborne)