A White Supremacist in the Army of Emancipation

From: Bernhard1848@att.net

Northern General John A. Logan served in the Ohio legislature before the war, and was a notorious postwar bloody-shirt advocate who used the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veterans organization as a political tool. His 1886 book "The Great Conspiracy" tried to convince readers that treasonous Southern politicians had plotted and duped average Southerners into trying to destroy the Union since the 1830’s. His comments below regarding the black race are illuminating.

Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402

A White Supremacist in the Army of Emancipation:

"(John A. Logan’s) most noteworthy role in the Eighteenth (Ohio) General Assembly became his most notorious one when he took a lead in sponsoring an act that exposed his hostility to African Americans. "It was never intended that whites and blacks should stand in equal relation, he maintained in a debate on a bill to enable blacks to testify in court. But his views went beyond trial rights—far beyond. The revised constitution of Illinois, crafted in 1848, contained a provision for the legislature to make it a State law to prohibit blacks from settling in the State. The Illinois legislatures of 1849 and 1851 failed to act on this provision. As a member of the judiciary committee, Logan made sure that the 1853 legislature would not adjourn without a vote on the issue. On January 6 (1853), he proposed a bill to prevent blacks from migrating to Illinois. Four weeks later the bill was reported out of committee to be debated on the floor.

The racist views of John A. Logan dovetailed with those of his (Ohio) neighbors. He railed against abolitionists, partly because he did not approve of them judging those who did not share their beliefs, and partly because he failed to see how blacks could be treated as equal to whites. He even referred to African Americans as subhuman. The rest of the State was predominantly in lockstep with Egypt (Ohio, Logan’s town) in preventing freed blacks from calling Illinois their home. When this section of the revised constitution of 1848 was separately submitted to the State residents for ratification, they approved it by an overwhelming vote of 50,261 to 21,297. Logan took advantage of public sentiment to convert the statewide ratification into law. Here he displayed his racism to counter the more abolitionist members of the legislature. Using history as a lesson that black Americans are "not suited to be placed upon a level with white men," Logan ranted about what he perceived as the legislature’s lack of support for white supremacy. He assured his opponents he would see the issue through to the conclusion he supported: "Unless this bill shall pass you will hear it again next session and again until something shall be done to protect those people (white citizens) from the inundation from the colored population."

(Black Jack Logan, Gary Ecelbarger, The Lyon’s Press, 2005)