The following Raleigh Sentinel editorial of April 16, 1869 commented at length on the political results of the glorious Union being saved by Northern military forces in 1865.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Reconstruction Harpies, Carpetbag & Scalawag:
”The history of [Reconstruction] legislation in North Carolina would form one of the strangest books that has ever been published. It would reveal an amount of fraud, venality and recklessness perfectly unparalleled, we venture to say, in the history of legislation in any age or country. If ever before there was a time demanding the most scrupulous and watchful economy, it is the present.
And yet, in the face of wide-spread ruin and dismay; in the face of repeated failures in crops and a disorganized system of labor; with depression and anxiety in every house-hold, the members of the present legislature have exhibited the utmost disregard of the actual condition of our people, and have wantonly and wickedly and with malice pretense concocted a system of taxation, that not only outrages public opinion, but fastens, it may be, for all time, burdens perfectly unbearable and destructive upon the landed proprietors of the State.
These representatives of the people—these public servants “so-called”—these incapable and indifferent legislators, met in Raleigh and deliberately set to work to despoil the State and add ten-fold distress to her people. They enter upon a plan of spoilation as effective in its results as was the “bumming” of Sherman’s scoundrels. They lend themselves to the wild schemes, listen with itching ears to the rapacious demands of wild cat combinations, wink at corruption and profligacy, indulge in vice and immorality, and conspire to paralyze the best interests of the State, to drive away capital, to keep capital from coming into the State and to lay taxes that cannot be borne….Railroad schemes without number, a continued waste of public funds, and taxes at once oppressive and thoroughly ruinous are the results of their six months stay in Raleigh. They have done nothing but evil and are an offense to every just and honest man. They deserve, and they shall receive the hearty execration of a long suffering, industrious and frugal people.
But we refer to those harpies, some from the Northland, but many native “and to the manor born,” who preyed upon our people, and with cormorant appetites essayed to suck the very life-blood from the emaciated form of our old Mother. Carpet-baggers who came unbidden and who have fairly battened upon the political garbage that has been thrown to them; obsequious time-servers and trimmers who have played the sycophants for filthy lucre—these are the creatures who have wickedly conspired against the people of North Carolina, and have sought to ruin them by the most oppressive taxation—these are the creatures who amid the troubling of the political waters have been spawned in our Legislative halls, and who ought to be denounced and shunned as you would a leper. They are political lepers and taint the whole political atmosphere.”
(Raleigh Daily Sentinel, April 16, 1869)