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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - Pre-Civil War "epic partisan battles" in Indiana and Illinois

From the Opinionator page of the online NYTimes this weekend, an article by Stephen E. Towne is an associate university archivist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis about anti-war Democrats in Illinois and Indiana, and their their governors, Republicans Richard Yates and Oliver P. Morton, on the eve of the Civil War. A few quotes:

Springfield and Indianapolis were the scenes of epic partisan battles. At the Indiana State House, animosities quickly boiled over when Republican members “bolted” out of town, thus denying a quorum. This first bolt prompted a feud over Governor Morton’s message to the joint session. When Morton sent written copies of his speech to each chamber, Democrats refused to accept it and passed a resolution substituting that of Gov. Horatio Seymour, a New York Democrat. * * *

[Indiana Governor Morton] took extraordinary steps to combat Democratic legislators with a powerful tool at his disposal: the Union Army. In late January, cooperative army commanders in Indianapolis deployed an artillery battery near the State House, running exercises with them in an effort to intimidate the legislators. Anticipating that legislators aimed to seize state-owned arms, late one night the governor signed over ownership of the contents of the state arsenal to the local commander. * * *

In Indiana, Republicans in the legislature again bolted to prevent passage of Democratic bills, running out the legislative clock. Refusing to call a special session, Morton went on to govern Indiana illegally without legislative appropriation, borrowing funds from the War Department and taking out personal loans from New York bankers and Republican-controlled county governments to cover state expenses. Like in Illinois, during spring and summer Indiana faced a rising tide of organized violence in opposition to the war.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 24, 2013 07:49 AM
Posted to Indiana Government