Fleming Walter Lynwood - Ex-slave pension frauds


Author : Fleming Walter Lynwood
Title : Ex-slave pension frauds
Year : 1910

Link download : Fleming_Walter_Lynwood_-_Ex-slave_pension_frauds.zip

Ex-Slave Pension Frauds. By Walter L. Fleming. Professor of History in the Louisiana State University. Next to the "forty acres and a mule" swindle the slave pension schemes have drawn more hard earned dollars from the ex-slaves than any other of the numerous frauds perpetrated on them. Unlike the "forty acres and a mule" swindle, which was contrary to the interests of the Southern whites and was therefore opposed by them, the pension fraud owes much of its success to the fact that influential Southern whites have favored slave pensions and have spoken or written or introduced bills in Congress to secure them, and numerous Camps of Confederate Veterans have proposed or endorsed the pensioning of faithful slaves. So the old negroes have felt that, after all the promises made, something surely was due them. While the pension fraud is not one of the Reconstruction swindles, it is not of recent origin. The state of mind in black and white that made it possible dates from the returning good feeling between the races after the downfall of Reconstruction. There was some talk of it and some resulting swindling during the 80's, but the most important movement began with the early 90's and was not effectually checked for ten years. The former slaves were growing old, often too old to work, and the idea of pensions appealed strongly to them. The immediate cause of the great swindling movement of the 90's was the activity of one man whose intentions, however mistaken, were probably sincere. This man was William R. Vaughan, a native of Alabama, a Democrat in politics, who removed to the Northwest and was at one time mayor of Council Bluffs. He was an eccentric person, probably ill-balanced mentally, and was possessed by two ideas: that the South was being robbed by the Federal pension system, and that the negroes by slavery had been robbed of proper returns for their labor. In order to right these wrongs he originated his slave pension scheme and between 1890 and 1903 secured the introduction into Congress of nine bills in succession. These bills were introduced "by request" by Connell of Nebraska, Cullum and Thurston of Nebraska, Mason of Illinois, Curtis of Kansas, Pettus of Alabama, Blackburn of North Carolina, and Hanna of Ohio—all men of standing. ...

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