Speech from Senator Benjamin R.“Pitchfork Ben” Tillman on March 23, 1900
Mr. President, I have not the facts and figures here, but I want the country to get the full view of the Southern side of this question and the justification for anything we did. We were sorry we had the necessity forced upon us, but we could not help it, and as white men we are not sorry for it, and we do not propose to apologize for anything we have done in connection with it. We took the government away from them (the aboriginal moors) in 1876. We did take it.
We did not disenfranchise (to deprive (someone) of the right to vote, deprived of power; marginalized, deprive (someone) of a right or privilege) the negroes until 1895. Then we had a constitutional convention convened which took the matter up calmly, deliberately, and avowedly with the purpose of disfranchising as many of them as we could under the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments.
The 14th & 15th amendment made you a citizen of the United States government, disenfranchising you!
"Speech of Senator Benjamin R. Tillman, March 23, 1900," Congressional Record, 56th Congress, 1st Session, 3223–3224. Reprinted in Richard Purday, ed.,Document Sets for the South in U. S. History (Lexington, MA.: D.C. Heath and Company, 1991), 147.