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Too Great a Burden to BearThe Struggle and Failure of the Freedmen's Bureau in Texas$
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Christopher B. Bean

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823268757

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823268757.001.0001

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“They must vote with the party that shed their blood … in giving them liberty”

“They must vote with the party that shed their blood … in giving them liberty”

Bureau Agents, Politics, and the Bureau’s New Order: The Charles Griffin Era, January 1867–Summer 1867

(p.111) 6 “They must vote with the party that shed their blood … in giving them liberty”
Too Great a Burden to Bear

Christopher B. Bean

Fordham University Press

This chapter begins the tenure of the agency’s third head, Charles Griffin. Griffin oversaw a reinvigorated agency after Congress wrested Reconstruction from the president. Buoyed by this, the agency reached its apex in field personnel and coverage of Texas. Griffin appointed seventy agents. Their tenures and reasons for leaving are compared to his predecessors’. In a move to coordinate the Reconstruction process, Griffin provided the protection of the army to each field agent and made all post commanders where an agent was not present also a Bureau agent. A priority of Congressional Reconstruction was registering freedmen. With this, Bureau agents entered politics as they sometimes registered voters and always lent advice and protection to the process. Bureau agents in Texas were actively involved in politics.

Keywords:   demographics, Charles Griffin, politics and voter registration (Reconstruction), race relations (Reconstruction), subassistant commissioners, United States Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands

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