Letter to William Sharkey

Andrew Johnson

Executive Office, Washington, DC

August 15, 1865

Governor William L. Sharkey,

Jackson, Miss.

I am gratified to see that you have organized your Convention without difficulty. I hope that without delay your Convention will amend your State Constitution abolishing slavery, and denying to all future legislatures the power to legislate that there is property in man Also that they will adopt the Amendment to the Constitution of the United States abolishing slavery.

If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons of color who can read the constitution of the United States in English and write their names, and to all persons of color who own real estate valued at not less than two-hundred and fifty dollars and pay taxes thereon, you would completely disarm the adversary and set an example the other States will follow.

This you can do with perfect safety, and you this place the Southern States, in reference to free persons of color, upon the same basis with the Free States. I hope and trust your convention will do this, and as a consequence the Radicals, who are wild upon negro franchise, will be completely foiled in their attempts to keep the Southern States from renewing their relations to the Union by not accepting their Senators and Representatives.

Andrew Johnson

President U.S.

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