[Atlanta. ca. 1867]. Broadside, 15 3/4 x 10 inches. Text printed in three columns. Old folds. Minor foxing and creasing. Small tears in upper left and lower left corners, far from the text. Very good. Item #WRCAM55210
An eloquent appeal against the disenfranchising poll tax, by a southern champion of Reconstruction. Henry Pattillo Farrow issued this appeal on behalf of the poor of all races in Georgia, at a critical moment in the history of Reconstruction and the future of voting rights in the state, while the Reconstruction Constitutional Convention was meeting. Georgia led the way in making the poll tax a bulwark against fundamental change in race relations in the South. Despite the opposition presented in this broadside, the poll tax was retained in the final draft of the Georgia Reconstruction constitution adopted in 1868, and was carried over in the 1877 revision. After serving in the Confederate Army, Farrow was a Georgia state Attorney General and a federal District Attorney who strove to cooperate with northern efforts at Reconstruction, and ensure the state's compliance with the Sherman Reconstruction Bill. Here, he argues for removal of a provision in the proposed Reconstruction constitution for the state of Georgia which permitted the imposition of a poll tax for "educational purposes." In part, Farrow's statement on the poll tax reads: "There is, in the humble judgment of the writer, no species of taxation ever assessed by any government more violative of the principles of the science of political economy and of common sense than taxation of that kind. A poll, or per capita tax, is not upon property; is not upon a profession, a trade, or a business; but it is a tax on man's inalienable rights - 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' All who are in the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights ought aid in supporting the Government which protects those rights. There is no disputing that self-evident, axiomatic proposion [sic]. Yet, can a man be so poor, so destitute, as to live without yielding some return in the way of tax to the Government which protects him? Can you point to a single citizen of Georgia, white or black, who pays no tax? You can not do it." Scarce, with only seven institutional copies recorded in OCLC, at Yale, Duke, Williams College, University of West Georgia, University of Michigan, Vanderbilt, and the American Antiquarian Society. Hummel adds a copy at the University of Georgia. A fine example of early and ultimately unsuccessful resistance to the institution of poll taxes in the South. HUMMEL 594. OCLC 191231416, 166645823, 86110718.