JEFFERSONIAN

Thomas U. Walter was a Philadelphian, born and raised in the city. He would almost certainly have felt deeply discouraged by the breakdown of civic life in his hometown. Perhaps he had seen the smouldering ruin of Pennsylvania Hall, burned by the anti-abolitionist mob a decade before. In West Chester, his design for Horticultural Hall (right) harked back to the Dark Ages, the realm of brutality, barbarism, and the death of classical culture under waves of Viking marauders. Nothing bespeaks the concept of culture under siege more than the windowless building’s recessed doorway that (falsely) advertised the thickness of the walls. Horticultural Hall was not only Walter’s last commission in West Chester; it was the only one without a hint of Greek revival style. It is a statement about a fragile culture with classical aspirations under siege by “mobocracy.” returned an award of $512. It was retried on a technicality on Oct. 29, 1864, and the jury reached the same verdict, though the reward this time was $504.33. The American press was as querulous about the government in 1861 as it is now, and the attitudes of editors did not always agree with that of the administration. Only five of New York City's 17 daily newspapers were firmly behind the Lincoln Administration's war effort. But perhaps the most important free press case of the Civil War played out, not in New York, but in the small town of West Chester, Pennsylvania. The town at the time had barely 4,000 citizens, but it was the seat of prosperous Chester County, which explains how it supported four weekly newspapers. Two were Republican -- the Village Record, an old, conservative Whig sheet and the most-read newspaper in Chester County; and the Chester County Times, which represented the more radical elements in the new Republican Party. The American Republican was the conservative Democratic newspaper, and the Jeffersonian was the blazing, unabashed standard-bearer of the Democratic Party of 1860. Its editor since 1843 was John Hodgson, a strikingly handsome man who inherited his mother's fine features and his father's slimness. Hodgson turned the Jeffersonian into the voice of the pro-southern and pro-slavery wing of the Democratic Party. When the northern Democratic Party began to warp and splinter in the 1850s under the stress of supporting slavery, Hodgson rivaled George W. Pearce, editor of the older American Republican, for control of the local organization. Whether measured by newspaper circulation or voter tallies, Hodgson buried Pearce. With his arrogant, beautiful head, he must have cut quite a figure in the uniforms he wore in the (largely ceremonial) state militia, an appointment that enabled him to claim the title “Major Hodgson.” Hodgson had been born in Yorkshire, and had come to America with his family as a child. Apprenticed to Charles Miner at the Village Record, he had finished his training at 17 and gone to work as a compositor, then had bought the old-fashioned Norristown Herald newspaper. But he couldn’t make any money with it and gave it up after a few years to open a dry-goods store on Market Street in Philadelphia. He hated mercantile life, however, and longed for the rough-and-tumble of political editorship. After his wife died and left him with five young children, he had returned to West Chester and got back into newspapering. His father had been a Methodist preacher and his brother Francis was a Methodist minister. John chose the paper, not the pulpit, but he went about his work for the Democratic Party with a missionary zeal, and he was an active leader in the West Chester Methodist Church. Hodgson doesn’t seem to have felt that politics sullied religion, and he was the ideal opposition editor during the years the Whigs held sway in West Chester, asking pointed questions about the conduct of the men they elected, whether on the West Chester borough council or the state Assembly. On national questions, he backed the party’s position unquestioningly, with a faith in its essential righteousness that was remarkable, even for a partisan newspaper editor. The Methodists in those years were the church of the American workers and a bastion of the Democratic Party. Methodists increasingly identified themselves with political causes, even more so than other faiths. As an active Odd Fellow, Hodgson would have opposed the Anti-Masonic strain in the Whig Party, and as an immigrant himself -- though he was only 9 when his family came to America, his enemies never let him forget his English birth -- he despised the anti-foreigner activities of the “Know-Nothing” Republicans in West Chester in the 1850s. But Hodgson carried on his politics more than anything else, as a Christian. He seems to have held a personal dislike for the philosophy and politics of the abolitionists. He was deeply alarmed by the atheist and freethinking tendencies of the religious liberals who made up much of the abolitionist societies, and when those men and women entered the political mainstream as the core of the local Republican party, Hodgson saw it as nothing short of satanic. He fought them with every weapon he could muster, in the name of saving America’s soul. He was a racist, but perhaps no more so than more moderate Democrats or even many Whigs. That he chose to express his racism in the bluntest terms was a political decision, not a personal one. His political rivals, who attacked him at every opportunity, never said he went too far in his anti-black rhetoric. They evidently felt no need to distance themselves from it. Hodgson was a Christian politician first, and his Jeffersonian embraced the racist justification of slavery with an ardent, yet purely political, passion. Many lifelong Democrats in West Chester joined the war for the Union, or lent it their support, with unfeigned enthusiasm; Harry Guss, who led the National Guards militia into the 97th Pa. Infantry, and Henry McIntire, who led the Brandywine Guards into the 1st Pa. Reserves, were both Democrats. However, some of the party’s older leaders -- Hodgson, Nimrod Strickland, Robert E. Monaghan, and John M. Brinton -- persisted in seeing the war as a partisan sham, an inevitable effect of electing a man like Lincoln to the White House, and a national tragedy caused by the abolitionists who had perverted the government and rabidly driven the South to desperate measures in its own defense and in defense of the intent of America’s founders. The South may have broken the compact of the Constitution, but these men felt the blame rested with Lincoln and the fanatical Northern abolitionists who ran the Republican Party. They said so in party meetings, on the streets of West Chester, and in the columns of the Jeffersonian. West Chester, panicked by fear, furious over the rending of the Union, and with a pent-up war lust that had been brewing for almost a decade, was in an intolerant mood. Under the headline “Traitors in West Chester,” the Chester County Times of April 27, 1861, carried this communication from an anonymous reader: “Every man who will not give his money to support the brave boys who have gone to the field to defend their country against the most diabolical and wicked attempt to overthrow the best government in the world is a traitor. There is some loud talk about certain men at home. IF THEY PREFER THE WAR SOUTH THAT IS WAGED BY THE CONSPIRATORS, THEY MUST BE MADE TO LEAVE FOR THAT CAMP. We cannot and will not have spies and enemies in our camp. The law of treason must strike down and put down all babbling traitors.” Three weeks later, the American Republican printed an inflammatory, rambling column by a correspondent signed “Wayne” (the name of the county's Revolutionary War hero), describing a public meeting at the Courthouse during which “Major! Hodgson was given to understand pretty plainly that his secession paper would not be endured much longer.” “Wayne” also thundered against the anti-war faction in West Chester in a column in the Chester County Times, threatening that a “day of retribution will come.” A private letter written the day after Fort Sumter surrendered put the matter more precisely: “Hodson [sic] & Monaghan & one or two others have been talking pretty strong here within a few days for Secession; Now as war has begun if they don’t come out for the Union or at least keep quiet they will be -- hung I was going to say -- mobbed I will. The Jeffersonian building will not stand long unless Jno. Hodson dries up.” From the distance of more than a century, the “traitors” of West Chester seem a harmless lot. Brinton was “a unique figure, big-headed, big-bodied, full of blood, iron and Democracy.” Muscular and eccentric, he kept boxing gloves in his law office, and when he felt he needed a workout, he pulled them on for sparring matches with his black janitor. He also had a habit of offering to duke it out with country farmers who refused to pay his fees. Monaghan, the moon-faced lawyer who headed the Democratic flock, was overly proud of his distant Irish ancestry. Strickland, with his crippled leg and pursed lips, squinted at the world through rectangular spectacles from under a broad-brimmed low-crowned hat. His squashed look was made the more ridiculous by tall collars and a billy goat beard under his chin. A proud member of the Odd Fellows society, he made his living by artfully dancing from one political appointment to another. If the Democrats had ever gone totally out of power on the state and national levels, he would have starved. A West Chester writer explained Strickland to Philadelphia readers by saying he had “acquired some little position as the former editor of the ‘Republican and Democrat’ at this place, but, as you very well know, is ever running after small offices.” At their annual party convention in Horticultural Hall on Aug. 13, 1861, the hard core of the local Democrats opposed the war and bid defiance to the government, but even as they affirmed their radicalism, the ranks of the hard-core shrank. Among the approved resolutions Strickland offered was: That the American democratic government is founded not upon the sword, but upon the intelligence and virtue of the people. Public measures are to be brought to the test of the Constitution and finally settled by the appropriate civil tribunals. To resort to armies is a fundamental error, and must result in establishing a military despotism. This meeting is opposed to war movements whether by popular assemblies, state legislatures, or Congress. The People are competent for self-government, and if a Convention of the States be called, under the Constitution, we feel assured that our difficulties can be peacefully and satisfactorily adjusted. Longtime Democrat Joseph Hemphill led the moderates, and he put forth a different preamble and a set of alternate resolutions. He blamed the war on “the disunionists of the Southern States,” sustained the administration, and called on the party “to maintain and perpetuate our union, Constitution and laws at all hazards of toil, treasure and blood.” Hemphill tried to bring these to a vote late in the meeting, but was hissed and defeated. The Jeffersoniansupported the resolutions that had passed: “The resolutions of Mr. Hemphill ... express no condemnation of, but, by their silence and general tenor, would be construed to endorse, the unconstitutional and corrupt doings of Lincoln, Curtin, and the Legislature.” Hodgson found himself the brunt of most of the backlash. As editor of the Jeffersonian, his was the most public position among the anti-war Democrats. After the word "copperheads" came into vogue to describe them, Hodgson relished it (“There is an applicability about it which speaks out boldly and has a palpable meaning,” he wrote), but his life in the town became increasingly difficult. Not long after Fort Sumter he was chased from a local oyster cellar after an altercation with one besotted Unionist. The old nativist charges were flung against him again, with redoubled fury. The Chester County Times of May 15 printed a letter from a correspondent, scolding the Jeffersonian’s editor as “The Tory Hodgson true to his English tory instincts.” The Times still carried Know Nothing venom in its veins from its nativist days. Hodgson also occupied an awkward position as the enthusiastic head of the county militia. Hodgson, “although holding a military office in the militia, is sneaking about West Chester, grinning occasionally a ghastly smile over news he may hear unfavorable to the war for the Union!” the Timescorrespondent wrote. “If he has any soul or heart in favor of his adopted country that has fed and clothed him, why is he not found now where his holiday profession as a soldier should place him -- in the ranks?” Hodgson’s rivals did their part in whipping up popular furor. “There is an impudent boldness in the highwayman, who presents you the alternative, ‘your money or your life,’ which, at least, commands a kind of admiration for frankness;” the Chester County Times wrote of Hodgson, “but the Spanish stilletto, stabbing by masked traitors, the ‘masked batteries’ of cowardly tories, are as far beneath the bold bandit, as the vilest reptile that crawls on the earth is beneath the glories of the noonday sun.” A month later, the Times wrote, “The last number of the Tory organ in this place was filled with illy concealed treason. The leniency of the people has emboldened the traitor editor and the frequent meetings of the small coterie of Tories who almost daily meet for mutual sympathy and mutual plotting, keep him in countenance .... Let them be constantly exposed to public gaze, and when they have their secret conclave, for rejoicing over the defeat of national arms, let them be treated as enemies of the community.” Yet the Jeffersonian’s tone had been basically positive through the first three months of the conflict. Hodgson had printed some criticisms of the administrations and some poetry lamenting the destructiveness of war, but he also ran enthusiastic reports of the military work being done, and upbeat, patriotic letters from soldiers. The newspaper turned negative in July, however. On July 27 the entire front page was given over to the text of a speech by Clement Vallandingham, the copperhead congressman from Ohio. A week later Hodgson devoted the front page to a reprint of an address by John C. Breckenridge, the radical Democrat who had run against Lincoln in 1860. The full account of the Bull Run disaster appeared in his August 10 edition, while in the same issue on inside pages devoted to political news he ran strident anti-administration editorials with headlines like: “WAR! WAR! WAR! TAXATION AND POVERTY!” and letters bearing titles like “THE FOLLY OF THIS WAR.” The Hodgson editorial that most inflamed the loyal citizens of West Chester (or so they said later) appeared in his July 27 edition, and was titled “The Purpose of the War.” It claimed that “Abolition demagogues” had steered the country into war, “not to restore harmony and peace, and consequent union, between the two sections of the country, but to subjugate the South and ‘wipe out’ Slavery. In brief, ITS PURPOSE IS TO BENEFIT THE NEGRO AT THE EXPENSE OF THE WHITE MAN.” As proof of this, the Jeffersonian cited resolutions that had been introduced in the Senate calling for an emancipation of Southern slaves. “To effect this object -- or rather to attempt to effect it -- thousands, and tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Northern lives are to be destroyed, and millions of dollars of weighty and crushing debt, with its never-ending taxation, are to be fastened upon Northern citizens and Northern property.” Published immediately after the Northern military disaster at Bull Run, with the government menaced and the people expecting to hear any day of Washington in flames, the claim that the war was about slavery was just too much for people to swallow. “An editor who would coin as many lies as is embodied in that one short article, and published it with the criminal purpose of making his readers believe that the war was an abolition war, got up to benefit the nigger at the expense of the white man, was saying that our army deserved their defeat, and that he rejoiced over the victory of the rebels at Bull’s Run,” replied an American Republican correspondent who signed himself “Westtown” (the name of a nearby township). “The English scoundrel did, I have no doubt, rejoice. If the doctrine of his editorial is right, our army ought to be defeated.” Hodgson’s offensive predictions ultimately proved correct; it wasn’t yet a war about slavery, but it would have to become one before it could be won. In any case, Northern loyalists in 1861 still rejected the notion that the conflict had anything to do with slavery or blacks. The editorial had a more immediate consequence, however. The three-month troops had been discharged and were back in town, forming new regiments to go off for three years’ service. Before they did this, however, they showed their feelings against the Jeffersonian. By the moonlight at about 1 a.m. on the morning of August 20, a few hours before the Jeffersonian was to go to print again, a gang of men quietly and efficiently destroyed the office. The newspaper’s building on High Street was broken into, “and the newspaper press broken, the hand press pitched out of the window and the type knocked into pi and thrown into an adjoining sink,” the Village Record reported. “On Tuesday morning the office presented a desolate looking spectacle. Nothing but a few bundles of paper was to be seen in either the first or second stories of the office.” Henry S. Evans, the Record's editor, said he had no idea who had done this, but “it is believed they came from the country.” A historical account of the incident written in the 1930s by a professor from Philadelphia reported, “While no public revelations were ever made as to the personal identity of any of the members of the mob, the townspeople knew that the participants were connected with a newly formed secret Republican organization in West Chester.” This information he ascribed, in a footnote, to a “statement to the writer by Squire Paxson who lived in West Chester at the time,” and it has often been said that the inspiration for the vandalism was Congressman John Hickman. Hickman was a devotee of the theater, and a friend and fan of Edwin Forrest, the great American actor. There is something theatrical and appropriate in the image of Hickman as Henry II, discovering that his minions had taken him at his word in attacking the man who was his Becket. "Mobbing" of unpopular groups or institutions was a fact of life in American communities in the mid-19th century. Philadelphia, a mere 26 miles from West Chester, was notorious for it. In the 1830s and 1840s, Philadelphia's anarchic wards were ruled by vicious bosses and utterly corrupt police. Notorious street gangs like the Killers, the Rats, the Blood Tubs, and (unaccountably) the Dock Street Philosophers terrorized the city, killing citizens and destroying property. At the same time, the city was wracked by ethnic violence. Irish mobs sacked whole neighborhoods that were home to African-Americans. Protestant “nativists” attacked immigrant Irish Catholics and burned their churches. There were nine major mob attacks against blacks in Philadelphia between 1834 and 1849. During the Kensington and Southwark anti-Catholic riots in 1844, twenty people had been killed. It got so bad that newspapers like the Philadelphia Bulletin of May 3, 1847, contained the news item, “no rioting yesterday.” Generally it was a phenomenon of the big cities, but it could hit small towns like West Chester, too. The first big abolitionist meeting in the town, in 1837, was driven out of the courthouse by a mob attack, and thereafter the abolitionists had to meet in the open, or under the eaves of the market house, because no one would rent them space. The townsfolk were acutely aware of the dangers of mobs. The borough had no police, just a constable and a night watchman or two, and it would be helpless in the face of a major civil disorder. West Chester's Horticultural Hall was built in 1848 as a public meeting place. It was designed by the architect Thomas U. Walter, who was known for Greek Revival buildings. The Greek Revival style was more than just a fashion; it was an aesthetic that reflected the values that America’s founders wanted it to absorb: the qualities of civic responsibility, reason, and enlightened discourse represented by classical figures like Cicero. They tried to inculcate these values in the fledgling democracy. In 1861, the Village Record, so far from being chilled by the image of a mob attack on a newspaper, expressed only the mildest disapproval, and was inclined to blame the Jeffersonian for its own troubles. “It is lamentable that the settled law of the land should be violated in a manner so calculated to produce violence -- or rather, that the imperfections of the law should be such that the offenses against society, or calculated to effect its very existence, should not be punished by due process of law.” At the American Republican, in the days after the attack, editor George Pearce took pains to point out that when people had asked him what should be done about the Jeffersonian, he had “counseled patience, and deprecated in the strongest language all resorts to violence.” He seemed to have forgotten that in his issue just before the attack, he had pointed out to the public that the Jeffersonian “only maintained its existence by the forbearance of those whose loyal opinions it outraged in every one of its pestiferous issues." In the wake of Bull Run, the mood across the North had changed. The big battle was over, the Confederacy had not crumbled, and Washington had not fallen. The giddy excitement of the first three months dissipated, as the seriousness of the conflict became apparent. It was time to take stock and prepare --militarily, politically, and psychologically -- for a war that was going to take a few more months at least. The defeat left the North more united, more grimly determined, and the critics of the war found themselves very much on the outside. The Jeffersonian was not alone in suffering for its Southern sympathies. On August 8 the office of the Concord, N.H., Democratic Standard had been mobbed by soldiers who didn’t like what had been written about them. The same day the Jeffersonian was sacked, a secessionist newspaper in Easton was mobbed, and a publisher in Haverhill, Massachusetts, was tarred and feathered by a mob. “Can we wonder,” Henry S. Evans wrote, “that a proud and patriotic people, jealous of their country’s honor, burning at the defeat of her armies, incensed at the vile conduct of traitors, and trembling for the safety, not only of their government but of their fire-sides, should chafe at an opposition in their midst which is calculated, however honest its motives, or whatever specious pretenses may veil it, to defeat all their efforts and sacrifices?” What happened next, however, was certainly attributable to John Hickman. Hodgson missed his Tuesday edition, but the attempt to shut him down only inspired him to greater effort, and he prepared to print up his next edition Friday evening, come hell or high water, to have it to readers as usual on Saturday. Hodgson was “busy during the week running up and down to Philadelphia,” where another pro-secession newspaper, the Christian Observer,had offered him the use of its presses. However, on Friday, Aug. 23, 1861, United States marshals seized the office of the Christian Observer, along with what was left of the Jeffersonian. “Two officers arrived by the train at 4:00 p.m., who proceeded at once to the establishment on High street, and took the secession concern out of the hands of its treasonable conductors.” John Jenkins and William Schuyler -- two assistant marshals sent by U.S. Marshal William Millward -- padlocked the office under a warrant from George A. Coffey, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District. They also seized Hodgson’s types, presses, and books. Hodgson and his son visited Coffey in Philadelphia on September 10, and again about a week later. “I told him that if he would agree not to oppose the war ... I certainly would not oppose the restoration of the paper,” Coffey recalled in later testimony. Hodgson’s reply was, “I would die rather than give my pledge to a paper of that kind in order to get my property back.” Hodgson was not alone in this, either. In August the federal government had begun to crack down on the opposition press. Court martials were authorized in the cases of newspapers that printed information considered to have aided the enemy. Telegraph wires out of Washington, which the major daily newspapers relied on for their news of the war and the government, were subject to State Department censorship. On August 16 charges of disloyalty for alleged pro-Southernism had been brought in United States Circuit Court against the New York Journal of Commerce, Daily News, Day Book, Freeman’s Journal, and the Brooklyn Eagle. On August 21 the federal government ordered that copies of the New York newspapers that had been suppressed should not be carried by the mails. Suppressions continued August 22 in New York, New York; Canton, Ohio; and Philadelphia. On September 18 the Louisville, Kentucky Courier was banned from the mails, and its offices were seized the next day by federal authorities. Among the newspapers suppressed by the government were the Philadelphia Evening Journal and the Chicago Times. Despite claims in the North of tit for tat, there were relatively few instances of press suppression by the South. Once again, Hodgson’s fellow editors rejoiced, this time at the sight of their government curbing a free press. “The suppression of this infamous paper gives great joy to all loyal men in our Borough, and we are sure this energetic movement on the part of the government will be hailed with the liveliest satisfaction elsewhere,” Pearce wrote. “Hodgson will realize the great truth, ‘that the way of the transgressor is hard.’ It will scarcely be a tall feather in the cap of his children, and children’s children, that their ancestor was a traitor, and that his newspaper was seized for promulgating sedition against a government that gave him ample and generous protection. There is no doubt that some men were very mad at this proceeding, but they will cool off and get in a good humor. Let the maddest of them beware, for there is a bolt in the cloud that might light on their heads before they are many days older.” Pearce was prepared to deflect some of the attention from the defeated Hodgson, but only to prepare West Chester for the next set of targets: Hodgson, every one in this community knew, was the merest cat’s paw of other men. Characterless as he is and always has been, we do not believe he would have wrapped himself in the cloak of infamy that now hangs upon him in enduring disgrace, but for the madness and desperation of the disappointed politicians who wrote his editorials and culled the treasonable articles that offended and insulted every good man in the community. Nimrod Strickland, John H. Brinton, and their supple tool, Monaghan, are the guilty parties in this case. ... When these men play the bully on our streets, and impudently try to fix the charge of violence on those who stand by the country and its old and honored flag, fling the truth in their faces, that they are the instigators and the authors of these infractions of law and order. The next week, the Chester County Times noted that the pugilistic John H. Brinton had been bound over on charge of assault and battery on the Times’editor. “John’s wrath was all about the Jeffersonian,” he wrote. “He said the influence of the Times had caused its sudden suspension, and he wanted to get up a kind of wake over its dead carcass. We hope he is satisfied with his attempt. If Toryism had continued as rampart [sic] as it was a few weeks ago, we are not sure that other suspensions would not have taken place, more disagreeable and causing worse contortions than the newspaper’s demise.” The Philadelphia Bulletin, meanwhile, laid out the best possible case for why the Jeffersonian’s anti-government editorials were dangerous to the national safety: The principal circulation of the Jeffersonian was in the lower part of Chester County and along the Maryland line. Many of the people even upon this side of the line are touched with Secession sentiment. They take but one newspaper, frequently, and they are, of course, greatly influenced by its statements and opinions. The mischief that can be accomplished by a persistent enemy of the Government, under such circumstances, will be appreciated. If the press failed to appreciate the need to protect itself, the justice system did so in its behalf. The Jeffersonian matter became a test case for the government’s authority to shut down any newspaper it didn’t like. A congressional act of Aug. 6, 1861, had authorized the President to direct the seizure of anyone who was “aiding, or abetting, or promoting ... insurrection.” The Jeffersonian seizure failed to meet the terms of this act in its two essential qualities; Hodgson had printed no government secrets or committed any espionage for the Confederacy, and the President had never authorized the seizure of the paper. Lincoln had hesitated before signing the August 6 order, and he likely never meant it as an instrument to suppress unfriendly newspapers. Hodgson finally got a hearing on October 7, in Philadelphia, before an U.S. Circuit Court judge. The legal discussion centered on whether Coffey, the district attorney, had had the authority to issue the order he signed, dated Aug. 23, 1861, to Millward: “According to the provisions of the Act of 6th of August, 1861, I hereby request you to seize upon all copies of ‘The Jeffersonian’ newspaper, published in the borough of West Chester, Chester county, Pennsylvania, as well as all property of every kind whatsoever in and about the publication of said newspaper, that may be found in your bailiwick, for confiscation and condemnation, according to law -- I being authorized by the President of the United States.” It transpired that Wayne McVeagh, Chester County’s district attorney, had sent Coffey copies of the paper, asking if the government could put a stop to it, and the two men apparently had corresponded about it. Coffey admitted under cross-examination that before he had issued this warrant, he had sent telegraphs to the president and to the Secretary of War, requesting authority to seize the Christian Observer and the Jeffersonian. “I spoke of the Jeffersonian as publishing articles inflaming or disturbing the minds of the people.” He had gotten a reply only from the War Department, saying, as he recalled, “Your action is approved -- be temperate and firm.” But there was no warrant or affidavit from the government authorizing the seizure. Coffey had acted on his own, and his order to Millward was the first paperwork in the case. Coffey explained, rather lamely, that he had wanted to test whether the act applied to such cases. In the absence of the necessary authority, and with the failure to produce any specific charges against the Jeffersonian except printing opinions unfavorable to the government, Coffey eventually abandoned the case. The matter was formally dropped through a terse notice from Coffey to the court, dated Oct. 14, 1861. The Jeffersonian resumed publication with a notice to readers on October 17, but when Hodgson took his stacks of fliers to the West Chester post office for the Philadelphia mails, he was told they would not be handled. U.S. Postmaster General Blair had put him on the list of papers that the government would not move. Other Democratic newspapers around the state and in New York expressed sympathy and watched the case with interest. The mail privileges were restored, evidently without a word of explanation, on Jan. 18, 1862. Hodgson, meanwhile, pressed his point. In late October he filed a lawsuit against Millward and his assistants for lost profits. Hodgson was represented by two sympathetic Philadelphia attorneys, George W. Biddle and William B. Reed. (Reed distinguished himself after the war as the lawyer who represented Jefferson Davis at his trial.) On Feb. 3, 1863, case of Hodgson v. Millward et al was called for trial in U.S. Circuit Court, and the jury. In both cases, the judges made strong statements to the jury about the government’s lack of authority to clamp down on dissent in this way. In the second trial, Supreme Court Justice Robert C. Grier (right), who presided over the circuit, charged the jury that there was no justification for the seizure, and that the DA had no power to issue a writ ordering the seizure. The power to issue writs, he told them, belongs to the courts alone. None of the evidence submitted suggested that the President or a member of the cabinet had authorized the seizure, and it wouldn’t have made any difference had there been: No one can pretend that our law was changed by the mere fact of the rebellion. The very purpose of law is to set a rule that may remain fixed and immovable among the disturbances of society, and that shall be the standard of judging them. ... If it yielded to excitements it would be judged by them, instead of being their judge. When Chester County's emergency militias of 1862 passed through West Chester on their way to stem Lee's threatened invasion of the state (they arrived much too late), they smashed the windows of the county's most pro-administration newspaper, the Chester County Times. "There was a great time in W. Chester today," Southern sympathizer Jennie Sellers wrote in her diary for Sept. 7, 1862. "Before the soldiers left, they run most all the niggers out of W. Chester. ... The office of the Times was riddled last six day night by the soldiers. The editor of the Times wanted the soldiers to break up the office of the Jeffersonian, but instead of that they broke up his own." The South Compared Partial bibliography: Abrams, Ray H., "The Jeffersonian, Copperhead Newspaper," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 57 (1933), p.260. Harper, Douglas R., "If Thee Must Fight:" A Civil War History of Chester County, Pa. West Chester, Pa.: Chester County Historical Society, 1990. ------------------, West Chester to 1865: That Elegant & Notorious Place. West Chester, Pa.: Chester County Historical Society, 1999.

KEYSTONE CONFEDERATES

Between the first Southern secessions in December 1860 and the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861, Northern states, as well as Border States, faced a dilemma. The union was falling apart, and the incoming administration had not yet made it clear what would be done to reform it, or to prevent further erosion. Political leaders across the North sometimes talked loyalty, but they often looked to their own interests or the good of their state, and those were not necessarily in sticking together under Lincoln. The Pacific states -- Oregon and California -- were separated from the rest by vast miles of desert and Indians. They held sudden power in a split government, and many of their settlers were of Southern origin. Rumors back east told that the western seaboard would attempt to separate. Meanwhile, across the country, New York City, behind Mayor Fernando Wood and Dan Sickles, threatened to secede and become a "free city."[1] There was a more serious attempt to form a Midwestern bloc, behind the region's Democratic leaders like Vallandigham, Pendleton, Cox, Logan, and McClernand. This region still relied on the Mississippi river for its economic prosperity, and the lower reaches of that river were now in foreign hands. That left the Ohio valley states more dependent than ever on Eastern businessmen and Republicans, something they already loathed about their position. There was talk in the old Northwest of forming a confederacy of their own, or joining with the new one. In this case, economics as well a politics favored the idea. Economics and politics, too, flowed into talk of secession in southeastern Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia and the surrounding counties -- which were so hostile to abolitionists that the Republican ticket in the November 1860 election didn't even use the party name but disguised itself as the "People's party," and took up that old Whig shibboleth, "tariff protection," as its rallying cry. The tariff issue is credited with giving Lincoln his 60 percent vote in traditionally Democratic Philadelphia. Philadelphia's economic ties to the South have been well-documented since Kenneth M. Stampp outlined them in And the War Came (1970). The city's merchants and manufacturers, like the Cotton Whigs of Boston, deplored the Republican moves during the secession crisis. They advocated letting the South go without resistance -- if they could not join it outright. There was much talk of this in the early months of 1861. The Pennsylvanian, a newspaper edited by a relative by marriage of President Buchanan, was just one voice advocating a Pennsylvania union with the Confederacy. Another city newspaper laid out the case plainly: "Can Philadelphia with the South cut off compete with New York in ships, in trade, and other branches of enterprise? We opine not." Prominent Pottsville politician Francis W. Hughes warned in February 1861 that Pennsylvania risked trading Southern customers and profits for a "place in some Northern fragment of a once-glorious Union." Not all the mercantile class interest in the South was pure greed. Pennsylvanians seemed particularly attached to Virginia -- a sentimental relic of Revolutionary days, perhaps -- and Pennsylvania's William Bigler in a Jan. 21, 1861, speech on the Senate floor proclaimed that "Pennsylvania will never become the enemy of Virginia. Pennsylvania will never draw the sword on Virginia." He supported the Crittenden Compromise and spoke for peaceful Southern secession. Some state leaders showed a personal devotion to the values represented by the Confederacy that cost them their fortunes and clearly ran deeper than craven self-interest. When it became clear that Pennsylvania would not join the Confederate States, George McHenry, former director of the Philadelphia Board of Trade, emigrated to London and advocated for the Confederate cause from there. Political and ideological forces also gave many in Pennsylvania a strong sympathy for the South. Many followed the thinking of their fellow citizen, President Buchanan, in taking a constitutional, non-coercive approach to the secession crisis. This was not a weak policy, as some would have it, but was rooted in a sound interpretation of the Constitution and old-style federalism. Robert Monaghan, a leader of the Chester County Democrats, told a militia organizer before the war started, "If you go down there to shoot, damned if I don't go down there and shoot back." William B. Reed, a leading Philadelphia Democrat, called for a Pennsylvania convention "to determine with whom her lot should be cast, whether with the North and East, whose fanaticism has precipitated this misery upon us, or our brethren of the South whose wrongs we feel as our own." Robert Tyler, former chair of the state Democratic Executive Committee, wrote, "should the Border States join the Southern Confederacy within one, two or three years, it would then become a most serious question to determine the political status of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in that relation." And George W. Woodward, chief justice of the state Supreme Court not only argued for the South's right to peaceful secession, he added, "I wish Pennsylvania could go with them." In a study of Pennsylvania newspapers before Fort Sumter, 17 of the 23 Democratic newspapers examined "supported some sort of secession." Out of the 31 Republican papers, eight also supported the South's right to leave the union.[2] The Harrisburg Patriot and Union on April 9, 1861, summed up a feeling echoed from many presses: "If this administration wickedly plunges the country into civil war, it will be a war between the Republican party and the Southern States." Mass meetings in the months before Sumter "stressed the North's offenses against the South" and called on Pennsylvania "to choose between 'fanatical New England' and 'the South, whose sympathies are ours.' " ... "Abolitionists, blamed for the crisis, were more detested than ever. ... Peace rallies persisted through January, February, and March." All this and more can be found in "Philadelphia, a 300-year History," the standard modern comprehensive history of the city, in a chapter tellingly titled "The Border City in the Civil War." There was a rush of patriotism after Sumter, and the attack on the flag galvanized the citizens behind the administration in Washington. Leading Philadelphia secessionists like Tyler were run out of town by mobs. Others kept quiet. "There are a great many men here who are for the South," a Philadelphia letter of May 16, 1861, reported, "but they cannot say a word for fear of being hung or put in prison or being shot down like dogs." But patriotic solidarity for Lincoln's war began to ebb as early as the summer of 1861. "Enthusiasm faded everywhere of course, but in Philadelphia it gave way to especially bitter dissention, as the city's traditional sympathy for the South and antipathy toward the black man once again clouded its dedication to the Union."[3] The city's first families were never for Lincoln, and Sidney George Fisher in his biography says he was the only Lincoln-defender in his social circles. A tavernkeeper, speaking at a pro-Southern meeting in Kirkwood, Lancaster County, in August 1861 said: "I am in favor of secession, and believe the South are justifiable in their rebellion and hope they may succeed. The war is an abolition war, made by an abolitionist administration for the destruction of the South. ... The object of the administration was to liberate the negroes in order that the people of the North might be enslaved. For if the free negroes come North how would the white laborer make his living?" He added, "I am for the whole country, North, South, East, and West; all except God-damned New England."[4] based on analysis of regimental records from Virginia, a startling 2,000 Pennsylvanians are believed to have fought in the Confederate armies -- and that is a "very conservative" estimate.[5] Among the best-known is Wesley Culp, born and raised in Gettysburg, who moved to Virginia before the war, enlisted in the 2nd Va. Infantry, and was killed July 2, 1863, during the Stonewall Brigade's attack on Culp's Hill, within sight of the house where he had been born. 1. Roy Franklin Nichols, The Disruption of the American Democracy, N.Y.: The MacMillan Co., 1948, pp. 394-402. 2. William C. Wright, The Secession Movement in the Middle Atlantic States, Cranbury, N.J.: Associated Universities Presses, 1973. 3. Russell F. Weigley, ed., Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Co., 1982, p.402. 4. "Village Record" newspaper, West Chester, Pa. 5. Christian B. Keller, "Keystone Confederates: Pennsylvanians Who Fought for Dixie," in Blair, William, and William Pencak, eds., Making and Remaking Pennsylvania's Civil War, University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001.

SOUTHERN POPULISTS

Something else that intrigued me recently, on the list of "true things that don't fit into the present paradigm," is the Southern Populist movement of the 1890s. This political revolution forged -- for a time -- a common cause between poor whites and blacks, just at the time when, most people are taught to believe, the South was celebrating its re-enslaving of the freedmen. Not only that, the Populists, in their approach to blacks, steered clear of the patronizing approach of the radical Republicans and the noblesse oblige of the conservative Democrats. But the most amazing fact is that the movement came right out of the depressed, deprived lower class of Southern whites -- the very crackers who are supposedly the most fanatic racists in the world. The movement, and the racial bridge, eventually failed, but the wonder of it is how far they all came before they did. And it gives the lie in a big way to the notion that Southerners are historically incapable of achieving racial harmony without Northern intervention. Though the Populists had their share of two-faced politicians and race-baiters, the movement as a whole made a remarkable call for trans-racial solidarity, based on an equality of want and poverty, a common grievance and a common oppressor. "They are in the ditch just like we are," as a white Texas Populist put it. Tom Watson, the leading light of Southern Populism had the vision of "presenting a platform immensely beneficial to both races and injurious to neither," and "making it in the interest of both races to act together for the success of the platform." The success of the party overall hinged on black cooperation, and Watson promised blacks that, if they succeeded at the ballot box, the Populists would "wipe out the color line and put every man on his citizenship irrespective of color." "You are made to hate each other," he said, addressing both races, "because upon that hatred is rested the keystone of the arch of financial despotism which enslaves you both. You are deceived and blinded that you may not see how this race antagonism perpetuates a monetary system which beggars you both." My interest is not in Watson's polemics or his party's assumptions about human nature. But rather in the success it had, as an indigenous Southern movement, in breaking down racial barriers and achieving some degree of equalitarianism. There was political pragmatism behind it, of course. The president of the first Populist convention in Texas said, "We have no disposition to ostracize the colored people. I am in favor of giving the colored man full representation. ... He is a citizen just as much as we are, and the party that acts on that fact will gain the colored vote of the South." But the pragmatism led to sincere action. The convention cheered the Texas speaker's sentiments, and what's more it elected two blacks to the state executive committee of the party. Other Southern states followed the example. In terms of real integration, the Populists far outstripped the radical Republicans. Blacks were not shunted into figurehead appointments with nominal power. They operated in the inmost councils of the party. They served alongside whites in county, district, and state executive committees, campaign committees, and as delegates to national conventions. Black and white campaigners spoke from the same platform, to mixed-race audiences, and both had places on official party tickets. Populist sheriffs made sure blacks were represented on jury duty, and Populist newspaper editors praised the achievements of black citizens. Watson, in Georgia, announced that it was the object of his party to "make lynch law odious to the people," and the 1896 Populist Party platform in the state contained a plank denouncing lynching. In the campaign four years earlier, a black Populist had made 63 speeches for Watson. He was threatened in one town and fled to Watson for protection. Watson called for aid, and some 2,000 white farmers showed up, some of them after riding all night, and remained on armed guard for two nights at his home to prevent violence to this man. Henry Demarest Lloyd wrote that the Southern Populists had given "negroes of the South a political fellowship which they have never obtained, not even from their saviors, the Republicans." Sadly, in the end the surge of the Populists and the Farmer's Alliance helped push the South into Jim Crow. The conservative old guard, which had taken at least a paternalistic interest in blacks and protected them from the most fanatic racists since 1877, was thrown back on the defensive. To keep their grip on a power that was slipping away from them, the conservatives went overboard and turned to fraud, bribery, violence and terror to defeat the Populists. And as part of that, they raised the cry of "Negro domination" and white supremacy. The Populists protested, to no avail. "It is no excuse," a Virginia Populist newspaper wrote in 1893, "to say that these iniquities are practiced to 'preserve white civilization.' In the first place it was white men who were robbed of their votes, and white men who were defrauded out of office." Because in the ultimate irony, the conservatives used the black vote to defeat the aspirations of the white lower class. The conservatives still dominated in the Black Belts, and they bought and intimidated some black voters, but mostly they just stuffed the ballot box, or counted up all the votes on their side, regardless of reality. In election after election, thumping majorities of black votes turned up for the party of white supremacy. In 1896, the conservatives carried only one-fifth of the parishes of Louisiana that had a white majority, but, as the New Orleans Times-Democrat cynically noted, the party of white supremacy was once again "saved by negro votes." Seeing their votes stolen and the party stalled, black Populists grew apathetic. Seeing their party fail through failure of black votes, many white Populists decided the attempt at a black alliance had been a mistake. In some cases they turned their bitterness against the black race. And the white conservatives were on the one hand stuck with the devil's bargain they had made with racist fanatics, and on the other more interested in disfranchising the blacks to prevent their votes from defecting again. Their opponents, meanwhile, often found no harm in legally disfranchising blacks from votes that were only going to be stolen anyhow. It was one more step in the slow stagger of America, and especially the Southern part of it, into the deplorable race relations that characterized the first half of the 20th century. But for a time, the two races surprised each other and astonished their opponents by cooperating with harmony and good will. "[T]hings have not always been the same in the South," C. Vann Woodward wrote in 1955. "In a time when the Negroes formed a much larger proportion of the population than they did later, when slavery was a live memory in the minds of both races, and when the memory of the hardships and bitterness of Reconstruction was still fresh, the race policies accepted and pursued in the South were sometimes milder than they became later. The policies of proscription, segregation, and disfranchisement that are often described as the immutable 'folkways' of the South, impervious alike to legislative reform and armed intervention, are of a more recent origin. The effort to justify them as a consequence of Reconstruction and a necessity of the times is embarrassed by the fact that they did not originate in those times. And the belief that they are immutable and unchangeable is not supported by history." It's yet another irony of the situation that some (most?) of the best studies of the evolution of race relations in the South 1865-1920 came out during the early days of the Civil Rights movement. They were written by Southern historians of liberal/progressive (lower-case "p") inclination, and the slant to them was exploding the myth that the South has always been (and always will be) a segregated, racist, white supremist culture. Since this was the rallying point of the die-hard segregationists, the historians pointed out that the position was not borne out by history. Always a great introduction to the topic is Woodward's "The Strange Career of Jim Crow," first edition 1955, which is still in print. Martin Luther King Jr. called it "The historical Bible of the civil rights movement."

ZACH WALKER

Pennsylvania had three lynchings in the years when that was common practice in America. Maryland had one. In Coatesville, Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1911, a black man named Zack Walker was burned alive for killing a white steel mill cop. They dragged him from the hospital, still chained to his bedstead, and burned him to death in front of thousands of witnesses in a field south of the city. No one was convicted of the crime. When he staggered from the pyre, a mass of flames, with rakes they shoved him back in. I have seen the picture of what was left of him. It would not fill a grocery bag. Around it are the bare feet and legs of young boys. I found the photos in the back of a cabinet drawer of the West Chester newspaper when I became an editor there. A year after the lynching, John Jay Chapman, poet, dramatist and social critic, came to Coatesville, hired a hall there and held a memorial service. Only two people came. But the speech was published in Harper's Weekly (Sept. 21, 1912) and Chapman's book of essays, "Memories and Milestones," (1915) and has become a classic. Here is part of what he said: We are met to commemorate the anniversary of one of the most dreadful crimes in history — not for the purpose of condemning it, but to repent for our share in it. We do not start any agitation with regard to that particular crime. I understand that an attempt to prosecute the chief criminals has been made, and has entirely failed; because the whole community, and in a sense our whole people, are really involved in the guilt. The failure of the prosecution in this case, in all such cases, is only a proof of the magnitude of the guilt, and of the awful fact that everyone shares in it. I will tell you why I am here; I will tell you what happened to me. When I read in the newspapers of August 14, a year ago, about the burning alive of a human being, and of how a few desperate, fiend-minded men had been permitted to torture a man chained to an iron bedstead, burning alive, thrust back by pitchforks when he struggled out of it, while around about stood hundreds of well-dressed American citizens, both from the vicinity and from afar, coming on foot and in wagons, assembling on telephone call, as if by magic, silent, whether from terror or indifference, fascinated and impotent, hundreds of persons watching this awful sight and making no attempt to stay the wickedness, and no one man among them all who was inspired to risk his life in an attempt to stop it, no one man to name the name of Christ, of humanity, of government! As I read the newspaper accounts of the scene enacted here in Coatesville a year ago, I seemed to get a glimpse into the unconscious soul of this country. I saw a seldom revealed picture of the American heart and of the American nature. I seemed to be looking into the heart of the criminal — a cold thing, an awful thing. I said to myself, "I shall forget this, we shall all forget it; but it will be there." What I have seen is not an illusion. It is the truth. I have seen death in the heart of this people. For to look at the agony of a fellow-being and remain aloof means death in the heart of the onlooker. Religious fanaticism has sometimes lifted men to the frenzy of such cruelty, political passion has sometimes done it, personal hatred might do it, the excitement of the ampitheater in the degenerate days of Roman luxury could do it. But here an audience chosen by chance in America has stood spellbound through an improvised auto-da-fé, irregular, illegal, having no religious significance, not sanctioned by custom, having no immediate provocation, the audience standing by merely in cold dislike. I saw during one moment something beyond all argument in the depth of its significance. No theories about the race problem, no statistics, legislation, or mere educational endeavor, can quite meet the lack which that day revealed in the American people. For what we saw was death. The people stood like blighted things, like ghosts about Acheron, waiting for someone or something to determine their destiny for them. .... Let me say something more about the whole matter. The subject we are dealing with is not local. The act, to be sure, took place at Coatesville and everyone looked to Coatesville to follow it up. Some months ago I asked a friend who lives not far from here something about this case, and about the expected prosecutions, and he replied to me: "It wasn’t in my county," and that made me wonder whose county it was in. And it seemed to be in my county. I live on the Hudson River; but I knew that this great wickedness that happened in Coatesville is not the wickedness of Coatesville nor of today. It is the wickedness of all America and of three hundred years — the wickedness of the slave trade. All of us are tinctured by it. No special place, no special persons, are to blame. .... There is no country in Europe where the Coatesville tragedy or anything remotely like it could have been enacted, probably no country in the world. On the day of the calamity, those people in the automobiles came by the hundred and watched the torture, and passers-by came in a great multitude and watched it — and did nothing. On the next morning the newspapers spread the news and spread the paralysis until the whole country seemed to be helplessly watching this awful murder, as awful as anything ever done on this earth; and the whole of our people seemed to be looking on helplessly, not able to respond, not knowing what to do next. That spectacle has been in my mind. The trouble has come down to us out of the past. The only reason slavery is wrong is that it is cruel and makes men cruel and leaves them cruel. Someone may say that you and I cannot repent because we did not do the act. But we are involved in it. We are still looking on. Do you not see that this whole event is merely the last parable, the most vivid, the most terrible illustration that ever was given by man or imagined by a Jewish prophet, of the relation between good and evil in this world, and of the relation of men to one another? This whole matter has been an historic episode; but it is a part, not only of our national history, but of the personal history of each one of us."

YORK RACE RIOT

This happened in York, Pennsylvania, a small city where people who lived only a few blocks apart lived in separate worlds -- in what a local newspaper has called "a de facto segregated and discriminatory system supported by city government." William Lee Smallwood, now a city councilman, said, "I remember as a teen-ager being routinely stopped by the cops when they'd see me with a white girl." Black citizens of York had been marching on city hall since 1963, protesting police violence and official discrimination. Their demands for a bi-racial police review board were turned down by the all-white city council. The marchers were frequently clubbed or had German shepherds set on them by police. Whites in York blamed it -- and still blame it -- on "outside people coming in stirring up the neighbors," as one resident recently said. A York College professor put it like this: "It's not simply that people were bigoted. Many whites just didn't see race issues as their problem. Probably most York citizens were in favor of integration, but they saw it as a Southern problem." Not everyone, though. The city had several notorious white gangs -- such as Roosevelt Park Inc., the Newberry Street Boys, the Swampers, and the Girarders -- which the Pa. Crime Commission report called "armed vigilantes." By the mid-'60s, York had become a war zone, divided by race. "What began as bottles and bricks in 1967 escalated into guns in 1968 and armor-piercing bullets by the summer of 1969," according to the York Dispatch, the newspaper which has done wonderful work in documenting the city's recent history (and from which most of the information in this post is drawn). The York race riots began July 17, 1969, after a white gang member shot and wounded a black man. Fights broke out, buildings were set ablaze and police began barricading black neighborhoods. More than 60 people were injured, 100 were arrested and entire city blocks burned. A white rookie police officer was fatally shot while patroling the city in an armored car. No one has ever been identified as the assassin, and the case is still unsolved. On July 20, the day after the killing, York white citizens rallied. One of the police officers who attended was yelling "white power!" He gave bullets for a 30.06 hunting rifle to white gang members and told them to "kill as many niggers as you can." He also told them, "If I weren't a cop, I'd be leading commando raids against niggers in the black neighborhoods." The next night, a cadillac driven by Hattie Dickinson blundered onto Newberry Street. This was the turf of the Newberry Street Boys, and it was the wrong place to be if you were black, in York, and Dickinson was black. She and her family were visiting York from Aiken, S.C. They were out to pick up groceries. Dickinson, was driving her father's car when she saw a person with a gun. She tried to turn around on Newberry Street, near Gay Avenue, at the barricades fronting the railroad tracks. The car stalled. Armed white men poured from the porches. Dickinson panicked. Her parents, in the back seat, started praying. Her older sister, Lillie Belle Allen, 27, jumped out of the car to get to the driver's seat and take the wheel. She waved her arms and yelled, "Don't shoot!" A hail of gunfire cut her down. One of the Newberry Street Boys fired the first shot, and "after that all hell broke loose and it seemed as though everyone started shooting," according to a witness. Up to 20 white shooters at Newberry Street and Gay Avenue opened fire from the street, rooftops, and windows. Allen's body was riddled with "pumpkin balls," buckshot the size of a .38-caliber bullet. The ammunition supplied by the police officer flew along with the rest, though it was not the fatal bullet. Witnesses heard the first shooter later say "we got one," and, "I blew the nigger in half." People who knew about the fatal shootings kept silent, because they were afraid or they didn't want to be seen as traitors. "It was tougher than pulling teeth," said Thomas V. Chatman Jr., who was lead detective on the murder investigations for the York City police. "There were witnesses. But no one wanted to tell you anything. People took sides according to race and didn't want to cooperate." And so for thirty years, the case was cold. Then one of those witnesses finally cracked. Donald Altland, 51, killed himself along the banks of the Susquehanna River on April 11, 2000. Altland left a note on a napkin that read "Forgive Me God," and two cassette tapes reportedly detailing the Allen case, including the admission that he was one of the men who fired on Allen's car. Two months later, the district attorney's office announced it had new leads in the murders. And so while ex-Ku Klux Klansman Thomas Blanton Jr. is being sentenced to life in prison for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, nine people are being indicted in York and other places for the killing of Lillie Belle Allen. And that police officer, the one who handed out bullets and advised commando raids and shouted "white power"? He's now the mayor of York. Just last month in the primary election he won nomination for another term. In the Democratic Party. Around midnight, a few weekends ago, bright orange stickers were plastered all around downtown York. "Earth's Most Endangered Species: The White Race. Help Preserve It," they read. They were put up by The National Alliance, a neo-Nazi organization based in West Virginia. Dr. William L. Pierce, the leader of the National Alliance, said he has doubled the membership of the alliance to about 2,000 members and 30 chapters in the last few years. He has five alliance chapters in rural Pennsylvania and Maryland, within an easy drive of York. Ann Van Dyke, civil rights investigator for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, said that York "obviously has a long history of distrust" between the races. "But I also emphasize that York County has the highest number of citizens unity coalitions in the state," Van Dyke added. "It deserves credit for being one of the most diligent at reporting hate crimes." National Alliance stickers and pamphlets appear regularly in state trouble spots, Van Dyke said, along with provocations from a wide assortment of other groups seeking to exploit local frustrations over changing demographics and problems with government like prison and highway proposals, and even landfills. The state's high number of waste dumps is an endless source of local fears. "Anywhere you've got change happening and people are scared, you'll find fodder for bigotry, even a dump, for Pete's sake. We've seen messages of 'The Jews are running the dump.' "