In March of 1867, the U.S. Congress passed the first of its Reconstruction Acts. These acts were intended to bring the former Confederate states back into the Union and bring the laws of those states into line with U.S. law. One of the provisions of the first Reconstruction Act was that African-American men now had the right to vote. This month's document, a "Memorial from Electors of Elections in Alexandria", describes what happened here in the first election following the Act. The government refused to recognize the votes of African-Americans who cast ballots in the election, declaring one of the "disloyal" candidates the victor. The "Unionists," a group including African-Americans and former Union soldiers, opened their own polls and voted under the protection of military troops. The document expresses the dissatisfaction of several Unionists at the situation and urges the U.S. Congress to make changes to the Reconstruction Act that would prevent the situation from occuring again.
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