On this day in 1870, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the act that ended Congressional Reconstruction and readmitted Texas to the Union. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Texas had been in turmoil, first under Presidential Reconstruction and then, beginning in 1867 with the passage of the First Reconstruction Act, under Congressional Reconstruction. The latter required that Texas have a constitutional convention, with delegates elected by all male citizens over the age of twenty-one, regardless of race, color, or "previous condition of servitude." The convention was to write a new state constitution that would provide for universal adult male suffrage. When the constitution had been written and the state had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, Congress would consider the case for readmission to the Union. The convention met at Austin in June 1868 and did not adjourn until February 1869. The constitution it produced differed significantly from previous constitutions by authorizing a more centralized and bureaucratized system of government, with greater power in the hands of the governor. In February 1870 the Twelfth Legislature assembled at Austin to adopt the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments and select United States senators in preparation for readmission to the Union. They quickly approved the amendments and selected Morgan C. Hamilton for a six-year term and James W. Flanagan for a four-year term. This completed the requirements set by Congress for readmission.
On this day in 1912, Karl May died in Radebeul, Germany. May's fictional character Old Shatterhand spread Christianity and justice across a romanticized American West while fighting "unscrupulous white men and renegade Indians." The novelist's huge following included such disparate readers as Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Hermann Hesse, and Adolf Hitler. Over sixty million copies of May's works, in thirty languages, helped form the image of Texas and the Wild West in many European minds.
On this day in 1849, the Marshall Texas Republican was established by Trenton A. and Frank J. Patillo. The paper is most closely identified with Robert W. Loughery, who became associate editor in July and editor in November, and two years later bought the paper outright. Under his fiery leadership, the Republican became one of the state's most articulate voices for secession, and his editorials were reprinted around the state. Loughery's support played an important role in the election of his fellow townsmen James Pinckney Henderson and Louis T. Wigfall to the United States Senate, and the Republican was among the staunchest supporters of the Confederacy during the war years. Once the war ended, however, Loughery vigorously advocated conciliation and compliance with the requirements of surrender, though he changed his stance after the imposition of congressional Reconstruction. His last great journalistic fight involved the Stockade Case at Jefferson, in which a number of citizens were held without formal charge and finally tried by a military tribunal. Loughery's complaints about the military's refusal to turn the case over to civilian courts or to release the prisoners on bail came to the attention of President Andrew Johnson, who asked for an explanation from Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds, commander of the troops in Texas. After the Republican ceased publication in 1872, Loughery went on to help found several other Texas newspapers. He died in 1894.