Vance Memorial Obelisk
Zebulon Vance was the Governor of North Carolina during the Civil War. Prior to his election to the governorship in 1862, Vance was an attorney in Asheville and a junior officer in the Confederate army. As governor, Vance opposed Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Congress, believing that they were retreating from the doctrine of small government and state's rights by enacting higher taxes, enlistment quotas, and other restrictions upon the freedoms of Southerners. Like other white Southerners of the era, Vance was a slave owner and an opponent of equal political and civil rights for African Americans. At the same time, he was outspoken against the persecution of Jews.
Backstory and Context
Despite being arrested following the conclusion of the war he and other Southern leaders were allowed to return to their homes under the condition that they would refrain from politics, forswear the rebellion, and promise to support the United States government. However, Vance and other Southern rebel leaders were back in politics in the 1870s. Vance won election to the governorship during Reconstruction and oversaw a period of violent voter suppression that saw the return of many former planters and Confederate leaders to office.
Upon their return to office, they sought to return the South to a state of dependency upon the planter elite and opposed all efforts to assist African Americans in their transition from slavery to citizenship. Vance and others might not of assisted the Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist organizations that prevented African Americans from voting, but they owed their election to the suppression of black votes. With the effective destruction of North Carolina's Republican Party, Vance was practically unopposed in his Senatorial Campaign in 1879. He served in the United States Senate until his death in 1894.