The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals

By George Fort Milton | Go to book overview

XVI. THE SWING AROUND THE CIRCLE

THE campaign of 1866 affords the only instance in American political history in which a Congressional election was deemed so important that four great political conventions were held to influence its results, and a president stumped the country to forward the fortunes of his friends only to be met with insults and indignities.

Had Andrew Johnson triumphed in this election, or had he even decreased the Radical strength in either House or Senate so that the Radicals would have had less than a two-thirds majority in either branch, the whole course of American history might have been altered, and altered for the best. As Blaine admits, there would have been no further amendment to the Constitution, there would have been no conditions of reconstruction. The South would have escaped ten cruel years of rule by carpetbagger and scalawag. The "Solid South" would never have been formed.

Andrew Johnson staked everything on an appeal to the people. It was his habit to trust in the commonalty, to believe that, when properly informed, the people would decide honestly and wisely. And so this year, betrayed by trusted Constitutional advisers, ignored by fanatic Radicals in Congress, and opposed by the Big Business of the day, which for its own ends had thrown its weight to the Radicals, Andrew Johnson determined to carry his case to the people for a verdict at the polls.1

The first step in this great appeal was to be the approaching Union meeting at Philadelphia, upon which great hopes were set by the Conservatives. Only two weeks before the date set for this meeting, the bright anticipations of Johnson's friends were dampened by a fearful riot in New Orleans. Following so closely upon the Memphis troubles, the New Orleans tragedy was a body blow to the prestige of Johnson's policies in the North.

The Memphis outbreak had been caused by trouble between the garrison of Third United States colored artillery and the city police, largely Irish in its personnel. On the afternoon of April 30 the colored gunners indulged in the dangerous pastime of jostling the Irish policemen off the sidewalks; fights broke

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The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Acknowledgment ix
  • I. War-Time Washington 1
  • Ii. Plot and Counterplot 16
  • III- the National Union Convention 37
  • Iv. the Bound Boy of Raleigh 59
  • V. the Tailor-Politician 74
  • Vt. "In the Furnace of Treason" 98
  • Vii. on the Ticket with Lincoln 120
  • Ix. President Andrew Johnson 160
  • X. the Trial of Mrs. Surratt 190
  • Xi. the Lull Before the Storm 213
  • Xii. Charles Sumner Declares War 236
  • Xiii. the Triumph of Caliban 262
  • Xiv. Victory at Any Price 293
  • Xv. a Marplot in the Cabinet 320
  • Xvi. the Swing Around the Circle 344
  • Xvii. Bayonet Rule by Act Of Congress 370
  • Xix. Johnson Crosses the Rubicon 426
  • Xx. General Grant Breaks His Word 457
  • Xxi. the Impeachment of The President 486
  • Xxii. Preparing for the Trial 515
  • Xxiii. Impartial Court Or Political Inquest? 541
  • Xxiv. Sound and Fury 566
  • Xxvii. Last Months in the White House 633
  • Xviii. the Tennessee Epilogue 654
  • Appendix - Authorities Consulted and Cited In This Volume 677
  • Notes 685
  • Index 755
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