The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals

By George Fort Milton | Go to book overview

XIX. JOHNSON CROSSES THE RUBICON

ONLY a few seconds after the gavels sounded the death knell of the Thirty-Ninth Congress, they struck again to call the Fortieth Congress into being. "Thanks to the firmness of the Northern people and the follies of Andrew Johnson," the Nation declared, the personnel of the new Congress was substantially that of its predecessor.1 Although in strict fact there was hardly a minute's interval between the two sessions, all the forms of organization of a new legislative body were carefully complied with. The opening was full of color. The galleries were so crowded that the members' cloakrooms were opened to the ladies, and the staid Congressional sofas were quickly filled with billowing loveliness.2 The initial scenes of the new session were faintly reminiscent of those which had marked the beginning of the preceding one: Edward McPherson, Thad Stevens' clerk, called the roll, omitting the names of the Southern members--save that now the members from Tennessee were called--and James Brooks, the minority leader, a melancholy, scholarly looking man, somewhat resembling Charles Sumner in appearance, made a protest which he knew would go unheeded.

No attention was paid to Brooks' objection to the organization of the House with ten States absent. "Smiler" Colfax was immediately reëlected speaker and the new members from the Northern States went forward to take the oath. Among them was a new representative from Massachusetts, elected by the voters of a Congressional district in which he did not live, none other than Benjamin F. Butler, the "Hero of Fort Fisher," now as blatant in his Radicalism as any in the House. His visage startled those unaccustomed to it. "Make the best you can of it," wrote a correspondent who witnessed his induction into the House, "it is a terrible face; it looks like a pirate's --a strong, unscrupulous, cruel face, a low wide head, the crossed eyes, the hatchety Roman nose, the thin lips, make a combination powerful and pitiless."3 Aside from the addition of Ben Butler, the House leadership was substantially the same as before. But it was a leadership which caused the Nation a little later to remark that "this is not a time to legislate

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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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