The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals

By George Fort Milton | Go to book overview

XXII. PREPARING FOR THE TRIAL

" BEN WADE will be President in a fortnight from today." While Andrew Johnson would be allowed several days to prepare his defense, "the trial, once begun, will be speedily ended." Such were the hopeful words of the Independent's Washington correspondent at the outset, and such was the full expectation of the Radicals. When the Senate was debating its resolution of February 21, the hitherto Radical Fessenden warned his colleagues that they were proposing "a very unwise resolution," an open bid to the House to impeach, refused to vote for it, and wrote home that his friends were "acting like fools, and hurrying us to destruction."1

The haste of the impeaching members, both in House and Senate, was in line with Fessenden's words. On February 25, immediately after Stevens and Bingham had given notice of the impeachment, the Senate appointed a committee of seven to draft rules for the trial. On February 26, Senators Howard and Edmunds, two Radical members of this committee, called on Chief Justice Chase to inform him that their committee was preparing rules for the procedure of the trial, and invited suggestions from him; indeed, they would be pleased to have him attend their sessions. They also asked Chase if he considered that he had a right to vote in the Senate court about to be organized. He said he had not thought much about it, but supposed that he would be a member of the court and as such would have a right to vote although, as he was replacing the Vice President in ordinary impeachment trials, his vote might be limited to deciding a tie. The two Radicals let him know that they denied his right to vote in any case.

After carefully examining impeachment precedents, the Chief Justice formed the definite opinion that, until the Senate should be organized as a court of impeachment, it had no right to take any action relative thereto other than to receive the notice from the House. On the 27th he wrote Howard this conclusion, but received no response.2 The Senate majority pressed forward, determined to expedite the proceedings. Overriding the objections of the Democrats, they prepared and adopted twenty-five rules to govern all possible crises of pro

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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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