Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage

By Lloyd Paul Stryker | Go to book overview

XVII
LINCOLN AND THE RADICALS AGAIN

ON the evening of November 10th, 1864, two days after Lincoln's reëlection, he was serenaded and thus responded to those who came to honor him: "Now that the election is over, may not all having a common interest reunite in a common effort to save our common country. For my own part I have striven and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here, I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man's bosom."1

On the same day Lincoln nominated Chase for Chief Justice, he sent his fourth and last annual message to the Congress. The Union arms were triumphing, his own cause had triumphed at the polls, upon the issue between Congressional Reconstruction and his own,--an issue joined between the Wade-Davis Manifesto and the Republican platform demanding a constitutional amendment for the abolition of slavery, he had been triumphant, but there was no note of triumph in his message.

The proposed thirteenth amendment having been one of the issues in the campaign, Lincoln recommended the immediate reconsideration and passage of the amendment.2 On the 14th of the previous March, Arkansas,3 and on the 5th of September, Louisiana,4 had each adopted constitutions abolishing slavery in those states.5 "Important movements," the President continued, "have also occurred during the year to the effect of molding society for durability in the Union. Although short of complete success, it is much in the right direction that 12,000 citizens in each of the states of Arkansas and Louisiana have organized loyal state governments, with free constitutions and are earnestly struggling to maintain and administer them. The movements in the same direction, more extensive though less definite in Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee should not be overlooked."6

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