Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot

By Robert W. Winston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
PRESIDENTIAL RECONSTRUCTION

In a speech in lighter vein, in which Seward often indulged, he declared that Congress was quarreling with President Johnson though it had had its way. This reminded him of an irate individual who had won his lawsuit but continued out of sorts. "Damn it," the man said, "I won my case but I didn't win it my way." Mr. Seward's wish, in this matter, was undoubtedly father to his thought.

The differences between the President and Congress were basic. It must be admitted that Johnson opposed any fundamental change in the Constitution. Therefore, the Freedmen's Bureau bill and the Civil Rights bill he vetoed on principle. He saw clearly that the first of these bills was only the advance guard "of a long procession of others that were even more obnoxious to him. . . . He knew it was impossible to avoid the issue eventually and he determined to meet it firmly at the outset."1 The President's mistake was in thinking the Freedmen's Bureau bill a measure for which the Radicals alone were responsible. "As a matter of fact there were very few Republicans who did not desire such modification of the President's policy as would give protection and assistance to the newly emancipated negroes."2

Congress would never have consented that the Southern States return to the Union by simply abolishing slavery, repealing secession ordinances, and repudiating confederate debts. Indeed, as we have already seen, Congress assailed Lincoln's Louisiana Plan of reconstruction. Certainly the committee, dominated by Thad Stevens, would have demanded more than the Louisiana plan and would have insisted that such demands be put in the Constitution. Even the conserva

____________________
1
Congressional Globe, February 21, 1866.
2
Kendrick, Committee of Fifteen, p. 235.

-325-

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Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Prefatory Note v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I: Odds - 1808-1860 1
  • Chapter I - Runaway Apprentice 3
  • Chapter II - A. Johnson, Tailor 15
  • Chapter III - Successor to Andrew Jackson 26
  • Chapter IV - Congressman 40
  • Chapter V - On the Stump 58
  • Chapter VI - Governor and Senator 76
  • Chapter VII - Home Life 95
  • Chapter VIII - Jeff Davis Spoils the Broth 108
  • Chapter IX - Father of the Homestead 128
  • Chapter X - Impasse 142
  • Part Ii: Alone - 1860-1865 153
  • Chapter I - Testing Time 155
  • Chapter II - Lion-Heart 174
  • Chapter III - Fight for Tennessee 188
  • Chapter IV - Senatorial Whip 205
  • Chapter V - Military Governor 217
  • Chapter VI - Lincoln and Johnson 243
  • Chapter VII - Vice-President 263
  • Chapter VIII - The Execution of Mrs. Surratt 277
  • Chapter IX - Hero of an Hour 292
  • Chapter X - Thad Stevens Pockets Congress 307
  • Part Iii: Unbowed - 1865 and After 323
  • Chapter I - Presidential Reconstruction 325
  • Chapter II - Swinging Round the Circle 347
  • Chapter III - Veto Follows Veto 372
  • Chapter IV - The Great Reconstruction 390
  • Chapter V - Impeachment of the President 405
  • Chapter VI - The Trial 428
  • Chapter VII - Foreign and Domestic Policy 455
  • Chapter VIII - Leaving the White House 471
  • Chapter IX - The Come-Back 490
  • Chapter X - Sixty Years After 510
  • Appendix A 521
  • Appendix B 522
  • Appendix C 526
  • Bibliography 529
  • Index 541
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