Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot

By Robert W. Winston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
SIXTY YEARS AFTER

In October 1926 the legal world was given a surprise. The Supreme Court struck down the old act of March 1867--the Tenure of Office Act--under which Andrew Johnson had been impeached and tried. "This act is invalid as an attempt to interfere with the constitutional rights of the President," the court said. The court also intimates that the act was monstrous and vicious. How could a President perform the duties of his office with an adverse cabinet? As we have seen, the court had previously held that President Johnson was within his rights when he vetoed the Civil Rights Act, when he vetoed the Freedmen's Bureau Act and the Reconstruction Acts.1 And now, after more than sixty years, the court holds that the President was also right in his veto of the Tenure of Office Act and of the Command of the Army Act.2

In short, it is to-day held by the courts, and generally agreed by historians, that nearly every particle of reconstruction legislation after peace was restored was null and void and that Andrew Johnson was correct in his veto messages. It follows that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, so far as the southern states are concerned, were adopted under compulsion and by means of illegal statutes disfranchising whites and enfranchising blacks. In other words, the courts lay down two principles, apparently contradictory, but really not so at all. During actual warfare, and in 1865 till order was restored, the Southern States had no civil government and martial law was necessary and proper. In 1867, however, after the war had ended and civil governments were functioning, Congress could

____________________
1

Wall., Vol. VII, p. 597; United States Rep., Vol. CVI, p. 629; United States Rep., Vol. CIX, p. 1; Lothrop, Seward, p. 420.

2
Myers VS. United States, October 25, 1926; Warren Supreme Court, Vol. III, pp. 300 and 331; Atlantic, Vol. CVI, p. 549.

-510-

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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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