The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction

By Charles Ernest Chadsey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1866.

1. The four months following the adjournment of the first session of the 39th Congress were full of excitement. The public was thoroughly aroused, and all incidents were considered in the light they threw upon the question of the hour. The President's uncompromising hostility to the 14th Amendment brought about a crisis in the Cabinet.1 William Dennison, Postmaster-General, was the first to declare the impossibility of maintaining cabinet relations with the President. He resigned on July 11, and A. W. Randall, of Wisconsin, First Assistant Postmaster-General, was appointed in his place. Mr. Randall was a devoted adherent of the administration, and president of the National Union Club which called the convention of August 14. The second resignation was that of James Speed, Attorney-General, on July 18. Coming from Kentucky, Mr. Speed had had the reputation of being quite conservative in his views regarding reconstruction, and his formal notice of separation from the President created no little excitement. His intimate connection with the administration gave unusual force to his denunciation of its policy, made at the time of taking the chair as permanent president of the convention of Southern loyalists. Henry Stanbery of Ohio was appointed as his successor, and retained his position until he resigned to assist in the defense of the President in the impeachment trial. A few days after Mr. Speed's withdrawal, the Secretary of the

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1
Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, ii, 219-220.

-87-

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