Andrew Johnson: A Biography

By Hans L. Trefousse | Go to book overview

IX
MILITARY
GOVERNOR

BY FEBRUARY 1862 Union forces had recaptured enough Confederate territory to give some thought to its administration. But this problem raised the question of Reconstruction, which had already caused several debates in Congress. Who was to be in charge of the process? Congress? The president? And regardless of who was in charge, how was it to be managed? If secession was illegal, as good Unionists asserted, were not the rebellious states still part of the Union? This seemed to be the meaning of the Johnson-Crittenden Resolutions, but several members of Congress, among them Charles Sumner, disagreed. Arguing that the states had become territories, Sumner insisted that they had committed suicide. Others had still different ideas.

The president finally determined to take the matter into his own hands. He decided to appoint military governors for the reconquered states, and the first of these was Andrew Johnson, easily the most famous Southern loyalist, whom on March 4 he appointed military governor of Tennessee. 1

Lincoln's decision was controversial, and he had to be careful to select someone acceptable to Congress. But he possessed an uncanny political finesse, which he showed by picking Johnson. The popular Tennesseean, the only senator to have remained loyal while his state seceded, a Democrat who had served on the Committee on the Conduct of the War and enjoyed excellent relations with several different factions of the Republican party, could hardly be rejected by his colleagues. It has even been

-152-

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Andrew Johnson: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Andrew Johnson - A Biography *
  • Contents 9
  • Illustrations 11
  • Preface 13
  • I - Raleigh Poor White 17
  • II - Tennessee Tailor 25
  • III - Greeneville Politician 35
  • IV - Fledgling Congressman 51
  • V - Veteran Congressman 69
  • VI - Governor of Tennessee 84
  • VII - United States Senator 109
  • VIII - Unconditional Unionist 128
  • IX - Military Governor 152
  • X - Vice President 176
  • XI - Unionist President 193
  • XII - Presidential Reconstructionist 214
  • XIII - Pugnacious President 234
  • XIV - Beleaguered President 255
  • XV - Defiant President 272
  • XVI - Fighting President 293
  • XVII - President Impeached— President Acquitted 311
  • XVIII - President in Limbo 335
  • XIX - Ex-President 353
  • XX - Epilogue 375
  • Abbreviations 381
  • Notes 383
  • Index 447
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