Andrew Johnson: A Biography

By Hans L. Trefousse | Go to book overview

XVI
FIGHTING
PRESIDENT

ONCE Johnson made up his mind, he could be stubborn, and now that he had decided finally to defy his opponents and get rid of Stanton and his radical subordinates, he moved with firm deliberation. In order to carry out his design, he believed he had to have the cooperation of the general commanding the army, and so he sought to enlist Grant, possibly to alienate him from the congressional majority, or at least to neutralize him. Although he was aware of the fact that he could not rely on the general and must have known how closely Grant had worked with Stanton, the president felt he could not disregard Grant's overwhelming popularity. As Colonel Moore, Johnson's private secretary, explained to a petitioner who had a grievance against the general, Johnson hated to cross Grant, and he had every reason not to do so. 1

By the beginning of August the president judged the time right for his risky move. Congress had adjourned, so he could make an ad interim appointment without violating the Tenure of Office Act, and the revelations of Butler's and Ashley's dealings with Conover could create favorable publicity for the administration. Consequently, he spoke to Grant on August 1, told him he was going to suspend the secretary of war and remove Sheridan, and asked him whether he would take over Stanton's office.

The general was very hesitant. Arguing that to dismiss Stanton would be impolitic, he maintained that those who had been hostile to the secretary had generally been opposed to the war as well. Moreover,

-293-

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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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