The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals

By George Fort Milton | Go to book overview

XXIII. IMPARTIAL COURT OR POLITICAL INQUEST?

THROUGHOUT their revolutionary attempt to put the bottom rail on top in the South, the Radicals feared the Supreme Court quite as much as they hated "the bad man in the White House." After the Court's decision in the Milligan case, the extremists were keenly apprehensive lest the nation's high judiciary interpose to overthrow their plans. In March, during the height of the impeachment fervor, their fears were redoubled by the famous McCardle case. "The Radicals are becoming ferocious," Thomas Ewing wrote his son. "They are about to strip the Supreme Court of its power, or attempt to do so--but it is doubtful whether the Court will consent to the operation."1

McCardle, a colonel in the Confederate army, after the war became editor of a newspaper in Vicksburg. Thoroughly disapproving of the reconstruction measures, in the fall of 1867 he published editorials protesting against the policy of Congress, and criticizing the official conduct of General Ord, in whose district Mississippi lay. Irritated by these critical articles, General Ord on November 13 had McCardle thrust into military prison, and announced his intention of having him tried f or his "crime" by a military commission. Ord would permit the prisoner neither bail nor privileges. The editor sought a writ of habeas corpus from the United States Circuit Court for Mississippi, but the application was denied. As McCardle languished in his cell, awaiting whatever justice Ord's military commission might mete out to him, his lawyer had a brilliant thought. In one of the Reconstruction laws, there was a provision authorizing an appeal from the United States Circuit Court to the United States Supreme Court "in all cases where any person may be restrained in his or her liberty, in violation of the Constitution or of any treaty or law of the United States." It had been passed to protect federal officials and other "loyal persons"--a term which the Radicals used to cover carpetbaggers and scalawags--from punishment by Southern state courts. This device to bind the South more

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The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Acknowledgment ix
  • I. War-Time Washington 1
  • Ii. Plot and Counterplot 16
  • III- the National Union Convention 37
  • Iv. the Bound Boy of Raleigh 59
  • V. the Tailor-Politician 74
  • Vt. "In the Furnace of Treason" 98
  • Vii. on the Ticket with Lincoln 120
  • Ix. President Andrew Johnson 160
  • X. the Trial of Mrs. Surratt 190
  • Xi. the Lull Before the Storm 213
  • Xii. Charles Sumner Declares War 236
  • Xiii. the Triumph of Caliban 262
  • Xiv. Victory at Any Price 293
  • Xv. a Marplot in the Cabinet 320
  • Xvi. the Swing Around the Circle 344
  • Xvii. Bayonet Rule by Act Of Congress 370
  • Xix. Johnson Crosses the Rubicon 426
  • Xx. General Grant Breaks His Word 457
  • Xxi. the Impeachment of The President 486
  • Xxii. Preparing for the Trial 515
  • Xxiii. Impartial Court Or Political Inquest? 541
  • Xxiv. Sound and Fury 566
  • Xxvii. Last Months in the White House 633
  • Xviii. the Tennessee Epilogue 654
  • Appendix - Authorities Consulted and Cited In This Volume 677
  • Notes 685
  • Index 755
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