Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

21st the President removed him; the Senate declared the act illegal, but General Thomas was appointed in his stead and made a futile effort to enter on the duties of the office. On February 24th the House passed a resolution of impeachment for the President, charging him with high crimes and misdemeanors; and on March 5th the trial began before the Senate sitting as a court under the presidency of Chief Justice Chase. The charges enumerated violations of the Tenure-of-Office Act and,later, violent denunciations of Congress as being naught and no Congress, inasmuch as it had refused admission to Southern representatives. The trial lasted ten weeks, and a test vote showing that a two-thirds majority for conviction could not be secured, it was then abandoned. Chase ordered a verdict of acquittal, and Stanton resigned.

The presidential conventions were held on loose and strict construction lines, the Republicans asserting the right of Congress to fill the gap in the Constitution and control the readmission of the States, the Democrats that their return was automatic and unconditional, with full representation and the right to control the suffrage unimpaired. The former nominated Ulysses S. Grant, of Illinois, and Schuyler Colfax, of Indiana; the latter Horatio Seymour, of New York, and Francis P. Blair, of Missouri. In the ensuing election, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas, having neglected the conditions of Congress, were not permitted to share. New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and five Southern States chose Democratic electors, all the rest Republican. The total result was 214 electoral votes for the Republican and 71 for the Democratic candidates. Grant and Colfax were declared elected. On

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