THE JUDGMENT OF NORTH AND SOUTH ON RECONSTRUCTION (1866-1867)
S OME time before Congress ended its labors, the political campaign was in full swing which was to determine whether the presidential or the congressional plan of dealing with the South had the first place in the favor of the people. The two coordinate political departments of the national government were in immovable deadlock, and only a decisive expression of public opinion in the elections could relieve the situation. Moreover, there was a single concrete result which was to be conclusive as to the popular will--namely, the political complexion of the Fortieth Congress, the representatives of which were to be chosen in the autumn. There would be no need for ingenious interpretations of state elections to deduce the sentiment of the people on the national issue: if the result showed a majority in the next Congress against the president, his policy would be doomed; if the majority proved to be with him, the policy of Congress would be doomed. No other element entered into the problem.