THAD STEVENS POCKETS CONGRESS
Radicals in the Thirty-ninth Congress were greatly alarmed. Would it be possible to head off the aggressive President? If not, they feared direful results. The Republican party would be defeated by a combination of southern Rebels and northern Copperheads, and the negro would remain a slave. Perhaps the national debt would be repudiated and bonds issued to compensate the slave-holders. The bare thought of these things had put Thad Stevens and Charles Sumner in a towering passion. "Rebellion has vaulted into the saddle," said Sumner. "If something isn't done," Wade wrote Sumner in the early fall, "the people will crown Johnson king before Congress meets. So much success," he complained, "will reconcile the people to anything."
In April Wade and Sumner, after interviews with Johnson, had been sure he would coöperate and be as unrelenting as could be wished. But Thad Stevens was doubtful--Johnson did not so impress him. Early in the summer he wrote the President from Philadelphia, "I have not found a single person who approves of your policy! Wait for Congress." During the summer "a campaign of misrepresentation was begun to discredit Presidential reconstruction, to keep alive war hatred and to build up a radical organization."1 In February 1865 the doctrine was spread in the West that the Southern States were conquered territories. They should be held as such "as a public example,""for the dignity and safety of the Government,""as an act of justice to the freemen and the loyal Southern whites, and to protect the national debt from repudiation."2 At Dartmouth College the Phi Beta Kappa address, dealing with reconstruction problems, called loudly____________________