FRUITS INTO ASHES
IN mid-June, Johnson began to show himself willing to break away from the Republican-Union coalition which had elected him Vice-President, and to assume the leadership of a new party, which, pledged to support his ideas on reconstruction, might handily link up with the Democrats. The President endorsed a convention to consider this maneuver, scheduled to meet in Philadelphia on August 14.
Meanwhile the Fourteenth Amendment proposal reached the form in which it stands today. Moderate Republicans were ready to accept it as a last word in the reconstruction process and to seat congressmen from the South as their states ratified it. But on June 22, Johnson publicly announced his disapproval of the amendment.
Nevertheless, it went out from Congress to the states, and Stanton, through inaction, tried to help its passage in at least one instance. Die-hard Democrats in the Tennessee legislature sought to block its ratification by boycotting the sessions to prevent the presence of a quorum. General Thomas, commanding at Nashville, asked the War Department by telegraph whether he should arrest the balky legislators and compel their attendance. For three days Stanton delayed answering Thomas's dispatch, no doubt hoping that he would act without orders. When he did inform the President of the situation, Johnson admonished him to keep the Army out of civil affairs.
During the delay two Tennessee members were brought to the legis. lature by state officials and made to attend, thus securing the quorum and insuring ratification. But despite the assertions of Johnson's supporters, it was the state authorities, inspired by "Parson" Brownlow, a bitter enemy of the President, who made the arrests. Whatever Stan