Grant, JOHNSON, AND RECONSTRUCTION
The passage of the Reconstruction Acts created a situation unique in American history in that a major legislative program, directly affecting over one third of the nation, was to be carried out despite the opposition of the President. This could only be done if the army officers responsible for the enforcement of the Acts were sympathetic to the congressional policy and prepared to resist presidential obstruction. That Republican leaders themselves were sure that this was the case is shown by their decision to place reconstruction entirely in military hands, rather than adopting an alternate plan to create new provisional governments under the control of southern unionists. 1 Nor is this situation surprising, as the army was more aware than any other group of the price that had been paid for victory and thus more responsive than any other to the felt need to "protect the results of the war."
In addition, problems of reconstruction were not entirely new to the army commanders, who as the conquerors and occupiers of the South had played a direct role in southern government since the end of the war. During that time they had dealt with exactly those problems of security for southern Unionists and equality for the freedmen which had been of concern to congressional Republicans. Military courts had taken jurisdiction in cases involving freedmen, while commanders had nullified provisions of the Black Codes. In testimony before the Joint Committee on Reconstruction military men had reported instances of violence against Unionists and Negroes, and warned of the results of an early removal of federal troops. In addition, as Thomas and Hyman have shown, army officers had come to rely on Congress for support and legal aid against the threat of civil suits brought against them for official acts committed during the war. 2
While the First Reconstruction Act gave no special role to Grant, his views were actually doubly important because of his in-