Andrew Johnson vs. Congress, - Top 10 Government Showdowns - TIME
Congressional Reconstruction, guided by Radical Republicans, aggressively pursued political equality for African Americans as defined by. During Andrew Johnson's presidency, the composition of the American that did not enfranchise African Americans by reducing their congressional and electoral by white majorities, terror had become a common aspect of race relations. Andrew Johnson (), the 17th U.S. president, assumed office after the In , he was impeached by Congress, but he was not removed from office.
Secretary of State William Seward became one of the most influential members of Johnson's Cabinet, and Johnson allowed Seward to pursue an expansionary foreign policy.
Grant on an interim basis. Shermanwho declined, and to Lorenzo Thomaswho accepted. Schofield as Secretary of War as a compromise with moderate Republicans. List of federal judges appointed by Andrew Johnson Johnson appointed nine Article III federal judges during his presidency, all to United States district courts ; he did not successfully appoint a justice to serve on the Supreme Court.
To ensure that Johnson did not get to make any appointments, the act also provided that the Court would shrink by one justice when one next departed from office. Lee 's surrender at Appomatox Court Housebut Confederate armies remained in the field.
Grant to overturn an armistice concluded between Union General William T. Sherman and Confederate General Joseph E. The armistice had included political conditions such as the recognition of existing Confederate state governments. Davis was captured on May In late May, the final Confederate force in the field surrendered, and Johnson presided over a triumphant military parade in Washington, D.
After less than two months in office, Johnson had cultivated the reputation of someone who would be tough on the defeated Confederacy, and his esteem among congressional Republicans remained high. The amendment was ratified by the requisite number of states then 27 in Decemberbecoming the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Reconstruction Era With the end of the Civil War, Johnson faced the question of what to do with the states that had formed the Confederacy. President Lincoln had authorized loyalist governments in Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee as the Union came to control large parts of those states and advocated a ten percent plan that would allow elections after ten percent of the voters in any state took an oath of future loyalty to the Union.
Many in Congress considered this too lenient. The Wade—Davis Billrequiring a majority of voters to take the loyalty oath, had passed both houses of Congress inbut Lincoln had pocket vetoed it. The Radical Republicans sought voting and other civil rights for African Americans.
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They believed that the freedmen could be induced to vote Republican in gratitude for emancipation, and that black votes could keep the Republicans in power. With the rebellion defeated, he thought that the South should re-take their place as equal partners under the United States Constitution.
Despite the pleas of African-Americans and many congressional Republicans, Johnson viewed suffrage as a state issue, and was uninterested in using federal power to impose sweeping changes on the defeated South. Johnson subsequently appointed governors to lead the other former Confederate states.
He chose those governors without regard to their previous political affiliation or ideology, instead focusing upon their loyalty to the Union during the Civil War.
Johnson did not impose many conditions on his governors, asking only that they seek the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment and the repudiation of secession ordinances and the Confederate debt. In Juneit passed a constitutional amendment, which when ratified by three-fourths of the states would be the 14th amendment.
This amendment declared that all persons born in the United States were automatically citizens. This, of course, included ex-slaves. In addition, the 14th Amendment prohibited states from depriving citizens of "equal protection of the laws.
Presidency of Andrew Johnson - Wikipedia
President Johnson, who had no role to play in amending the Constitution, sent a message to Congress condemning this amendment. For good measure, he also vetoed a second Freedmen's Bureau Bill. This time, however, Congress overrode him on the same day as his veto.
During the summer ofit became clear that the freedmen needed the federal government's protection. On July 30, a group of whites and blacks attempted to hold a Radical political convention in New Orleans. A mob of ex-Confederate soldiers attacked the convention members. The New Orleans police not only failed to protect them, but actually joined in the attack.
Nearly 40 convention members, mostly black men, were killed. News reports of the "New Orleans massacre" shocked Northerners and proved to many that President Johnson's reconstruction program was too lenient. After these events, Northern states supported the 14th Amendment, but no Southern state ratified it.
It failed to receive the required three-fourths approval. This enraged Radicals in Congress, and most Northerners seemed ready for harsher action against the former Confederate states. Under Stevens' leadership, Congress passed a reconstruction law, described at the time as "written with a steel pen made out of a bayonet.
In their place, Congress created five military districts, each commanded by an army officer. The army commanders were authorized to rule by martial law, using federal troops and military courts to maintain order.
President Johnson vetoed the law, saying that it would create an "absolute despotism" over the South. But Congress voted to override his veto. In a series of follow-up laws, Congress required each rebel state to hold a new constitutional convention made up of both white and black delegates.
Any new constitutions coming out of these conventions had to include the right to vote for all black adult males. In addition, Congress directed the Southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment before they could apply for readmission to the Union. Johnson vetoed every one of the follow-up laws. Congress overrode all his vetoes. Meanwhile, Congress began to pressure President Johnson himself. This prohibited the president from firing any appointed government official, even his own cabinet members, without Senate approval.
Johnson viewed this act as violating the Constitution's separation of powers.
The writers of the Constitution adopted this separation of powers to prevent one person or one part of the government from becoming too strong and possibly dictatorial. Johnson vetoed the Tenure in Office Act as an unconstitutional invasion of his executive power.
The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson: Conflict Between President and Congress
But Congress again overturned his veto. Impeachment and Trial Early inthe government crisis came to a climax. Stanton had been working with the Radicals to undermine Johnson's reconstruction policies.
Firing Stanton violated the Tenure of Office Act. The Radicals blocked Johnson's attempt to test the constitutionality of this law in the Supreme Court. Congress wanted Johnson impeached because he refused to cooperate or compromise over black rights and the reconstruction of Southern state governments. But under the Constitution, Congress had to charge him with "high crimes or misdemeanors. The constitutionality of this law was questionable and had never been tested in the courts.
It was a weak reason to remove a president. Johnson's trial began in the Senate on March Seven House members, including Thaddeus Stevens, served as the prosecutors of Johnson. Five able lawyers defended Johnson. The president himself never appeared in the Senate during his trial. After the trial, which lasted over a month, the Senate failed by one vote to convict Johnson and remove him from the presidency. The doctrine of separation of powers prevailed.
Congress had not taken over the government President Pro Tem of the Senate Benjamin Wade, a Radical, would have become president if Johnson had been removed. On the other hand, military reconstruction still remained in the South. Moreover, Johnson had only about nine months left in his term, his hopes for being elected president in November all but gone. It was a victory for the presidency, but not for President Johnson.
Andrew Johnson - HISTORY
For Discussion and Writing 1. Assume that Andrew Johnson and Thaddeus Stevens had run against each other in the presidential election of Whom would you have voted for in this election? Do you think the Radicals were right in attempting to remove Andrew Johnson from the presidency?
Why or why not? Explain the last sentence in the article: Scourge of the South. The Presidency of Andrew Johnson. The Regents Press of Kansas,