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 Posted: Mon Jul 5th, 2010 03:50 pm
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Texas Defender
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Barlow-

  Andrew Johnson survived the Lincoln assassination plot because the man assigned to kill him, George Atzerodt, apparently got drunk and failed to carry out his assigned task. On the night Lincoln was shot , Andrew Johnson was asleep in his room at the Kirkwood House Hotel. He was awakened by Leonard J. Farwell and told that Lincoln had been shot.

http://www.mrlincolnswhitehouse.org/inside.asp?ID=186&subjectID=4

  Calling Johnson: "The closest thing to a Confederate" is pretty ridiculous. He was the only southern US senator who remained loyal to the Union. He was then made military governor of Tennessee. He certainly wasn't kind to those there who actually became Confederates. He was put on the ticket by Lincoln who hoped that that would improve his chances of being re-elected.

  You state that Andrew Johnson was a racist, and by 21st century standards, he was. But so were the vast majority of white men of that era, including Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln never regarded the black man as his equal. For his part, Johnson freed his own personal slaves in 1863, and after that, unlike most white men, he favored giving the black man the vote.

  As for Johnson's approach to Reconstruction, I believe that it was closer to what Lincoln intended than the approach of the radical republicans was. Lincoln stated that it was his intention to: "Let 'em up easy." I have no doubt that had he lived, Lincoln would have clashed with the radicals in his party. They would have had a much more difficult time trying to oppose Lincoln, a popular president, than Johnson, an unpopular one. Note in the link above the statement by the radicals Wade and Davis that Lincoln was too kind to punish the: " damned rebels."

  Andrew Johnson was impeached because he opposed the draconian measures favored by the radical republicans. He did not share their desire to expand federal power and demand that black suffrage be written into state constitutions before states could be readmitted into the Union. The radicals also passed laws (over Johnson's veto) that infringed upon the powers of the president. An example of these laws was the Tenure of Office Act.

  The Tenure of Office Act forced the president to keep federal workers (Most notably Edwin Stanton) in office even if he wished to fire them. Thus, the Congress passed a law that did not allow the president to even fire a member of his own cabinet if he wished to.(Unless the Senate approved). When Johnson proceeded to try to fire Mr. Stanton anyway, the Congress responded by writing articles of impreachment. The Tenure of Office Act was clearly unconstitutional and eventually the Supreme Court ruled that it was. (See Myers v. United States (1926)).

  I have not read the work of David O. Stewart, so I cannot comment on it. But I cannot believe that the Founding Fathers meant for the Legislative branch to infringe on the powers of the Executive.

 Andrew Johnson did indeed escape conviction by a single vote. I believe that if he had been removed by your radical: "Playas," that it would have been an unmitigated disaster for the United States of America. (Benjamin Wade would have become president). It would have fanned the embers of rebellion in the south. The federal government might have had to occupy the south for a generation or more, deepening the wounds caused by the war. That would certainly have impeded the advance of America to becoming a major power in the world.

 

Last edited on Mon Jul 5th, 2010 08:08 pm by Texas Defender

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