President Johnson, Edwin Stanton, Congress discussed on American History Tellers
That he will approve no measures that will accomplish the object despite passing the civil rights law by overriding Johnson's veto Republicans decided to ensure its permanence by shrining much of it into the constitution as the fourteenth amendment the amendment, guaranteed the rights of citizenship to all those born in the United States, including former slaves. They also past another version of the Freemen's bureau Bill and after Johnson vetoed it successfully overrode that veto too. Johnson used his opposition to the fourteenth amendment as a rallying cry for the midterm elections in the fall of eighteen sixty six he no longer had support even from conservative Republicans. So he resurrected Lincoln's national union party as a campaign vehicle for the coalition of northern and southern Democrats who supported him, but it was a miserable failure with many southern states still not permitted to vote in federal elections. Republicans increase their supermajority in both chambers of congress. They took seventy nine percent of the seats in the house and eighty six in the Senate soon, they quickly went to work dismantling Johnson's reconstruction efforts in the south Johnson vetoed almost everything congress sent him. But lawmakers simply overrode him congress disbanded Johnson's Hasely reconstructed governments in the southern states. They reverted the states to military districts under martial law. The army would ensure that federal laws were kept and civil rights for freed slaves were enforced each former. Federal state was required to adopt. A new constitution and ratified the fourteenth amendment Johnson vehemently oppose these measures. But there was very little. He could do about them except as president Johnson was commander in chief of the military. And it was the military that was tasked with enforcing congressional reconstruction policies through his secretary of war Johnson hoped to use the military to subvert Congress's efforts. There was one problem with Johnson's thinking, however, Edwin Stanton, the secretary of war was a staunch radical Republican he'd served in the same office during the war under Lincoln. He was likely to oppose any of Johnson's efforts to undermine congress. Congress feared the Johnson would replace standing with a man who would do his bidding. So they passed a law prohibiting the president from firing replacing anyone in his cabinet without congressional approval. It was called the tenure of office act a few months later while congress was out of session Johnson. Did what? Congress had expressly forbidden him to do. He fired Edwin Stanton and replaced him with Ulysses s grant. But when congress reconvened it refused to support the removal and grant resigned his position for a few weeks. It seemed as if the issue would blow over Johnson wasn't on yet. Imagine. It's February twenty first eighteen sixty eight you're an aide to embattled secretary of war Edwin Stanton, it's early afternoon in late winter and you're with him and several others in his office in the war department building in Washington, it's cold out today with snow flurries falling against the window. Shivering you toss another long onto the fire. Standing comes over to stand next to you and warm hands. I forgot how cold it gets here in wintertime. This is the first call snap. We've had since you've returned, sir. You should have been here December. It was awful. You mmediately realize you've made a gaffe Stanton wasn't here in December. Because president Johnson had fired him Stanton takes the competent stride smiling. Oh, I wish I could have been I was just saying to Senator summer that. Stanton breaks off in mid sentence. As he notices something outside the window an older man in a general's uniform has just walked up to the building from Pennsylvania Avenue coming from the direction of the White House. That was General Thomas what the devils he doing here, Lorenzo Thomas? You know is the adjunct general of the army is chief administrator sure, he's a user. I surely nothing serious. If it's Thomas serious. He's been meeting with the president often is fascinating. You hurry to open the office door and General Thomas pushes his way in ignoring your feeble, greeting secretary Stanton. I'm here to inform. You president Johnson's decision to dismiss you from the cabinet. And the war department is appointed me to be your interim replacement. I'm to begin immediately and take possession of this office Stanton. Just stands there for a moment. His mouth just slightly parted. Then he finds his voice again, I suppose, he's informed. The Senate a messenger is on his ways we speak. They'll never stand for this. You know, they've already confirmed me in my position..