Johnson, Congress, President Trump discussed on Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes
Right from the south who's kind of, you know, his closer nice because he was a tailor but can't handle the moment at all. You know, and contemporaneous, people at the time we're like, oh, they were horrified. They were whispering. They said you know what is he crazy? You know and, and Lincoln presumably, you know, reported to say keep when we, let's keep him away from me. In other words, I don't want to have anything to do with this guy. You know, we've one that's the end of that. And it was a vice president after all on which meant he was going to be inconsequential. Right. You know, we would. He served as purpose, basically, we vice presidents in the nineteenth century, can you count, you know, in that sense? So he'd served as purpose. Exactly. And he was an embarrassment. And, and then lo and behold, a month later Lincoln is dead. And Johnson is taking another oath of office. But this one is to be come the president, and it should have given more people. Pause. But people wanted continuity. I mean, how could you not? I mean you have a dead president, you have a war that's barely finished just about finished. But nobody knows the direction of the country, who is this person? You have to put all your faith in this person in the beginning, everyone is kind of, like, okay. We have faith in you going for them and trying to see the best in him. And he was the guy that stood up to the slavers of Tennessee. Not only that he had said, treason is a crime and must be prosecuted. So it seemed like he was on the same page of radicals who are basically saying, we have to change the entire. Tire structure in nature of the south, and we cannot let this happen again, and we have to really rebuild the country. So it seems that that was the case and he left Lincoln's cabinet intact to even the Democrats because he was a democrat. Even the Democrats said, you've got to get rid of some of these guys, you know, in the cabinet Johnson, wouldn't do it. He wouldn't list hidden. He never listened. Really listened? So then you have to major questions that confront the country, what to do with the states that seceded right how to reintegrate them into the union, and what posture legally and morally and morally the government takes towards the millions of four million, formerly enslaved people who had been deprived of schooling who had been deprived of the ability to move who had no jobs. No land didn't really in a sense on their own clothes on their back. What's going to happen to those people? Where do they go? Where are they going to live? Lots of those plantations have been confiscated, you know, who want them. Nobody knew I mean it's a it's an enormous problem. And what was also a problem in relation to the first issue, which is how do these states come back was that people who had been count. Counted as very fifths of a person are now whole persons. So if you count them toward representation in the electoral college, but you don't give them the vote then incense your we kind of populating the southern power structure, but not with people who can vote in their own interests. This is a really important point. So take away the moral question here and just looking at in political terms, recalled fry while I'm just saying for Republican northerners who have just thought this bloody war because of these asshole southerners, these treasonous others. And I'm just saying take away the people that have that are actually like about abolition gal just like the partisan practical, these assholes. Right. They waged a war against our government costs six hundred thousand lives. Right. Seven fifty seven hundred fifty thousand and counting seven hundred and fifty thousand that's the latest count. And we end up in a situation in which we take them back to the union. What the three fists are now full. They don't have any political rights. They have basically come back live lost their slaves, but we've just given them all this political power. Exactly. It's exactly right. And everybody knew that, you know, so that's becomes a tremendous problem. And then there are two issues that are related to that one is political power, but one is citizenship, even you know, so, so I you have to get citizenship before you even get political power political power in terms of the vote. So these are normal questions and you're right. Taking aside the moral question people in north would know that and they would be very wary about giving southerners that kind of a thority once again, even if they were loath and reluctant. To give people the vote, and there were many who were because women didn't have the vote. So there was an argument. Why are you not enfranchising women when you wanna win? Franchise black men. Give them the vote. And they can't read or write, and we can you say so there is a lot that was going on that had to be judicata that had to be ironed out and Johnson is in this mix and his position is just basically say that the southern states never seceded, just push them back in and of story. Yeah. Just come back in. Yeah. Which means that basically, the south will rise again immediately. And in fact, you have a situation in the south that you still have slavery by another name. In other words, you've passed eventually ratified the thirteenth amendment. There's no more institution of slavery. But in the south while he's sort of legislating without congress. What he's able to do is allow the south to pass these black codes. Cbs which makes it impossible for the formerly enslaved people in the south to move really, to marry to have all of the rights and privileges of a citizen. So Johnson's confronted with this. And he just starts to take unilateral actions in which he is giving huge pardons. Yes. Anyone who comes and says, I'm loyal now or pays pays you. You're back in. He starts pointing these provisional governors now, south, some of them are really dubious backgrounds confederates. And then you've got you've got, you know, you document in the book and there's great passages of this. I mean, basically they set to work immediately reconstituting, the power of white supremacist, a violent deadly white supremacy. They passed black codes. You have sheriffs rolling around in confederate uniform, I know shooting people shooting and killing. Yes. What are quote unquote Freeman? Right freeman. They that they kill a few white ones on the side to lists. We say they don't to one of the things and. This is one of the things I think it's important to get the conscience of the north as well. Right. It's not just racial is violent. It's also targeted at white loyalists people proceed oh, who are perceived, as Republicans and who were against the war effort. You know, in some southerners were fared at the sound totally, you know, so in that sense, the white loyalists, white Republicans, as well as all black people, you know, we're targets the Republicans and the northern abolition press are watching this happen as Johnson's basically what they see snatching defeat from the victory. The war has been won and now he's turning around and giving the southern treasonous leave power back, all of its power, re putting them in power, and they are, there are horrified and congress is out of session. Remember abound of congress, people go to Johnson and say, don't you think we ought to have a special session because, really? It's Congress's prerogative to decide who is its own members. You know, we decide who goes into the legislature and. He said. No. So he kept doing this. So all the things that you're enumerating, he was able to do that spring in that summer and early full because congress wasn't in session. I mean, that was forgetting the press for a minute. I mean to be in congress and watch your powers being taken away from you is horrific, that's called executive power sense, or to them was an abusive power in a loss of the balance of power. So that sets the stage for a couple of major incidents that end up pushing impeachment full, steam ahead and we're gonna get into that right after this. I'm chuckling Rosenberg. My new podcast youth truck Rosenberg is based on a simple premise thoughtful conversations with interesting people like Jim Coleman. Lisa Monaco and pre Peron. Each of them took an oath as I did to support and defend the constitution of the United States. The oath with Chuck, Rosenberg. Listen for free wherever you get your podcasts. There's two key precipitating incidents that really. Capture the imagination the north which is Memphis, New Orleans. What happens there that so captures the imagination of the country, particularly New Orleans? But Memphis to there were basically, what general Phil Sheridan, who is in charge of some of the southern states and he was away from New Orleans. And he said, there's no other word for what happened. Here was a massacre, and it was basically, there was a parade that was going on because there was a state constitutional convention being called in New Orleans. This was in late June early July and it wasn't just a white mob that went after the blacks, and also people who were going to the constitutional convention. It was firefighters and police. And the police was mainly composed of ex rebels ex confederates. It was a Malay was a slaughter. It was a mask or went on for three days, and in Washington. Johnson had gotten word that something bad might be happening, shall we send in the military Stanton, who is war secretary should have known. Nobody knows why he didn't do anything Johnson didn't do anything Johnson, basically authorized the mayor of New Orleans to go ahead with what he had planned because he said, oh, there's going to be trouble. And the mayor of New Orleans was a known confederate, and he had just recently been pardoned by John. So just to be clear there's a state Republican constitutional conventions. The Republicans are all gathering. It's black Republicans, white Republicans and of the war who'd fought for the union, and they're congregating in a place. And basically the mayor allows essentially state-backed militia, that's right to come in massacre. That's right. That's right. And then while Sammy is garrison and lets it hap-. That's right. And they come in a couple of days later and Sheridan as who I said, was outta town when it comes back, and he's horrified. But what is sees? I mean there there are bodies on the streets. And that happened in Memphis to not to the same extent earlier. There are bonded, some the street and people are afraid to claim the bodies on the street because they themselves were frayed. They'll be shot. I mean, that is so horrific and a congressional committee goes down to investigate, and that's how we know some of what happened because we're a lot of people testified to this congressional committee, and they were just they were appalled by it into the extent that they needed wake up just probably quite a bit. It woke up the north to what was going on in the south because before a lot of what northern journalists who went south were reporting was dismissed as propaganda or just isolated incidents. So, so this happened this person was running away got shot in the back. Well, these things happen, it doesn't really represent anything. Sort of scattered reports, and people sort of swept it under the rug. This was you couldn't deny tonight. And also because the military is I said couldn't deny the military was horrified. And believe me, the military was not made up of abolitionist are anti-slavery people. There were a lot of pro slavery people in, in the northern in the union military who are also, you know, for one of a better word radicalised, you know. So what's happening here. You've got Johnson who's taken these unilateral steps, violence and tyranny descending on the south, and the violence and tyranny starting to radicalize, white opinion, the north who were kind of I think ready to move on. Everybody was ready. But now sounded if that if we move on what we get is, these bastards are going to write come back and power, but one thing I wanna mansion. You're absolutely right. But there were people in congress, and this is very heart warming to me. And that's why I wanna mention who even before this happened had been. Sounding p alarm. We think today some of us soar some people think that we're you know, very woke or liberated or whatever. And if you know they were these people, and there were a number of them, who saw four saw this happening. If in fact legislation protecting the free people of the south and also the white loyalist if that wasn't passed civil rights wasn't passed if there wasn't a, a mechanism and institution called the Freedman's bureau, that was allowed to persist, and was fully funded if these things weren't happened than the whole country for the rest of its history, going four was in trouble. They saw this. There's people like fatty Stevens, and particularly who saw this radical Republicans who are white people committed to a vision of multiracial equitable,.