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stitution is written the power to continue civil war against succumbing states, for ultimate political triumph? What would this be but, in fact, to institute a new civil war, after one had ended with the complete attainment of the lawful objects for which it was waged?... Congress and the President have a right to accept or even make war against any part of the people of the United States only under their limited power to suppress sedition and insurrection, and for that purpose only. What then? Must we give up the hope of further elevation of classes in the several states without any new guarantees for individual liberty and progress? By no means. Marching in this path of progress and elevation of masses is what we have been doing still more effectually in the prosecution of the
He was also sure that the plan already inaugurated “must and would be adopted," although turbulent or factious persons in one section, or manifestations of distrust or defiance in the other, might cause delay. The way to hasten the work was for the sections to trust each other.*
At first thought one wonders how Seward could have supposed that Johnson was capable of succeeding in so difficult an undertaking as reconstruction was even then known to be. Seward judged Johnson according to the good work he had done during the four years previous to 1865, whereas it is the bad work of the four years subsequent to 1865 that has given Johnson his place. in history. However, Seward's estimate of the Presi dent was higher than ought to have been made by any one that had been intimately associated with him.3 Seward soon perceived that a storm was gathering.
15 Works, 521.
* 5 Works, 522.
3 "Except those of you who have been maimed or bereaved, have any of you suffered more of wrong, insult, and violence at the hands of those leaders than he [the President] has? Can we not forget where he can forgive? Are you aware that his terms of amnesty are far more rigorous than those which were offered by Abraham Lincoln? . . And you ask: May not the President yet
"The approach of Congress prognosticates trials of many sorts, from the ill-assortment of tempers and the absence of a spirit of conciliation, when conciliation is the interest and duty of all," he wrote, November 18, 1865. A week later he heard "the rumbling of congressional ambitions.” "How to steer clear of the partisan and personal contentions of Congress" was his "chief responsibility." As Congress was assembling he wrote again: "Every wild thought and inconceivable jealousy is afloat. Interests of cupidity and ambition, mingled with passion and prejudice. The President is suspected of everything, and guilty of nothing.
Meantime the work of reconstruction had advanced so rapidly that its friends supposed it was almost complete. The conventions in the different states had repealed the ordinances of secession, abolished slavery, and repudiated war debts. Loyal legislatures had come into existence, and Senators and Representatives from the states of the late Confederacy were in Washington ex
prove unfaithful to us? For myself, I laid aside partisanship, if I had any, in 1861, when the salvation of the country demanded that sacrifice. Andrew Johnson laid aside, I am sure, whatever of partisanship he had at the same time. That noble act did not allow-but, on the other hand, it forbade collusion by the friends of the Union with opponents of the policies of the war and of reconciliation which the government has found it necessary to pursue. Patriotism and loyalty equally, however, require that fidelity in this case should be mutual. Be ye faithful, therefore, on your part, and, although the security I offer is unnecessary and superfluous, yet I will guarantee fidelity on his part. . . . Perhaps you fear the integrity of the man. I confess, with a full sense of my accountability, that among all the public men whom I have met or with whom I have been associated or concerned, in this or any other country, no one has seemed to me to be more wholly free from personal caprice and selfish ambition than Andrew Johnson; none to be more purely and exclusively moved in public action by love of country and good-will to mankind."-5 Works, 523.
1 3 Seward, 301, 302.
pecting to see the doors of Congress open before them. On December 18th the Secretary of State issued a proclamation announcing that the XIII. Amendment had become a part of the Constitution. Eight of the states lately in rebellion were among those that ratified it." Florida and Texas were unorganized, but it was expected that they would not long remain so. Reconstruction would then be complete, if Congress should admit all the delegations from the South.
Unfortunately the evidences of success were merely superficial. Beneath the surface nearly everything had progressed unsatisfactorily to the Republicans at the Capitol. The conventions had not referred their actions to the people for approval, as many Northerners thought should have been done. Since there were no longer any slaves, the number of members in the House' of Representatives must be proportionate to the free population. But the suffrage had nowhere been extended to the freedmen. Therefore, the white voters in the South would have a much larger representation than the same number in the North. Then it was sarcastically asked: Do unionism and success owe this advantage and an immediate voice in legislation to treason and defeat? Several of the reconstructed legislatures soon enacted special laws to regulate the actions and status of the negroes. An extensive system of peonage, likely to affect a large portion of the ex-slaves, would have been the result if these so-called “black codes" had been tolerated. Although emancipation was not the purpose of the war, it had come as one of the results; and most of the Republican leaders considered that their party was nominally bound to give the negroes the same civil rights as white persons, while some of the radicals were already insisting on an equality of political rights. So
1 Dunning, 82.
large a majority in Congress had become thoroughly dissatisfied that, about the middle of December, 1865, a joint committee was appointed to inquire into the whole question of reconstruction.
Early in 1866 the President vetoed a bill to continue and enlarge the functions of the Freedmen's Bureau, which was designed especially to aid and protect exslaves. The veto message needlessly expressed the opinion that most of the states lately in rebellion were "entitled to enjoy their constitutional rights as members of the Union." The Republicans were unable to pass the bill over the veto, but in a concurrent resolution they informed the President and the country that no Senator or Representative should be admitted from any state held to have been insurrectionary, until Congress should declare such state entitled to representation. In a public speech, on February 22, 1866, Johnson charged that there was an attempt on the part of Congress to consolidate the Republic and that that was as objectionable as its dissolution. He denounced Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens personally, and spoke as if his own assassination had been suggested by his opponents. His words and acts excited the South with the vain belief that Congress must yield because it had no right to tax the states to which it refused a voice in legislation. Had his aim been to appear unwise and undignified, the speech would have been a perfect suc
On the same day Seward addressed a political meeting in New York city on the "Restoration of Union."" It was announced that many of his prominent political friends such as Thurlow Weed, William M. Evarts, Hamilton Fish, E. D. Morgan, R. M. Blatchford, and Moses H. Grinnell-were in sympathy with him. This
1 McPherson's Reconstruction, 72.
* 5 Works, 529–40.
indicated that a serious effort was to be made to build up a new party or faction to support the administration. Unlike Johnson, Seward knew that personalities are always unprofitable. He now as in December, 1860 declared that there was nothing very serious about the political situation. The Union had been saved. According to his metaphor, the ship had passed from tempest and billows to within the verge of a safe harbor, and had yet to pass merely some small reefs; and the dispute was only a difference of opinion between pilots. He was confident that "there never was and never can be any successful process for the restoration of the Union and harmony among the states, except the one with which the President has avowed himself satisfied." "Say what you will or what you may, the states are already organized, in perfect harmony with our amended national Constitution, and are in earnest cooperation with the Federal government. It would require an imperial will, an imperial person, and imperial powers greater than the Emperor of France possesses, to reduce any one of these states with the consent of all the other states, to what you term a territorial condition." Therefore, he pronounced the concurrent resolution to be "not a plan for reconstruction, but a plan for indefinite postponement and delay." He thought it impracticable, vicious, and sure to fail. With confident optimism he saw nothing alarming about the condition of the freedmen. In ninety years there had been a change from slavery everywhere to freedom everywhere. Because the country was wiser than it was ninety years earlier, he had no fear that it would "lack the wisdom or the virtue to go right on and continue the work of melioration and progress, and perfect in due time the deliverance of labor from restrictions, and the annihilation. of caste and class." So, in regard to the veto of the Freedmen's Bureau bill, he asked if the President ought