The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
ĽOvert Obstruction of Congress

back to the Andrew Johnson Home Page


 
Editorial
Harper's Weekly, August 13, 1867, page 546

go to the previous article in this section
go to the next article in this section


A DESPERATE MAN
Andrew Johnson is a desperate man. Conscious of the total failure of his administration and of the universal public censure, he would gladly do something to revenge himself upon fortune. His only opportunity is to remove the General of the Military Departments under the Reconstruction bills, and see what would follow the appointment of persons who would nullify the law. But the President has nothing to gain by such a course except impeachment and removal with the consent of the whole loyal country. Should he persist in the course which his suspension of Mr. Stanton implies, every man, who upon various grounds has opposed impeachment, would accept it as a choice of evils.

That the President would try other and more perilous measures, if he could, we can have no doubt. The story of the organization in Maryland that asked for batteries which the President wished to send and which Mr. Stanton refused, points to an armed organization upon which it has been rumored the President was willing to rely for ulterior purposes. Yet, although the tale as told be untrue, it will not be rejected because of its supposed inconsistency with the probable wishes or wisdom of the President. That there is some fire under the smoke every one will be willing to agree. But there is no great body of persons in the country so interested in renewing civil war as the vast multitude of the population are in trampling out the least spark of such an intention. This is not a truth which the President can apprehend, for he apprehends nothing. But it is the truth, nevertheless.

It is evident that those who distrusted Mr. Johnson most were the wisest men; and that Congress, having once discovered his character, should not have separated except to meet again promptly upon the proper summons. Had this course been adopted he would not have attempted the removal of Mr. Stanton, or, if he had, Congress would instantly have assembled to know the reason. No man can be considered harmless who holds even a restricted authority as President, when his spirit and purpose have been fully revealed. It is the old story. The Parliament that would check a false king becomes a long Parliament. The Congress that would protect the popular will from the interference of a hostile President must be always ready to lay its hand upon him.

The President may now proceed to thrust out his whole Cabinet and to replace them with whomsoever he will. He may remove the Generals in the unorganized States, and so delay the due registry and obedience to the laws of Congress. More he can not well do. He will hardly undertake forcibly to prevent Congress from assembling; and when it does assemble, if it finds that he has been palpably nullifying the laws which he is sworn to execute, it will impeach him, and the country, longing for peach, will cry Amen. It would not be a question of hair-splitting nor of technicality. The country would ask, through Congress, does he faithfully execute the laws, or does he try to paralyze and defeat them? The evidence which would be demanded would be and ought to be the most conclusive. And if such evidence were produced? if his whole career showed that he intended so far as possible to substitute his own will for the law of the land? he would be removed, and again the country would cry Amen.

Articles Related to Overt Obstruction of Congress:
Congress
February 2, 1867, page 67
February 16, 1867, page 99
March 16, 1867, page 163


How Long?
June 29, 1867, page 402


Reconstruction and Obstruction
July 6, 1867, page 418


The Summer Session
July 6, 1867, page 418


The Fortieth Congress
July 17, 1867, page 467


Thanks to the District Commanders
July 27, 1867, page 467


Impeachment Postponed
July 27, 1867, page 467


A Desperate Man
August 13, 1867, page 546


The Secretary of War
August 24, 1867, page 530


Samson Agonistes at Washington (cartoon)
August 24, 1867, page 544


The Stanton Imbroglio (illustrated satire)
August 24, 1867, page 542


Secretary Grant
August 31, 1867, page 546


Southern Reconstruction
August 31, 1867, page 547


The Political Situation
September 7, 1867, page 562


General Thomas
September 7, 1867, page 563


Southern Reconstruction
September 7, 1867, page 563


The General and the President
September 14, 1867, page 578


General Sickles Also
September 14, 1867, page 579


Southern Reconstruction
September 21, 1867, page 595


The President’s Intentions
September 28, 1867, page 610


Impeachment
October 5, 1867, page 626


The Main Question
October 5, 1867, pages 626-627


Suspension during Impeachment
October 19, 1867, page 658


"Disregarding" The Law
November 2, 1867, page 691


Impeachment
December 14, 1867, page 786


General Grant’s Testimony
December 14, 1867, page 786


The President’s Message
December 14, 1867, page 787


General Grant’s Letter
January 1, 1868, page 2


Secretary Stanton’s Restoration
January 25, 1868, page 51


Reconstruction Measures
January 25, 1868, page 51


The President, Mr. Stanton and General Grant
February 1, 1868, page 66


Romeo (Seward) to Mercutio (Johnson) (cartoon)
February 1, 1868, page 76


The War Office
February 1, 1868, page 77


Secretary’s Room in the War Department (illus)
February 1, 1868, page 77


The New Reconstruction Bill
February 8, 1868, page 83

 

Website design © 1998-2005 HarpWeek, LLC
All Content © 1998-2005 HarpWeek, LLC
Please submit questions to webmaster@harpweek.com