The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
ĽOvert Obstruction of Congress

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Editorial
Harper's Weekly, September 14, 1867, page 578

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THE GENERAL AND THE PRESIDENT
The Sphinx of our last week’s picture has spoken, and to some purpose. General Grant’s letter upon the removal of Sheridan is one of the chief of recent political events. It caused the New York Tribune to rejoice that his hostility to the President can no longer be doubted; while the New York Herald, which has been idolizing Grant for a year, suddenly advises him to surrender the War Department to "other and abler brains," and declares that he has thrown himself into Radical hands. The whole country has now read and pondered General Grant’s letter. It has seen how heartily he sympathizes with the national purpose, how simply and strongly he urges the undoubted wish of the people as the rule of action when expediency alone is to be considered. In a few significant words he reminds the President that the removal of Sheridan can gratify only those at the South who are hostile to the Government; and the reply of the President shows how he was stung by the unquestionable truth. The letter of Grant is short, but it is decisive. We shall no longer hear that he is an equally available candidate for either party. We shall no longer read praises of his Conservative fidelity in the Democratic newspapers. We shall no longer hear them chuckle over the cunning of the President in dividing the Republican party by entangling General Grant. Two weeks ago we said that Grant would never be a tool in Andrew Johnson’s hands, and a week had not passed before the words were justified.

So rapid is the progress of events that, before these words are read, General Grant may have ceased to be Secretary of War ad interim. Against the instructions which he gave to General Thomas to leave all the laws in force which he should find in the Louisiana District, the President orders General Hancock to change them as he chooses; and reverses General Grant’s order to Sheridan to report at Washington by ordering him to proceed straight to Missouri. The General issues the orders; but these reversals and the tone of the letter of the President show that there is no kindly feeling between and the General. And how could there be? The President knows perfectly well that Grant was most strenuous in his advice to Congress that Johnson could not be trusted, and the General know equally well that the President ordered him into his Cabinet to ruin him. From this state of things some kind of rupture may very easily arise. By the publication of the correspondence the country has learned - what few doubted - that the present Secretary of War is just as hostile to the Presidential “policy” as the late Secretary. His presence in the Cabinet is, therefore, as reassuring as that of Mr. Stanton. It is now, consequently, equally obnoxious to the President. If General Grant remains in the Department he is endeared to the people as their official representative and advocate. If the President quarrels with him and removes him from his post, the popular enthusiasm for Grant will be simply irresistible.

The result of the removal of Stanton has not thus far been very consolatory to the President. If he thinks that he has forced Grant to speak he can not but see that, at the same time, he has forced him into the arms of those who can alone make him President, while by the method he has adopted the President has but deepened the national disgust with his administration. We are not of those who think that the General should not have entered the Cabinet. If it were right that Stanton should be there it can not be wrong for Grant. Moreover, it was clearly not a matter of discretion altogether in the case of the General. The President "directed" him, and in his own judgment he was "assigned." To refuse was to disobey, and the alternative was resignation.

Nor did he approve or support the policy of the President by entering the Cabinet, as his letter shows. Nor did he go there as a spy - which is a plain abuse of words. A spy is one who surreptitiously enters as enemy’s camp. Grant was openly commanded by the enemy, to whom the Constitution gives authority to command, and who counted upon his subordinate’s acquiescence to seal his ruin. We do not disapprove Grant’s entering the Cabinet upon the same general grounds that we did disapprove the resignation of Mr. Hamlin. We would not assume in the one case that the various minor executive office of the country are merely places to be held upon condition of servility to the Presidential will, and in the other we would throw the whole responsibility upon the President. If Governor Andrew were called to Andrew Johnson’s Cabinet we can conceive of his going in order to protest against his course and baffle it as far as might be. And if he did go, would any sensible American suppose that John A. Andrew was false to his principles, or had ratted to the President?

We presume the event will show that in assigning General Grant to the War Department the President has outwitted himself. It were better for him that he had retained Stanton. On the other hand, it was certainly very unfair to General Grant upon the part of many, and notable the Tribune, to insinuate that in entering the Cabinet he showed that he had lost sympathy with the loyal party, and to sneer at him as a statue sashed and girded. The confidence of the national heart that insisted upon fighting the war to an unconditional national victory is stronger in General Grant to-day than ever.

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The Fortieth Congress
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Thanks to the District Commanders
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A Desperate Man
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Southern Reconstruction
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The General and the President
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General Sickles Also
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The President’s Intentions
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The Main Question
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"Disregarding" The Law
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Impeachment
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General Grant’s Testimony
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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
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The President, Mr. Stanton and General Grant
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Romeo (Seward) to Mercutio (Johnson) (cartoon)
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