The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
»Key Political Issues Affecting the Impeachment

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Future Control of Congress

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by John Adler, Publisher

A key difference between the Radicals and Conservatives related to whether or not the Freedmen should be given the right to vote. If they received it, they were expected to vote for Republicans (which they largely did after the passage of Radical Republican state laws and, later, the Fifteenth Amendment). A look at the statistics published in the editorial "The Trial of the Government" on May 26, 1866, shows why the struggle between President Johnson and Congress over the control of Reconstruction was, to some extent, about the future control of Congress.

State White Citizens Freedmen
South Carolina 291,000 411,000
Mississippi 353,000 436,000
Louisiana 357,000 350,000
Georgia 591,000 465,000
Alabama 596,000 437,000
Virginia 719,000 533,000
North Carolina 631,000 331,000

Thomas Nast illustrated this point well in his cartoon of April 9, 1870, when he showed the newly arrived black Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi (as Othello) sitting in the chair occupied by Jefferson Davis before he became President of the Confederacy. Senator Charles Sumner, an arch-opponent of President Andrew Johnson, welcomed Senator Revels, along with Republican Senators Henry Wilson (MA), Oliver Morton (IN), and Carl Schurz (MO), while Jeff Davis as Iago skulked outside the door.

Other Articles in this Section:
Reconstruction: Radicalism versus Conservatism
The Tenure of Office Act
Personal Considerations Affecting the Vote to Impeach


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