The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
»First Vetoes

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News Article
Harper's Weekly,
March 10, 1866, page 147

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The President's Speech
That the President of the United States should have been incited by a shouting crowd of his fellow-citizens to denounce by name a Senator, a Representative, and a private citizen, and to speak of another citizen in the slang of the stump, is something so unprecedented and astounding that, while every generous man will allow for the excitement of passion, there is no self-respecting American citizen who will not feel humiliated that the chief citizen of the Republic, in such a place, on such a day, should have been utterly mastered by it.

President Johnson Addressing His Fellow-Citizens at Washington

February 22, 1866

Yet the servility which actually defends and approves such an outburst of passion is even more deplorable. The President, excited and exasperated, may be charitably supposed unconscious of the real scope of his words when he accused Mr. Sumner and Mr. Stevens of inciting to his assassination. It is conceivable that he was too angry to weigh his words when, after calling for justice upon traitors - meaning the gallows - he denounced those gentlemen as traitors. But for an editor to sit deliberately down and elaborately justify so tragical an outrage of the plainest official propriety upon the ground that the speaker said that he should "stand by the Constitution," is an offense so contemptible as to be ludicrous. The President has taken a solemn oath to "stand by the Constitution," and nobody supposes that he intends to perjure himself. But the Senator and Representative have taken quite as solemn an oath, and their purpose is no less undoubted. Is it treason and deserving of death to differ from the President’s view of constitutional duty? How if, because of a difference of opinion as to constitutional obligation, the Senator and Representative had denounced the President by name as a traitor like Jefferson Davis? Would they be excused on the ground that they declared they would "stand by the Constitution?"

This is not a question of President against Congress, or the reverse. It has nothing to do with the merits of different views of reorganization. It is an offense unprecedented in our history, which we fervently trust may never be repeated.

Articles Relating to Johnson's First Vetoes:
A Long Step Forward
January 27, 1866, page 50

February 10, 1866, page 83

Education of the Freedmen
February 10, 1866, page 83

The Veto Message
March 3, 1866, page 130

The Freedmen’s Bureau
March 10, 1866, page 146

The President’s Speech
March 10, 1866, page 147

The Political Situation
April 14, 1866, page 226

The Civil Rights Bill
April 14, 1866, page 226

The Civil Rights Bill
April 21, 1866, page 243

The Congressional Plan of Reorganization
May 12, 1866, page 290

The Trial of the Government
May 26, 1866, page 322

Making Treason Odious
June 2, 1866, page 338

The Final Report of the Reconstruction Committee
June 23, 1866, page 387

The Report of the Congressional Committee
June 23, 1866, page 386

The Case Stated
August 4, 1866, page 482

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