The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
»Initial Impeachment Discussions

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August - December 1866

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by John Adler, Publisher

Mounting racial tensions over the place of the recently-freed slaves in the post-war South came to a head during the summer of 1866. A race riot in Memphis in May was followed by a more significant race riot in New Orleans on July 30.

Congressional and state elections in the fall were crucial to the future of Reconstruction policy. President Johnson made a campaign tour, stopping in Chicago, St. Louis, and other cities. His rambling, inflammatory language backfired, and the Radical Republicans won major victories at the polls.

HarpWeek Commentary: The New Orleans Massacre

This riot inflamed public opinion in the North, and Harper’s Weekly did its share to stir the pot. A few examples are shown in this section.

  • The August 25 issue (which appeared two weeks earlier) editorialized on the July 30 riot.
  • The September 8 issue had a somewhat milder Nast cartoon: "Which is the More Illegal." It compared the peaceful political convention in New Orleans with the massacre that resulted from the attack on its participants.
  • The October 27 issue stated that "the New Orleans massacre has done more than abstract argument of a year to impress the country with the conviction that we cannot wisely hope for peace at the South so long as inequality of guarantees of personal and political liberty endure."
  • In March 1867, the Committee of Congress appointed to investigate the New Orleans riot made its report. Nast depicted the scene in the March 30, 1867 issue in a cartoon entitled "Amphitheatrum Johnsonium – Massacre of the Innocents at New Orleans, July 30, 1866." A week after the cartoon appeared, General Philip Sheridan removed Mayor John Monroe, State Attorney General Andrew Herron and Judge Edwin Abell from office.

Articles Related to the Initial Impeachment Discussions:
The President Judged by Himself

August 25, 1866, page 530

Reconstruction and How it Works (cartoon)
September 1, 1866, pages 552-553

Which Is The More Illegal (cartoon)
September 8, 1866, page 569

The New Orleans Report
October 20, 1866, page 658

The New Orleans Massacre
IMarch 30, 1867, page 202

Text from Illustration of Andy’s Trip

October 27, 1866, pages 680-681

The Great Campaign of ’66
September 29, 1866, page 610

What Next?
October 27, 1866, page 674

King Andy (cartoon)
November 3, 1866 page 696

Shall the President be Impeached?
November 3, 1866, page 690

The Popular Will
November 24, 1866, page 738

Andy Makes a Call on Uncle Sam, Who Rises to the Occasion (cartoon)
December 1, 1866, page 768

Impeachment and General Butler
December 15, 1866, page 786

December 22, 1866, page 803

What Next?
December 29, 1866, page 818


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