Friday, December 29, 2006

The bravest president of the United States was born today. Andrew Johnson succeeded the assassinated Abraham Lincoln on April 12, 1865. The Radical Republicans of his day took an obscure unconstitutional law and trumpeted it into a case of impeachment against a most innocent man. Andrew Johnson was a man of peace who simply wanted to continue the work of "binding the nation's wounds" of the great Civil War. Had Andrew Johnson been removed from office this country would have been dealt a blow that would have made the Great Depression look like a recession. Had this happened the most radical of all men would have become president of the United States.During the American Civil War, Benjamin "hot head" Wade was highly critical of President Abraham Lincoln in a September 1861 letter, he privately wrote that Lincoln's views on slavery "could only come of one born of poor white trash and educated in a slave State." He was especially angry when Lincoln was slow to recruit African-Americans into the armies-- for obvious purposes.
Wade was also critical of Lincoln's Reconstruction Plan; in 1864, he and Henry Winter Davis sponsored a bill that would run the South, when conquered, in their own unique way. The Wade-Davis Bill mandated that there be a fifty-percent White male Iron-Clad Loyalty Oath, black male suffrage, and Military Governors that were to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. It passed in the lower chamber on May 4, 1864 by a margin of 73 ayes to 59 nays; in the upper chamber on July 2, 1864 it passed by a similar percentage of 18 ayes to 14 nays and was brought to Lincoln's desk. Lincoln vetoed it-- soundly. So a good man was spared by the courage of Edmund Ross --who voted against Johnson's conviction. I urge you all to read John Kennedy's 1956 book "Profiles in Courage" --it is a most fascinating read!

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