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Andrew Johnson And Reconstruction
Was Andrew Johnson A Union Man In Name Only?
On Monday, February 24th, 1868, the House impeached Andrew Johnson 126 to 47. On Tuesday, May 26th, 1868, by a margin of one vote, the Senate acquitted Johnson, and he served the duration of Abraham Lincoln's term. 1
Events Leading Up To Impeachment
"'The sovereignty of the States' is the language of the Confederacy, and not the language of the Constitution. The latter contains the emphatic words — This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding." — Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States of America: 1865-1869. First Annual Message, Monday, December 4th, 1865. 2
Until the impeachment of William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton that would come one hundred and thirty (130) years later, 3 Andrew Johnson's impeachment was the first and only presidential impeachment in the history of the United States and it provided some of the most dramatic events of its time. 4 The stage was set. Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated. The American Civil War had ended. The Confederacy was defeated. Chattel Slavery in America was finally over. Reconstruction in the South was underway and the tension between congress and the oval office was at an all time high. 5
So What Happened?
Andrew Johnson, was the only Southern senator not to resign his seat during the Civil War. In 1864 Johnson was nominated as the vice presidential candidate on the National Union Party ticket. When Lincoln was re-elected on Tuesday, November 8th, 1864, Johnson served as Vice President of the United States of America from Saturday, March 4th, 1865 to Saturday, April 15th, 1865 (the day Lincoln was assassinated). 6 While Johnson was an out spoken War Democrat from the South (Tennessee), a tireless critic of the South's secession and a staunch supporter of Lincoln's military policies, he was a Union man in name only as he remained pro-slavery. 7 So the drama begins. Right after the assassination of Lincoln and while congress was in recess, Johnson implemented his own version of Reconstruction that allowed Southern states to re-form their civil governments via routine pardons and established "Black Codes" which limited the basic human rights and civil liberties of Black Americans in a way that maintained antebellum slavery under a different name. 8
"Black Codes" were rooted in the "Slave Codes" that were in effect before the defeat of the South. The justification for chattel slavery in America was that Black Americans were property, not persons, and as such, they had few, if any, legal rights. The "Slave Codes" were necessary and effective tools of the South against slave unrest and uprisings. Under the enforcement of "Slave Codes" corporal punishment was widely and harshly employed. 9
When Johnson abandoned his originally stricter plan for Reconstruction, 10 the heretofore unprecedented fight to hold a sitting President of the United States of America accountable was on.
Holding The President Accountable (1865-1869)
"This is a country for White men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for White men." — Andrew Johnson, in a letter written to the Governor Thomas C. Flecther of Missouri, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. 11
On Monday, July 16th, 1866 Congress overrode President Johnson's veto and the Freedmen's Bureau Bill which provided shelter and provision for former slaves and protection of their rights in court became law. 12 On Saturday, March 2nd, 1867 Congress passed the First Reconstruction Act. 13 On Sunday, March 3rd, 1867, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act which stripped President Johnson of the power to remove federal officials without approval from the Senate. 14 On Saturday, March 23rd, 1867 Congress passed the Second Reconstruction Act and in response to the first edition of the Ku Klux Klan established a military Reconstruction program to enforce political and civil rights of Black Americans and white Republicans in the South. 15 On Monday, April 9th, 1866 Congress overrode President Johnson's veto and the Civil Rights Act which defined all persons born in the U.S. as citizens. 16 On Thursday, July 9th, 1868 Congress enacted the Fourteenth (14th) Amendment to the United States Constitution which authorized the federal government to protect the rights of all citizens. 17 With the exception of the Fourteenth (14th) Amendment each of the above pieces of "landmark legislation" was passed over President Johnson's opposition and veto. 18 On Monday, February 24th, 1868 the United States House of Representatives impeached President Johnson in accordance with Article Two of the United States Constitution. 19 On Tuesday, May 26th, 1868, after an intense trial, President Johnson was acquitted by the United States Senate by a single vote. Johnson served the remainder of Lincoln's term. 20 After the Tuesday, November 3rd, 1868 presidential election of Ulysses S. Grant, President Johnson, in one of his last official acts, granted unconditional amnesty to all Confederates on Christmas Day (Friday, December 25th, 1868). 21
President Barack Obama Kept His Word To Planned Parenthood
"The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is proud to endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States," said Action Fund president Cecile Richards. "He is a passionate advocate for women's rights, and has a long and consistent record of standing up for women's health care. As president, he will improve access to quality health care for women, support and protect a woman's right to choose, support comprehensive sex education to keep our young people healthy and safe, and invest in prevention programs, including family planning services and breast cancer screenings." — Cecile Richards, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political and advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 22
"As president I'll make sure women have access to affordable health care, including affordable reproductive services. I thank you for your endorsement and your leadership." — United States Senator Barack Hussein Obama II 23
"I am proud to have President Obama on our side … President Obama gets it, and he hasn't stopped fighting since his first day in office. He knows how important women's health is, and he respects the right of every woman to make her own medical decisions … That's why I hope you'll join me in sending a message of support to President Obama today. And because the president is such a strong ally for women's health and Planned Parenthood, he has a message for you, too." — Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 24
On Monday, July 7th, 2008 Planned Parenthood, endorsed Senator Barack Hussein Obama II for President as their choice for President of the United States of America. Below is why in their own words: 25
Senator Obama has received a 100 percent rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. As a State Senator in Illinois and a United States Senator, Senator Obama has a strong voting record when it comes to women's health.
Senator Obama co-sponsored multiple pieces of legislation that focused on common sense prevention measures to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, including the Prevention First Act; the Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act; and the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act.
Senator Obama supported affordable quality health care, including family planning services, breast cancer screenings, and other preventive health care that Planned Parenthood provides.
Senator Obama supported a woman's right to choose and was a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would codify and protect a woman's right to choose.
Senator Obama supported expanding access to affordable birth control and co-sponsored the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act, which would restore affordable birth control to safety-net clinics and college health clinics.
Senator Obama championed family planning access for women worldwide and voted to repeal the destructive global gag rule, which bars any U.S. aid for international family planning organizations that perform or promote abortions.
Senator Obama supported medically accurate comprehensive sex education to keep our young people healthy and safe, and voted in favor of legislation to fund medically accurate sex education.
As President, Barack Hussein Obama II has kept his word to Planned Parenthood. His record (click here) speaks clearly for itself. 26 Time and time again, our President has proven that he can be trusted to back abortion on demand and be held accountable for using his office to promote Planned Parenthood's agenda. 27
Holding The President Accountable Today
"If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation's next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America." — Willard Mitt Romney, "My Pro-Life Pledge," June 18th, 2011 28
Former Massachusetts Governor Willard Mitt Romney is likely to be the Republican Party's 2012 candidate for President. 29 He will be running against the Democratic Party's incumbent President, Barack Hussein Obama II, in the 2012 election for the presidency of the United States of America. Willard Mitt Romney has given his Pro-Life Pledge to the Pro-Life movement. Here it is …
"My Pro-Life Pledge" By Willard Mitt Romney 30
… I Will …
Limit Abortion to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Support the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Reinstate the Mexico City Policy.
Support the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.
Support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions.
Appoint judges who adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written.
Do everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.
Willard Mitt Romney is the only 2012 Republican Party presidential candidate that did not sign the Personhood Pledge (click here). 31 I suspect Willard Mitt Romney personally believes that the child in the womb is a "person" but establishing legal personhood for the child in the womb would not allow him to support abortion on demand in the case of exceptions. It's been my experience that what you believe personally is not as important as what you believe the law should be. [See Note]
It's early, but according to the first Gallup poll of the 2012 general election campaign, Willard Mitt Romney has the support of 47% of the registered voters nationwide, while President Barack Hussein Obama II has 45%. 32 This is good news. With his eyes on the United States Supreme Court, Willard Mitt Romney has already formed a judicial search committee for presidential appointments chaired by both Mary Ann Glendon and Robert Bork. 33 Mary Ann Glendon was selected by Pope John Paul II to head the Vatican delegation to the Beijing women's convention and teaches Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. 34 Robert Heron Bork is a former Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Both Glendon and Bork are publicly critical of Roe. 35 This too is good news. On Monday night, May 7th, 2012, Rick Santorum endorsed Willard Mitt Romney via email saying: "The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious. Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this the most critical election of our lifetime." 36 This is more good news. However, it's still better news to know that the Pro-Life movement has committed herself to unequivocally supporting Willard Mitt Romney and holding him accountable for fulfilling his Pro-Life Pledge. 37
As such, the question before us today is twofold:
As President will Mitt Romney keep his Pro-Life pledge?
How will the Pro-Life movement hold President Mitt Romney accountable?
As it was in 1865 with President Andrew Johnson with the life of my people at stake, so it will be in 2013 with President Willard Mitt Romney with the lives of our children at stake. I believe Willard Mitt Romney will keep his word. However, will the Republican Party today hold President Willard Mitt Romney accountable for keeping his Pro-Life Pledge like the Radical Republicans of the past kept President Andrew Johnson accountable for staying the course?
I hope so.
"Do not let us mistake necessary evils for good." — C.S. Lewis 38
Brothers, we really need to talk.
· Martin Luther King, Jr., "It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important." Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, November 13th, 1962. See also Dr. Martin Luther King's 1963 Western Michigan University speech (http://bit.ly/wsAUTO). ↩
01. Andrew Johnson, "American President: A Reference Resource", The Miller Center at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia (http://bit.ly/qA5YwE).
02. "Andrew Johnson, "First Annual Message," Monday, December 4th, 1865. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. (http://bit.ly/JlOQto).
03. Impeachment of Bill Clinton, as the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, was impeached by the House of Representatives on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice, on December 19, 1998. Wikipedia (http://bit.ly/cUFb4K).
04. Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, as the 17th President of the United States, Andrew Johnson was the first sitting United States president to be impeached. Wikipedia (http://bit.ly/7DEw43).
05. Ibid. (http://bit.ly/IvzPd3).
06. President Andrew Johnson, Wikipedia (http://bit.ly/4FBCJ8).
07. Op. cit., American President A Reference Resource, (http://bit.ly/qA5YwE).
08. Black Code Definition, by Lloyd Duhaime, Barrister, Solicitor, Attorney and Lawyer, "Statutes passed by pro-slavery, Southern states of the USA before and after the Civil War, to limit the civil rights of slaves or freed slaves. All black codes were eventually repealed." (http://bit.ly/IzbT77).
09. The American Black Codes 1865-1866, The George Washington University, Washington D.C. (http://bit.ly/bpi4Bv).
10. Hans Louis Trefousse, "Andrew Johnson: A Biography" (1989), the "Unionist President," Chapter 11 (http://bit.ly/IKkfG9).
11. Ibid. Johnson quote on page 236 (http://bit.ly/JWN04a).
12. Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, Wikipedia (http://bit.ly/7DEw43). See also The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, Mr. Kash's History Page (http://bit.ly/ISnluF). Jeff Kash is a history teacher at Madison Middle School in North Hollywood, California. The opinions expressed on Jeff's website are his and not necessarily those of the Los Angeles Unified School District or Madison Middle School.
22. Planned Parenthood Action Fund Endorses Barack Obama, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. (http://bit.ly/K8SOd4).
23. Planned Parenthood endorses Obama, POLITICO, Capitol News Company LLC (http://politi.co/IPT1xW).
24. I am proud to have President Obama on our side, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said, saying she is "sending the president a message of support today." (http://bit.ly/H0IZiU).
25. Planned Parenthood Action Fund Endorses Barack Obama, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. (http://bit.ly/K8SOd4).
26. President Barack Obama's Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation, by Steve Ertelt, LifeNews.Com, Washington, D.C., November 17th, 2012 at 8:31 A.M. (EST) (http://bit.ly/cUlKxd).
27. Obama Praises Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz in New Video, Steve Ertelt, LifeNews.Com, Washington, D.C., March 29th, 2012 at 10:27 A.M. (EST) (http://bit.ly/H0IZiU).
28. My Pro-Life Pledge, Mitt Romney, Romney for President, Inc., June 18, 2011 (http://mi.tt/l7wEg1).
29. Romney, Santorum meet in Pittsburgh to discuss Republican Party, WPXI.Com of the Cox Media Group, Friday, May 4th, 2012 (http://bit.ly/L9ccZr).
30. My Pro-Life Pledge, Mitt Romney, Romney for President, Inc., June 18, 2011 (http://mi.tt/l7wEg1).
31. Personhood Republican Presidential Candidate Pledge, PersonhoodUSA, Submitted by Keith Ashley on Thursday, December 15, 2011 (http://bit.ly/tYCQQQ). See also "Romney is GOP Holdout On Personhood Pledge, Former Massachusetts Governor also refuses to attend Pro-Life debates", (http://bit.ly/xGtZGr).
32. First general election Gallup poll shows Romney edging Obama by Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times, April 16, 2012 (http://lat.ms/KqOgOc).
33. Austin Ruse, has headed the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) since shortly after its creation in the summer of 1997 and since 2000 has held the title of President. This information is from an email from Austin Ruse dated Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 in my personal collection. (http://bit.ly/IXXAwu).
34. Mary Ann Glendon Wikipedia (http://bit.ly/fJT3i).
35. Robert Heron Bork Wikipedia (http://bit.ly/12aDqN).
36. Rick Santorum's endorsement of Mitt Romney email (http://bit.ly/LAZYc8). See also Maeve Reston's Monday, May 7th, 2012 Los Angeles Times article (http://lat.ms/Jbh9Oc).
37. My Pro-Life Pledge, Mitt Romney, Romney for President, Inc., June 18, 2011 (http://mi.tt/l7wEg1).
38. Do not let us mistake necessary evils for good. by C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar, "The Weight of Glory," Chapter Seven: "Membership," Read to the Society of St. Alban and St. Sergius, Oxford, February 10, 1945, Publisher HarperOne; HarperCollins R edition (March 20, 2001), p. 162 (http://amzn.to/IUok0H).