|Leader(s)||Senator John C. Frémont (Calif.)|
Senator Charles Sumner (Mass.)
Representative Thaddeus Stevens (Pa.)
President Ulysses S. Grant (Ohio)
|Merger of||Ex-Free Soilers|
|Ideology|| Abolitionism |
|National affiliation||Republican Party|
The Radical Republicans were a faction of American politicians within the Republican Party of the United States from around 1854 (before the American Civil War) until the end of Reconstruction in 1877. They called themselves "Radicals", with a goal of immediate, complete, permanent eradication of slavery, without compromise. They were opposed during the War by the moderate Republicans (led by United States President Abraham Lincoln), by the conservative Republicans, and by the pro-slavery and anti-Reconstruction Democratic Party as well as by conservatives in the South and liberals in the North during Reconstruction. Radicals led efforts after the war to establish civil rights for former slaves and fully implement emancipation. After weaker measures in 1866 resulted in violence against former slaves in the rebel states, Radicals pushed the Fourteenth Amendment and statutory protections through Congress. They disfavored allowing ex-Confederates officers to retake political power in the South, and emphasized equality, civil rights and voting rights for the "freedpeople", i.e. people who had been enslaved by state slavery laws within the United States.
The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the world's oldest extant political parties. It is the second-oldest existing political party in the United States; its chief rival, the Democratic Party, is the oldest.
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy). The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.
The Reconstruction era was the period in American history which lasted from 1863 to 1877. It was a significant chapter in the history of American civil rights.
During the war, Radical Republicans opposed Lincoln's initial selection of General George B. McClellan for top command of the major eastern Army of the Potomac and his efforts to bring seceded Southern states back into the Union as quickly and easily as possible. Lincoln later recognized McClellan's weakness and relieved him of command. The Radicals passed their own reconstruction plan through the Congress in 1864, but Lincoln vetoed it and was putting his own presidential policies in effect by virtue as military commander-in-chief when he was assassinated in April 1865.Radicals pushed for the uncompensated abolition of slavery, while Lincoln wanted to pay slave owners who were loyal to the Union. After the war, the Radicals demanded civil rights for freed US slaves, including measures ensuring suffrage. They initiated the various Reconstruction Acts as well as the Fourteenth Amendment and limited political and voting rights for ex-Confederate civil officials and military officers. They keenly fought United States President Andrew Johnson, a former slave owner from Tennessee who favored allowing Southern states to decide the rights and status of former slaves. After Johnson vetoed various Congressional acts favoring civil rights for former slaves, they attempted to remove him from office through impeachment, which failed by one vote in 1868.
George Brinton McClellan was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, and politician. A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican–American War (1846–1848), and later left the Army to work in railroads until the outbreak of the American Civil War (1861–1865). Early in the war, McClellan was appointed to the rank of major general and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army, which would become the Army of the Potomac in the Eastern Theater; he served a brief period as general-in-chief of the Union Army. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these very characteristics hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points.
The Army of the Potomac was the principal Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. It was created in July 1861 shortly after the First Battle of Bull Run and was disbanded in May 1865 following the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in April.
The Wade–Davis Bill of 1864 was a bill proposed for the Reconstruction of the South written by two Radical Republicans, Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Winter Davis of Maryland. In opposition to President Abraham Lincoln's more lenient ten percent plan, the bill made re-admittance to the Union for former Confederate states contingent on a majority in each ex-Confederate state to take the Ironclad Oath to the effect they had never in the past supported the Confederacy. The bill passed both houses of Congress on July 2, 1864, but was pocket vetoed by Lincoln and never took effect. The Radical Republicans were outraged that Lincoln did not sign the bill. Lincoln wanted to mend the Union by carrying out the ten percent plan. He believed it would be too difficult to repair all of the ties within the Union if the Wade–Davis bill passed.
The Radicals were heavily influenced by religious ideals, and many were Christian reformers who saw slavery as evil and the Civil War as God's punishment for slavery. 1ff. The term "radical" was in common use in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War, referring not to abolitionists, but to Northern politicians strongly opposed to Slave Power. Many and perhaps a majority had been Whigs, such as William Seward, a leading presidential contender in 1860 and Lincoln's Secretary of State, Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, as well as Horace Greeley, editor of the New-York Tribune, the leading Radical newspaper. There was movement in both directions: some of the pre-war Radicals (such as Seward) became less radical during the war, while some prewar moderates became Radicals. Some wartime Radicals had been Democrats before the war, often taking proslavery positions. They included John A. Logan of Illinois, Edwin Stanton of Ohio, Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts, Ulysses S. Grant of Illinois and Vice President Andrew Johnson (Johnson broke with the Radicals after he became President).:
The term "Radical", during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, identified proponents of democratic reform, in what subsequently became the parliamentary Radical Movement.
The Slave Power or Slaveocracy was the perceived political power in the U.S. federal government held by slave owners during the 1840s and 1850s, prior to the Civil War. Antislavery campaigners during this period bitterly complained about what they saw as disproportionate and corrupt influence wielded by wealthy Southerners. The argument was that this small group of rich slave owners had seized political control of their own states and were trying to take over the federal government in an illegitimate fashion in order to expand and protect slavery. The argument was widely used by the Republican Party that formed in 1854–55 to oppose the expansion of slavery.
The Whig Party was a political party active in the middle of the 19th century in the United States. It was based among middle class conservatives. It favored business, banks, industry, education and social modernization, and opposed a powerful presidency and territorial expansion. Four presidents belonged to the party while in office. It emerged in the 1830s as the leading opponent of Jacksonian democracy, pulling together former members of the National Republican and the Anti-Masonic Party. It had some links to the upscale traditions of the long-defunct Federalist Party. Along with the rival Democratic Party, it was central to the Second Party System from the early 1840s to the mid-1860s. It originally formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party. It became a formal party within his second term, and slowly receded influence after 1854.
The Radicals came to majority power in the Congress in the elections of 1866 after several episodes of violence led many to conclude that President Johnson's weaker reconstruction policies were insufficient. These episodes included the New Orleans riot and the Memphis riots of 1866. In a pamphlet directed to black voters in 1867, the Union Republican Congressional Committee stated:
The Memphis massacre of 1866 was a series of violent events that occurred from May 1 to 3, 1866 in Memphis, Tennessee. The racial violence was ignited by political, social, and racial tensions following the American Civil War, in the early stages of Reconstruction. After a shooting altercation between white policemen and black soldiers recently mustered out of the Union Army, mobs of white civilians and policemen rampaged through black neighborhoods and the houses of freedmen, attacking, raping, and killing black men, women, and children.
[T]he word Radical as applied to political parties and politicians ... means one who is in favor of going to the root of things; who is thoroughly in earnest; who desires that slavery should be abolished, that every disability connected therewith should be obliterated.
The Radicals were never formally organized and there was movement in and out of the group. Their most successful and systematic leader was Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens in the House of Representatives. The Democrats were strongly opposed to the Radicals, but they were generally a weak minority in politics until they took control of the House in the 1874 congressional elections. The moderate and conservative Republican factions usually opposed the Radicals, but they were not well organized. Lincoln tried to build a multi-faction coalition, including radicals, conservatives, moderates and War Democrats as while he was often opposed by the Radicals, he never ostracized them. Andrew Johnson was thought to be a Radical when he became President in 1865, but he soon became their leading opponent. However, Johnson was so inept as a politician he was unable to form a cohesive support network. Finally in 1872, the Liberal Republicans, who wanted a return to classical republicanism,ran a presidential campaign and won the support of the Democratic Party for their ticket. They argued that Grant and the Radicals were corrupt and had imposed Reconstruction far too long on the South. They were overwhelmingly defeated and collapsed as a movement.
Thaddeus Stevens was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania and one of the leaders of the Radical Republican faction of the Republican Party during the 1860s. A fierce opponent of slavery and discrimination against African-Americans, Stevens sought to secure their rights during Reconstruction, in opposition to U.S. President Andrew Johnson. As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee during the American Civil War, he played a leading role, focusing his attention on defeating the Confederacy, financing the war with new taxes and borrowing, crushing the power of slave owners, ending slavery, and securing equal rights for the Freedmen.
The Liberal Republican Party of the United States was an American political party that was organized in May 1872 to oppose the reelection of President Ulysses S. Grant and his Radical Republican supporters in the presidential election of 1872. The party emerged in Missouri under the leadership of Senator Carl Schurz and soon attracted other opponents of Grant. The party opposed Grant's Reconstruction policies and sought civil service reform. It lost in a landslide and disappeared after the 1872 election.
Republicanism is a representative form of government organization. It is a political ideology centered on citizenship in a state organized as a republic. Historically, it ranges from the rule of a representative minority or oligarchy to popular sovereignty. It has had different definitions and interpretations which vary significantly based on historical context and methodological approach.
On issues not concerned with the Slave Power, the destruction of the Confederacy, the eradication of slavery and the rights of the Freedmen, Radicals took positions all over the political map. For example, Radicals who had once been Whigs generally supported high tariffs and ex-Democrats generally opposed them. Some men were for hard money and no inflation while others were for soft money and inflation. The argument, common in the 1930s, that the Radicals were primarily motivated by a desire to selfishly promote Northeastern business interests, has seldom been argued by historians for a half-century.On foreign policy issues, the Radicals and moderates generally did not take distinctive positions.
After the 1860 elections, moderate Republicans dominated the Congress. Radical Republicans were often critical of Lincoln, who they believed was too slow in freeing slaves and supporting their legal equality. Lincoln put all factions in his cabinet, including Radicals like Salmon P. Chase (Secretary of the Treasury), whom he later appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, James Speed (Attorney General) and Edwin M. Stanton (Secretary of War). Lincoln appointed many Radical Republicans, such as journalist James Shepherd Pike, to key diplomatic positions. Angry with Lincoln, in 1864 some Radicals briefly formed a political party called the Radical Democracy Party,with John C. Frémont as their candidate for president, until Frémont withdrew. An important Republican opponent of the Radical Republicans was Henry Jarvis Raymond. Raymond was both editor of The New York Times and also a chairman of the Republican National Committee. In Congress, the most influential Radical Republicans were U.S. Senator Charles Sumner and U.S. Representative Thaddeus Stevens. They led the call for a war that would end slavery.
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The Radical Republicans opposed Lincoln's terms for reuniting the United States during Reconstruction (1863), which they viewed as too lenient. They proposed an "ironclad oath" that would prevent anyone who supported the Confederacy from voting in Southern elections, but Lincoln blocked it and once Radicals passed the Wade–Davis Bill in 1864, Lincoln vetoed it. The Radicals demanded a more aggressive prosecution of the war, a faster end to slavery and total destruction of the Confederacy. After the war, the Radicals controlled the Joint Committee on Reconstruction.
After the assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson became President. Although he appeared at first to be a Radical,he broke with them and the Radicals and Johnson became embroiled in a bitter struggle. Johnson proved a poor politician and his allies lost heavily in the 1866 elections in the North. The Radicals now had full control of Congress and could override Johnson's vetoes.
After the 1866 elections, the Radicals generally controlled Congress. Johnson vetoed 21 bills passed by Congress during his term, but the Radicals overrode 15 of them, including the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and four Reconstruction Acts, which rewrote the election laws for the South and allowed blacks to vote while prohibiting former Confederate Army officers from holding office. As a result of the 1867–1868 elections, the newly empowered freedmen, in coalition with carpetbaggers (Northerners who had recently moved south) and Scalawags (white Southerners who supported Reconstruction), set up Republican governments in 10 Southern states (all but Virginia).
The Radical plan was to remove Johnson from office, but the first effort at the impeachment trial of United States President Andrew Johnson went nowhere. After Johnson violated the Tenure of Office Act by dismissing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, the House of Representatives voted to impeach him, but he escaped removal from office by the Senate by a single vote in 1868, though he had lost most of his power.
General Ulysses S. Grant in 1865–1868 was in charge of the Army under President Johnson, but Grant generally enforced the Radical agenda. The leading Radicals in Congress were Thaddeus Stevens in the House and Charles Sumner in the Senate. Grant was elected as a Republican in 1868 and after the election he generally sided with the Radicals on Reconstruction policies and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1871 into law.
The Republicans split in 1872 over Grant's reelection, with the Liberal Republicans, including Sumner, opposing Grant with a new third party. The Liberals lost badly, but the economy then went into a depression in 1873 and in 1874 the Democrats swept back into power and ended the reign of the Radicals.
The Radicals tried to protect the new coalition, but one by one the Southern states voted the Republicans out of power until in 1876 only three were left (Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina), where the Army still protected them. The 1876 presidential election was so close that it was decided in those three states despite massive fraud and illegalities on both sides. The Compromise of 1877 called for the election of a Republican as President and his withdrawal of the troops. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew the troops and the Republican state regimes immediately collapsed.
During Reconstruction, Radical Republicans increasingly took control, led by Sumner and Stevens. They demanded harsher measures in the South, more protection for the Freedmen and more guarantees that the Confederate nationalism was totally eliminated. Following Lincoln's assassination in 1865, Andrew Johnson, a former War Democrat, became President.
The Radicals at first admired Johnson's hard-line talk. When they discovered his ambivalence on key issues by his veto of Civil Rights Act of 1866, they overrode his veto. This was the first time that Congress had overridden a President on an important bill. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 made African Americans United States citizens, forbade discrimination against them and it was to be enforced in Federal courts. The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution of 1868 (with its Equal Protection Clause) was the work of a coalition formed of both moderate and Radical Republicans.
By 1866, the Radical Republicans supported federal civil rights for freedmen, which Johnson opposed. By 1867, they defined terms for suffrage for freed slaves and limited early suffrage for many ex-Confederates. While Johnson opposed the Radical Republicans on some issues, the decisive Congressional elections of 1866 gave the Radicals enough votes to enact their legislation over Johnson's vetoes. Through elections in the South, ex-Confederate officeholders were gradually replaced with a coalition of freedmen, Southern whites (pejoratively called scalawags) and Northerners who had resettled in the South (pejoratively called carpetbaggers). The Radical Republicans successful in their efforts to impeach United States President Andrew Johnson in the House, but failed by one vote in the Senate to remove him from office.
The Radicals were opposed by former slaveowners and white supremacists in the rebel states. Radicals were targeted by the Ku Klux Klan, who shot to death one Radical Congressman from Arkansas, James M. Hinds.
The Radical Republicans led the Reconstruction of the South. All Republican factions supported Ulysses Grant for President in 1868. Once in office, Grant forced Sumner out of the party and used Federal power to try to break up the Ku Klux Klan organization. However, insurgents and community riots continued harassment and violence against African Americans and their allies into the early 20th century. By the 1872 presidential election, the Liberal Republicans thought that Reconstruction had succeeded and should end. Many moderates joined their cause as well as Radical Republican leader Charles Sumner. They nominated New-York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, who was also nominated by the Democrats. Grant was easily reelected.
The so-called "Liberal Republicans" (more conservative than the Radicals), along with Democrats, argued in 1872 that the Radical Republicans were corrupt and accepted bribes (notably since 1869, during the Grant administration). These opponents of the Radicals demanded amnesty for all ex-Confederates, thus restoring their right to vote and hold public office. Foner's history of Reconstruction pointed out that sometimes the financial chicanery was as much a question of extortion as bribes.[ citation needed ] By 1872, the Radicals were increasingly splintered and in the Congressional elections of 1874, the Democrats took control of Congress. Many former Radicals joined the "Stalwart" faction of the Republican Party while many opponents joined the "Half-Breeds", who differed primarily on matters of patronage rather than policy.
In state after state in the South, the so-called Redeemers' movement seized control from the Republicans until in 1876 only three Republican states were left: South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. In the intensely disputed 1876 United States presidential election, Republican presidential candidate Rutherford B. Hayes won through the Compromise of 1877 (a corrupt bargain): he obtained the electoral votes of those states, and with them the presidency, by committing himself to removing federal troops from those states. Deprived of military support, Reconstruction came to an end. "Redeemers" took over in these states as well. As white Democrats now dominated all Southern state legislatures, the period of Jim Crow laws began, and rights were progressively taken away from blacks.
In the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction, new battles took place over the construction of memory and the meaning of historical events. The earliest historians to study Reconstruction and the Radical Republican participation in it were members of the Dunning School, led by William Archibald Dunning and John W. Burgess.The Dunning School, based at Columbia University in the early 20th century, saw the Radicals as motivated by an irrational hatred of the Confederacy and a lust for power at the expense of national reconciliation. According to Dunning School historians, the Radical Republicans reversed the gains Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson had made in reintegrating the South, established corrupt shadow governments made up of Northern carpetbaggers and Southern scalawags in the former Confederate states, and to increase their power, foisted political rights on the newly-freed slaves that they were allegedly unprepared for or incapable of utilizing. For the Dunning School, the Radical Republicans made Reconstruction a dark age that only ended when Southern whites rose up and reestablished a "home rule" free of Northern, Republican, and black influence.
In the 1930s, the Dunning-oriented approaches were rejected by self-styled "revisionist" historians, led by Howard K. Beale along with W.E.B. DuBois, William B. Hesseltine, C. Vann Woodward and T. Harry Williams.They downplayed corruption and stressed that Northern Democrats were also corrupt. Beale and Woodward were leaders in promoting racial equality and they reevaluated the era in terms of regional economic conflict. They were also hostile towards the Radicals, casting them as economic opportunists. They argued that apart from a few idealists, most Radicals were scarcely interested in the fate of the blacks or the South as a whole. Rather, the main goal of the Radicals was to protect and promote Northern capitalism. which was threatened in Congress by the West; if the Democrats took control of the South and joined the West, they thought, the Northeastern business interests would suffer. They did not trust anyone from the South except men beholden to them by bribes and railroad deals. For example, Beale argued that the Radicals in Congress put Southern states under Republican control to get their votes in Congress for high protective tariffs.
The role of Radical Republicans in creating public school systems, charitable institutions, and other social infrastructure in the South was downplayed by the Dunning School of historians. Since the 1950s, the impact of the moral crusade of the Civil Rights Movement led historians to reevaluate the role of Radical Republicans during Reconstruction, and their reputation improved.These historians, sometimes referred to as neoabolitionist because they reflected and admired the values of the abolitionists of the 19th century, argued that the Radical Republicans' advancement of civil rights and suffrage for African Americans following emancipation was more significant than the financial corruption which took place. They also pointed to the African Americans' central, active roles in reaching toward education (both individually and by creating public school systems) and their desire to acquire land as a means of self-support.
Historians have long puzzled over why most Republicans—even extreme abolitionists—gradually lost interest in the fate of the freedmen after 1868. In 2004, Richardson argued that Northern Republicans came to see most blacks as potentially dangerous to the economy because they might prove to be labor radicals in the tradition of the 1871 Paris Commune or Great Railroad Strike of 1877 and other violent American strikes of the 1870s. Meanwhile, it became clear to Northerners that the white South was not bent on revenge or the restoration of the Confederacy. Most of the Republicans who felt this way became opponents of Grant and entered the Liberal Republican camp in 1872.
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Andrew Johnson was the 17th president of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson assumed the presidency as he was vice president of the United States at the time of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. He favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves; he came into conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. He was acquitted in the Senate by one vote. Johnson's main accomplishment as president is the Alaska purchase.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. In Congress, it was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865. The amendment was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865. On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed its adoption. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted following the American Civil War.
The United States presidential election of 1868 was the 21st quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1868. In the first election of the Reconstruction Era, Republican nominee Ulysses S. Grant defeated Democrat Horatio Seymour. It was the first presidential election to take place after the conclusion of the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery.
Henry Wilson was the 18th vice president of the United States (1873–75) and a senator from Massachusetts (1855–73). Before and during the American Civil War, he was a leading Republican, and a strong opponent of slavery. He devoted his energies to the destruction of the "Slave Power" – the faction of slave owners and their political allies which anti-slavery Americans saw as dominating the country.
Charles Sumner was an American politician and United States Senator from Massachusetts. As an academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner was the leader of the anti-slavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in the U.S. Senate during the American Civil War. During Reconstruction, he fought to minimize the power of the ex-Confederates and guarantee equal rights to the freedmen. He fell into a dispute with fellow Republican President Ulysses Grant on the question of taking control of Santo Domingo. Grant's allies stripped Sumner of his power in the Senate in 1871, and he joined the Liberal Republican movement in an effort to defeat Grant's reelection in 1872.
Benjamin Franklin "Bluff" Wade was an American politician who served as one of the two United States Senators from Ohio from 1851 to 1869. He is known for his leading role among the Radical Republicans. Had the 1868 impeachment of U.S. President Andrew Johnson led to a conviction in the Senate, as president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, Wade would have become Acting President of the United States for the remaining months of Johnson's term.
William Pitt Fessenden was an American politician from the U.S. state of Maine. Fessenden was a Whig and member of the Fessenden political family. He served in the United States House of Representatives and Senate before becoming Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War.
Elections to the United States House of Representatives were held in 1866 to elect Representatives to the 40th United States Congress.
George Vickers, a Democrat, was a United States Senator from Maryland, serving from 1868 to 1873. He cast the deciding vote in the Senate that saved U.S. President Andrew Johnson from impeachment. Vickers also served in the Maryland State Senate.
The ten percent plan, formally the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, was a United States presidential proclamation issued on December 8, 1863, by United States President Abraham Lincoln, during the American Civil War. By this point in the war, the Union Army had pushed the Confederate Army out of several regions of the South, and some rebellious states were ready to have their governments rebuilt. Lincoln's plan established a process through which this postwar reconstruction could come about.
The National Union Party was the temporary name used by the Republican Party for the national ticket in the 1864 presidential election that was held during the Civil War. For the most part, state Republican parties did not change their name. The temporary name was used to attract War Democrats and border states, Unconditional Unionists and Unionist Party members who would not vote for the Republican Party. The party nominated incumbent President Abraham Lincoln and for Vice President Democrat Andrew Johnson, who were elected in an electoral landslide.
The impeachment of Andrew Johnson was initiated on February 24, 1868, when the United States House of Representatives resolved to impeach Andrew Johnson, 17th president of the United States, for "high crimes and misdemeanors", which were detailed in 11 articles of impeachment. The primary charge against Johnson was violation of the Tenure of Office Act, passed by Congress in March 1867, over his veto. Specifically, he had removed from office Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War—whom the Act was largely designed to protect—and attempted to replace him with Brevet Major General Lorenzo Thomas.
At the end of the American Civil War, the devastation and disruption in the state of Georgia were dramatic. Wartime damage, the inability to maintain a labor force without slavery, and miserable weather had a disastrous effect on agricultural production. The state's chief cash crop, cotton, fell from a high of more than 700,000 bales in 1860 to less than 50,000 in 1865, while harvests of corn and wheat were also meager. The state government subsidized construction of numerous new railroad lines. White farmers turned to cotton as a cash crop, often using commercial fertilizers to make up for the poor soils they owned. The coastal rice plantations never recovered from the war.
The presidency of Andrew Johnson began on April 15, 1865, when Andrew Johnson became President of the United States upon the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and ended on March 4, 1869. He had been Vice President of the United States for only 42 days when he succeeded to the presidency. The 17th United States president, Johnson was a member of the Democratic Party before the Civil War and had been Lincoln's 1864 running mate on the National Union ticket, which was supported by Republicans and War Democrats. Johnson took office as the Civil War came to a close, and his presidency was dominated by the aftermath of the war. As president, Johnson attempted to build his own party of Southerners and conservative Northerners, but he was unable to unite his supporters into a new party. Republican Ulysses S. Grant succeeded Johnson as president.
War Democrats in American politics of the 1860s were members of the Democratic Party who supported the Union and rejected the policies of the Copperheads. The War Democrats demanded a more aggressive policy toward the Confederacy and supported the policies of Republican President Abraham Lincoln when the American Civil War broke out a few months after his win in the 1860 presidential election.
The 1868 United States elections was held on November 3, electing the members of the 41st United States Congress. The election took place during the Reconstruction Era, and many Southerners were barred from voting. This was the first election after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, which protected the voting rights of all citizens regardless of race or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude. After this election but before the next election, delegations from Texas, Virginia, Mississippi, and Georgia were readmitted to Congress.
The 1866 United States elections occurred in the middle of National Union/Democratic President Andrew Johnson's term, during the Third Party System and Reconstruction. Johnson had become president on April 15, 1865, upon the death of his predecessor, Abraham Lincoln. Members of the 40th United States Congress were chosen in this election. As this was the first election after the Civil War, many ex-Confederates were barred from voting, and several Southern states did not take part in the election. Delegations from Arkansas, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana, and South Carolina were re-admitted during the 40th Congress.