A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
The new governments passed laws, therefore, to
compel them to work, under the penalty of being declared vagrants and
sent to jail, where they would be forced to hard labor. This method was
denounced in the North as a re-establishment of slavery under a new
name. The Republican majority in December, 1865, refused for a time to
admit any members from the States that had been in rebellion.


QUARREL BETWEEN CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT.

Thus a quarrel arose between the President and Congress. The latter
proposed to keep the States on probation for a time, before giving them
their full rights, while the President strenuously insisted that they
should be admitted at once on the same status as those that had not been
engaged in secession. To keep out the eighty-five members who had been
refused admission, Congress imposed a test oath, which excluded all who
had been connected in any way with the Confederate government. The
Republicans had a two-thirds vote in Congress which enabled them to pass
any bill they chose over the President's veto. While they had not
formulated any clear policy, they were resolved to protect the freedmen
in all their rights. The reorganization of Tennessee being satisfactory,
her members were received by Congress in 1866.

The congressional elections of this year intrenched the Republicans in
Congress, and they were sure of the power for the next two years to
carry through any policy upon which they might agree. By that time, too,
they had fixed upon their plan of reconstruction and prepared to enforce
it.

This policy was to allow the freedmen to vote and to deprive the
Confederate leaders of the right to do so. To accomplish this, the plan
was to place all the seceding States under military governors, who
should call new conventions to form State governments. The negroes and
not the leading Confederates had the power to vote for these delegates.
Provided the new governments allowed the freedmen the right of suffrage,
and ratified the Fourteenth Amendment (which excluded the leading
Confederates from office), then the Southern senators and
representatives would be admitted to Congress.


THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL.

The "civil rights" bill, which placed the blacks and whites on the same
footing, was vetoed by the President, March 27th. He pointed out the
danger of giving suffrage to 4,000,000 ignorant people, lately slaves,
and said unscrupulous men in the North would hasten South and take
advantage of their ignorance. This was precisely what took place. The
South was overrun by a set of scoundrels known as "carpet-baggers"
(because they were supposed to carry all their worldly possessions when
they reached the South in a carpet bag; in many instances a score of
trunks would not have sufficed to hold what they took back), whose rule
was worse than a pestilence, and forms one of the most shameful episodes
in our history. According to the old system, the negroes were counted in
making up the congressional representation of the South, and the
Republicans insisted that they were, therefore, entitled to vote. The
bill was passed April 9th, over the President's veto.

The story of the bitter quarrel between the President and Congress is an
unpleasant one. Words were uttered by him and by leading members of
Congress which it would be well to forget. The President became angrier
as the wrangle progressed, for, in the face of the hostile majority, he
was powerless. The fight continued through the years 1867 and 1868. In
June of the latter year, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, North
Carolina, and South Carolina were re-admitted to Congress. The States
that had seceded were divided into five military districts, and
President Johnson, much against his will, was obliged to appoint the
governors. As a result of all this, the negroes were largely in the
majority in the South, and the Republican vote in Congress was greatly
increased. But in the North, the fall elections went mostly Democratic,
though not enough so to overcome the opposing majority in Congress.

During these exciting times there were several occurrences of a
different nature which require notice. The Fenians are men of Irish
birth who favor the independence of their country from Great Britain.
One of their favorite methods is by the invasion of Canada. In 1866,
about 1,500 of them entered Canada from Buffalo, and some skirmishing
occurred, but the movement was so clearly a violation of law that the
President sent a military force to the frontier and promptly stopped it.

[Illustration: LOG-CABIN CHURCH AT JUNEAU, ALASKA.]


EXECUTION OF MAXIMILIAN.

France had taken advantage of our Civil War to make an attempt to
establish a monarchy in Mexico. French troops were landed, an empire
proclaimed, and Maximilian, an Austrian archduke, declared emperor. He
went to Mexico in 1864, where he was compelled to fight the Mexicans who
had risen against his rule. With the help of the strong military force
which Louis Napoleon placed at his disposal, he was able to maintain
himself for a time. With the conclusion of the war, our government
intimated to Emperor Napoleon that it would be politic for him to
withdraw from Mexico, although we were quite willing to allow Maximilian
to remain emperor if it was the wish of the Mexicans. Napoleon acted on
the warning, but the misguided victim chose to stay, and was captured by
the Mexicans in 1867 and shot. That was the end of the attempt to
establish an empire in Mexico, which has long been a prosperous and
well-governed republic.


ADMISSION OF NEBRASKA.

Nebraska was admitted to the Union in 1867. It was a part of the
Louisiana purchase and was made a Territory in 1854, by the
Kansas-Nebraska act. Being located much further north than Kansas, it
escaped the strife and civil war which desolated that Territory. It has
proven to be a rich agricultural region, though it suffers at times from
grasshoppers, drought, and storms.

The attempts to lay an Atlantic telegraph cable resulted in failures
until 1866, when a cable was laid from Ireland to Newfoundland. Since
then other cables have been successfully stretched beneath the ocean
until it may be said the world is girdled by them.


PURCHASE OF ALASKA.

In 1867 our country purchased from Russia the large tract in the
northwest known as Russian America. The sum paid was $7,200,000, a price
which many deemed so exorbitant that it was considered a mere pretext of
Secretary Seward, who strongly urged the measure, in order to give
Russia a bonus for her valuable friendship during the Civil War.
Inclusive of the islands, the area of Alaska is 577,390 square miles.
The country was looked upon as a cold, dismal land of fogs and storms,
without any appreciable value, but its seal fisheries and timber have
been so productive of late years that it has repaid its original cost
tenfold and more.


WIDENING OF THE BREACH BETWEEN CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT.

One of the acts passed by Congress in March, 1867, forbade the President
to dismiss any members of his cabinet without the consent of the Senate.
The President insisted that the Constitution gave him the right to do
this. Secretary of War Stanton, who had resigned by his request, was
succeeded by General Grant, who gave way to Stanton, when the latter was
replaced by the Senate, in January, 1868. On the 21st of February the
President dismissed him and appointed Adjutant-General Thomas secretary
_ad interim_. Stanton refused to yield, and remained at his office night
and day, with a company of friends and a military guard. Several demands
for the office were made by General Thomas, but all were refused. It was
believed the President would send troops to enforce his order, but he
did not proceed to that extremity.


IMPEACHMENT AND ACQUITTAL OF THE PRESIDENT.

On the 24th of February the House of Representatives passed a resolution
to impeach the President. This was simply to accuse or charge him with
the commission of high crimes and misdemeanors. In such cases the trial
must be conducted by the Senate. A committee was appointed to prepare
the articles of impeachment, which, in the main, accused the executive
of violating the civil tenure act in his removal of Secretary Stanton,
though other charges were added.

When the President is impeached, the Constitution provides that his
trial shall take place before the Senate, sitting as a court. The trial
occupied thirty-two days, lasting until May 26th, with Chief Justice
Chase presiding, on which day a vote was taken on the eleventh article
of impeachment. Thirty-five senators voted for acquittal and nineteen
for conviction. One more vote--making the necessary two-thirds--would
have convicted. Ten days later the same vote was given on the other
charges, whereupon a verdict of acquittal was ordered.

[Illustration: A SOUTHERN LEGISLATURE UNDER CARPET-BAG RULE.

The carpet-baggers debauched the negroes, sending some of the most
ignorant of them to the Legislature, where their personal conduct was a
disgrace and they voted away vast sums of money for adventurers who
bribed them with a pittance.]


SAD CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY.

The country was in a lamentable condition. Congress censured the
President, who expressed his contempt for that body. General Sheridan,
whom the President had removed from the governorship of Louisiana, was
complimented for his administration, and Congress declared that there
was no valid government in the South, the jurisdiction of which was
transferred to General Grant, the head of the army.

By this time the carpet-baggers had swarmed into the sorely harried
region like so many locusts. They secured the support of the ignorant
blacks, by falsehood and misrepresentations, controlled the State
Legislatures, and had themselves elected to Congress. Enormous debts
were piled up, and negroes, who could not write their names, exultingly
made laws for their former masters, who remained in sullen silence at
their homes and wondered what affliction was coming next. The colored
legislators adjourned pell-mell to attend the circus; hundreds of
thousands of dollars were stolen, and extravagance, corruption, and
debauchery ran riot.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.