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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
PERIOD OF RECONSTRUCTION,
(FROM APRIL 15, 1865, TO JULY 15, 1870,)
CLASSIFIED SUMMARY OF THE LEGISLATION OF THE THIRTY.
TOGETHER WITH THE
ACTION, CONGRESSIONAL AND STATE, ON THE FOURTEENTH AND FIF.
AND THE OTHER
IMPORTANT EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE, POLITICO-MILITARY, AND
BY HON. EDWARD MCPHERSON, LL.D.,
CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES.
JAMES J. CHAPMAN,
[SUCCESSOR TO PHILP & SOLOMONS.]
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia.
MCGILL & WITHEROW,
WASHINGTON, D. C.
This volume is a reprint of my Political Manuals, issued in 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, and 1870, with revision and corrections to date and with some additions, and includes the political facts of the most momentous legislative period in the history of our country-that between April 15, 1865, and July 15, 1870. During it occurred the great controversy between President JOHNSON and the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses, which resulted, among many minor features of significance and importance, in the enactment of the Civil Rights act and the Tenure-of-Office act; the overthrow of the Presidential plan of Reconstruction; the remission to military rule of the lately insurrectionary States, except Tennessee; the prescription by Congress of the terms of their restoration; and the adoption, by Congress and the requisite number of State Legislatures, of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which distinctly defines citizenship and places it under constitutional protection, and of the Fifteenth Amendment, which settles upon a new basis the question of suffrage in the United States, and modifies the relations of the States to it—all which measures indicate the era referred to as unquestionably the most remarkable in our legislative history.
It has been my effort to preserve in these pages the record of the various steps by which these ends have been reached, so that it may be entirely practicable for the student of them to trace their development from the first suggestion to the final shape.
A glance at the Table of Contents and the Index will indicate the scope of the work, and the thoroughness and detail which characterize it; and a close examination of its pages will, I trust, leave no room to doubt that it has been prepared in a spirit of fairness and impartiality, and that it may be accepted as an actual contribution to the political history of our times.
The general plan of the work is the same as that of the Political History of the United States during the Rebellion, but differs from it chiefly in its having been arranged in annual parts. The advantage in this is, that it exhibits more clearly the growth of legislation and of public sentiment on each question, year by year. The disadvantage is, a small increase in the labor of investigation.
It is hoped, however, that the completeness of the Index, both as to subjects, persons, and parties, will enable all, without difficulty, to command ready access to the multitude of facts which will be found in these pages.
Part I contains a full statement of the Orders and Proclamations and the general action of President JOHNSON, in the development of his policy of restoring the insurrectionary States to their places in the Union, by calling constitutional conventions in each, on an indicated basis, and by suggesting certain action therein as preliminary to restoration. It also contains the legislation of those organizations respecting the colored population recently freed, and the various Messages, Speeches, Letters, and Proclamations of the PRESIDENT in vindication of his policy and in resistance to that of Congress. This part will also be found to contain the full text of the majority and minority reports of the Joint Congressional Committee on Reconstruction, with the text of the Fourteenth Amendment, as finally adopted by Congress and submitted to the Legislatures for their action. This amendment having been rejected by the Legislatures in the insurrectionary States, chosen under the action of President JOHNSON, Congress subsequently adopted the decisive measure of dividing those States into five Military Districts, providing for their re-organization on the basis of, substantially, Universal Manhood Suffrage, and prescribing the conditions on which they would be entitled to representation in Congress.
Part II contains the texts of these various measures, the Veto Messages of the PRESIDENT in disapproval of them, and the various Votes by which they were passed over the veto by two-thirds of each House.
Part III contains all the proceedings connected with the proposed impeachment of President JOHNSON by the Fortieth Congress, with the Articles of Impeachment in full, the answer of President JOHNSON, the Replication of the House, and the Judgment of the Senate thereon. It also contains a digest of the Orders of the Military Commanders and their general action under the various Reconstruction acts, with an abstract of the Constitutions prepared by the Conventions called under them.
Parts IV and V contain the remaining record of Reconstruction, the final votes in Congress upon the adoption of the Fifteenth Constitutional Amendment, President GRANT's action thereon, the votes of the various State Legislatures, and the final certificate of the Secretary of State announcing its ratification as an amendment to the Constitution. Besides these great measures, the interest in which will scarcely abate as long as our present system of government remains, in this volume will be found all the Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States during this period, on the more important public questions which came before it, such as the Habeas Corpus, the Legal-Tender, and the TestOath cases; the right of States to tax National Banks; the right of the United
States to tax State Banks; the right of a State to tax persons passing through it; the validity of contracts in confederate money, and the effect of express contracts to pay coined dollars; and sundry opinions in United States Circuit and State courts. Besides, in it will be found all the votes in Congress upon general questions, such as the Public Credit act, Banking and Currency legislation, the Tenure-of-Office act, the Civil Rights act, Internal Revenue, Tariff, and Landgrant legislation; the various Messages, Proclamations, and Orders of Presidents JOHNSON and GRANT; the votes of Congress on political declaratory resolutions; the platforms of parties, both State and National, from 1866 to 1870; the returns of State and Presidential elections; Tables of Population, Public Debt, Landgrants, Taxation, Registration, Disfranchisement, Expenditures and Appropriations, Revenue receipts and reductions, Lists of the Cabinets of Presidents JOHNSON and GRANT, and of the Members of the Thirty-ninth, Fortieth, and Forty-first Congresses; and an extended political and military miscellany, which will be found to include almost every thing of permanent interest connected with national politics during the period referred to.
This volume takes up the thread where it was dropped by that on the Rebellion, and it is naturally a companion to it. That gives the record of the steps by which Secession was accomplished and Disunion attempted, as well as of those by which Secession was resisted and Disunion defeated. This gives the equally portentous record of the means by which, the War over, the Government and people of the United States reaped its fruits, and especially the memorable steps by which four millions of slaves, formerly knows as chattels, became incorporated, first into the civil, and next into the political, body.
In the various votes given, the names of Republicans are printed in Roman, of Democrats, and of those who generally co-operated with them, in italic. EDWARD MCPHERSON.
WASHINGTON, D. C., April 20, 1871.