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“where the elective franchise and civil rights are denied to the Union soldier, his relatives, or the colored race."

The submission of these resolutions was of significance merely as a formal declaration that the President was to be ignored and an independent policy formed. The plan of reconstruction, as here presented, embodied many impracticabilities and impossibilities, but it indicated in broad outlines the propositions to be discussed in the succeeding months.

The House was still more active in its initiatory steps toward a policy. The resolution for the establishment of a join tcommittee on reconstruction was introduced by Mr. Stevens at the first opportunity on the opening day, and immediately adopted. This resolution, after having been discussed in a Republican caucus,' was taken up for consid: eration in the Senate on December 12, was made a concurrent resolution, that it might not need the approval of the President, and was passed with amendments. The debate on this resolution is of especial importance as the first formal test of the attitude of the individual Senators towards the administration. It brought out the fact that Senators Cowan of Pennsylvania, Dixon of Connecticut, and Doolittle of Wisconsin, would support the administration and oppose the congressional policy. Senator Norton, of Minnesota, soon joined their ranks, and Senator Lane,3 of Kansas, broke from the party on the Civil Rights bill. The remaining Republican senators, while exhibiting natural differences of opinion, were united in their hostility to the existing method of restoration.

Wilson, History of Reconstruction, 16 ff. * Congressional Globe, 39th Congress, 1st Session, pp. 24-30.

3 Senator Lane committed suicide on July 11, 1866. Mortification caused by abuse, as the result of his action, is supposed to have unbalanced him mentally. Cf., Blaine, ii, 185.


The resolution, as amended and concurred in by the House, provided for a joint committee of fifteen, nine from the House and six from the Senate, “who shall inquire into the condition of the States which formed the so-called Confederate States of America, and report whether they or any of them are entitled to be represented in either House of Congress, with leave to report at any time by bill or otherwise.' The appointment of this committee, with Thaddeus Stevens

a member, although Senator Fessenden of Maine was chairman, marks an important epoch in the history of reconstruction.? Stevens, now the virtual leader of the House, represented a policy to which Johnson was thoroughly antagonistic, and from this time forth everything relating to the reconstruction of the Southern States was to be referred to this committee. In addition, the committee took large masses of testimony from southerners, federal officers, and northerners travelling through the Southern States, in order that an intelligent judgment might be reached regarding the actual condition of these States. The bills in which they embodied the results of their investigations constituted the basis of the final reconstruction. The ill-defined

The resolution as adopted by the House on the 4th contained in addition : "and until such report shall have been made, and finally acted upon by Congress, no member shall be received into either House from any of the so-called Confederate States, and all papers relating to the representation of the said States shall be referred to the said committee without debate." The Senate, however, con. sidered such provisions to affect powers granted to each House separately, and which should not be entrusted to a joint committee. Therefore they were struck out, but on December 14 the House of Representatives passed resolutions bind. ing itself to be governed by similar principles.

2 The other members of the committee were: on the part of the Senate, Howard of Michigan, Grimes of Iowa, Harris of New York, Williams of Oregon, and Johnson of Maryland; on the part of the House, Washburne of Illinois, Morrill of Vermont, Grider of Kentucky, Bingham of Ohio, Conkling of New York, Boutwell of Massachusetts, Blow of Missouri, and Rogers of New Jersey.

sentiment of the Republicans, that the proper mode of dealing with the Southern States had not been found, was to be replaced by a vigorous policy which looked primarily to the proper protection of the freedman.

2. The message of the President, which was read on the 5th of December, had been eagerly awaited." It had been expected that it would contain a decided statement of his exact views on reconstruction, and expectations were fulfilled. It was a clearly written document, and outlined in extreme simplicity his attitude. In it he says, referring to the rebel States : "Whether the territory within the limits of those States should be held as conquered territory, under military authority emanating from the President as the head of the army, was the first question that presented itself for decision.” His unhesitating answer to this question was that military rule was extremely undesirable, especially from the greatly increased powers which thereby would be held by the President. “The powers of patronage and rule

I could never, unless on occasions of great emergency, consent to exercise.

Besides, the policy of military rule over a conquered territory would have implied that the States whose inhabitants may have taken part in the rebellion, had, by the act of those inhabitants, ceased to exist. But the true theory is, that all pretended acts of secession were, from the beginning, null and void. The States cannot commit treason, nor screen the individual citizens who may have committed treason, any more than they can make valid treaties or engage in lawful commerce with any foreign power. The States attempting to secede placed themselves in a condition where their vitality was impaired, but not extinguished—their functions suspended, but not destroyed." These sentiments were but the repetition, in almost the same language, of sentiments previously expressed in various

1 Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, ii, 115.

interviews and speeches. The significance of the message was merely his recommitment to the policy he was applying in practice. But the consideration of the message in committee of the whole afforded a good opportunity for general discussions of reconstruction, which were continued at intervals throughout the whole session.

The great debate was opened on December 18 by Mr. Stevens, who reasserted his views, declaring that Congress has the sole power to receive back the States, the Executive concurring.' The States as States made war. “The idea that the States could not and did not make war because the Constitution forbids it, and that this must be treated as a war of individuals, is a very injurious fallacy. Individuals cannot make war. They may commit murder, but that is not war.

Communities, societies, states, make war." He earnestly pleaded for negro suffrage both on grounds of expediency and of right, closing his speech with the oftquoted sentence: “Sir, this doctrine of a white man's government is as atrocious as the infamous sentiment that damned the late Chief Justice to everlasting fame, and I fear, to everlasting fire.”? Mr. Beaman, on February 24, after dwelling upon the horrors of the late war, said: “Those were sad, dark days, whose tinge was deepened by the frowns and hostile intrigues of foreign nations. But sadder still, and darker and more gloomy, will be that day in which the rebel States shall assume the control of our national government; when without guards or security for future good conduct, without protection to the blacks and loyal whites who have freely shed their blood in our defense, the seceded districts shall be declared recon


Wilson, History of the Reconstruction Measures, 42-105, contains a summary of the debates on reconstruction; see also Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, ii, 128 ff.

? Congressional Globe, 39th Congress, istSession, pp. 72-5.

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structed and restored States, and again launched upon their career of oppression, tyranny and crime.":

On March 10, Mr. Stevens made a speech upholding the right of the federal government to treat the conquered States in whatever manner was deemed advisable. “I trust yet to see our confiscation laws fully executed; and then the malefactors will learn that what Congress has seized as enemy's property and invested in the United States, cannot be divested and returned to the conquered belligerent by the mere voice of the Executive. I hope to see the property of the subdued enemy pay the damages done to loyal men, North and South, and help to support the helpless, armless, mutilated soldiers who have been made wretched by this unholy war. I do not believe the action of the President is worth a farthing in releasing the property conquered from the enemy, from the appropriation made of it by Congress.'

Other speeches just as violent, condemning Johnson and his policy, were made during these general discussions. Thus Mr. Dumont of Indiana said: “Some gentlemen seem to be anxious to hear within this Hall the crack of the plantation whip, and to have a manifestation of plantation manners as in days of other years; and as sure as God lives they will be abundantly gratified, if the policy of letting in the rebel States without guaranties shall prevail.” And Mr. Moulton, of

* Congressional Globe, ist Session, 39th Congress, p. 1019.

* Congressional Globe, ist Session, 39th Congress, p. 1309. These strong statements of the advisability of confiscation alarmed the Southern States greatly, and caused them to bate and fear Thaddeus Stevens. See Lalor, iii, 546 ff. The following extract from General Taylor's Destruction and Reconstruction (pp. 243-4), is characteristic of the Southern estimate of the man. General Taylor had occasion to call upon Stevens while endeavoring to get permission to visit Jefferson Davis, then in confinement at Fortress Monroe. He goes on to say: “Thaddeus Stevens received me with as much civility as he was capable of. Deformed in body and temper like Caliban, this was the Lord Hategood of the fair; but he was frankness itself. He wanted no restoration of the Union under the Constitution, which he called a worthless bit of old parchment. The white people


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