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his determination to re-habilitate and restore, the country would not have witnessed the spectacle of a fully re-United States ready and willing to participate in the next election for President.
GRANT AS PRESIDENT-FIRST ADMINISTRATION.
March 4th, 1869-March 3d, 1873. ULYSSES S. GRANT, III., President, SCHUYLER COLFAX, Ind., Vice-President. CONGRESSES.
1 March 4th, 1869-April 10th, 1869 (Extra Session). Forty-first Congress,
2. December 6th, 1869-July 15th, 1870.
1. March 4th, 1871-April 20th, 1871 (Extra Session). Forty-second Congress,
2 December 4th, 1871-June roth, 1872.
Ulysses S. Schuyler Horatio Francis P States. 127381. Vote. Grant, III. Colfax, Ind. Seymour, N.Y. Blair, Mo. Alabama,.
3 Kentucky, Louisiana,
3 New Hampshire, 3
5 New Jersey,
7 New York,
33 North Carolina, . 7
19 Oregon, 3
5 Virginia, West Virginia,
80 * Popular Vote.-Grant: 3,015,071, 26 States Seymour: 2,709,613; 8 States. Not voting,
Secretary of State, .
E B. Washburne, III.
John A. Rawlins, III.
E. R Hoar, Mass.
The administration of President Andrew Johnson, successor to the lamented Lincoln, had not been pleasing to the Republican party, whose majority was large in both Houses of Congress. The most important measures before the country were those looking to reconstruction and admission of the States which had seceded from the Union. The Congress claimed the right to legislate for their admission, and passed reconstruction laws designed to assure to the chaotic States the protection of the national government, and prescribing the terms on which they should renew their allegiance.
President Johnson took issue with this method of carrying on reconstruction, and broke with his party, his claim being that there was enough power in the President to grant amnesty and insure peace, and that the seceded States ought to be left to the management of their own affairs, even though they had not as yet returned to the Union.
The breach between the President and Congress widened, till the attitude of the former became one of almost open defiance, and he narrowly escaped a verdict of guilty in a high court of impeachment which sat from May 5th, to 26th, 1868. General Grant was a participant in the early part of the events which led to impeachment of the President, though not of his own volition. In nothing did the President and Senate differ so much as in the power of appointing officials to and removing them from office. This led to the Tenure of Office Act, which limited the President's power over removals from office.
In the face of this act he removed Stanton from his position as Secretary of War (Aug. 12th, 1867), and, in order to disarm criticism as much as possible, appointed Grant as his successor ad interim. That the appointment was an excellent one all parties agreed. But it was soon seen that it was not made with the best of motives, and instead of allaying it only increased the agitation. The real point at issue was the President's power to remove Stanton, and this point could not be
covered up by the appointment of a successor, no matter how acceptable he might be to all parties.
Grant's position became a very delicate one. He was thrown open to hostile criticism by friends of the President and the Senate. With no leaning toward any faction, he was receiving the cross-fire of all factions. This caused him to look closely into the provisions of the Tenure of Office Act, and he was not long in making up his mind what to do in case the Senate should refuse to concur in the President's removal of Stanton
The President hoped that Grant would hold on, notwithstanding any action the Senate might take, till the controversy could be
settled by the courts.
sumed the duties of
his office again, whereupon Grant sent in his resignation.
This action, in keeping with the strict letter of the law, incensed the President, who charged Grant with failing to live up to an understanding that he was to hold on to the position till the courts decided the question, or resign before the Senate could take action on Stanton's removal, so as to place the vacant office back under the disposal of the President.
Grant's reply to this charge of the President showed more feeling than any paper he had ever issued. He denied the President's statements in toto, and expressed astonishment at the boldness of his charges, and then he adds: “You know we parted on Saturday, the uith ult., without any promise on my part, either express or implied, that I would hold on to the office of Secretary of War ad interim, against the action of the Senate; or, declining to do so myself, would surrender it to you before such action was had; or, that I would see you at any fixed time on the subject.” After going on to say that for him to have pursued any other course than the one he did would have been in violation of law, and would have subjected him to fine and perhaps imprisonment, he concludes: “When my honor as a soldier, and integrity as a man, have been so violently assailed, pardon me for saying that I can but regard this whole matter, from beginning to end, as an attempt to involve me in the resistance of law, for which you hesitated to assume the responsibility, and thus to destroy my character before the country. I am, in a measure, confirmed in this conclusion by your recent orders directing me to disobey orders from the Secretary of War, my superior and your subordinate."
This explicit denial and spirited vindication, only incensed the President further, and added bitterness to the controversy. But, in the end, there were few unwilling to admit that Grant did right in resigning, and thus escaping lawsuit and perhaps imprisonment or, at least, a series of entanglements, which secmed inevitable had he proved as contumacious as the President wished him to.
In accepting the position of Secretary of War ad interim, Grant stepped into the breach between the Senate and President, actuated solely by the thought that there was great need of its management in strict accordance with his army departments, pending a struggle which bade fair to be hot and protracted. Had he been over sensitive, or afraid of responsi