Everyone's talking about impeachment and Clinton & Johnson as the only presidents ever impeached. But most people don't know WHY Johnson was impeached.
So let me tell you the story about how not impeaching a racist president is a BIG reason why white supremacy lingers in America
First of all, until Donald Trump is technically impeached, we should include Richard Nixon in the conversation. Everything going on with Trump also happened to Nixon. He went through an impeachment inquiry. There were impeachment hearings. He had articles of impeachment drafted.
Nixon just quit first
(See? There's always hope)
But the story of Johnson starts during the War for White Supremacy,
or the War of White Traitors
or the First Race War
or World War Wypipo
or the War for White Tears
or the War of Lazy Whites
(I can do this for days)
Anyway, after the White People Won't Be Civil War, and after Abraham Lincoln was killed, Andrew Johnson became president.
Now, Andrew Johnson was racist AF.
But that's kinda why he was vice president.
Lincoln chose Johnson because he was a white redneck from Tenn.
After Tennessee seceded, Johnson was one of the Southern Senators who stayed in office instead of riding out with the Confederacy.
In an attempt to keep the US together, Lincoln, a Republican, selected Johnson, a Southern Democrat as VP
It didn't work. (I don't know if you knew this, but racists rarely listen to logic).
So after Lincoln was killed, a Southern redneck ascended to the presidency.
Johnson was also dumb.
Seriously, he might be the only president dumber than Trump.
After he became president, he went around the country holding political rallies where he just talked about himself and vilified his opponents. In one speech, he referenced himself 200 times
He even called his opponents "traitors" and called for them to be hanged.
This disastrous "Swing Around The Circle" tour was one of the major reasons Republicans were wiped out in the 1866 elections.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Now you have to remember that after the Civil War, the Confederate States of White Supremacy just didn't automatically become states again. They had to do certain things to be readmitted. Two of these were of some consequence:
1. They had to ratify the 14th Amendment
2. They had to allow the military to occupy their state.
The reason for this was simple:
I don't know if you knew this, but White people in the South were kinda racist back then. Only the military could stop them from massacring blacks
The LAST thing racist Democrats wanted was to see black people on the come-up. Andrew Johnson was racist, so he sided with them.
So... remember that part I said about Johnson calling his opponents "traitors" and saying they should be hanged?
Well, those weren't just political rivals, those were people who believed that black people should have rights.
Remember, back then, black people LITERALLY were not considered citizens. The group of people who wanted to grant them rights called the "Radical Republicans"
But these Republicans were considered CRAZY. Not only did they want black people to become citizens, they thought they should have some unthinkable bullshit called "equal protection under the law!"
But after the 1866 midterms, there were a lot of these crazy liberal motherfuckers elected to Congress! (Sound Familiar?)
I know this is gonna sound too on-the nose, but there were four particularly liberal "radicals" in the "squad" that Johnson hated:
The first was Charles Sumner. Sumner used to ROAST these racist white "states rights' conservatives. It got so bad that a white racist Southerner almost Sumner to death with a cane ON THE SENATE FLOOR for fighting for black rights.
Sumner also called the man's cousin a "pimp for slavery."
James Hinds was also one of the squad. He was only in Congress for four months though. He became the first member of Congress to be assassinated when the KKK killed him for advocating for civil rights.
John Creswell: Here's a fun fact, John Creswell left Congress to become Postmaster General. He infuriated whites because HE started hiring black people to work as postal workers. He appointed the first black postmaster, postal inspector, mailman and black female postmaster
He is NOT why you get your mail on CP time.
Last but not least is Thaddeus Stevens.He was gathering support for a seriously radical plan:
Called the "Evil Genius of the Republicans," Stevens believed formerly enslaved, not-yet citizens should be compensated for their labor.
And he had a plan to do it.
He wanted to take every Southern plantation over 200 acres and divide it up amongst the formerly slaves. Now, there was already a Freedmens Bureau that gave newly freed blacks food, clothing, jobs and sometimes transportation
But Steven's plan would give them ownership in America. It only amounted to 5 percent of the plantations in the South. Because many freedmen already had mules, the amount of land in Steven's plan was workable:
Johnson wanted to go easy on the Confederate States. He wanted to let them do whatever they want, including killing black people (Remember, the KKK was founded in the state he represented)
He issued executive orders offering amnesty to Confederates and pardons for war crimes.
But only for white people.
Johnson HATED this "squad" for offering civil rights. That's why he thought they should be hanged. To Johnson's dismay, the requirements for the Confederate States to re-join the Union still passed through Congress.
States would be required to:
1. Ratify the 14th Amendment and subject themselves to military rule.
2. Allow black people to vote.
3. Agree to military occupation.
Then Congress passed a Civil Rights Act.
And then they passed a bill extending the Freedmen's Bureau
Then they passed another one.
Johnson vetoed every single one of these bills.
Remember, Johnson's stupid, racist rallies and the 1866 midterm elections put a veto-proof majority of "radicals" in Congress, so they overrode Johnson's vetoes.
But Johnson had an ace up his sleeve.
He was commander-in-chief.
Now back then, there was a position called the Secretary of War who was in charge of the Army. Johnson's Sec. of War was Edwin Stanton, who was appointed by Lincoln.
He was a Radical Republican, too.
Stanton thought Johnson was too lenient on the white supremacist traitors and he had a GOOD REASON to hate Johnson:
All over the South, emboldened by Johnson's ignoring white supremacist traitors, racists started murdering black people
It started with police brutality:
In Memphis, in 1866, black soldiers were sending messages to Stanton that the white police officers were treating them poorly, arresting them for nothing.
Essentially they were being racially profiled.
Police would also gp to gatherings of black soldiers and arrest any black woman at the party for prostitution.
But Stanton couldn't DO anything because Johnson wouldn't let him. Then on May 1st, a fight between cops and soldiers resulted in mob violence.
They burned every black home in the city and killed everyone who didn't flee.
The Tennessee Attorney General came with his own mob and encouraged them to kill and burn more people.
Johnson didn't do ANYTHING.
Finally one of Stanton's generals declared martial law.
The same thing happened a month later in New Orleans.
For the first time, black people would be allowed to vote. But when New Orleans had their constitutional convention (Remember, they were going to ratify the 14th Amendment) police, Confederates & KKK started killing blacks
The official count was 238 black people killed but no one really knows how many it was. We definitely know it was more than that because TWO HUNDRED of those names were black Union soldiers.
Johnson did nothing.
States all over the South started passing "Black Codes" stripping blacks of their rights.
Johnson did nothing.
So, when the new Congress passed the new laws, Stanton RODE OUT!
The army basically went to war with the KKK.
Seriously, that's what happened.
In NC, Arkansas, Tenn. SC, Louisiana and Mississippi there were battles between white supremacists and the Army that were bloodier than any battle in the Civil War.
Racists actually overthrew the gov't (I've done a thread about it already)
Now Thad and his boys knew Johnson was dumb, an oligarch and a racist, so they passed the Tenure Act, a law that required congressional approval before firing the Secretary of War.
Instead, Johnson SUSPENDED Stanton and put his own Sec of War in place: Lorenzo Thomas
I know, I know... But back then there were quite a few white Lorenzos
Lorenzo HATED Stanton. See, Stanton and Lorenzo had a falling out back in the day and, just for pettiness' sake, Stanton gave Lorenzo a terrible job for a General:
Lorenzo was put in charge of black troops.
So when Johnson violated the Tenure Act by appointing Lorenzo, Stanton barricaded himself in office and had Lorenzo arrested.
Thad 'nem drew up impeachment articles QUICK:
One of my favorite quotes is from William Kelly, one of the dudes who founded the Republican Party:
"Sir, the bloody and untilled fields of the ten unreconstructed states, the unsheeted ghosts of the two thousand murdered negroes in Texas, cry, if the dead ever evoke vengeance, for the punishment of Andrew Johnson"
Billy K had BARS!
Back then, there were 54 Senators (the old racist states hadn't rejoined yet), which meant they needed 36 votes to convict Johnson.
They got 35.
No senator who voted to acquit Johnson ever held an elective office again.
Johnson would serve for 2 more years, during which time the KKK ran rampant throughout the South. In 1870, and 1871, as soon as Johnson was out of office, Congress passed the Enforcement Acts, also known as the KKK acts which made racial terrorists a crime.
But it was too late.
You see, those people who had lynched blacks, those Klansmen, those former Confederate soldiers had become Southern heroes.
And not only did Southern Blacks not get reparations, they had to live in fear.
But that is not the important thing about Johnson's tenure
Every Democrat acquitted Johnson but so did 10 Republicans. They were not radical republicans. They were moderates. The moderate Republicans were led by a man named Lyman Turnbull.
Lyman's friends thought that Thaddeus Stevens and his squad were too radical
And so they saved Johnson. But Lyman's moderate homies also battled Thad n'em for something else
They EACH wrote their own version of the Fourteenth Amendment
Lyman and the moderates won.
To be fair, Thaddeus Stevens' radical version was a lot like Lyman's except for one part
See Thaddeus Stevens didn't want to pass the 13th amendment, which banned slavery
He didn't like the 14th amendment making slaves citizens.
He didn't like the 15th Amendment giving people the right to vote.
In fact, he and his boys spent the last part of their lives trying to get the word "white" removed from all federal laws.
But Johnson didn't like this version of the constitutional amendment. Some people thought that this was why Stevens hated Johnson and vice versa.
But if Stevens' version would have passed, there would have never been a need for a Civil Rights Act in 1965. There wouldn't have been a need for a Voting Rights Act. Or a 14th or 15th amendment. or 19th
Segregation would have never existed and Jim Crow couldn't have happened.
Aside from banning slavery, Steven's version of the 13th Amendment had one extra clause that scared the fuck out of the moderates and angered Johnson.
He didn't think there was ANY way that those Southern States would agree to one extra sentence
Everyone who hears the sentence would SWEAR its in the Constitution, but it's not.
It never has been.
People have been fighting for years to get it included.
It's SEVEN WORDS
This sentence STILL isn't in the Constitution but Stevens' words are actually included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It's why we still have to pass laws against LGBT discrimination and hate crimes, but it was proposed in 150 years ago BEFORE slavery was outlawed
Some people say the first impeachment actually started on Feb. 8, 1864, when Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens, who almost impeached Andrew Johnson, submitted a constitutional amendment that could've forever eliminated slavery, segregation & discrimination:
"All persons are equal before the law."
You can follow @michaelharriot.
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