The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
»First Vetoes

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Harper's Weekly,
April 21, 1866, page 243

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The Civil Rights Bill
The Civil Rights bill declares that all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are citizens of the United States, and that such citizens, of every race and color, "shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, to be sued, be parties, and give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal property, and to be entitled to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishments, pains and penalties, and to none other, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding."

The bill then defines the method of protecting these rights, the details of which, if imperfect, can readily be corrected. It leaves the adjustment of political privilege to the States. It does not say that a citizen shall be a voter: it says only that he shall have the equal rights of a man.

This law, which was passed by an imposing vote in both Houses, 33 to 15 in the Senate, and 122 to 41 in the House, unquestionably expresses the profound determination of the people of the United States. They conferred freedom, and they have now defined what they mean by freedom. If a man can not own property and exercise every right that springs from its possession he is not free. This truth is fully recognized by Alexander H. Stephens, at whose instance, and against the wishes of many leaders, the Georgia Legislature has passed a bill legalizing equal civil rights to the freedmen. What Georgia has wisely done for itself the United States have done for the whole country. In doing it Congress has secured one of the most legitimate results of the war, and has laid the corner-stone of enduring peace and Union.

Articles Relating to Johnson's First Vetoes:
A Long Step Forward
January 27, 1866, page 50

February 10, 1866, page 83

Education of the Freedmen
February 10, 1866, page 83

The Veto Message
March 3, 1866, page 130

The Freedmen’s Bureau
March 10, 1866, page 146

The President’s Speech
March 10, 1866, page 147

The Political Situation
April 14, 1866, page 226

The Civil Rights Bill
April 14, 1866, page 226

The Civil Rights Bill
April 21, 1866, page 243

The Congressional Plan of Reorganization
May 12, 1866, page 290

The Trial of the Government
May 26, 1866, page 322

Making Treason Odious
June 2, 1866, page 338

The Final Report of the Reconstruction Committee
June 23, 1866, page 387

The Report of the Congressional Committee
June 23, 1866, page 386

The Case Stated
August 4, 1866, page 482

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