Back to top

Andrew Johnson, "Message to Congress respecting the condition of affairs in the Southern States," December 18, 1865

Andrew Johnson
The week before, an impatient United States Senate had passed a resolution asking for President Johnson's observations on political conditions in the recently subdued Southern States. The president's response was glowing in its description of the progress being made to return Southern governments to the Union fold. He remarked on the spate of State Conventions that had swiftly produced elected governors and legislatures across the South, along with the willing passage of legislation, including the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, designed to end sectional differences. He also attached General U.S. Grant's report on his recent tour of military installations in the South, which backed his optimistic view. The additionally attached report from Carl Shurz, however, was less rosy in its contents and foresaw trouble ahead. (By John Osborne)