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George William Curtis, "The Civil Rights Bill," Harper's Weekly Magazine, April 14, 1866, pp. 226-227.

"The Veto," Andrew Johnson, April 1866, Thomas Nast cartoon
Two weeks before, the political editor of Harpers' Weekly Magazine and loyal founder-member of the Republican Party George William Curtis had written to praise the recently passed Civil Rights Bill and urged President Johnson to sign it. By the time that piece had been published, Johnson had returned the measure to Congress with a lengthy veto message. Curtis now wrote to urge Congress to use its overwhelming majorities in both houses to over-ride the veto, stating that the nation must, once and for all, make a decision over who is a citizen and who is not. He rejects Johnson's justification item by item and holds that the true "danger" that Johnson fears "is not from the United States doing a simple Constitutional act of justice; it is from the States perpetuating the old injustice from which our troubles sprang." The Congress overturned President Johnson's veto on April 9, 1866, and the Civil Rights Act became the law of the land the same day, five days before Curtis' editorial appeared in print. (By John Osborne)

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