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Andrew Johnson, Speech to visiting delegation of the Virginia Legislature, the White House, Washington, D.C., February 10, 1866

Andrew Johnson
Three days after he had met with a delegation of African-American leaders at the White House and turned aside their request for the vote, President Andrew Johnson met with a large delegation of representatives from the Virginia Commonwealth Legislature. Their main demand dealt also with representation and readmission of Virginia representatives to the United States Congress. Johnson responded, as he often did, with a speech, laying out the conditions of loyalty and commitment to the Union that would be needed for such a course. He then spoke encouragingly, stating that he wished full representation for the former Confederate states as soon as possible for the full prosperity of the United States and the country's standing in the world. He even brought up the current Democratic talking points of "taxation without representation" and the principle that if the war had been fought successfully to keep the South inside the Union, then it made no sense to require the seceding states to apply for re-admission to a Union in which they had been kept by force as a member. (By John Osborne)

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