Thursday, April 26, 2018

Confederate "Heritage" Month 2018 for April 26: Andrew Johnson in 1866

Charlie Pierce described President Trump's appearance on "FOX and Friends," the one in which he offered some history of Abraham Lincoln, in this way: " On Thursday morning, he called in, and, over the next several minutes, had what can be gently called an 'episode.'" (The President Is a Few Bulbs Short of a Chandelier Esquire Politics Blog 04/26/2018)

And he shared a bit of Reconstruction history:
On the electric Twitter machine Thursday morning, historian Heather Cox Richardson hipped us to an inexact, but interesting, historical parallel to our current moment. In 1866, President Andrew Johnson was running out of friends. Lincoln Republicans distrusted him because he was a Democrat from the South, and because he was coddling the formerly treasonous, and also because he was sockless drunk about half the time. Frustrated with his rejection by what we would today call “the establishment,” Johnson decided to hit the road prior to the that year’s midterm elections and take his case to The People. This did not go well.

Johnson barnstormed the country, deep in his cups much of time. On what he called his “swing around the circle," Johnson blindly lashed out at his many enemies, real and imagined, in a fashion that one historian has called “ill-tempered, semi-insane, and thoroughly undignified.” One of his main campaign planks was to suggest that the states refuse to ratify the 14th Amendment. He accused the Lincoln Republicans of fomenting violence among the newly enfranchised African-American citizens. He even blamed Republicans—and black people—for the white supremacist rebellion in New Orleans. There was a catastrophic appearance in Cleveland when Johnson was heckled and began raving back in response.[my emphasis]

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