The Veto Message

January 8, 1867


The President sent his veto to congress over the bill that would've allowed male negroes to vote in the District of Columbia.


The message of President Johnson, vetoing the bill for extending the right of suffrage to the male negroes of the District of Columbia, appears in our columns this morning. We have not space for extended comment upon if; but we cannot refrain from saying that, like the King of England among his barons, this stands among the President's excellent veto messages as "first among equals." It not only contains the most incontrovertible arguments against the bill itself, but is enriched with legal lore, and full of thoughtful reflections for the student of history. The President gives Congress a capital lecture upon the importance of keeping the three great departments of the Government--the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial--not only separate, but totally independent of each other, and enforces his opinion with so much ability, and such an array of authority, that, if Congress were anything else than the hive of fanatics which it is, the message would be sufficient to convince that body of its error in passing the bill vetoed. It is no reflection upon the President or his Cabinet to say that this message was written by Stanbery or nobody. While reading it we realize the feeling which, upon a certain occasion, moved Sir Thomas More to say, " Aut Erasmus aut diabolus." Seward, Stanton, Randall, Welles, Browning, the President himself--none of these wrote it. We commend it to the attention of every reader.
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Walker Black




“The Veto Message,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 21, 2018,