President Johnson

March 29, 1866


The Dispatch supports President Johnson's policy and commend Johnson for one of his "sensible and patriotic addresses".


We present to our readers to-day the able message of President Johnson. In what a discreditable light it places the policy of Congress with reference to the negro population-preferring them above their own race and making them the objects of favor and distinction not extended to white people! The inconsistency is bad enough in itself, but the motive which occasions it heightens the honor inflicted by its passage upon the National Legislature. It is nothing, as everyone knows, but a party measure- the purpose of which is to perpetuate the power of a party established upon sectional prejudices. To foster those prejudices and inflame the national mind, is the only means of prolonging its existence. President Johnson, in one of his sensible and patriotic addresses, declared that he stood forth as the representative of the nation. This is his true position. He is elected by the nation to administer the affairs of the whole country without respect to sectional considerations. In this light it is his duty to shield, as far as he can, the weak sections from the overbearing power of the numerical majority. The framers of the Constitution intended that he should do this when they gave the President the veto power. That is one of the most valuable of the conservative features of the Constitution; and it is nobly exerted by President Johnson- not only to protect a minority, but a minority that is powerless, and has no voice in the body framing laws bearing with the direct force upon their rights and their fates. The President is therefore an obstacle in the way of the oppressions from the brute and insensible power of numbers. He becomes exceedingly obnoxious, an every expedient is employed to break him down in the public estimation, and to pass laws over his veto. Have we not seen in the last two days a Senator ejected from his seat against the opinions of the learned committee who have under their charge the questions of law arising in the body- and tis committee having the political comp,lexion with the majority of the Senate? And at the same time do we not see the Committee on Reconstruction hatching their brood of prejudicial reports touching the effects of the President's vetoes on the people of the South?- representing that those vetoes have inspired the Southern people with bitter feelings towards Unionists and negroes- that, stimulated by those baleful documents, as soon as the army and the Freedmen's Bureau are withdrawn, they will unrelentingly persecute the Unionists and remit the negroes back to slavery? A more deliberate combination to carry on an unscrupulous war upon a high officer of the Government never developed itself. No President ever stood forth in so noble an attitude; and none ever had to struggle with such powerful opposition. He protects the voiceless and powerless, and desired to restore the Union entire, that it may return to its prosperity and the vigorous life of its peaceful pursuits. His adversaries, regarding their special interests, and the securing of the power and patronage of the Government in their hands as more important than the welfare of the nation,- scheme and plot night and day to defeat him.
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Justin Barlow




“President Johnson,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 29, 2023,