The anticipated veto of the Freedmen's Bureau bill

February 15, 1866


Following a New York Tribune passage about the President's supposed veto of the Freedmen's Bureau bill, the Dispatch offers satirical comments about the President's role in the suffrage movement.


It is reported from Washington that the President, in a late Cabinet meeting, indicated his purpose to veto the Freedmen's Bureau bill, and was confirmed in that resolve by Secretaries Seward, McCulloch, and Welles. If this purpose shall prove to be based on an assumption that equal right and equal laws afford the true and only adequate remedy for the evils which the Freedmen's Bureau attempts to mitigate, we shall heartily approve the veto, if veto there shall be. If, on the other hand, the Freedmen's Bureau bill be vetoed, and the blacks remitted absolutely to the tender mercies of the late rebels now dominant in most of the Southern States, we shall receive such veto with profound regret; and so, we cannot doubt, will the more humane and considerate half of the American people. Give the blacks the rights of manhood, and they will take their chance for subsistence, albeit that chance must be for many, a hard one; but if they are to be asked to make brick without straw, they may have reason to suspect that the parts of Moses and Pharaoh have been so mixed and muddled that they cannot be discriminated. But let us not believe in any such veto till we see it. - New York Tribune To appreciate the Tribune's wit, the reader must remember that President Johnson has on more occasions than one avowed his willingness to be the Moses who should lead the negroes to the promised land of freedom Pharaoh, indeed !
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Justin Barlow




“The anticipated veto of the Freedmen's Bureau bill,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 28, 2023,