United States House of Representatives elections, 1866

United States House of Representatives elections, 1866

The U.S. House election, 1866 was an election for the United States House of Representatives in 1866. It was a decisive event in Reconstruction in which President Andrew Johnson faced off against the Radical Republicans. The main issue was leniency toward the defeated South. The ex-Confederate states (except Tennessee) were not allowed to vote or send Congressmen. Johnson stumped the country in company with General Ulysses S. Grant; he generally supported Democrats but his speeches were poorly received. As his biographer notes: [Trefouse 263]

"At every stop Johnson delivered speeches, or rather substantially the same speech, in which he thanked his audience for its welcome, paid homage to the army and navy, and declared that the humble individual standing before them had not changed. His views were the same he had held during the war, and he still favored the preservation of the Union of the states. Generally recounting his rise from the tailor's bench to the presidency, he compared himself to Jesus Christ and explained that like the Savior, he, too, liked to pardon repentant sinners. But Congress, and especially Thaddeus Stevens and the radicals, still wanted to break up the Union, an effort he was trying to prevent."

The Republicans won a landslide, with enough votes to override Johnson's vetoes. Only three states voted Democratic (Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky). Tennessee sent a Republican delegation. The other 10 ex-Confederate states did not vote.

Overall results


ee also

*40th United States Congresssequence
list=U.S. House elections


* Howard K. Beale. "The Critical Year" (1930)
* Patrick W Riddleberger. "1866, the critical year revisited" (1979)
* Hans L. Trefousse. "Andrew Johnson: A Biography" 1989.

Primary sources

* Edward McPherson, [http://books.google.com/books?vid=LCCN04007498&id=kaG2Am68tuAC&pg=PP3&dq=mcpherson+period+of+reconstruction " The Political History of the United States of America During the Period of Reconstruction" (1875)] large collection of speeches and primary documents, 1865-1870, complete text online. [The copyright has expired.]

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