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States Impeachments

congress, military, re, voters, constitutions and constitution

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STATES- IMPEACHMENTS) and the Tenure of Office Act was passed to limit his power of re moval. His power, also, as commander-in chief of the army and his power of clemency were abridged and a law was passed requiring the new Congress to meet on 4 March follow ing. In February Congress passed in spite of the President's veto the first of the Reconstruc tion Acts for the more efficient government of the late insurrectionary States. This act grouped the said States into five military dis i,ricts each of which was to be placed under the command of an army officer who was charged with the maintenance of order and the protec tion of property. The State governments were left intact but were declared to be provisional only and subject to the paramount authority of the United States. By a supplementary act of 19 March, likewise passed over the President's veto, the military commanders were directed to cause to be made a registration of the qualified voters without regard to race or color and to call a convention, if the majority of the voters were in favor of one, for the purpose of adopt ing a new constitution. When the constitution should be approved by Congress the State should be readmitted to representation in both houses of the National legislature. Military com manders were promptly appointed for the dif ferent districts and with adequate forces they took possession and proceeded to govern the in habitants according to the forms of military law. Arbitrary arrests were common, trial by jury was superseded by trial by military com mission and various orders having the force of law were issued for the regulation of the con duct of the citizens. The new colored voters were registered, many of the old white voters were excluded for participation in the rebellion, conventions were chosen in all the Southern States by the new electorates and by May 1868 these conventions had all adopted constitutions establishing negro suffrage and disqualifying large numbers of white persons. In all the States except Mississippi, Texas and Virginia these constitutions were promptly ratified by the new electorates and in June they were re admitted to representation in Congress. In

Mississippi, where a constitution containing several provisions of a proscriptive character had been framed, the whites after a determined campaign succeeded in defeating it at the polls. In Texas and Virginia,. where likewise ob noxious provisions had been inserted in the constitutions, the reconstructionists were induced to delay indefinitely submission to the people. These three States, therefore, continued under military rule. In the meantime the legislature of Georgia having excluded the negro mem bers-elect from their seats, the United States Senate refused to admit the senators from that State to seats in Congress. Consequently at the ftime of the accession of President Grant four of the Southern States were still unrestored to their constitutional positions in the Union. He was induced to recommend to Congress the re submission of the constitutions of Mississippi and Virginia to the voters in such a way as to enable them to vote separately upon the ob noxious provisions. Congress so directed; the constitutions were resubmitted, and were rati fied without the objectionable provisions. By the same. act Congress directed the submission of the Texas constitution to the people and it was duly ratified. These three States were punished for their tardiness by the imposition of an additional condition precedent to restora tion, namely, the ratification of the 15th 'Amendment. Early in 1870, having complied with this additional requirement they were re admitted to representation in Congress and re stored to their full positions in the Union. Finally after having been twice reconstructed Georgia complied with the new conditions im posed by Congress and in June was likewise re stored to her place under the Constitution. The military governments now gave way to the State governments, Federal interference was withdrawn and reconstruction technically at least was completed.

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