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STANTON, Edwin M. (1814-1869), Secretary of War. Autograph letter signed ("E. M. Stanton") to an unidentified correspondent, Washington City, 1 March 1868. 1 page, 8vo, on War Department stationery.
STANTON, Edwin M. (1814-1869), Secretary of War. Autograph letter signed ("E. M. Stanton") to an unidentified correspondent, Washington City, 1 March 1868. 1 page, 8vo, on War Department stationery.

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STANTON, Edwin M. (1814-1869), Secretary of War. Autograph letter signed ("E. M. Stanton") to an unidentified correspondent, Washington City, 1 March 1868. 1 page, 8vo, on War Department stationery.

STANTON, BARRICADED IN THE WAR DEPARTMENT, REITERATES HIS RESOLVE TO REMAIN IN OFFICE UNTIL JOHNSON IS IMPEACHED

A GRIPPING ARTIFACT FROM THE ANDREW JOHNSON IMPEACHMENT CRISIS. "Your two last letters were received," Stanton writes. "All looks well and appears to mean business. No shaking apparent." He then signed the letter but added a postscript: "I am still in the Department night & day & shall remain until the Articles are presented to the Senate." Johnson's determination to fire Stanton proved to be the last straw in the long, deteriorating relationship between the President and the Congressional Republican over Reconstruction policies. The War Department was an especially important post as ex-Confederates were persistently trying to chip away at the severity of the Army's occupation of the defeated rebel states. The Radicals wanted to make sure that Stanton remained in office to continue martial law, and to use the Army to protect freed slaves from depredations.

In March 1867 Congress passed the Constitutionally dubious Tenure in Office Act, which forbid the President from removing Cabinet officials without the Senate's consent. Johnson ignored its restrictions and fired Stanton. At first, Stanton went peaceably, awaiting a Congressional response to his dismissal. But then the legislators declared the move illegal under the Tenure of Office Act, and Stanton's designated replacement, Ulysses S. Grant, refused to serve. Johnson appointed another successor, Lorenzo Thomas, but Stanton then took to the barricades and refused to relinquish control of the Department. The Radicals then initiated impeachment proceedings, with most of their proposed articles pertaining to violations of the Tenure in Office Act. Stanton's office became a scene of high drama. Johnson loyalists who tried to remove him were arrested. The Congressional Republicans rallied to his side. Senator Charles Sumner sent a famous one-word telegram: "Stick." He stuck, from 21 February until the impeachment articles were delivered to the Senate for trial on 2 March. When that Chamber failed to convict the President by just a single vote, Stanton finally resigned in disgust.
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