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date: 17 October 2021

p. 161. Vengeance: April–December 1865locked

p. 161. Vengeance: April–December 1865locked

  • Allen C. Guelzo


‘Vengeance, April–December 1865’ begins with the death of Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865, after being shot by the Southerner, John Wilkes Booth, and the swearing in of Lincoln’s vice president, Andrew Johnson, as the seventeenth president. Johnson promised to deal harshly with the guilty Confederacy, but how this was to be translated into policy was another question. Reconstruction of the Union would require dealing with a thorny hedge of legal, constitutional, and political questions. Initially, Johnson had to concentrate his attention on ending the war. His early hard line was soon replaced with a softened approach to the Southern states, much to the anger of the Republicans of the North.

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