Wednesday, July 31, 2013

HoiTahPoiSha Style

Okay you guys, this is it. The last day of what was "HoiTahPoiSha Month" here on the Carroll Bryant blog so I hope you have read the INTERVIEW, suscribed to their Youtube Channel, liked their Facebook page and visited their online gift shop. (All the links are provided on their interview post so check it out if you haven't yet)

To this, I just want to say, thanks again girls for the interview and for allowing us to come into your awesome world of awesomeness. You're awesome! LOL

We wish you two nothing but all the best. 

HoiTahPoiSha Style

HoiTahPoiSha - "Halfway Around The World"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Santee Sighting (San Diego): UFO Files

I got alerted to this news-clip and thought to share it with you all. A UFO sighting captured on video and in pictures. Very clear. It occurred this year in the San Diego area of California.

Santee Sighting

Friday, July 26, 2013

Andrew Johnson: The Presidents

Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on December 29th, 1808, to Jacob Johnson (1778–1812) and Mary ("Polly") McDonough (1783–1856), a laundress. He had a brother William, four years his elder, and an older sister Elizabeth, who died in childhood. (Being born in a log cabin was a political asset in the 19th century, and in the years to come Johnson would not hesitate to remind voters of his humble birth.) Jacob Johnson was a poor man, as was his father, William, but became town constable of Raleigh before marrying and starting a family. He died of an apparent heart attack while ringing the town bell, shortly after rescuing three drowning men when Andrew was three. Polly Johnson had worked as a washerwoman; she continued in that trade as the sole support of her children. At the time, her occupation was considered less than respectable as it often took her into others' homes unaccompanied; the Johnsons were considered white trash, and there were rumors that Andrew, who did not resemble his siblings, was fathered by another man. Eventually, Polly Johnson married Turner Doughtry, who was also poor.

Polly Doughtry apprenticed her elder son, William, to a tailor, James Selby. Andrew followed his brother as an apprentice in Selby's shop at the age of ten; he was legally bound to serve until his 21st birthday. Selby does not appear to have had any great influence on the future president. The apprentice was boarded with his mother for part of his service; one of Selby's employees was detailed to teach him rudimentary literacy skills. This minimal education was augmented by citizens who came to Selby's shop to read to the tailors as they worked; even before he was an apprentice, young Andrew came to listen. These readings began a lifelong love of learning for the boy; his biographer, Annette Gordon-Reed, suggests that Johnson, who would be acclaimed as a public speaker, learned the basics of that art as he threaded needles and cut cloth.

Andrew Johnson was not happy at James Selby's, and at about age 15, ran away with his brother. Selby responded by placing an advertisement in the paper, as customary for masters seeking missing apprentices, "Ten Dollars Reward. Ran away from the subscriber, two apprentice boys, legally bound, named William and Andrew Johnson ... [payment] to any person who will deliver said apprentices to me in Raleigh, or I will give the above reward for Andrew Johnson alone." The boys went to Carthage, North Carolina, where Andrew Johnson worked as a tailor for several months. Fearing he would be taken and returned to Raleigh, Andrew moved on to Laurens, South Carolina. There, he found work in his craft, and met his first love, Mary Wood, for whom he made a quilt. After his marriage proposal to her was rejected, Johnson returned to Raleigh, hoping to buy out his apprenticeship, but he could not come to terms with Selby. Then, like many others in the late 1820s, he journeyed west.

Johnson left North Carolina for Tennessee, traveling mostly on foot. After a brief period in Knoxville, he moved to Mooresville, Alabama. He then worked as a tailor in Columbia, Tennessee, but was called back to Raleigh by his mother and stepfather, who saw limited opportunities there and who wished to emigrate west. Johnson and his party traveled through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Greeneville, Tennessee. Andrew Johnson fell in love with the town at first sight, and when he became prosperous purchased the land where he had first camped and planted a tree in commemoration.

In Greeneville, Johnson established a successful tailoring business in the front of his home. In 1827, at the age of 18, he married 16-year-old Eliza McCardle, the daughter of a local shoemaker. The pair were married by Justice of the Peace Mordecai Lincoln, first cousin of Thomas Lincoln, whose son would become president. The Johnsons were married for almost 50 years and had five children: Martha (1828), Charles (1830), Mary (1832), Robert (1834), and Andrew Jr. (1852). Though she suffered from consumption, Eliza supported her husband's endeavors. She taught him mathematics skills and tutored him to improve his writing. Shy and retiring by nature, Eliza Johnson usually remained in Greeneville during Johnson's political rise. She was not often seen during her husband's presidency; their daughter Martha usually served as official hostess.

Johnson's tailoring business prospered during the early years of the marriage, enabling him to hire help and giving him the funds to invest profitably in real estate. He later boasted of his talents as a tailor, "my work never ripped or gave way." He was a voracious reader. Books about famous orators aroused his interest in political dialogue, and he had private debates with customers with opposing views on issues of the day. He also took part in debates at Greeneville College.

Johnson helped organize a mechanics' (working men's) ticket in the 1829 Greeneville municipal election. He was elected town alderman, along with his friends Blackston McDannel and Mordecai Lincoln. Following the 1831 Nat Turner slave rebellion, a state convention was called to pass a new constitution, including provisions to disenfranchise free people of color. The convention also wanted to reform real estate tax rates, and provide ways of funding improvements to Tennessee's infrastructure. The constitution was submitted for a public vote, and Johnson spoke widely for its adoption; the successful campaign provided him with statewide exposure. On January 4, 1834, his fellow aldermen elected him mayor of Greeneville.

In 1835, Johnson made a bid for election to the "floater" seat which Greene County shared with neighboring Washington County in the Tennessee House of Representatives. According to his biographer, Hans Trefousse, Johnson "demolished" the opposition in debate and won the election with almost a two to one margin. Soon after taking his seat, Johnson purchased his first slave, Dolly, aged 14. Dolly had three children over the years. Johnson had the reputation of treating his slaves kindly, but the fact that Dolly was dark-skinned, and her offspring much lighter, led to speculation both during and after his lifetime that he was the father.

In his first term in the legislature, which met in the state capital of Nashville, Johnson did not consistently vote with either the Democratic or the newly formed Whig Party, though he revered President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat and Tennessean. The major parties were still determining their core values and policy proposals with the party system in a state of flux. The Whig Party had organized in opposition to Jackson, fearing the concentration of power in the Executive Branch of the government; Johnson differed from the Whigs as he opposed more than minimal government spending and spoke against aid for the railroads, while his constituents hoped for improvements in transportation. After Brookins Campbell and the Whigs defeated Johnson for re-election in 1837, Johnson would not lose another race for thirty years. In 1839, he sought to regain his seat, initially as a Whig, but when another candidate sought the Whig nomination, he ran as a Democrat and was elected. From that time he supported the Democratic party and built a powerful political machine in Greene County. Johnson became a strong advocate of the Democratic Party, noted for his oratory, and in an era when public speaking both informed the public and entertained it, people flocked to hear him. 

In 1840, Johnson was selected as a presidential elector for Tennessee, giving him more statewide publicity. Although Democratic President Martin Van Buren was defeated by former Ohio senator William Henry Harrison, Johnson was instrumental in keeping Tennessee and Greene County in the Democratic column. He was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 1841, where he served a two-year term. He had achieved financial success in his tailoring business, but sold it to concentrate on politics. He had also acquired additional real estate, including a larger home and a farm (where his mother and stepfather took residence), and among his assets numbered eight or nine slaves.

Having served in both houses of the legislature, Johnson saw election to Congress as the next step in his political career. He engaged in a number of political maneuvers to gain Democratic support, including the displacement of the Whig postmaster in Greeneville, and defeated Jonesville lawyer John A. Aiken by 5,495 votes to 4,892. In Washington, he joined a new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Johnson advocated for the interests of the poor, maintained an anti-abolitionist stance, argued for only limited spending by the government and opposed protective tariffs. With Eliza remaining in Greeneville, Congressman Johnson shunned social functions in favor of study in the Library of Congress. Although a fellow Tennessee Democrat, James K. Polk, was elected president in 1844, and Johnson had campaigned for him, the two men had difficult relations, and President Polk refused some of his patronage suggestions.

In his campaign for a fourth term, Johnson concentrated on three issues: slavery, homesteads and judicial elections. He defeated his opponent, Nathaniel G. Taylor, in August 1849, with a greater margin of victory than in previous campaigns. When the House convened in December, the party division caused by the Free Soil Party precluded the formation of the majority needed to elect a Speaker. Johnson proposed adoption of a rule allowing election of a Speaker by a plurality; some weeks later others took up a similar proposal, and Democrat Howell Cobb was elected.

If Johnson considered retiring from politics upon deciding not to seek re-election, he soon changed his mind. The congressman's political friends began to maneuver to get him the nomination for governor. The Democratic convention unanimously named him, though some party members were not happy at his selection. The Whigs had won the past two gubernatorial elections, and still controlled the legislature. That party nominated Henry, making the "Henry-mandering" of the First District an immediate issue. The two men debated in county seats the length of Tennessee before the meetings were called off two weeks before the August 1853 election due to illness in Henry's family. Johnson won the election by 63,413 votes to 61,163; some votes for him were cast in return for his promise to support Whig Nathaniel Taylor for his old seat in Congress. 

Tennessee's governor had little power - Johnson could propose legislation but not veto it, and most appointments were made by the Whig-controlled legislature. Nevertheless, the office was a bully pulpit that allowed him to publicize himself and his political views. He succeeded in getting the appointments he wanted in return for his endorsement of John Bell, a Whig, for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats. In his first biennial speech, Johnson urged simplification of the state judicial system, abolishment of the Bank of Tennessee and establishment of an agency to provide uniformity in weights and measures; the last was passed. Johnson was critical of the Tennessee common school system and suggested funding be increased via taxes, either statewide or county by county - a mixture of the two was passed.

When the presidential election of 1856 approached, Johnson hoped to be nominated; some Tennessee county conventions designated him a favorite son. His position that the best interests of the Union were served by slavery in some areas made him a practical compromise candidate for president. He was never a major contender; the nomination fell to former Pennsylvania senator James Buchanan. Though he was not impressed by either, Johnson campaigned for Buchanan and his running mate, former Kentucky representative John C. Breckenridge, who were elected.

Johnson decided not to seek a third term as governor, with an eye towards election to the U.S. Senate. In 1857, while returning from Washington, his train derailed, causing serious damage to his right arm. This injury would trouble him in the years to come.

Johnson's first tenure in the Senate came to a conclusion in March 1862 when Lincoln appointed him military governor of Tennessee. Much of the central and western portions of that seceded state had been recovered. Although some argued that civil government should simply resume once the Confederates were put down in an area, Lincoln chose to use his power as commander in chief to appoint military governors over Union-controlled Southern areas. The Senate quickly confirmed Johnson's nomination along with the rank of brigadier general. In response, the Confederates confiscated his land, took away his slaves, and made his home into a military hospital. Later in 1862, after his departure from the Senate and in the absence of most Southern legislators, the Homestead Act was finally enacted; it, along with legislation for land grant colleges and for the transcontinental railroad, has been credited with opening the American West to settlement.

As military governor, Johnson sought to eliminate rebel influences in the state, demanding loyalty oaths from public officials, and shutting down newspapers run by Confederate sympathizers. At that time, much of eastern Tennessee remained in rebel hands, and the ebb and flow of war through 1862 sometimes brought Confederate control close to Nashville. The Confederates did allow his wife and family to pass through the lines to him. Johnson undertook the defense of Nashville as best he could; the city was continually harassed with cavalry raids led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Relief from Union regulars did not come until William S. Rosecrans defeated the Confederates at Murfreesboro at the start of 1863. Much of eastern Tennessee was retaken later that year. 

When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, freeing the slaves in rebel-controlled areas, he exempted Tennessee at Johnson's request. The document increased the debate over what should happen to the slaves after the war - not all Unionists supported abolition. Johnson decided that slavery had to end, stating, "If the institution of slavery ... seeks to overthrow it (the Government), then the Government has a clear right to destroy it". He reluctantly supported efforts to recruit former slaves for the Union Army, feeling it more appropriate that African-Americans should perform menial tasks and free up whites to fight. Nevertheless, he succeeded in enlisting 20,000 black troops for the Union.

In 1860, Lincoln's running mate had been Maine Senator Hannibal Hamlin. Vice President Hamlin had served competently, was in good health, and had not expressed an unwillingness to run. Nevertheless, Johnson emerged as running mate for Lincoln's re-election bid in 1864.

Lincoln considered several War Democrats for the ticket in 1864, and sent an agent to sound out General Benjamin Butler as a possible running mate. In May 1864, the President dispatched General Daniel Sickles to Nashville on a fact-finding mission. Although Sickles denied he was there either to investigate or interview the military governor, Johnson biographer Hans L. Trefousse believes Sickles's trip was connected to Johnson's subsequent nomination for vice president. According to historian Albert Castel in his account of Johnson's presidency, Lincoln was impressed by Johnson's administration of Tennessee. Gordon-Reed points out that while the Lincoln-Hamlin ticket might have been considered geographically balanced in 1860, "having Johnson, the southern War Democrat, on the ticket sent the right message about the folly of secession and the continuing capacity for union within the country." Another factor was the desire of Secretary of State William Seward to frustrate the vice-presidential candidacy of his fellow New Yorker, former senator Daniel S. Dickinson, a War Democrat, as Seward would probably have had to yield his place if another New Yorker became vice president. Johnson, once he was told by reporters the likely purpose of Sickles' visit, was active on his own behalf, giving speeches and having his political friends work behind the scenes to boost his candidacy.

Although it was unusual at the time for a national candidate to actively campaign, Johnson gave a number of speeches in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. He also sought to boost his chances in Tennessee while re-establishing civil government by making the loyalty oath even more restrictive, in that voters would now have to swear they opposed making a settlement with the Confederacy. The Democratic candidate for president, George McClellan, hoped to avoid additional bloodshed by negotiation, and so the stricter loyalty oath effectively disenfranchised his supporters. Lincoln declined to override Johnson, and their ticket took the state by 25,000 votes. Congress refused to count Tennessee's electoral votes, but Lincoln and Johnson did not need them, having won in most states that had voted, and easily secured the election.

Now Vice President-elect, Johnson was anxious to complete the work of re-establishing civilian government in Tennessee, although the timetable for the election of a new governor did not allow it to take place until after Inauguration Day, March 4. He hoped to remain in Nashville to complete his task, but was told by Lincoln's advisers that he could not stay, but would be sworn in with Lincoln. In these months, Union troops finished the retaking of eastern Tennessee, including Greeneville. Just before his departure, the voters of Tennessee ratified a new constitution, abolishing slavery, on February 22, 1865. One of Johnson's final acts as military governor was to certify the results.

On the afternoon of April 14, 1865, Lincoln and Johnson met for the first time since the inauguration. Trefousse states that Johnson wanted to "induce Lincoln not to be too lenient with traitors"; Gordon-Reed agrees.

That night, President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer. The shooting of the President was part of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln, Johnson, and Seward the same night. Seward barely survived his wounds, while Johnson escaped attack as his would-be assassin, George Atzerodt, got drunk instead of killing the vice president. Leonard J. Farwell, a fellow boarder at the Kirkwood House, awoke Johnson with news of Lincoln's shooting at Ford's Theater. Johnson rushed to the President's deathbed, where he remained a short time, on his return promising, "They shall suffer for this. They shall suffer for this." Lincoln died at 7:22 am the next morning; Johnson's swearing in occurred between 10 and 11 am with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding in the presence of most of the Cabinet. Johnson's demeanor was described by the newspapers as "solemn and dignified". Some Cabinet members had last seen Johnson, apparently drunk, at the inauguration. At noon, Johnson conducted his first Cabinet meeting in the Treasury Secretary's office, and asked all members to remain in their positions.

The events of the assassination resulted in speculation, then and subsequently, concerning Johnson and what the conspirators might have intended for him. In the vain hope of having his life spared, after his capture, Atzerodt spoke much about the conspiracy, but did not say anything to indicate that the plotted assassination of Johnson was merely a ruse. Conspiracy theorists point to the fact that on the day of the assassination, Booth came to the Kirkwood House and left one of his cards. This object was received by Johnson's private secretary, William A. Browning, with an inscription, "Are you at home? Don't wish to disturb you. J. Wilkes Booth."

Johnson presided with dignity over Lincoln's funeral ceremonies in Washington, before the leader's body was sent home to Springfield, Illinois, for burial. Shortly after Lincoln's death, Union General William T. Sherman reported he had, without consulting Washington, reached an armistice agreement with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston for the surrender of Confederate forces in North Carolina in exchange for the existing state government remaining in power, with private property rights to be respected. This did not even acknowledge the freedom of those in slavery, and was not acceptable to Johnson or the Cabinet. Johnson sent word for Sherman to secure the surrender without making political deals, and he did. This action, together with his placing a $100,000 bounty on the head of Confederate President Davis, then a fugitive, gave him the reputation of a man who would be tough on the South. More controversially, he permitted the execution of Mary Surratt, the only woman convicted as a member of the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln. Johnson refused to grant clemency, and Surratt was executed with three others, including Atzerodt, on July 7th, 1865.

Upon taking office, Johnson faced the question of what to do with the Southern states. President Lincoln had authorized loyalist governments in Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee as the Union came to control large parts of those states. Lincoln had advocated a ten percent plan that would allow recognized elections after ten percent of the voters in any state took an oath of future loyalty. Congress considered this too lenient; its own plan, requiring a majority of voters to take the loyalty oath for a state to be admitted, passed both houses in 1864, but Lincoln pocket vetoed it.

Johnson had three goals in Reconstruction. He sought a speedy restoration of the states, on the grounds that they had never truly left the Union, and thus should again be recognized once loyal citizens formed a government. To Johnson, African-American suffrage was a delay and a distraction; it had always been a state responsibility to decide who should vote. Second, political power in the Southern states should pass from the planter class to his beloved "plebians". Johnson feared that the freedmen, many of whom were still economically bound to their former masters, might vote at their direction. Johnson's third priority was election in his own right in 1868, a feat no one who had succeeded a deceased president had managed to accomplish.

The Republicans had formed a number of factions. The Radical Republicans sought voting and other civil rights for African-Americans. They believed that the freedmen could be induced to vote Republican in gratitude for emancipation, and that black votes could keep the Republicans in power and Southern Democrats, including former rebels, out of influence. They believed that top Confederates should be punished. The Moderate Republicans sought to keep the Democrats out of power at a national level, and prevent former rebels from resuming power. They were not as enthusiastic about the idea of African-American suffrage as their Radical colleagues, either because of their own local political concerns, or because they believed that the freedman would be likely to cast his vote badly. Northern Democrats favored the unconditional restoration of the Southern states. They did not support African-American suffrage, which might threaten Democratic control in the South.

Johnson was initially left to devise a Reconstruction policy without legislative intervention, as Congress was not due to meet again until December 1865. Radical Republicans told the President that the Southern states were economically in a state of chaos and urged him to use his leverage to insist on rights for freedmen as a condition of restoration to the Union. But Johnson, with the support of other officials including Seward, insisted that the franchise was a state, not a federal matter. The Cabinet was divided on the issue.

Johnson's first Reconstruction actions were two proclamations, with the unanimous backing of his Cabinet, on May 29th. One recognized the Virginia government led by provisional Governor Francis Pierpont. The second provided amnesty for all ex-rebels except those holding property valued at $20,000 or more; it also appointed a temporary governor for North Carolina and authorized elections. Neither of these proclamations included provisions regarding black suffrage or freedmen's rights. The President ordered constitutional conventions in other former rebel states.

As Southern states began the process of forming governments, Johnson's policies received considerable public support in the North, which he took as unconditional backing for quick reinstatement of the South. While he received such support from the white South, he underestimated the determination of Northerners to ensure that the war had not been fought for nothing. It was important, in Northern public opinion, that the South acknowledge its defeat, that slavery be ended, and that the lot of African-Americans be improved. Voting rights were less important - after all, only a handful of Northern states (mostly in New England) gave African-American men the right to vote on the same basis as whites, and in late 1865, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Minnesota voted down African-American suffrage proposals by large margins. Northern public opinion tolerated Johnson's leniency as an experiment, to be allowed if it brought Southern acceptance of defeat. Instead, white Southerners were emboldened. A number of Southern states passed Black Codes, binding African-American laborers to farms on annual contracts they could not quit, and allowing law enforcement at whim to arrest them for vagrancy and rent out their labor. Most Southerners elected to Congress were former Confederates, with the most prominent being Georgia Senator-designate and former Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens. Congress assembled in early December 1865; Johnson's conciliatory annual message to them was well received. Nevertheless, Congress refused to seat the Southern legislators and established a committee to recommend appropriate Reconstruction legislation.

Northerners were outraged at the idea of unrepentant Confederate leaders, such as Stephens, rejoining the federal government at a time when emotional wounds from the war remained raw. They saw the Black Codes placing African-Americans in a position barely above slavery. Republicans also feared that restoration of the Southern states would return the Democrats to power. In addition, according to David O. Stewart in his book on Johnson's impeachment, "the violence and poverty that oppressed the South would galvanize the opposition to Johnson" 

Even with the Republican victory in November 1866, Johnson considered himself in a strong position. The Fourteenth Amendment had been ratified by none of the Southern or border states except Tennessee, and had been rejected in Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland. As the amendment required ratification by three-quarters of the states to become part of the Constitution, he believed the deadlock would be broken in his favor, leading to his re-election in 1868. Once it reconvened in December 1866, an energized Congress began passing legislation, often over a presidential veto; this included the District of Columbia voting bill. Congress admitted Nebraska to the Union over a veto, and the Republicans gained two senators, and a state that promptly ratified the amendment. Johnson's veto of a bill for statehood for Colorado Territory was sustained; enough senators agreed that a district with a population of 30,000 was not yet worthy of statehood to win the day.

In January 1867, Congressman Stevens introduced legislation to dissolve the Southern state governments and reconstitute them into five military districts, under martial law. The states would begin again by holding constitutional conventions. African-Americans could vote for or become delegates; former Confederates could not. In the legislative process, Congress added to the bill that restoration to the Union would follow the state's ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, and completion of the process of adding it to the Constitution. Johnson and the Southerners attempted a compromise, whereby the South would agree to a modified version of the amendment without the disqualification of former Confederates, and for limited black suffrage. The Republicans insisted on the full language of the amendment, and the deal fell through. Although Johnson could have pocket vetoed the First Reconstruction Act as it was presented to him less than ten days before the end of the Thirty-Ninth Congress, he chose to veto it directly on March 2, 1867; Congress overruled him the same day. Also on March 2, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act over the President's veto, in response to statements during the Swing Around the Circle that he planned to fire Cabinet secretaries who did not agree with him. This bill, requiring Senate approval for the firing of Cabinet members during the tenure of the president who appointed them and for one month afterwards, was immediately controversial, with some senators doubting that it was constitutional or that its terms applied to Johnson, whose key Cabinet officers were Lincoln holdovers.

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was an able and hard-working man, but difficult to deal with. Johnson both admired and was exasperated by his War Secretary, who, in combination with General of the Army Grant, worked to undermine the president's Southern policy from within his own administration. Johnson considered firing Stanton, but respected him for his wartime service as secretary. Stanton, for his part, feared allowing Johnson to appoint his successor and refused to resign, despite his public disagreements with his president.

The new Congress met for a few weeks in March 1867, then adjourned, leaving the House Committee on the Judiciary behind, charged with reporting back to the full House whether there were grounds for Johnson to be impeached. This committee duly met, examining the President's bank accounts, and summoning members of the Cabinet to testify. When a federal court released former Confederate president Davis on bail on May 13th (he had been captured shortly after the war), the committee investigated whether the President had impeded the prosecution. It learned that Johnson was eager to have Davis tried. A bipartisan majority of the committee voted down impeachment charges; the committee adjourned on June 3rd.

Later in June, Johnson and Stanton battled over the question of whether the military officers placed in command of the South could override the civil authorities. The President had Attorney General Henry Stanbery issue an opinion backing his position that they could not. Johnson sought to pin down Stanton either as for, and thus endorsing Johnson's position, or against, showing himself to be opposed to his president and the rest of the Cabinet. Stanton evaded the point in meetings and written communications. When Congress reconvened in July, it passed a Reconstruction Act against Johnson's position, waited for his veto, overruled it, and went home. In addition to clarifying the powers of the generals, the legislation also deprived the President of control over the Army in the South. With Congress in recess until November, Johnson decided to fire Stanton and relieve one of the military commanders, General Philip Sheridan, who had dismissed the governor of Texas and installed a replacement with little popular support. He was initially deterred by a strong objection from Grant. On August 5, the President demanded Stanton's resignation; the secretary refused to quit with Congress out of session. Johnson then suspended him pending the next meeting of Congress as permitted under the Tenure of Office Act; Grant agreed to serve as temporary replacement while continuing to lead the Army.

Grant, under protest, followed Johnson's order transferring Sheridan and another of the district commanders, Daniel Sickles, who had angered Johnson by firmly following Congress's plan. The President also issued a proclamation pardoning most Confederates, exempting those who held office under the Confederacy, or who had served in federal office before the war and had breached their oaths. Although Republicans expressed anger with his actions, the 1867 elections generally went Democratic. No seats in Congress were directly elected in the polling, but the Democrats took control of the Ohio General Assembly, allowing them to defeat for re-election one of Johnson's strongest opponents, Senator Benjamin Wade. Voters in Ohio, Connecticut, and Minnesota turned down propositions to grant African-Americans the vote. The adverse results momentarily put a stop to Republican calls to impeach Johnson, who was elated by the elections. Nevertheless, once Congress met in November, the Judiciary Committee reversed itself and passed a resolution of impeachment against Johnson. After much debate about whether anything the President had done was a high crime or misdemeanor, the standard under the Constitution, the resolution was defeated by the House of Representatives on December 7th, 1867, by a vote of 57 in favor to 108 opposed. 

Johnson notified Congress of Stanton's suspension and Grant's interim appointment. In January 1868, the Senate disapproved of his action, and reinstated Stanton, contending the President had violated the Tenure of Office Act. Grant stepped aside over Johnson's objection, causing a complete break between them. Johnson then dismissed Stanton and appointed Lorenzo Thomas to replace him. Stanton refused to leave his office, and on February 24th, 1868, the House impeached the President for intentionally violating the Tenure of Office Act, by a vote of 128 to 47. The House subsequently adopted eleven articles of impeachment, for the most part alleging that he had violated the Tenure of Office Act, and had questioned the legitimacy of Congress.

On March 5th, 1868, the impeachment trial began in the Senate and lasted almost three months; Congressmen George S. Boutwell, Benjamin Butler and Thaddeus Stevens acted as managers for the House, or prosecutors, and William M. Evarts, Benjamin R. Curtis and former Attorney General Stanbery were Johnson's counsel; Chief Justice Chase served as presiding judge. The defense relied on the provision of the Tenure of Office Act that made it applicable only to appointees of the current administration. Since Lincoln had appointed Stanton, the defense maintained Johnson had not violated the act, and also argued that the President had the right to test the constitutionality of an act of Congress. Johnson's counsel insisted that he make no appearance at the trial, nor publicly comment about the proceedings, and except for a pair of interviews in April, he complied.

Johnson sought nomination by the 1868 Democratic National Convention in New York in July 1868. He remained very popular among Southern whites, and boosted that popularity by issuing, just before the convention, a pardon ending the possibility of criminal proceedings against any Confederate not already indicted, meaning that only Davis and a few others still might face trial. On the first ballot, Johnson was second to former Ohio representative George H. Pendleton, who had been his Democratic opponent for vice president in 1864. Johnson's support was mostly from the South, and fell away as the ballots passed. On the 22nd ballot, former New York governor Horatio Seymour was nominated, and the President received only four votes, all from Tennessee.

The conflict with Congress continued. Johnson sent Congress proposals for amendments to limit the president to a single six-year term and make the president and the Senate directly elected, and for term limits for judges. Congress took no action on them. When the President was slow to officially report ratifications of the Fourteenth Amendment by the new Southern legislatures, Congress passed a bill, again over his veto, requiring him to do so within ten days of receipt. He still delayed as much as he could, but was required, in July 1868, to report the ratifications making the amendment part of the Constitution.

On March 3rd, the President hosted a large public reception at the White House on his final full day in office. Grant had made it known that he was unwilling to ride in the same carriage as Johnson, as was customary, and Johnson refused to go to the inauguration at all. Despite an effort by Seward to prompt a change of mind, he spent the morning of March 4 finishing last-minute business, and then shortly after noon rode from the White House to the home of a friend. 

After leaving the presidency, Johnson remained for some weeks in Washington, then returned to Greeneville for the first time in eight years. He was honored with large public celebrations along the way, especially in Tennessee, where cities hostile to him during the war hung out welcome banners. He had arranged to purchase a large farm near Greeneville to live on after his presidency.  

In 1873 Johnson contracted cholera during an epidemic but recovered; that year he lost about $73,000, when the First National Bank of Washington went under, though he was eventually repaid much of the sum. He began looking towards the next Senate election, to take place in the legislature in early 1875. Johnson began to woo the farmers' Grange movement; with his Jeffersonian leanings, he easily gained their support. He spoke throughout the state in his final campaign tour. Few African-Americans outside the large towns were now able to vote as Reconstruction faded in Tennessee, setting a pattern that would be repeated in the other Southern states; the white domination would last almost a century. In the Tennessee legislative elections in August, the Democrats elected 92 legislators to the Republicans' eight, and Johnson went to Nashville for the legislative session.

When the balloting for the Senate seat began on January 20th, 1875, he led with 30 votes, but did not have the required majority as three former Confederate generals, one former colonel, and a former Democratic congressman split the vote with him. Johnson's opponents tried to agree on a single candidate who might gain majority support and defeat him, but failed, and he was elected on January 26 on the 54th ballot, with a margin of a single vote.

Johnson's comeback garnered national attention, with the St. Louis Republican calling it, "the most magnificent personal triumph which the history of American politics can show". At his swearing-in in the Senate on March 5th, 1875, he was greeted with flowers and sworn in with another former vice president, Hamlin, by that office's current incumbent, Henry Wilson, who as senator had voted for his ouster. Many Republicans ignored Senator Johnson, though some, such as Ohio's John Sherman (who had voted for conviction), shook his hand. Johnson remains the only former president to serve in the Senate. He spoke only once in the short session, on March 22nd lambasting President Grant for his use of federal troops in support of Louisiana's Reconstruction government. The former president asked, "How far off is military despotism?" and concluded his speech, "may God bless this people and God save the Constitution."

Johnson returned home after the special session concluded. In late July, convinced some of his opponents were defaming him in the Ohio gubernatorial race, he decided to travel there to give speeches. He began the trip on July 28, and broke the journey at his daughter Mary's farm near Elizabethton, where his daughter Martha was also staying. That evening he suffered a stroke, but refused medical treatment until the next day, when he did not improve and two doctors were sent for from Elizabethton. He seemed to respond to their ministrations, but suffered another stroke on the evening of July 30th, and died early the following morning at the age of 66. President Grant had the "painful duty" of announcing the death of the only surviving past president. Northern newspapers, in their obituaries, tended to focus on Johnson's loyalty during the war, while Southern ones paid tribute to his actions as president. Johnson's funeral was held on August 3 in Greeneville. He was buried with his body wrapped in an American flag and a copy of the U.S. Constitution placed under his head, according to his wishes. The burial ground was dedicated as the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in 1906, and with his home and tailor's shop, is part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Source: Wikipedia

This work is released under CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Your Fire, My Desire

YOUR FIRE, MY DESIRE - Written by Carroll Bryant

Hanging in the back streets
Walking through the alleys
A midnight rendezvous underneath a full moon

Clinging to forever
Thoughts of love too clever
Boy meets girl again to make the perfect sin

Your fire, my desire
Putting the puzzle together somewhere in the dark
It’s always your fire versus my desire
Passion that can never seem to fill two lonely hearts

Talking all the big words
Skipping pass what really hurts
Fornicating dreams with the sound of broken screams

Hand to hand our combat
Scratching like two wild cats
Nothing here to feel when everything’s unreal

Your fire, my desire
Putting the puzzle together somewhere in the dark
It’s always your fire versus my desire
Passion that can never seem to fill two lonely hearts

We’ll take it down a notch to catch our breath
Take a break from this train wreck
Eye to eye we still can’t see - what we need
We circumcise our daily life to view the dead
Just outside our window
Going where the wind blows
We don’t care
We don’t know

Not too close to bleed
Our story just continues

Hanging in the back streets
Walking through the alleys
A midnight rendezvous underneath a full moon

Clinging to forever
Thoughts of love too clever
Boy meets girl again to make the perfect sin

Your fire, my desire
Putting the puzzle together somewhere in the dark
It’s always your fire versus my desire
Passion that can never seem to fill two lonely hearts

Monday, July 22, 2013

HoiTahPoiSha (Again, Again!!) LOL

Hey, have you checked out the INTERVIEW yet with Lor and Miz? You know, together they are "HoiTahPoiSha" and on July 5th, I did an interview with them so if you still haven't read it then you are sorely missing out on all of the fun.

Seriously, don't be such a gloomy Gus, check out the interview and then, when you're done with that, go check out their Youtube Channel, their Facebook page and their amazing online gift shop! Buy something and rub it in your friends face. LOL

You can't buy "HoiTahPoiSha" merchandise anywhere else so don't even bother looking anyplace else. Nope, not even Walmart. (Yet) But who knows, maybe someday, yeah? .... Well that day isn't here yet so there! LOL So go to the interview and click on the link that will take you there. And read the interview too!

Seriously though, show them the love. Lord knows they have shown their love with all those great entertaining videos they make. I mean, what's a couple of cute girls have to do in this place to get some attention around here? LOL

HoiTahPoiSha - "Dweedle The Dragon Gets Close To You"

HoiTahPoiSha - "Going Home"


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Carroll's Journal: My Way

Sometimes I think there's something wrong with me. I find it humorous when people's jobs relate to their names. For example, I had a mailman one time with the last name Melman. Although, I think they prefer to be called postal carriers now, or something.

Anyhow, I've been doing some serious reflection lately. I noticed that I have some strange habits. I suppose we all do, don't we? For example, the other day, my mother dropped by to visit. Sitting at the dining room table, she looked at me perplexed. Imagine that. All these years and she finally thought to ask me, "Why do you keep your change in a bowl on the table?"

Now for some context.

About 15 years ago, I was dating this girl. She loved to go to the flea markets on Sunday and buy junk. Not all of what she would buy was junk, some of it was crap. She wanted this to be an activity for us as a couple that we could do together, since during this time I was either working all day, partying at night or traveling America in search of the best parties. (Spring break in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Mardi Gras were always my favorites.) 

My girlfriend at the time didn't really like to party much at this time. She worked only a few days a week at her mothers company. During the days, she mostly watched Bob Ross on PBS to learn how to paint. This may have been when I started getting the painting bug too and when I learned about Bob Ross. Most of our together time was spent in the bedroom, going to see a movie about once a month and going to these flea markets. 

She had a rule though when she went to one of these things. That rule was, to buy at least one interesting object. By that, something one might have a difficult time buying in a regular store like Walmart or something. Sometimes, we would travel 3 or more hours just to go to one flea market. But she seemed to enjoy it. And so, this became our thing. 

One time, I was looking at some very old wooden sculptures and such believed to be carvings from some ancient tribe in Africa. I don't know. But I did see this rather medium sized bowl that caught my eye. The price was like thirty three dollars. I found that to be a pretty steep price for a bowl. It wasn't a deep bowl, mind you, and I certainly wouldn't have chosen to eat out of it.  The seller said that the women in the tribe used the bowl to mash grains or something to that effect. Still, it was / is supposed to be a really old bowl. 

After some urging from my girlfriend, I broke down and forgot for a moment that I am a cheap ass, and bought it. I placed it on my dinning room table back then and started using it to put my daily pocket change in it. And this is one of my strange habits. Every time I came home from somewhere, if I had loose change in my pocket, I would take it out and put it in this bowl. Once the bowl was full, I would then pour the change into a canister. 

Now about the canisters.

My mother gave me about fifty canisters one time. They are tin canisters. Some of them had odd shapes. For example, I have one in the shape of a bear. Originally, it came with some candy called 'Bits of Honey'. It's a chewy kind of candy with a honey flavor. I never cared for it much myself, but that is one of the tin canisters I have. Another is in the shape of a train. 'Life Savers' came in it. Then there are round tin canisters, square ones with designs or pictures on them. At that time, many of them were about 20 years old. Anyway, I would pour the change from the bowl that I accumulated, into these canisters. Once all these canisters were filled, I would take them to my bank and have them sort it and whatever the amount was, I would have them deposit that money into my savings or checking or whatever. 

Now, each one of these canisters would hold about seventy five dollars worth of change. It would take me about three years to fill them up. Not all of them, only certain ones. The round ones and the square ones. About 10 of them I would fill before taking them to the bank.

When me and my girlfriend broke up, I kept the bowl. Now, fast forward to modern day, and my mothers question. I shrugged my shoulders and told her the story I just told you. It has now become a habit for me to always empty my pockets every time I return home and place my coins in the bowl. However, I have since sold or gave away many of my tins. I only have about 15 of them left. of course now, they are about forty years old or older. 

I bring this up because this is year three. The year I take the tins to the bank and deposit the money. Another odd behavior I have at this time is to also go through my wardrobe and sort through all my old clothes. I take out pants, shirts and etc and box them and take them to the Goodwill and donate them. Sometimes I take furniture I no longer want or need. I do this every three years like clockwork. When it's time to cash in the change, I go through my clothes. 

There's really no special purpose for this. It's just something I do. And I don't know why. I have also expanded my strange behavior ever since I moved to where I live now by using a new tin I acquired when I moved here to putting cash in it every now and then. A few bills here and there. Mostly ones, but I also put fives, tens, twenty's and a fifty or two once in a while. I reasoned with my mother that this is money I put away and forget about, kind of like an emergency stash or whatever. Then my mother asked another question: "How often do you go to it for an emergency?"

I scratched my head and thought for a moment before realizing. "Never."

And this is why it's strange. I have had a few emergencies and yet, not once had I ever gone to my emergency stash. So why do I do it? Not that it's a bad habit to have. It's always nice to cash this money in every three years. It amounts to about 1000 dollars or more every time. The last time I cashed in, I bought a computer, a stereo and a bunch of DVD's. (And some new clothes to replace the old ones I gave to Goodwill Industries.) 

I haven't yet decided what to do with this money this time around. August is fast approaching and that's the month I do it. (My birthday) I am thinking about maybe getting another laptop. A bigger one. The biggest they got. I don't know. Perhaps my little nephew will have an idea of how to spend the money. LOL That little scamp. 

I've also been thinking a lot about my family. My older brother and sister. We haven't spoken now for over a decade. I want to mend those fences with them however, they're not my fences to mend. I guess the years go by quicker than we think. I've also been looking back on my life for some reason. I try to explain to myself why I am who I am and why I live like I live. I ask myself the same questions lately. Mostly why I chose to stay single and never marry. My mother also asks me this question a lot too. LOL But I suppose in this family, I had to be the free thinker. While everyone else started their own businesses and or raised their own families, I just wanted to be able to go where ever I wanted to go when I wanted to go there. I wanted to jet set and be free. Then I start to think that maybe I am a little selfish or self centered. I don't know. I guess like everyone else, I only wanted to be happy. And for me to be happy, I had to pretty much be by myself. 

Yet, I still wonder why I am one of those who prefers to be footloose and fancy free. I may never know why exactly I never yearned for the wife and kids life style that my siblings seem to enjoy, but when my mother looked up at me from the chair, with those faded brown eyes from all her years of life and asked me, "Are you really happy?" - I was able to cut her a sly grin and nod my head. 

"Yes, mother, I really am happy with my life."

She keeps on insisting that she did something wrong in raising me. However, I dispute this. Mostly because, I am the artistic one in the family. She raised me just right. I respect life, and try to enjoy it at every turn. I have traveled many miles so far in my life through many years. I have many experiences that are locked away in my memories. No pictures. No videos. Just memories that are often highlighted by poetry. I play those memories over and over from time to time. But for now, I enjoy writing my songs and books. I enjoy my quiet time. My alone time. I'm comfortable in it. 

The funny thing is, I've never felt lonely. Not once. I've loved, and I have been loved. A person can't ask for much more than that I reckon. More importantly, I have a lot of friends spread out across the nation. The world. I've met some amazing people in my life. Some famous, some not so famous. But amazing none the less. I'm a lucky guy. A very lucky guy. 

I say this now because I have something coming up, on the horizon. I'm a little nervous about it. But regardless of the outcome, I know one thing, I have no regrets. ... Okay, maybe a few. But like Frank Sinatra said, "I did it my way."

I apologize for my disposition, it's just that I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately. 

"Yes, mother, I really am happy with my life."


Tribute To Elvis Presley

This is a video I put together as a tribute to Elvis Presley on my Youtube channel. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Abraham Lincoln: The Presidents

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12th, 1809 and passed away on April 15th, 1865. He was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crises - the American Civil War - preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, strengthening the national government and modernizing the economy. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, Lincoln was self-educated, and became a country lawyer, a Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator during the 1830s, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives during the 1840s.

After a series of debates in 1858 that gave national visibility to his opposition to the expansion of slavery, Lincoln lost a Senate race to his arch-rival, Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln, a moderate from a swing state, secured the Republican Party presidential nomination in 1860. With almost no support in the South, Lincoln swept the North and was elected president in 1860. His election was the signal for seven southern slave states to declare their secession from the Union and form the Confederacy. The departure of the Southerners gave Lincoln's party firm control of Congress, but no formula for compromise or reconciliation was found. Lincoln explained in his second inaugural address: "Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the Nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came."

When the North enthusiastically rallied behind the national flag after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12th, 1861, Lincoln concentrated on the military and political dimensions of the war effort. His goal was now to reunite the nation. He suspended habeas corpus, arresting and temporarily detaining thousands of suspected secessionists in the border states without trial. Lincoln averted British recognition of the Confederacy by defusing the Trent affair in late 1861. His numerous complex moves toward ending slavery centered on the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, using the Army to protect escaped slaves, encouraging the border states to outlaw slavery, and helping push through Congress the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which permanently outlawed slavery. Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including commanding general Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln brought leaders of the major factions of his party into his cabinet and pressured them to cooperate. Lincoln's Navy set up a naval blockade that shut down the South's normal trade, helped take control of Kentucky and Tennessee, gained control of the Southern river system using gunboats. He tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. Each time a general failed, Lincoln substituted another until finally Grant succeeded in 1865.

An exceptionally astute politician deeply involved with power issues in each state, Lincoln reached out to War Democrats and managed his own re-election in the 1864 presidential election. As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican party, Lincoln found his policies and personality were "blasted from all sides": Radical Republicans demanded harsher treatment of the South, War Democrats desired more compromise, Copperheads despised him, and irreconcilable secessionists plotted his death. Politically, Lincoln fought back with patronage, by pitting his opponents against each other, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory. His Gettysburg Address of 1863 became the most quoted speech in American history. It was an iconic statement of America's dedication to the principles of nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to reunite the nation speedily through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of lingering and bitter divisiveness. Six days after the surrender of Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee, however, Lincoln was assassinated by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln's death was the first assassination of a U.S. president and sent the nation into mourning. Lincoln has been consistently ranked both by scholars and the public as one of the greatest U.S. presidents.

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12th, 1809, the second child of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln (née Hanks), in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky (now LaRue County). He is descended from Samuel Lincoln, who arrived in Hingham, Massachusetts, from Norfolk, England, in the 17th century. Lincoln's paternal grandfather and namesake, Abraham, had moved his family from Virginia to Kentucky, where he was ambushed and killed in an Indian raid in 1786, with his children, including Lincoln's father Thomas, looking on. Thomas was left to make his own way on the frontier. Lincoln's mother, Nancy, was the daughter of Lucy Hanks, and was born in what is now Mineral County, West Virginia, then part of Virginia. Lucy moved with Nancy to Kentucky. Nancy Hanks married Thomas, who became a respected citizen. He bought and sold several farms, including Knob Creek Farm. The family attended a Separate Baptists church, which had restrictive moral standards and opposed alcohol, dancing, and slavery. Thomas enjoyed considerable status in Kentucky - where he sat on juries, appraised estates, served on country slave patrols, and guarded prisoners. By the time his son Abraham was born, Thomas owned two 600-acre (240 ha) farms, several town lots, livestock, and horses. He was among the richest men in the county. However, in 1816, Thomas lost all of his land in court cases because of faulty property titles.

The family moved north across the Ohio River to free (i.e., non-slave) territory and made a new start in what was then Perry County but is now Spencer County, Indiana. Lincoln later noted that this move was "partly on account of slavery" but mainly due to land title difficulties. In Indiana, when Lincoln was nine, his mother Nancy died of milk sickness in 1818. After the death of Lincoln's mother, his older sister, Sarah, took charge of caring for him until their father remarried in 1819; Sarah later died in her 20s while giving birth to a stillborn son.

Thomas Lincoln's new wife was the widow Sarah Bush Johnston, the mother of three children. Lincoln became very close to his stepmother, and referred to her as "Mother". As a pre-teen, he did not like the hard labor associated with frontier life. Some in his family, and in the neighborhood, for a time considered him to be lazy. As he grew into his teens, he willingly took responsibility for all chores expected of him as one of the boys in the household and became an adept axeman in his work building rail fences. He attained a reputation for brawn and audacity after a very competitive wrestling match to which he was challenged by the renowned leader of a group of ruffians, "the Clary's Grove boys". Lincoln also agreed with the customary obligation of a son to give his father all earnings from work done outside the home until age 21. In later years, Lincoln occasionally loaned his father money. Lincoln became increasingly distant from his father, in part because of his father's lack of education. While young Lincoln's formal education consisted approximately of a year's worth of classes from several itinerant teachers, he was mostly self-educated and was an avid reader and often sought access to any new books in the village. He read and reread the King James Bible, Aesop's Fables, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and Franklin's Autobiography.  

In 1830, fearing a milk sickness outbreak along the Ohio River, the Lincoln family moved west, where they settled on public land in Macon County, Illinois, another free, non-slave state. In 1831, Thomas relocated the family to a new homestead in Coles County, Illinois. It was then that, as an ambitious 22-year-old who was now old enough to make his own decisions, Lincoln struck out on his own. Canoeing down the Sangamon River, Lincoln ended up in the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. In the spring of 1831, hired by New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods by flatboat from New Salem to New Orleans via the Sangamon, Illinois, and Mississippi rivers. After arriving in New Orleans - and witnessing slavery firsthand - he walked back home.

Lincoln's first romantic interest was Ann Rutledge, whom he met when he first moved to New Salem; by 1835, they were in a relationship but not formally engaged. She died at the age of 22 on August 25, 1835, most likely of typhoid fever. In the early 1830s, he met Mary Owens from Kentucky when she was visiting her sister. Late in 1836, Lincoln agreed to a match with Mary if she returned to New Salem. Mary did return in November 1836, and Lincoln courted her for a time; however, they both had second thoughts about their relationship. On August 16, 1837, Lincoln wrote Mary a letter suggesting he would not blame her if she ended the relationship. She never replied and the courtship ended.

In 1840, Lincoln became engaged to Mary Todd, who was from a wealthy slave-holding family in Lexington, Kentucky. They met in Springfield, Illinois, in December 1839 and were engaged the following December. A wedding set for January 1st, 1841, was canceled when the two broke off their engagement at Lincoln's initiative. They later met again at a party and married on November 4th, 1842, in the Springfield mansion of Mary's married sister. While preparing for the nuptials and feeling anxiety again, Lincoln, when asked where he was going, replied, "To hell, I suppose."

In 1844, the couple bought a house in Springfield near Lincoln's law office. Mary Todd Lincoln kept house, often with the help of a relative or hired servant girl. Robert Todd Lincoln was born in 1843 and Edward Baker Lincoln (Eddie) in 1846. Lincoln "was remarkably fond of children", and the Lincolns were not considered to be strict with their children. Edward died on February 1st, 1850, in Springfield, probably of tuberculosis. "Willie" Lincoln was born on December 21st, 1850, and died on February 20th, 1862. The Lincolns' fourth son, Thomas "Tad" Lincoln, was born on April 4, 1853, and died of heart failure at the age of 18 on July 16th, 1871. Robert was the only child to live to adulthood and have children. His last descendant, grandson Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985.

The deaths of their sons had profound effects on both parents. Later in life, Mary struggled with the stresses of losing her husband and sons, and Robert Lincoln committed her temporarily to a mental health asylum in 1875. Abraham Lincoln suffered from "melancholy", a condition which now is referred to as clinical depression

In 1832, at age 23, Lincoln and a partner bought a small general store on credit in New Salem, Illinois. Although the economy was booming in the region, the business struggled and Lincoln eventually sold his share. That March he began his political career with his first campaign for the Illinois General Assembly. He had attained local popularity and could draw crowds as a natural raconteur in New Salem, though he lacked an education, powerful friends, and money, which may be why he lost. He advocated navigational improvements on the Sangamon River.

Before the election, Lincoln served as a captain in the Illinois Militia during the Black Hawk War. Following his return, Lincoln continued his campaign for the August 6 election for the Illinois General Assembly. At 6 feet 4 inches, he was tall and "strong enough to intimidate any rival". At his first speech, when he saw a supporter in the crowd being attacked, Lincoln grabbed the assailant by his "neck and the seat of his trousers" and threw him. Lincoln finished eighth out of 13 candidates (the top four were elected), though he received 277 of the 300 votes cast in the New Salem precinct.

Lincoln served as New Salem's postmaster and later as county surveyor, all the while reading voraciously. He then decided to become a lawyer and began teaching himself law by reading Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England and other law books. Of his learning method, Lincoln stated: "I studied with nobody". His second campaign in 1834 was successful. He won election to the state legislature; though he ran as a Whig, many Democrats favored him over a more powerful Whig opponent. Admitted to the bar in 1836, he moved to Springfield, Illinois, and began to practice law under John T. Stuart, Mary Todd's cousin. Lincoln became an able and successful lawyer with a reputation as a formidable adversary during cross-examinations and closing arguments. He partnered with Stephen T. Logan from 1841 until 1844, when he began his practice with William Herndon, whom Lincoln thought "a studious young man". He served four successive terms in the Illinois House of Representatives as a Whig representative from Sangamon County.

In the 1835–36 legislative session, he voted to expand suffrage to white males, whether landowners or not. He was known for his "free soil" stance of opposing both slavery and abolitionism. He first articulated this in 1837, saying, "[The] Institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy, but the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils." He closely followed Henry Clay in supporting the American Colonization Society program of making the abolition of slavery practical by helping the freed slaves to settle in Liberia in Africa.

From the early 1830s, Lincoln was a steadfast Whig and professed to friends in 1861 to be, "an old line Whig, a disciple of Henry Clay". The party, including Lincoln, favored economic modernization in banking, protective tariffs to fund internal improvements including railroads, and espoused urbanization as well.

In 1846, Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served one two-year term. He was the only Whig in the Illinois delegation, but he showed his party loyalty by participating in almost all votes and making speeches that echoed the party line. Lincoln, in collaboration with abolitionist Congressman Joshua R. Giddings, wrote a bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia with compensation for the owners, enforcement to capture fugitive slaves, and a popular vote on the matter. He abandoned the bill when it failed to garner sufficient Whig supporters. On foreign and military policy, Lincoln spoke out against the Mexican - American War, which he attributed to President Polk's desire for "military glory - that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood". Lincoln also supported the Wilmot Proviso, which, if it had been adopted, would have banned slavery in any U.S. territory won from Mexico.

Lincoln emphasized his opposition to Polk by drafting and introducing his Spot Resolutions. The war had begun with a Mexican slaughter of American soldiers in territory disputed by Mexico and the U.S.; Polk insisted that Mexican soldiers had "invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our own soil". Lincoln demanded that Polk show Congress the exact spot on which blood had been shed and prove that the spot was on American soil. Congress never enacted the resolution or even debated it, the national papers ignored it, and it resulted in a loss of political support for Lincoln in his district. One Illinois newspaper derisively nicknamed him "spotty Lincoln". Lincoln later regretted some of his statements, especially his attack on the presidential war-making powers.

Realizing Clay was unlikely to win the presidency, Lincoln, who had pledged in 1846 to serve only one term in the House, supported General Zachary Taylor for the Whig nomination in the 1848 presidential election. Taylor won and Lincoln hoped to be appointed Commissioner of the General Land Office, but that lucrative patronage job went to an Illinois rival, Justin Butterfield, considered by the administration to be a highly skilled lawyer, but in Lincoln's view, an "old fossil". The administration offered him the consolation prize of secretary or governor of the Oregon Territory. This distant territory was a Democratic stronghold, and acceptance of the post would have effectively ended his legal and political career in Illinois, so he declined and resumed his law practice.  

By the 1850s, slavery was still legal in the southern United States, but had been generally outlawed in the northern states, such as Illinois. Lincoln disapproved of slavery, and the spread of slavery to new U.S. territory in the west. He returned to politics to oppose the pro-slavery Kansas–Nebraska Act (1854); this law repealed the slavery-restricting Missouri Compromise (1820). Senior Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois had incorporated popular sovereignty into the Act. Douglas' provision, which Lincoln opposed, specified settlers had the right to determine locally whether to allow slavery in new U.S. territory, rather than have such a decision restricted by the national Congress. Eric Foner (2010) contrasts the abolitionists and anti-slavery Radical Republicans of the Northeast who saw slavery as a sin, with the conservative Republicans who thought it was bad because it hurt white people and blocked progress. Foner argues that Lincoln was a moderate in the middle, opposing slavery primarily because it violated the republicanism principles of the Founding Fathers, especially the equality of all men and democratic self-government as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

On October 16, 1854, in his "Peoria Speech", Lincoln declared his opposition to slavery, which he repeated en route to the presidency. Speaking in his Kentucky accent, with a very powerful voice, he said the Kansas Act had a "declared indifference, but as I must think, a covert real zeal for the spread of slavery. I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world ..."

In late 1854, Lincoln ran as a Whig for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. At that time, senators were elected by the state legislature. After leading in the first six rounds of voting in the Illinois assembly, his support began to dwindle, and Lincoln instructed his backers to vote for Lyman Trumbull, who defeated opponent Joel Aldrich Matteson. The Whigs had been irreparably split by the Kansas–Nebraska Act. Lincoln wrote, "I think I am a Whig, but others say there are no Whigs, and that I am an abolitionist, even though I do no more than oppose the extension of slavery." Drawing on remnants of the old Whig party, and on disenchanted Free Soil, Liberty, and Democratic Party members, he was instrumental in forging the shape of the new Republican Party. At the 1856 Republican National Convention, Lincoln placed second in the contest to become the party's candidate for vice president.

In 1857–1858, Douglas broke with President James Buchanan, leading to a fight for control of the Democratic Party. Some eastern Republicans even favored the reelection of Douglas for the Senate in 1858, since he had led the opposition to the Lecompton Constitution, which would have admitted Kansas as a slave state. In March 1857, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford; Chief Justice Roger B. Taney opined that blacks were not citizens, and derived no rights from the Constitution. Lincoln denounced the decision, alleging it was the product of a conspiracy of Democrats to support the Slave Power. Lincoln argued, "The authors of the Declaration of Independence never intended 'to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity', but they 'did consider all men created equal - equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'."

After the state Republican party convention nominated him for the U.S. Senate in 1858, Lincoln delivered his House Divided Speech, drawing on Mark 3:25: "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other." The speech created an evocative image of the danger of disunion caused by the slavery debate, and rallied Republicans across the North. The stage was then set for the campaign for statewide election of the Illinois legislature which would, in turn, select Lincoln or Douglas as its U.S. senator.

On May 9th - 10th, 1860, the Illinois Republican State Convention was held in Decatur. Lincoln's followers organized a campaign team led by David Davis, Norman Judd, Leonard Swett, and Jesse DuBois, and Lincoln received his first endorsement to run for the presidency. Exploiting the embellished legend of his frontier days with his father, Lincoln's supporters adopted the label of "The Rail Candidate". On May 18th, at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Lincoln's friends promised and manipulated and won the nomination on the third ballot, beating candidates such as William H. Seward and Salmon P. Chase. A former Democrat, Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, was nominated for Vice President to balance the ticket. Lincoln's success depended on his reputation as a moderate on the slavery issue, and his strong support for Whiggish programs of internal improvements and the protective tariff. On the third ballot Pennsylvania put him over the top. Pennsylvania iron interests were reassured by his support for protective tariffs. Lincoln's managers had been adroitly focused on this delegation as well as the others, while following Lincoln's strong dictate to "Make no contracts that bind me".

Most Republicans agreed with Lincoln that the North was the aggrieved party, as the Slave Power tightened its grasp on the national government with the Dred Scott decision and the presidency of James Buchanan. Throughout the 1850s, Lincoln doubted the prospects of civil war, and his supporters rejected claims that his election would incite secession. Meanwhile, Douglas was selected as the candidate of the Northern Democrats. Delegates from 11 slave states walked out of the Democratic convention, disagreeing with Douglas' position on popular sovereignty, and ultimately selected John C. Breckinridge as their candidate.

As Douglas and the other candidates went through with their campaigns, Lincoln was the only one of them who gave no speeches. Instead, he monitored the campaign closely and relied on the enthusiasm of the Republican Party. The party did the leg work that produced majorities across the North, and produced an abundance of campaign posters, leaflets, and newspaper editorials. There were thousands of Republican speakers who focused first on the party platform, and second on Lincoln's life story, emphasizing his childhood poverty. The goal was to demonstrate the superior power of "free labor", whereby a common farm boy could work his way to the top by his own efforts. The Republican Party's production of campaign literature dwarfed the combined opposition; a Chicago Tribune writer produced a pamphlet that detailed Lincoln's life, and sold 100,000 to 200,000 copies.

On November 6th, 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States, beating Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, John C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats, and John Bell of the new Constitutional Union Party. He was the first president from the Republican Party. Winning entirely on the strength of his support in the North and West, no ballots were cast for him in 10 of the 15 Southern slave states, and he won only two of 996 counties in all the Southern states. Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes, Douglas 1,376,957 votes, Breckinridge 849,781 votes, and Bell 588,789 votes. Turnout was 82.2 percent, with Lincoln winning the free Northern states, as well as California and Oregon. Douglas won Missouri, and split New Jersey with Lincoln. Bell won Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and Breckinridge won the rest of the South. Although Lincoln won only a plurality of the popular vote, his victory in the electoral college was decisive: Lincoln had 180 and his opponents added together had only 123. There were fusion tickets in which all of Lincoln's opponents combined to support the same slate of Electors in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, but even if the anti-Lincoln vote had been combined in every state, Lincoln still would have won a majority in the Electoral College.

As Lincoln's election became evident, secessionists made clear their intent to leave the Union before he took office the next March. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead by adopting an ordinance of secession; by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed. Six of these states then adopted a constitution and declared themselves to be a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America. The upper South and border states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas) listened to, but initially rejected, the secessionist appeal. President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy, declaring secession illegal. The Confederacy selected Jefferson Davis as its provisional President on February 9th, 1861.

There were attempts at compromise. The Crittenden Compromise would have extended the Missouri Compromise line of 1820, dividing the territories into slave and free, contrary to the Republican Party's free-soil platform. Lincoln rejected the idea, saying, "I will suffer death before I consent ... to any concession or compromise which looks like buying the privilege to take possession of this government to which we have a constitutional right." Lincoln, however, did tacitly support the proposed Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which passed Congress before Lincoln came into office and was then awaiting ratification by the states. That proposed amendment would have protected slavery in states where it already existed and would have guaranteed that Congress would not interfere with slavery without Southern consent. A few weeks before the war, Lincoln sent a letter to every governor informing them Congress had passed a joint resolution to amend the Constitution. Lincoln was open to the possibility of a constitutional convention to make further amendments to the Constitution.

En route to his inauguration by train, Lincoln addressed crowds and legislatures across the North. The president-elect then evaded possible assassins in Baltimore, who were uncovered by Lincoln's head of security, Allan Pinkerton. On February 23rd, 1861, he arrived in disguise in Washington, D.C., which was placed under substantial military guard. Lincoln directed his inaugural address to the South, proclaiming once again that he had no intention, or inclination, to abolish slavery in the Southern states.

The President ended his address with an appeal to the people of the South: "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies ... The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." The failure of the Peace Conference of 1861 signaled that legislative compromise was implausible. By March 1861, no leaders of the insurrection had proposed rejoining the Union on any terms. Meanwhile, Lincoln and nearly every Republican leader agreed that the dismantling of the Union could not be tolerated.

Lincoln understood that the Federal government's power to end slavery was limited by the Constitution, which before 1865, committed the issue to individual states. He argued before and during his election that the eventual extinction of slavery would result from preventing its expansion into new U.S. territory. At the beginning of the war, he also sought to persuade the states to accept compensated emancipation in return for their prohibition of slavery. Lincoln believed that curtailing slavery in these ways would economically expunge it, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, under the constitution. President Lincoln rejected two geographically limited emancipation attempts by Major General John C. Frémont in August 1861 and by Major General David Hunter in May 1862, on the grounds that it was not within their power, and it would upset the border states loyal to the Union.

On June 19, 1862, endorsed by Lincoln, Congress passed an act banning slavery on all federal territory. In July 1862, the Second Confiscation Act was passed, which set up court procedures that could free the slaves of anyone convicted of aiding the rebellion. Although Lincoln believed it was not within Congress's power to free the slaves within the states, he approved the bill in deference to the legislature. He felt such action could only be taken by the Commander-in-Chief using war powers granted to the president by the Constitution, and Lincoln was planning to take that action. In that month, Lincoln discussed a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet. In it, he stated that "as a fit and necessary military measure, on January 1, 1863, all persons held as slaves in the Confederate states will thenceforward, and forever, be free."

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22nd, 1862, and put into effect on January 1st, 1863, declared free the slaves in 10 states not then under Union control, with exemptions specified for areas already under Union control in two states. Lincoln spent the next 100 days preparing the army and the nation for emancipation, while Democrats rallied their voters in the 1862 off-year elections by warning of the threat freed slaves posed to northern whites.

Once the abolition of slavery in the rebel states became a military objective, as Union armies advanced south, more slaves were liberated until all three million of them in Confederate territory were freed. Lincoln's comment on the signing of the Proclamation was: "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper." For some time, Lincoln continued earlier plans to set up colonies for the newly freed slaves. He commented favorably on colonization in the Emancipation Proclamation, but all attempts at such a massive undertaking failed. A few days after Emancipation was announced, 13 Republican governors met at the War Governors' Conference; they supported the president's Proclamation, but suggested the removal of General George B. McClellan as commander of the Union Army.

Using former slaves in the military was official government policy after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. By the spring of 1863, Lincoln was ready to recruit black troops in more than token numbers. In a letter to Andrew Johnson, the military governor of Tennessee, encouraging him to lead the way in raising black troops, Lincoln wrote, "The bare sight of 50,000 armed and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once". By the end of 1863, at Lincoln's direction, General Lorenzo Thomas had recruited 20 regiments of blacks from the Mississippi Valley. Frederick Douglass once observed of Lincoln: "In his company, I was never reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color".

Lincoln was a master politician, bringing together - and holding together - all the main factions of the Republican Party, and bringing in War Democrats such as Edwin M. Stanton and Andrew Johnson as well. Lincoln spent many hours a week talking to politicians from across the land and using his patronage powers - greatly expanded over peacetime - to hold the factions of his party together, build support for his own policies, and fend off efforts by Radicals to drop him from the 1864 ticket. At its 1864 convention, the Republican Party selected Andrew Johnson, a War Democrat from the Southern state of Tennessee, as his running mate. To broaden his coalition to include War Democrats as well as Republicans, Lincoln ran under the label of the new Union Party.

When Grant's 1864 spring campaigns turned into bloody stalemates and Union casualties mounted, the lack of military success wore heavily on the President's re-election prospects, and many Republicans across the country feared that Lincoln would be defeated. Sharing this fear, Lincoln wrote and signed a pledge that, if he should lose the election, he would still defeat the Confederacy before turning over the White House.

Reconstruction began during the war, as Lincoln and his associates anticipated questions of how to reintegrate the conquered southern states, and how to determine the fates of Confederate leaders and freed slaves. Shortly after Lee's surrender, a general had asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates should be treated, and Lincoln replied, "Let 'em up easy." In keeping with that sentiment, Lincoln led the moderates regarding Reconstruction policy, and was opposed by the Radical Republicans, under Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, Sen. Charles Sumner and Sen. Benjamin Wade, political allies of the president on other issues. Determined to find a course that would reunite the nation and not alienate the South, Lincoln urged that speedy elections under generous terms be held throughout the war. His Amnesty Proclamation of December 8th, 1863, offered pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office, had not mistreated Union prisoners, and would sign an oath of allegiance.

After implementing the Emancipation Proclamation, which did not apply to every state, Lincoln increased pressure on Congress to outlaw slavery throughout the entire nation with a constitutional amendment. Lincoln declared that such an amendment would "clinch the whole matter". By December 1863 a proposed constitutional amendment that would outlaw slavery absolutely was brought to Congress for passage. This first attempt at an amendment failed to pass, falling short of the required two-thirds majority on June 15th, 1864, in the House of Representatives. Passage of the proposed amendment became part of the Republican/Unionist platform in the election of 1864. After a long debate in the House, a second attempt passed Congress on January 31, 1865, and was sent to the state legislatures for ratification. Upon ratification, it became the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on December 6th, 1865.

As the war drew to a close, Lincoln's presidential Reconstruction for the South was in flux; having believed the federal government had limited responsibility to the millions of freedmen. He signed into law Senator Charles Sumner's Freedman's Bureau bill that set up a temporary federal agency designed to meet the immediate material needs of former slaves. The law assigned land for a lease of three years with the ability to purchase title for the freedmen. Lincoln stated that his Louisiana plan did not apply to all states under Reconstruction. Shortly before his assassination, Lincoln announced he had a new plan for southern Reconstruction. Discussions with his cabinet revealed Lincoln planned short-term military control over southern states, until readmission under the control of southern Unionists.

The successful reunification of the states had consequences for the name of the country. The term "the United States" has historically been used, sometimes in the plural ("these United States"), and other times in the singular, without any particular grammatical consistency. The Civil War was a significant force in the eventual dominance of the singular usage by the end of the 19th century. 

John Wilkes Booth was a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland; though he never joined the Confederate army, he had contacts with the Confederate secret service. In 1864, Booth formulated a plan (very similar to one of Thomas N. Conrad previously authorized by the Confederacy) to kidnap Lincoln in exchange for the release of Confederate prisoners.

After attending an April 11th, 1865, speech in which Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks, an incensed Booth changed his plans and became determined to assassinate the president. Learning that the President, First Lady, and head Union general Ulysses S. Grant would be attending Ford's Theatre, Booth formulated a plan with co-conspirators to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson, Secretary of State William H. Seward and General Grant. Without his main bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln left to attend the play Our American Cousin on April 14th. Grant along with his wife chose at the last minute to travel to Philadelphia instead of attending the play.

Lincoln's bodyguard, John Parker, left Ford's Theater during intermission to join Lincoln's coachman for drinks in the Star Saloon next door. The now unguarded President sat in his state box in the balcony. Seizing the opportunity, Booth crept up from behind and at about 10:13 pm, aimed at the back of Lincoln's head and fired at point-blank range, mortally wounding the President. Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him and escaped.

After being on the run for 10 days, Booth was tracked down and found on a farm in Virginia, some 70 miles south of Washington, D.C. After a brief fight with Union troops, Booth was killed by Sergeant Boston Corbett on April 26th.

An Army surgeon, Doctor Charles Leale, was sitting nearby at the theater and immediately assisted the President. He found the President unresponsive, barely breathing and with no detectable pulse. Having determined that the President had been shot in the head, and not stabbed in the shoulder as originally thought, he made an attempt to clear the blood clot, after which the President began to breathe more naturally. The dying man was taken across the street to Petersen House. After being in a coma for nine hours, Lincoln died at 7:22 am on April 15. Presbyterian minister Phineas Densmore Gurley, then present, was asked to offer a prayer, after which Secretary of War Stanton saluted and said, "Now he belongs to the ages."

Lincoln's flag-enfolded body was then escorted in the rain to the White House by bareheaded Union officers, while the city's church bells rang. President Johnson was sworn in at 10:00 am, less than 3 hours after Lincoln's death. The late President lay in state in the East Room, and then in the Capitol Rotunda from April 19 through April 21. For his final journey with his son Willie, both caskets were transported in the executive coach "United States" and for three weeks the Lincoln Special funeral train decorated in black bunting bore Lincoln's remains on a slow circuitous waypoint journey from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois stopping at many cities across the North for large-scale memorials attended by hundreds of thousands, as well as many people who gathered in informal trackside tributes with bands, bonfires and hymn singing or silent reverence with hat in hand as the railway procession slowly passed by.

Source: Wikipedia

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