The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation by Brenda Wineapple:
The President then appointed James Johnson (no relation) provisional governor of Georgia and proceeded to issue similar proclamations for the remaining unreconstructed states. (Acting as a wartime President, not a peacetime one, Lincoln had already appointed provisional governors in Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas.) “Among all the leading Union men of the North with whom I have had intercourse,” Stevens warned Johnson in July, “I do not find one who approves your policy.” Chief Justice Salmon Chase called Johnson’s policy “a moral, political & financial mistake.”
Of course there were no precedents for any of this, and there was something improvised about these lurchings into peace. Yet as far as Johnson was concerned, individuals may have rebelled against the Union; the states had not. He repeated himself: the eleven states of the Confederacy had never actually been out of the Union because they did not have the legal right to secede. (That’s like saying a murderer could not kill because killing was against the law, Thaddeus Stevens acidly remarked.) According to Johnson, since these states hadn’t seceded, they had not relinquished their right to govern themselves as they wished.
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