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March 2, 1867 Command of the Army Act Passed Reconstruction150

Discussion in 'Post Civil War History, The Reconstruction Period' started by Pat Young, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    On March 2, 1867 Congress passed the Command of the Army Act. According to the Encyclopedia of Reconstruction:

    The main premise of the Command of the Army Act required that any order issued to the U.S. Army be done only through the general in chief...With this condition, the president, who was the commander in chief, was denied his right to issue commands directly to the nation’s military. The secretary of war also was denied this authority. In order to further strip the president of his powers, the Command of the Army Act also specified that the general in chief could not be taken out of office temporarily or permanently by presidential initiative alone. Henceforth, the Senate had to approve any such changes in the holder of this office. (pp. 159-160)
     
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  3. StephenColbert27

    StephenColbert27 First Sergeant

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    Otherwise known as the "We really hate Andrew Johnson and want to reduce his power as much as possible" Act.
     
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  4. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Well, it was built on mutual admiration.
     
  5. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Here is a section of the Command of the Army Act that I was not familiar with:

    In addition to these major limitations placed upon presidential authority, Congress also required that any militia that was in existence in the former Confederate states, with the exception of Arkansas and Tennessee, be immediately dispersed

    From Encyclopedia of Reconstruction (pp. 159-160)
     
  6. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    The Command of the Army Act also empowered army officers and the Freedmen's Bureau to prevent violent punishments by anyone other than a legally constituted tribunal. This was to prevent the whipping of African Americans.
     
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  7. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    An alleged violation of the Command of the Army Act by Johnson was incorporated into his impeachment trial. Article IX of the Articles of Impeachment:

    That said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, on the twenty-second day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight, at Washington, in the District of Columbia, in disregard of the Constitution and the laws of the United States duly enacted, as commander-in-chief of the army of the United States, did bring before himself then and there William H. Emory, a major general by brevet in the army of the United States, actually in command of the Department of Washington and the military forces thereof, and did then and there, as such commander-in-chief, declare to and instruct said Emory that part of a law of the United States, passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, entitled "An act making appropriations for the support of the army for the year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-eight, and for other purposes," especially the second section thereof, which provides, among other things, that "all orders and instructions relating to the military operations issued by the President of Secretary of War shall be issued through the General of the army, and, in case of his inability through the next in rank" was unconstitutional, and in contravention of the commission of said Emory, and which said provision of law had been theretofore duly and legally promulgated by General Order for the government and direction of the army of the United States, as the said Andrew Johnson then and there well knew, with intent thereby to induce said Emory in his official capacity as commander of the Department of Washington, to violate the provisions of said act, and to take and receive, act upon, and obey such orders as he, the said Andrew Johnson, might make and give, and which should not be issued through the General of the Army of the United States, according to the provisions of said act, and with the further intent thereby to enable him, the said Andrew Johnson, to prevent the execution of the act entitled "An act regulating the tenure of certain civil offices," passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and to unlawfully prevent Edwin M. Stanton, then being Secretary for the Department of War, from holding said office and discharging the duties thereof, whereby said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, did then and there commit and was guilty of a high misdemeanor in office.
    And the House of Representatives, by protestation, saving to themselves the liberty of exhibiting at any time hereafter any further articles or other accusation, or impeachment against the said Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, and also of replying to his answers which he shall make unto the articles herein preferred against him, and of offering proof to the same, and every part shall be exhibited by them, as the case shall require, DO DEMAND that the said Anderw Johnson may be put to answer the high crimes and misdemeanors in office herein charged against him, and that such proceedings, examinations, trials, and judgments may be thereupon had and given as may be agreeable to law and justice.

    SCHULYER COLFAX, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES UNITED STATES, March 3, 1868.


    https://www.nps.gov/anjo/learn/historyculture/article-ix.htm
     
  8. MaryDee

    MaryDee Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    All that in a single sentence?
     
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  9. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    They wrote em long back then.
     

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