Monday, July 13, 2020

George Will baffled in his appearance on "Meet the Press" on July 12, 2020??

Talking with Chuck Todd on July 12, 2020, George Will stated the following:

Andrew Johnson who became president when Lincoln was shot tried to
reverse or minimize the consequences of the Civil War. He was a Klan supporting
man who supported only preserving the union, not getting rid of what made the south
distinctive at that time which was slavery.


Let's look at the facts.

Abraham Lincoln exempted Tennessee from the Emancipation Proclamation; Tennessee was the only one of the eleven states of the Confederacy to be exempted. Andrew Johnson called for “immediate” emancipation in Tennessee in late August 1863. In January 1864, Johnson called a state constitutional convention to enact a reconstruction program for the state and require future voters to swear their support for an end to slavery in order to obtain the right to vote. Tennessee voters approved the new state constitution in a vote on February 22, 1865, which constitution abolished slavery. Under the guidance of war-time governor Andrew Johnson, Tennessee was the first state of the Confederacy to abolish slavery, and did so before the border slave states of Kentucky and Delaware abolished slavery (which happened in those states only because of the ratification of the 13th Amendment). Tennessee ratified the 13th Amendment on April 5, 1865, while Abraham Lincoln was still in office and before Robert E. Lee surrendered.

Contrary to what George Will said to Chuck Todd on July 12, 2020, Andrew Johnson fought to end slavery DURING the Civil War and in fact was the leader in getting Tennessee to end slavery before the Civil War itself had ended.

See Slavery Ends in Tennesee

In one of the ironies of history, the later impeachment of Andrew Johnson (tied to his attempt to remove Secretary of War Stanton) became intertwined with indictment of Jefferson Davis for treason. In the end, neither man was convicted.

See also

The Legal Status of Free Negroes and Slaves in Tennessee
Author(s): William Lloyd Imes
Source: The Journal of Negro History , Jul., 1919, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Jul., 1919), pp. 254-272
Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Association for the
Study of African American Life and History


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