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"The Celebration of Washington's Birthday"

Music:
“Hunter’s Song”
Location:
Missing
 
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On February 19, 1866, President Andrew Johnson exhibited his increasing resistance to the Republican-controlled Congress’s Reconstruction policy by vetoing the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill.  Three days later, on Washington’s Birthday, Johnson spoke to supporters gathered at the White House, claiming that his political opponents were using the Congressional Joint Committee on Reconstruction, which he called “an irresponsible central directory,” to concentrate power in the federal government.  He concluded that such men were as traitorous to the Union as the Confederate leaders had been.  When asked for names, he singled out Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, and reformer Wendell Phillips of Massachusetts.  When asked about editor John W. Forney of the Washington Chronicle, one of the president’s leading press critics, Johnson responded, “I don’t waste my fire on dead ducks.” 

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