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President Andrew Johnson’s Veto of the Third Reconstruction Act, July 19, 1867

President Andrew Johnson took a lenient approach to restoring the rebel states to the Union. Radical Republicans in Congress did not believe Johnson’s plans adequately protected the rights of freedmen and implemented their own Reconstruction measures. Johnson stubbornly resisted all congressional proposals and vetoed every Reconstruction bill Congress passed.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

President Andrew Johnson’s Veto of the Third Reconstruction Act, July 19, 1867 - Page 1 President Andrew Johnson’s Veto of the Third Reconstruction Act, July 19, 1867 - Page 2

Reconstructing the Union

After the Civil War, Radical Republicans in Congress and President Andrew Johnson disagreed over the terms and conditions for readmitting the seceded states to the Union. President Johnson viewed Reconstruction as an executive responsibility and blocked congressional initiatives. Congress sought to curb the power of the presidency, which had expanded in wartime, and took a less conciliatory stance toward the former Confederate states on issues of loyalty, governance, and the rights of black citizens. In 1867 and 1868 Congress passed four Reconstruction Acts over Johnson’s vetoes.