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In Their Own Words

January 19, 1866

Resolution Supported Mild Reconstruction

After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, vice president Andrew Johnson became president. As Congress was not in session, Johnson proceeded to implement the mild Reconstruction plan that had been advocated by Lincoln. In May 1866, Johnson issued a general amnesty to southern men who would sign a loyalty oath (excluding politicians and officers of the Confederacy). However, when Congress met in Dec. 1865, Radical Republicans rejected Johnson’s plan and refused to seat recently elected southern congressmen. In Milledgeville, Georgia’s all-white General Assembly met on Jan. 15, 1866. Four days later, legislators adopted the following joint resolution declaring their support for Pres. Johnson in his battle with Radical Republicans:

“Whereas, It is one of the privileges if not duties of this General Assembly, convened under circumstances so peculiarly interesting and important to the future of Georgia and her people, now that it is about to adjourn over its session for a brief period, not to do so until it shall have given some expression of its high appreciation of the President of the United States, through whose justice and magnanimity, and through whose regard for the constitutional rights of the States, civil government has again been put in motion at the capital of this State.

“Therefore be it Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia in General Assembly met, That in Andrew Johnson, the Chief Magistrate of the American Republic, Georgia, in her recent past, while yielding to a power she could not successfully resist, and in her present condition moving onward in the work of reconstruction, has felt a sustaining arm, and will ever be grateful for the generous clemency extended by him to her people, the magnanimity displayed toward them, and the determined will that says to a still hostile faction of her recent foes, ‘thus far shalt though go, and no farther,’ ’ peace be still.’”

Source: Georgia Laws 1866, p. 315.