The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Johnson relentlessly sought vindication for the course that he had pursued dur-
ing Reconstruction. He tried and failed in 1869 to win one of Tennessee's
United States Senate seats and lost an at-large congressional race in 1872 but
finally won election to the Senate in January 1875. Two months later he had the
pleasure of returning to Washington for a special session of Congress and taking
the oath of office in the chamber that had been the scene of his humiliating
impeachment trial in 1868. When the Senate debated a resolution approving
President Grant's actions in support of the Republican government of Louisiana,
Johnson could not resist asserting again his strict constructionist view of the
Constitution and attacking usurpation of power by the national government. I
warned against the conflicts that led to Civil War, he said, and now I must warn
"against the total disregard of the Constitution of the United States" (p. 737).
Johnson's return to the Senate brought numerous letters of congratulation.
Edmund G. Ross, the Kansas Republican whose negative vote is considered the
key to the Senate's failure to convict Johnson, wrote, "Your vindication from the
slanders born of the hatred & malice of the impeachers of 1868, is now well
nigh complete" (p. 656). Perhaps Ross, his career ruined in retaliation for the
vote against conviction, saw some vindication for himself as well. Another inter-
esting letter came from Lt. Col. George A. Custer in the Dakota Territory. All
"lovers of constitutional government" are delighted at your victory, he wrote (p.
695). Apparently Custer's inclination toward the Democratic Party had not
changed during the war and Reconstruction.
This volume consists primarily of letters to Johnson, newspaper interviews with
him, and many of his speeches. Most of these deal with his life and career in
Tennessee and have nothing to do with Texas or the Southwest. The editorial
work in Volume 16 maintains the excellent standard set in those previously pub-
lished. The sixteen-volume series is a truly important contribution to the history
of the nineteenth-century United States.
University of North Texas Randolph B. Campbell
Texas Heroes: A Dynasty of Courage. By Mona D. Sizer. (Plano: Republic of Texas
Press, 2000. Pp. x+277. Acknowledgments, bibliography, index. ISBN 1-
55622-775-2. $18.95, paper.)
In this collection of chapter-length biographies, Mona Sizer narrates the sto-
ries of twelve Texans who, as she tells us "lived at the edge of the extremes," and
whose feats of heroism "raised higher and higher the bar over which courage
vaults" (pp. ix-x). Focusing squarely on individuals distinguished by notable bat-
tlefield accomplishments, the author argues that each of these men brought
honor to Texas while inspiring the state's future generations. Each chapter fol-
lows a similar organizational structure, opening with a brief consideration of the
subject's personal history, before moving on to narrate in precise detail the
heroic events for which he is remembered.
To her credit, Sizer has assembled a varied cast of figures from the annals of
the state's past, a list which stretches from the early eighteenth century to the

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/. Accessed October 1, 2014.