Andrew Johnson photo

Remarks in Buffalo, New York

September 03, 1866

After the war ended, the South said they were willing to accept the terms of the government, to be obedient to the constitution, and to receive the protection of the Union. They wanted to be a part and parcel of the United States again. I said this: "Obey the constitution, submit to the laws, and let us all become one people again." The work progressed; the States met in convention and revised their constitutions; their Legislatures met and did the three things required.

Now that the apple of discord is removed; now that they are willing to accept of our terms; now that they acknowledge obedience to the constitution and laws; now that they are willing even to help in payment of the debt that has been incurred; now that they are willing to take up the flag of the United States and the constitution of the country, let us go together to a common altar, and let all else perish tor the preservation of the government. It was not in my nature or in my heart to say, under those circumstances, that they were not a part of the government. This great government cannot get along without the South, without the North, the East and the West. Large as it is, it is not large enough to divide. We should have no division but go on with the work of restoration, and resume our career of prosperity and greatness.

Andrew Johnson, Remarks in Buffalo, New York Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/355805

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