Johnson, Reverdy (1796–1876)

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JOHNSON, REVERDY (1796–1876)

A leading constitutional lawyer and Maryland Unionist, Reverdy Johnson argued numerous important Supreme Court cases, including Seymour v. McCormick (1854), dred scott v. sandford (1857), and united states v. cruikshank (1876). At President abraham lincoln's request Johnson published a rebuttal to Chief Justice roger b. taney's opinion in Ex parte Merryman (1861), in which Johnson argued that the President had authority to suspend habeas corpus. Johnson approved the use of Negro troops and as a senator (1854–1859; 1863–1868) voted for the thirteenth amendment. However, Johnson broke with Lincoln over the suppression of civilians in Maryland and war aims. Johnson believed that the Confederate states had never been legally out of the Union, and thus once the rebellion was militarily suppressed, the states should be allowed to resume their antebellum status. Johnson opposed loyalty oaths and was President andrew johnson's leading senate supporter during the impeachment trial.

Paul Finkelman


Steiner, Bernard C. 1914 Life of Reverdy Johnson. Baltimore: Norman, Remington Co.

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Johnson, Reverdy (1796–1876)

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