President Andrew Johnson – Confederate Irish Chaplain – Irish Constitution 1937 at Today in Irish History

Dec 29: TODAY in Irish History:

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Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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1808: President Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson, successor to Abraham Lincoln and 17th President of the United States is born in abject poverty in Tennessee. Johnson’s grandfather hailed from County Antrim. Johnson was an interesting, pugnacious character who did not suffer fools gladly.  He also had a fondness for alcohol. An article on him at Senate.gov reports he was drunk during his inauguration as Vice-President on the day Lincoln took office for the second time. Senator Zachariah Chandler wrote his wife that the inauguration of 1865 “went off very well except that the Vice President Elect was too drunk to perform his duties & disgraced himself & the Senate by making a drunken foolish speech.”

“After (former VP) Hamlin delivered a brief and stately valedictory, Johnson rose unsteadily to harangue the distinguished crowd about his humble origins and his triumph over the rebel aristocracy. In the shocked and silent audience, President Abraham Lincoln showed an expression of “unutterable sorrow.” Johnson was apparently so  drunk he could not swear in incoming Senators.”

Despite this performance, Johnson was not afraid to take on the might and patronage of his Republican Party which took umbrage when he fired Stanton. He was the first President of the United States to be impeached (in 1868) because he sacked Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Johnson was acquitted by the Senate, falling one vote short of the necessary 2/3 needed to remove him from office, voting 35-19 to remove him. He is the only President to win election to the Senate after his stint in the White House.

President Andrew Johnson
President Andrew Johnson 1808-1875

See IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF ANDREW JOHNSON

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1829: Confederate Chaplain John B. Bannon

Confederate chaplain and sometime diplomat John B. Bannon is born in Roosky, Co. Roscommon. Shortly after being ordained at Maynooth in 1853, he emigrated like so many of his parishioners and settled in St. Louis. For much of the war, he was chaplain to the First Missouri Confederate Brigade.

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Irish born Confederate Chaplain John B Bannon
Father John Bannon

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Bannon was captured and released twice before being asked by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to conduct a diplomatic mission to the Vatican to persuade Pope Pius IX to recognize the Confederacy. Following his (failed) Vatican mission, he returned to Ireland where he discouraged Irish support for the Union and in particular warned of what was effectively press-ganging of Irish (and other) immigrants by Union forces as soon as they came off the boat. One scam involved encouraging immigrants to declare US citizenship as soon as they landed. Once that declaration was made, the poor unfortunate was immediately conscripted as a US citizen.

Bannon never returned to America and became a Jesuit priest, dying in 1913.

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READ: Fascinating excerpt from Phillip Thomas Tucker’s The Confederacy’s Fighting Chaplain: Father John B. Bannon.

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1937: Irish Constitution Comes Into Effect

The Irish Constitution, accepted by national vote in July becomes law midnight. The constitution echoed much of the thinking of Eamonn De Valera. Much of the development and drafting of the constitution was done by John J. Hearne, Eamon de Valera’s confidante and advisor. Hearne went on to become first Irish ambassador to the United States in 1950.

Plaque to John J Hearne in his home town of Waterford
Plaque to John J Hearne in his home town of Waterford

Article 1 reads: The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.

Article 4 states: The name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland.

eamonn de valera 1916 rising
1916 prisoner De Valera saw 1937 constitution as fulfillment of a dream

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Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

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