From the American Civil War to the reach of executive power, the week of April 6 holds some significant events in American history.
On April 4, 1841, President William Henry Harrison unexpected died. Harrison’s death represented the first time that an American president died in office and as a result, created constitutional questions as to the status of his vice president, John Tyler. Dismissing the idea of holding a caretaker presidency, Tyler gave an Inaugural Address on April 9, 1841 and conducted himself as any other American president. Tyler’s actions upon reaching the highest office in the land set a precedent used when other president’s died in office.
Why Shiloh Matters – New York Times
On April 6, 1862, Union and Confederate forces met at Pittsburg Landing and fought the battle that has become known as the Battle of Shiloh. Over the course of two days, 24,000 soldiers lost their lives in one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War to that point. Until the Battle of Shiloh, many people on both sides of the Civil War believed that the conflict would be quickly decided in a traditional battle of maneuver where the victor won the war. However, after observing the brutality nearly unending will to fight of both sides, the Battle of Shiloh illustrated that the Civil War was on the vanguard of a new type of warfare.
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer – Justia.org
On April 9, 1952, the United Steelworkers of America announced their intention to strike due to disputes over issues to include in a new collective bargaining agreement. With the strike coming in the middle of the Korean War, President Harry Truman viewed the action as harmful to the American defense industry. To keep steel production – a vital component of arms manufacturing – moving, Truman nationalized the steel industry, essentially ending the strike. The United States Supreme Court ultimately decided the issue and held that Truman exceeded the scope of his executive authority by nationalizing the American steel industry.
Robert E. Lee’s Farewell Address – Civilwar.org
The day after his surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Confederate General Robert E. Lee addressed the Army of Northern Virginia for a last time. Lee’s April 10, 1865 general order recognizes the bravery of his men, but also acknowledges the extreme carnage that continued fighting would entail. Given the state of the Confederate military and government, Lee could see no good end coming from continued fighting and thus decided to surrender his forces to Union General Ulysses S. Grant.