John W. Johnston (1818–89) was an American lawyer and Democratic
politician from Abingdon, Virginia. He served in the Virginia State
Senate, and represented Virginia for 13 years in the U.S. Senate after
the American Civil War. He had been ineligible to serve in Congress
because of the Fourteenth Amendment, which forbade anyone from holding
public office who had sworn allegiance to the United States and then
sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. However, his
restrictions were removed at the suggestion of the Freedmen's Bureau
when he aided a dying former slave after the War. He was the first
person who had sided with the Confederacy to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Issues in his senatorial career included the Arlington Memorial debate,
as he found the initial proposal to relocate the dead distasteful, yet
wanted to defend the memory of Robert E. Lee. He was also an outspoken
Funder during Virginia's heated debate as to how much of its pre-War
debt the state ought to have been obliged to pay back. The controversy
culminated in the formation of the Readjuster Party and the appointment
of William Mahone as its leader, ending Johnston's Senate career.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_W._Johnston>
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