one of those periods of absence of the general-in-chief
the military resources of the country were mostly placed within easy reach of those about to engage in an effort to break up the Union
, and that during the other period corruption in the War Department led to impeachment.
It is no reflection upon the many eminent, patriotic citizens who have held the war portfolio to say that the very few men who have proved unworthy of that great trust would have been much less likely to do serious harm to the public interests if they had been under the watchful eye of a jealous old soldier, like Scott
, who was not afraid of them.
As hereafter explained, the controversy between General Grant
and the Secretary of War
was the primary cause which finally led to the impeachment of the President
of the United States
The cause of this trouble has seemed to be inherent in the form and character of the government.
An essential provision of the Constitution
makes the President
commander-in-chief of the army and navy.
It is manifestly indispensable that the executive head of a government be clothed with this authority.
Yet the President
is not, as a rule, a man of military education or experience.
The exigencies of party politics also seem to require, in general, that the Secretary of War
be a party politician, equally lacking with the President
in qualifications for military command.
The art of war has in all ages called forth the highest order of genius and character, the great captains of the world having been esteemed as among the greatest men. So, also, and in continually increasing degree in modern times, the military art has called for scientific education of the very highest character, supplemented by practical experience.
It cannot be questioned that the military profession requires ability, education, and practical training no less than the legal or any other profession.