Andrew Johnson: Wikis


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Andrew Johnson

In office
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
Vice President None
Preceded by Abraham Lincoln
Succeeded by Ulysses S. Grant

In office
March 4, 1865 – April 15, 1865
President Abraham Lincoln
Preceded by Hannibal Hamlin
Succeeded by Schuyler Colfax

In office
March 12, 1862 – March 4, 1865
Appointed by Abraham Lincoln
Preceded by Isham G. Harris
Succeeded by E. H. East (Acting)

In office
October 8, 1857 – March 4, 1862
March 4, 1875 – July 31, 1875
Preceded by James C. Jones
William G. Brownlow
Succeeded by David T. Patterson
David M. Key

In office
October 17, 1853 – November 3, 1857
Preceded by William B. Campbell
Succeeded by Isham G. Harris

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1853
Preceded by Thomas D. Arnold
Succeeded by Brookins Campbell

Born December 29, 1808(1808-12-29)
Raleigh, North Carolina
Died July 31, 1875 (aged 66)
Elizabethton, Tennessee
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
National Union
Spouse(s) Eliza McCardle Johnson
Children Martha Johnson
Charles Johnson
Mary Johnson
Robert Johnson
Andrew Johnson, Jr.
Occupation Tailor
Religion Christian with no denominational affiliation[1][2]

Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the 17th President of the United States(1865–1869), and the last independent president. Following the assassination of President Lincoln, Johnson presided over the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War.

At the time of the secession of the Southern states, Johnson was a U.S. Senator from Greeneville in East Tennessee. As a Unionist, he was the only southern senator not to quit his post upon secession. He became the most prominent War Democrat from the South and supported the military policies of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War of 1861–1865. In 1862, Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of occupied Tennessee, where he proved to be energetic and effective in fighting the rebellion and beginning transition to Reconstruction.[3]

Johnson was nominated for the Vice President position in 1864 on the National Union Party ticket. He and Lincoln were elected in November 1864. Johnson succeeded to the presidency upon Lincoln's assassination on April 15, 1865.

As president, he took charge of Presidential Reconstruction – the first phase of Reconstruction  – which lasted until the Radical Republicans gained control of Congress in the 1866 elections. His conciliatory policies towards the South, his hurry to reincorporate the former Confederate states back into the union, and his vetoes of civil rights bills embroiled him in a bitter dispute with some Republicans.[4] The Radicals in the House of Representatives impeached him in 1868, charging him with violating the Tenure of Office Act, a law enacted by Congress in March 1867 over Johnson's veto, but he was acquitted by a single vote in the Senate.

While Johnson is the most recent president to represent a party other than the Republican or Democratic parties, having represented both the Democrats and the National Union Party, his party status was ambiguous during his presidency. As president, he did not identify with the two main parties—though he did try for the Democratic nomination in 1868—and so while President he attempted to build a party of loyalists under the National Union label. Asked in 1868 why he did not become a Democrat, he said, "It is true I am asked why don't I join the Democratic Party. Why don't they join me ... if I have administered the office of president so well?" His failure to make the National Union brand an actual party made Johnson effectively an independent during his presidency, though he was supported by Democrats and later rejoined the party as a Democratic Senator from Tennessee from 1875 until his death of a stroke at 66.[5] For these reasons he is usually counted as a Democrat when identifying presidents by their political parties.[6]

Johnson was the first U.S. President to be impeached. He is commonly ranked by historians as being among the worst U.S. presidents.


Early life

Reconstruction of Johnson's boyhood home in North Carolina, located at the Mordecai Square Historic Park in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Johnson was born on December 29, 1808, in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Jacob Johnson (1778–1812) and Mary McDonough (1783–1856). Jacob died when Andrew was around three years old, leaving his family in poverty. Johnson's mother then took in work spinning and weaving to support her family, and she later remarried. She bound Andrew as an apprentice tailor when he was 10 or 14 years old.[7] In the 1820s, he worked as a tailor in Laurens, South Carolina.[8] Johnson had no formal education and taught himself how to read and write.[3]

At age 16 or 17, Johnson left his apprenticeship and ran away with his brother to Greeneville, Tennessee, where he found work as a tailor.[3][9] At the age of 18, Johnson married Eliza McCardle in 1827. Between 1828 and 1852, the couple had five children: Martha (1828), Charles (1830), Mary (1832), Robert (1834), and Andrew Jr. (1852).[10] Eliza taught Johnson arithmetic up to basic algebra and tutored him to improve his literacy and writing skills.[3]

Early political career

Johnson participated in debates at the local academy at Greeneville, Tennessee[11] and later organized a worker's party that elected him as alderman in 1829. He served in this position until he was elected mayor in 1833.[3] In 1835, he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives where, after serving a single term, he was defeated for re-election.[10]

Johnson was attracted to the states' rights Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson. He became a spokesman for the more numerous yeomen farmers and mountaineers against the wealthier, but fewer, planter elite families that had held political control both in the state and nationally.[3][11] In 1839, Johnson was elected to a second, non-consecutive term in the Tennessee House, and was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 1841, where he served one two-year term.[10][12] In 1843, he became the first Democrat to win election as the U.S. representative from Tennessee's 1st congressional district. Among his activities for the common man's interests as a member of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Johnson advocated 'a free farm for the poor' bill, in which farms would be given to landless farmers.[11] Johnson was a U.S. representative for five terms until 1853, when he was elected governor of Tennessee.[10]

Political ascendancy

Pre-Civil War photo of Johnson.

Johnson was elected governor of Tennessee, serving from 1853 to 1857. He was then elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate, serving from October 8, 1857 – March 4, 1862. He was chairman of the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expense (Thirty-sixth Congress). As a U.S. senator, he continued to push for the Homestead Act. It finally passed in 1862, after the Civil War had begun and Southerners had resigned from Congress.

As the slavery question became more critical, Johnson continued to take a middle course. He opposed the antislavery Republican Party because he believed the Constitution guaranteed the right to own slaves. He supported President Buchanan's administration. He also approved the Lecompton Constitution proposed by proslavery settlers in Kansas. At the same time, he made it clear that his devotion to the Union exceeded his devotion to right to own slaves.

Johnson's stand in favor of both the Union and the right to own slaves might have made him a logical compromise candidate for president. However, he was not nominated in 1856 because of a split within the Tennessee delegation. In 1860, the Tennessee delegation nominated Johnson for president at the Democratic National Convention, but when the convention and the party broke up, he withdrew from the race. In the election, Johnson supported Vice President John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, the candidate of most Southern Democrats.[13]

Before Tennessee voted on secession, Johnson, who lived in Unionist East Tennessee, toured the state speaking in opposition to the act, which he said was unconstitutional. Johnson was an aggressive stump speaker and often responded to hecklers, even those in the Senate. At the time of the secession of Tennessee, Johnson was the only Senator from the seceded states to continue participation in Congress. His explanation for this decision was "Damn the negroes, I am fighting those traitorous aristocrats, their masters."[3]

Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of occupied Tennessee in March 1862 with the rank of brigadier general.[3] During his three years in this office, he "moved resolutely to eradicate all pro-Confederate influences in the state." This "unwavering commitment to the Union" was a significant factor in his choice as vice president by Lincoln.[14] Johnson vigorously suppressed the Confederates and later spoke out for black suffrage, arguing, "The better class of them will go to work and sustain themselves, and that class ought to be allowed to vote, on the ground that a loyal negro is more worthy than a disloyal white man."[15] According to tradition and local lore, on August 8, 1863, Johnson freed his personal slaves.[16]

Vice presidency

Currier and Ives print of the National Union Party presidential and vice presidential candidates, 1864. Lithograph and watercolor.

As a leading War Democrat and pro-Union southerner, Johnson was an ideal candidate for the Republicans in 1864 as they enlarged their base to include War Democrats. They changed the party name to the National Union Party to reflect this expansion. During the election, Johnson replaced Hannibal Hamlin as Lincoln's running mate. He was elected vice president of the United States and was inaugurated March 4, 1865. At the ceremony, Johnson, who had been drinking to offset the pain of typhoid fever (as he explained later), gave a rambling speech and appeared intoxicated to many. According to Senator Zachariah Chandler, he "disgraced himself and the Senate by making a drunken foolish speech."[17] In early 1865, Johnson talked harshly of hanging traitors like Jefferson Davis, which endeared him to radicals.[18]

On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, while the president was attending a play at Ford's Theater. Booth's plan was to destroy the administration by ordering conspirators to assassinate Johnson, lieutenant general of the Union army Ulysses S. Grant, and Secretary of State William H. Seward that night. Grant survived when he failed to attend the theater with Lincoln as planned, Seward narrowly survived his wounds, while Johnson escaped attack as his would-be assassin, George Atzerodt, failed to go through with the plan.

Presidency 1865–1869

Engraving of Johnson

On April 15, 1865, the morning after Lincoln's assassination, Johnson was sworn in as President of the United States by the newly appointed Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase. Johnson was the first vice president to succeed to the presidency upon the assassination of a president and the third vice president to become a president upon the death of a sitting president.[11][19]


A political cartoon of Andrew Johnson and Abraham Lincoln, 1865. The caption reads (Johnson to the former rail-splitter): Take it quietly Uncle Abe and I will draw it closer than ever!! (Lincoln to the former tailor): A few more stitches Andy and the good old Union will be mended!

Northern anger over the assassination of Lincoln and the immense human cost of the war led to demands for harsh policies. Vice President Andrew Johnson had taken a hard line and spoke of hanging rebel Confederates. In late April, 1865, he was noted telling an Indiana delegation that, "Treason must be made odious ... traitors must be punished and impoverished ... their social power must be destroyed." However, when he succeeded Lincoln as president, Johnson took a much softer line, commenting, "I say, as to the leaders, punishment. I also say leniency, reconciliation and amnesty to the thousands whom they have misled and deceived,"[20] and ended up pardoning many Confederate leaders.[21]

His class-based resentment of the rich appeared in a May 1865 statement to W.H. Holden, the man he appointed governor of North Carolina: "I intend to confiscate the lands of these rich men whom I have excluded from pardon by my proclamation, and divide the proceeds thereof among the families of the wool hat boys, the Confederate soldiers, whom these men forced into battle to protect their property in slaves."[22] In practice, Johnson was seemingly not harsh toward the Confederate leaders. He allowed the Southern states to hold elections in 1865. Subsequently, prominent former Confederate leaders were elected to the U.S. Congress, which however refused to seat them. Congress and Johnson argued in an increasingly public way about Reconstruction and the manner in which the Southern secessionist states would be readmitted to the Union. Johnson favored a very quick restoration, similar to the plan of leniency that Lincoln advocated before his death.

Break with the Republicans: 1866

Johnson-appointed governments all passed Black Codes that gave the freedmen second class status. In response to the Black Codes and worrisome signs of Southern recalcitrance, the Republicans blocked the readmission of the secessionist states to the Congress in fall 1865. Congress also renewed the Freedman's Bureau, but Johnson vetoed it. Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, leader of the moderate Republicans, took affront at the Black Codes. Trumbull proposed the first Civil Rights bill.

Although strongly urged by moderates in Congress to sign the Civil Rights bill, Johnson broke decisively with them by vetoing it on March 27. His veto message objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the freedmen at a time when eleven out of thirty-six states were unrepresented and attempted to fix, by federal law, "a perfect equality of the white and black races in every State of the Union." Johnson said it was an invasion by federal authority of the rights of the states; it had no warrant in the Constitution and was contrary to all precedents. It was a "stride toward centralization and the concentration of all legislative power in the national government."[23] Johnson, in a letter to Gov. Thomas C. Fletcher of Missouri, wrote, "This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men."[24]

The Democratic Party, proclaiming itself the party of white men, North and South, aligned with Johnson.[25] However, the Republicans in Congress overrode his veto (the Senate by the vote of 33:15, the House by 182:41) and the Civil Rights measure became law.

The last moderate proposal was the Fourteenth Amendment, also written by Trumbull. It was designed to put the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act into the Constitution, but it went further. It extended citizenship to every person born in the United States (except Indians on reservations), penalized states that did not give the vote to freedmen, and most importantly, created new federal civil rights that could be protected by federal courts. It guaranteed the federal war debt and voided all Confederate war debts. Johnson unsuccessfully sought to block ratification of the amendment.

The moderates' effort to compromise with Johnson had failed and an all-out political war broke out between the Republicans (both radical and moderate) on one side, and on the other Johnson and his allies in the Democratic party in the North, and the conservative groupings in the South. The decisive battle was the election of 1866, in which the Southern states were not allowed to vote. Johnson campaigned vigorously, undertaking a public speaking tour of the north that was known as the "Swing Around the Circle"; the tour proved politically disastrous, with Johnson widely ridiculed and occasionally engaging in hostile arguments with his audiences.[26] The Republicans won by a landslide and took full control of Reconstruction.

Historian James Ford Rhodes explained Johnson's inability to engage in serious negotiations:

As Senator Charles Sumner shrewdly said, "the President himself is his own worst counselor, as he is his own worst defender." Johnson acted according to his nature. He had intellectual force, but it worked in a groove. Obstinate, rather than firm, it undoubtedly seemed to him that following counsel and making concessions were a display of weakness. At all events from his December message to the veto of the Civil Rights bill, he did not yield to Congress. The moderate senators and representatives, who constituted a majority of the Union party, asked him for only a slight compromise. Their action was really an entreaty that he would unite with them to preserve Congress and the country from the policy of the radicals. The two projects which Johnson had most at heart were the speedy admission of the Southern senators and representatives to Congress and the relegation of the question of 'negro suffrage' to the States themselves. Johnson, shrinking from the imposition on these communities of the franchise for the colored people, took an unyielding position regarding matters involving no vital principle and did much to bring it about. His quarrel with Congress prevented the readmission into the Union on generous terms of the members of the late Confederacy. For the quarrel and its unhappy results, Johnson's lack of imagination and his inordinate sensitiveness to political gadflies were largely responsible. Johnson sacrificed two important objects to petty considerations. His pride of opinion and his desire to win, blinded him to the real welfare of the South and of the whole country.[27]


First attempt

Theodore R. Davis' illustration of Johnson's impeachment trial in the United States Senate, published in Harper's Weekly.

There were two attempts to remove President Andrew Johnson from office. The first occurred in the fall of 1867. On November 21, 1867, the House Judiciary committee produced a bill of impeachment that consisted of a vast collection of complaints against him. After a furious debate, a formal vote was held in the House of Representatives on December 5, 1867, which failed 57–108.[28]

Second attempt

The 1868 Impeachment Resolution

Johnson notified Congress that he had removed Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War and was replacing him in the interim with Adjutant-General Lorenzo Thomas. Johnson had wanted to replace Stanton with former general Ulysses S. Grant, who refused to accept the position. This violated the Tenure of Office Act, a law enacted by Congress in March 1867 over Johnson's veto, specifically designed to protect Stanton.[29] Johnson had vetoed the act, claiming it was unconstitutional. The act said, "...every person holding any civil office, to which he has been appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate ... shall be entitled to hold such office until a successor shall have been in like manner appointed and duly qualified," thus removing the president's previous unlimited power to remove any of his cabinet members at will. Years later in the case Myers v. United States in 1926, the Supreme Court ruled that such laws were indeed unconstitutional.[30]

The Senate and House entered into debate. Thomas attempted to move into the war office, for which Stanton had Thomas arrested. Three days after Stanton's removal, the House impeached Johnson for intentionally violating the Tenure of Office Act.

On March 5, 1868, a court of impeachment was constituted in the Senate to hear charges against the president. William M. Evarts served as his counsel. Eleven articles were set out in the resolution, and the trial before the Senate lasted almost three months. Johnson's defense was based on a clause in the Tenure of Office Act stating that the then-current secretaries would hold their posts throughout the term of the president who appointed them. Since Lincoln had appointed Stanton, it was claimed, the applicability of the act had already run its course.

The Situation
A Harper's Weekly cartoon gives a humorous breakdown of "the situation". Secretary of War Edwin Stanton aims a cannon labeled "Congress" on the side at President Johnson and Lorenzo Thomas to show how Stanton was using congress to defeat the president and his unsuccessful replacement. He also holds a rammer marked "Tenure of Office Bill" and cannon balls on the floor are marked "Justice". Ulysses S. Grant and an unidentified man stand to Stanton's left.

There were three votes in the Senate. One came on May 16 for the 11th article of impeachment, which included many of the charges contained in the other articles, and two on May 26 for the second and third articles, after which the trial adjourned. On all three occasions, 35 senators voted "guilty" and 19 "not guilty", thus falling short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction in impeachment trials by a single vote. A decisive role was played by seven Republican senators - William Pitt Fessenden, Joseph S. Fowler, James W. Grimes, John B. Henderson, Lyman Trumbull, Peter G. Van Winkle and Edmund G. Ross of Kansas, who provided the decisive vote,[31] - who were disturbed by how the proceedings had been manipulated to give a one-sided presentation of the evidence, in defiance of their party and public opinion, voted against conviction.[32]

Christmas Day amnesty for Confederates

One of Johnson's last significant acts was granting unconditional amnesty to all Confederates on Christmas Day, December 25, 1868, after the election of U.S. Grant to succeed him, but before Grant took office in March 1869. Earlier amnesties, requiring signed oaths and excluding certain classes of people, had been issued by Lincoln and by Johnson.

Administration and Cabinet

The A. Johnson Cabinet
Office Name Term
President Andrew Johnson 1865–1869
Vice President None 1865–1869
Secretary of State William H. Seward 1865–1869
Secretary of Treasury Hugh McCulloch 1865–1869
Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton 1865–1868, replaced ad interim by Ulysses Grant before being reinstated by Congress in Jan 1868
John M. Schofield 1868–1869
Attorney General James Speed 1865–1866
Henry Stanberry 1866–1868
William M. Evarts 1868–1869
Postmaster General William Dennison 1865–1866
Alexander W. Randall 1866–1869
Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles 1865–1869
Secretary of the Interior John P. Usher 1865
James Harlan 1865–1866
Orville H. Browning 1866–1869

Judicial appointments

Johnson appointed only nine federal judges during his presidency, all to United States district courts:

Judge Court Began active
Ended active
Blatchford, SamuelSamuel Blatchford S.D.N.Y. 01867-05-03 May 3, 1867[33] 01878-03-04 March 4, 1878
Bryan, George SeabrookGeorge Seabrook Bryan D.S.C. 01866-03-12 March 12, 1866 01886-09-01 September 1, 1886
Clark, DanielDaniel Clark D.N.H. 01866-07-27 July 27, 1866 01891-01-02 January 2, 1891
Dundy, Elmer ScipioElmer Scipio Dundy D. Neb. 01868-04-09 April 9, 1868 01896-10-28 October 28, 1896
Erskine, JohnJohn Erskine N.D. Ga.
S.D. Ga.
01865-07-10 July 10, 1865[34] April 25, 1882
01883-12-01 December 1, 1883
Fox, EdwardEdward Fox D. Me. 01866-05-31 May 31, 1866 01881-12-14 December 14, 1881
Hill, Robert AndrewsRobert Andrews Hill S.D. Miss.
N.D. Miss.
01866-05-01 May 1, 1866 01891-08-01 August 1, 1891
Sherman, Charles TaylorCharles Taylor Sherman N.D. Ohio 01867-03-02 March 2, 1867 01872-11-25 November 25, 1872

Andrew Johnson is one of only four presidents[35] who did not have an opportunity to appoint a judge to serve on the Supreme Court. In April, 1866 he nominated Henry Stanbery to fill the vacancy left with the death of John Catron, but the Republican Congress eliminated the seat.

Johnson also appointed one judge to the United States Court of Claims, Samuel Milligan, who served from 1868 to 1874.

States admitted to the Union

Foreign policy

Johnson forced the French out of Mexico by sending an army to the border and issuing an ultimatum. The French withdrew in 1867, and the government they supported quickly collapsed. Secretary of State Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia on April 9, 1867 for $7.2 million. This is equivalent to $112 million in present day terms.[36] Critics sneered at "Seward's Folly" and "Seward's Icebox" and "Icebergia." Seward also negotiated to purchase the Danish West Indies, but the Senate refused to approve the purchase in 1867 (it eventually happened in 1917). The Senate likewise rejected Seward's arrangement with the United Kingdom to arbitrate the Alabama Claims.

The U.S. experienced tense relations with the United Kingdom and its colonial government in Canada in the aftermath of the war. Lingering resentment over the perception of British sympathy toward the Confederacy resulted in Johnson initially turning a blind eye towards a series of armed incursions by Irish-American civil war veterans into British territory in Canada, named the Fenian Raids.[37] Eventually, Johnson ordered the Fenians disarmed and barred from crossing the border, but his hesitant reaction to the crisis helped motivate the movement toward Canadian Confederation.[37]

Johnson's purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867 is believed to be his most important foreign policy action. The idea and implementation is credited to Seward as Secretary of State, but Johnson approved the plan. Gold was not discovered in Alaska until 1880, thirteen years after the purchase and five years after Johnson's death, and oil was not discovered until 1968.


The Johnson home in Greeneville, Tennessee, 1886, today restored and known as the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Johnson was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate from Tennessee in 1868 and to the House of Representatives in 1872. However, in 1874 the Tennessee legislature did elect him to the U.S. Senate. Johnson served from March 4, 1875, until his death from a stroke near Elizabethton, Tennessee, on July 31 that year. In his first speech since returning to the Senate, which was also his last, Johnson spoke about political turmoil in Louisiana.[38] His passion aroused a standing ovation from many of his fellow senators who had once voted to remove him from the presidency.[39] He is the only former president to serve in the Senate.[38]

Andrew Johnson in 1875. (age 66)

Johnson was buried in the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery, Greeneville, Tennessee, with his body wrapped in an American flag and a copy of the U.S. Constitution placed under his head, according to his wishes. The cemetery is now part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Historians' changing views on Andrew Johnson

Views on President Johnson changed over time, depending on historians' perception of Reconstruction. The widespread denunciation of Reconstruction following the compromise of 1877 resulted in Johnson being portrayed in a favorable light. By the 1930s a series of favorable biographies enhanced his prestige.[40] Furthermore, a Beardian School (named after Charles Beard and typified by Howard K. Beale) argued that the Republican Party in the 1860s was a tool of corrupt business interests, and that Johnson stood for the people. They rated Johnson "near great", but have since reevaluated and now consider Johnson "a flat failure".[41]

The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s brought a new perspective on Reconstruction, which was increasingly seen as a noble effort to build an interracial nation.[41][42] Beginning with W. E. B. Du Bois' Black Reconstruction, first published in 1935, historians noted African American efforts to establish public education and welfare institutions, gave muted praise for Republican efforts to extend suffrage and provide other social institutions, and excoriated Johnson for siding with the opposition to extending basic rights to former slaves.[41] In this vein, Eric Foner denounced Johnson as a "fervent white supremacist" who foiled Reconstruction,[41] whereas Sean Wilentz wrote that Johnson "actively sided with former Confederates" in his attempts to derail it.[43] Accordingly, Johnson is nowadays among those commonly mentioned among the worst presidents in U.S. history.[42]

See also


  • Howard K. Beale, The Critical Year. A Study of Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (1930). ISBN 0804410852
  • Michael Les Benedict, The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1999). ISBN 0393319822
  • Boulard, Garry, "The Swing Around the Circle—Andrew Johnson and the Train Ride that Destroyed a Presidency" (2008) ISBN 978-1-4401-0239-4
  • Albert E. Castel, The Presidency of Andrew Johnson (1979). ISBN 0700601902
  • D. M. DeWitt, The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1903).
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. 'The Transubstantiation of a Poor White' in Black Reconstruction: An Essay Toward the History of the Part Which Black People Have Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860–1880 (1935). ISBN 0527252808.
  • W. A. Dunning, Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction (New York, 1898)
  • W. A. Dunning, Reconstruction, Political and Economic (New York, 1907) online edition
  • Foster, G. Allen, Impeached: The President who almost lost his job (New York, 1964).
  • Eric L. McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (1961). ISBN 0-19-505707-4
  • Martin E. Mantell; Johnson, Grant, and the Politics of Reconstruction (1973)
  • Hatfield, Mark O., with the Senate Historical Office, Vice Presidents of the United States, 1789–1993.(U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997), p. 219
  • Howard Means, The Avenger Takes His Place: Andrew Johnson and the 45 Days That Changed the Nation (New York, 2006)
  • Milton; George Fort. The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals (1930) online edition
  • Patton; James Welch. Unionism and Reconstruction in Tennessee, 1860–1869 (1934) online edition
  • Rhodes; James Ford History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 Volume: 6. 1920. Pulitzer prize.
  • Schouler, James. History of the United States of America: Under the Constitution vol. 7. 1865–1877. The Reconstruction Period (1917)
  • Sledge, James L. III. "Johnson, Andrew" in Encyclopedia of the American Civil War. edited by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler. (2000)
  • Stewart, David, O. Impeached: the Trial of President Andrew Jackson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy (2009) Simon and Schuster, New York, NY. ISBN 978-1-4165-4749-5.
  • Lloyd P. Stryker, Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage (1929). ISBN 0-403-01231-7 online edition
  • Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography (1989). ISBN 0-393-31742-0 online edition
  • Winston; Robert W. Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot (1928) online edition

Primary sources


  1. ^ "American President: Andrew Johnson: Family Life". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  2. ^ Milton, George Fort (1930). The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson And The Radicals. New York: Coward-McCann. p. 80. ISBN 1417916583. OCLC 739916. "As for my religion, it is the doctrine of the Bible, as taught and practiced by Jesus Christ." 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 'Andrew Johnson', Encyclopædia Britannica
  4. ^ Hall, Kermit; Paul Finkelman, James W. Ely (2005). American Legal History (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 259–260. ISBN 0-19-516225-0. 
  5. ^ National Park Service Questionnaire
  6. ^ Trefousse, Hans Louis. Andrew Johnson: A Biography (1997), p. 338–339.
  7. ^ 14 according to Britannica, 10 according to Karin L Zipf
  8. ^ Laurens Historic District historical marker
  9. ^ Karin L Zipf. Labor Of Innocents: Forced Apprenticeship in North Carolina, 1715–1919 (2005) pp 8–9
  10. ^ a b c d "The Andrew Johnson Collection". Archived from the original on 2007-06-07.  Timeline of President Andrew Johnson's Life (PDF) from the Web site of the president Andrew Johnson Museum and Library at Tusculum College
  11. ^ a b c d Biography of Andrew Johnson –
  12. ^
  13. ^ World Book
  14. ^ Sledge pg. 1071–1072
  15. ^ Patton p 126
  16. ^ "Tennessee Recalls Emancipation, Segregation", National Public Radio
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ Trefousse p. 198
  19. ^ Complete list of U.S. presidents
  20. ^ Milton 183
  21. ^ Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography (1989)
  22. ^ "Memoirs of W.W. Holden: Electronic Edition".
  23. ^ Rhodes, History 6:68
  24. ^ Trefousse pg. 236. Online reference to the quote available at
  25. ^ Trefousse 1999
  26. ^ Andrew Johnson Cleveland Speech (September 3, 1866)
  27. ^ Rhodes, History 6:74
  28. ^ Trefousse, 1989 pages 302–3
  29. ^ Tenure of office act – Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  30. ^ Tenure of office act – Britannica Concise
  31. ^ "The Trial of Andrew Johnson, 1868".
  32. ^ "Andrew Johnson Trial: The Consciences of Seven Republicans Save Johnson".
  33. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on July 13, 1867, confirmed by the United States Senate on July 16, 1867, and received commission on July 16, 1867.
  34. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 20, 1865, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 22, 1866, and received commission on January 22, 1866.
  35. ^ The other three presidents are William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor and Jimmy Carter.
  36. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved March 8, 2010.
  37. ^ a b The Fenian Raids
  38. ^ a b United States Senate: Death of Andrew Johnson
  39. ^ Andrew Johnson. Accessed November 1, 2009.
  40. ^ Highly favorable were Winston (1928), Stryker (1929), Milton (1930), and Claude Bowers, The Tragic Era (1929).
  41. ^ a b c d He's The Worst Ever, Eric Foner, Washington Post, December 3, 2006; accessed December 15, 2008.
  42. ^ a b The 10 Worst Presidents: No. 3 Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), Jay Tolson, U.S. News & World Report, February 16, 2007; accessed December 15, 2008.
  43. ^ The Worst President in History?, Sean Wilentz, Rolling Stone, April 21, 2006; accessed December 15, 2008.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Abraham Lincoln
President of the United States
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
Succeeded by
Ulysses S. Grant
Preceded by
Hannibal Hamlin
Vice President of the United States
March 4, 1865 – April 15, 1865
Title next held by
Schuyler Colfax
Preceded by
William B. Campbell
Governor of Tennessee
1853 – 1857
Succeeded by
Isham G. Harris
United States Senate
Preceded by
William G. Brownlow
United States Senator (Class 1) from Tennessee
March 4, 1875 – July 31, 1875
Served alongside: Henry Cooper
Succeeded by
David M. Key
Preceded by
James C. Jones
United States Senator (Class 1) from Tennessee
October 8, 1857 – March 4, 1862
Served alongside: John Bell, Alfred O. P. Nicholson
Succeeded by
Secession of Tennessee from the Union
Office next held by

David T. Patterson
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas D. Arnold
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1853
Succeeded by
Brookins Campbell
Party political offices
Preceded by
Hannibal Hamlin
Republican Party¹ vice presidential candidate
Succeeded by
Schuyler Colfax
Military offices
Preceded by
Isham G. Harris
as Governor of Tennessee
Military Governor of Tennessee
1862 – 1865
Succeeded by
Edward H. East
as Acting Governor of Tennessee
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Millard Fillmore
Oldest U.S. President still living
March 8, 1874 – July 31, 1875
Succeeded by
Ulysses S. Grant
Notes and references
1. Lincoln and Johnson ran on the National Union ticket in 1864.


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Tyranny and despotism can be exercised by many, more rigourously, more vigourously, and more severely, than by one.

Andrew Johnson (29 December 180831 July 1875) was the seventeenth President of the United States (1865–1869), succeeding to the presidency upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He presided over the Reconstruction of the United States following the American Civil War and was the first President to be impeached, although he was subsequently acquitted by a single vote in the Senate.



  • There are no good laws but such as repeal other laws.
    • Statement (1835), as quoted in Andrew Johnson, Plebeian and Patriot (1928) by Robert Watson Winston
  • There are some who lack confidence in the integrity and capacity of the people to govern themselves. To all who entertain such fears I will most respectfully say that I entertain none... If a man is not capable, and is not to be trusted with the government of himself, is he to be trusted with the government of others... Who, then, will govern? The answer must be, Man — for we have no angels in the shape of men, as yet, who are willing to take charge of our political affairs.
    • Statement (1853) as quoted in Andrew Johnson, Plebeian and Patriot (1928) by Robert Watson Winston
  • No, gentlemen, if I am to be shot at, I want no man to be in the way of the bullet.
    • As military governor of Tennessee, asserting that he would walk alone, to friends who offered to escort him to the statehouse, after postings of a placard saying he should be "shot on sight." (c.1862); as quoted in Andrew Johnson, President of the United States: His Life and Speeches (1866) by Lillian Foster
  • I have lived among negroes, all my life, and I am for this Government with slavery under the Constitution as it is. I am for the Government of my fathers with negroes, I am for it without negroes. Before I would see this Government destroyed, I would send every negro back to Africa, disintegrated and blotted out of space.
    • Speech in Indianapolis, Indiana (26 February 1863)
  • I am a-goin' for to tell you here to-day; yes, I'm a-goin for to tell you all, that I'm a plebian! I glory in it; I am a plebian! The people — yes, the people of the United States have made me what I am; and I am a-goin' for to tell you here to-day — yes, to-day, in this place — that the people are everything.
    • First address as Vice-President, widely reported as having been delivered while he was inebriated. (5 March 1865)
  • If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons of color who can read the Constitution of the United States in English and write their names and to all persons of color who own real estate valued at not less than two hundred and fifty dollars and pay taxes thereon, and would completely disarm the adversary. This you can do with perfect safety. And as a consequence, the radicals, who are wild upon negro franchise, will be completely foiled in their attempts to keep the Southern States from renewing their relations to the Union.
  • Notwithstanding a mendacious press; notwithstanding a subsidized gang of hirelings who have not ceased to traduce me, I have discharged all my official duties and fulfilled my pledges. And I say here tonight that if my predecessor had lived, the vials of wrath would have poured out upon him.
    • Speech in Cleveland, Ohio (3 September 1866)
  • I have had a son killed, a son-in-law die during the last battle of Nashville, another son has thrown himself away, a second son-in-law is in no better condition, I think I have had sorrow enough without having my bank account examined by a Committee of Congress.
    • Letter to his friend Colonel William G. Moore, complaining of Congressional investigations.... (1 May 1867)
  • Legislation can neither be wise nor just which seeks the welfare of a single interest at the expense and to the injury of many and varied interests at least equally important and equally deserving the considerations of Congress.
    • Veto message to the House of Representatives (22 February 1869)
  • The goal to strive for is a poor government but a rich people.
    • As quoted in Andrew Johnson, Plebeian and Patriot (1928) by Robert Watson Winston
  • Your President is now the Tribune of the people, and, thank God, I am, and intend to assert the power which the people have placed in me... Tyranny and despotism can be exercised by many, more rigorously, more vigorously, and more severely, than by one.
    • As quoted in Presidential Government in the United States: The Unwritten Constitution (1947) by Caleb Perry Patterson

First Presidential address (1865)

First address to his cabinet (15 April 1865)
  • I must be permitted to say that I have been almost overwhelmed by the announcement of the sad event which has so recently occurred. I feel incompetent to perform duties so important and responsible as those which have been so unexpectedly thrown upon me.
  • The only assurance that I can now give of the future is reference to the past. The course which I have taken in the past in connection with this rebellion must be regarded as a guaranty of the future. My past public life, which has been long and laborious, has been founded, as I in good conscience believe, upon a great principle of right, which lies at the basis of all things. The best energies of my life have been spent in endeavoring to establish and perpetuate the principles of free government, and I believe that the Government in passing through its present perils will settle down upon principles consonant with popular rights more permanent and enduring than heretofore. I must be permitted to say, if I understand the feelings of my own heart, that I have long labored to ameliorate and elevate the condition of the great mass of the American people. Toil and an honest advocacy of the great principles of free government have been my lot. Duties have been mine; consequences are God's. This has been the foundation of my political creed, and I feel that in the end the Government will triumph and that these great principles will be permanently established.

First State of the Union Address (1865)

State of the Union Address (4 December 1865)
  • "The sovereignty of the States" is the language of the Confederacy, and not the language of the Constitution. The latter contains the emphatic words — This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
  • Certainly the Government of the United States is a limited government, and so is every State government a limited government. With us this idea of limitation spreads through every form of administration — general, State, and municipal — and rests on the great distinguishing principle of the recognition of the rights of man. The ancient republics absorbed the individual in the state — prescribed his religion and controlled his activity. The American system rests on the assertion of the equal right of every man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to freedom of conscience, to the culture and exercise of all his faculties. As a consequence the State government is limited — as to the General Government in the interest of union, as to the individual citizen in the interest of freedom.
  • Our Government springs from and was made for the people — not the people for the Government. To them it owes allegiance; from them it must derive its courage, strength, and wisdom. But while the Government is thus bound to defer to the people, from whom it derives its existence, it should, from the very consideration of its origin, be strong in its power of resistance to the establishment of inequalities. Monopolies, perpetuities, and class legislation are contrary to the genius of free government, and ought not to be allowed. Here there is no room for favored classes or monopolies; the principle of our Government is that of equal laws and freedom of industry. Wherever monopoly attains a foothold, it is sure to be a source of danger, discord, and trouble. We shall but fulfill our duties as legislators by according "equal and exact justice to all men," special privileges to none.
  • The life of a republic lies certainly in the energy, virtue, and intelligence of its citizens; but it is equally true that a good revenue system is the life of an organized government. I meet you at a time when the nation has voluntarily burdened itself with a debt unprecedented in our annals. Vast as is its amount, it fades away into nothing when compared with the countless blessings that will be conferred upon our country and upon man by the preservation of the nation's life. Now, on the first occasion of the meeting of Congress since the return of peace, it is of the utmost importance to inaugurate a just policy, which shall at once be put in motion, and which shall commend itself to those who come after us for its continuance. We must aim at nothing less than the complete effacement of the financial evils that necessarily followed a state of civil war.
  • I hold it the duty of the Executive to insist upon frugality in the expenditures, and a sparing economy is itself a great national resource.

Fourth State of the Union Address (1868)

State of the Union Address (9 December 1868)
  • It may be safely assumed as an axiom in the government of states that the greatest wrongs inflicted upon a people are caused by unjust and arbitrary legislation, or by the unrelenting decrees of despotic rulers, and that the timely revocation of injurious and oppressive measures is the greatest good that can be conferred upon a nation. The legislator or ruler who has the wisdom and magnanimity to retrace his steps when convinced of error will sooner or later be rewarded with the respect and gratitude of an intelligent and patriotic people.
    Our own history, although embracing a period less than a century, affords abundant proof that most, if not all, of our domestic troubles are directly traceable to violations of the organic law and excessive legislation.
  • The attempt to place the white population under the domination of persons of color in the South has impaired, if not destroyed, the kindly relations that had previously existed between them: and mutual distrust has engendered a feeling of animosity which leading in some instances to collision and bloodshed, has prevented that cooperation between the two races so essential to the success of industrial enterprise in the Southern States.


  • It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    • More commonly misattributed to Andrew Jackson, the originator of this line is actually unknown.

Quotes about Johnson

  • Andrew Johnson had been suspected by many people of being concerned in the plans of Booth against the life of Lincoln or at least cognizant of them. A committee of which I was the head, felt it their duty to make a secret investigation of that matter, and we did our duty in that regard most thoroughly. Speaking for myself I think I ought to say that there was no reliable evidence at all to convince a prudent and responsible man that there was any ground for the suspicions entertained against Johnson.
  • The inauguration went off very well except that the Vice President Elect was too drunk to perform his duties and disgraced himself and the Senate by making a drunken foolish speech. I was never so mortified in my life, had I been able to find a hole I would have dropped through it out of sight.
  • On this inauguration day, while waiting for the opening of the ceremonies, I made a discovery in regard to the vice president — Andrew Johnson. There are moments in the lives of most men, when the doors of their souls are open, and unconsciously to themselves, their true characters may be read by the observant eye. It was at such an instant I caught a glimpse of the real nature of this man, which all subsequent developments proved true. I was standing in the crowd by the side of Mrs. Thomas J. Dorsey, when Mr. Lincoln touched Mr. Johnson, and pointed me out to him. The first expression which came to his face, and which I think was the true index of his heart, was one of bitter contempt and aversion. Seeing that I observed him, he tried to assume a more friendly appearance; but it was too late; it was useless to close the door when all within had been seen. His first glance was the frown of the man, the second was the bland and sickly smile of the demagogue. I turned to Mrs. Dorsey and said, 'Whatever Andrew Johnson may be, he certainly is no friend of our race.'
  • This Johnson is a queer man.
    • Abraham Lincoln, in a remark to his friend Shelby M. Cullom, after Johnson inquired whether his presence was required at the inauguration, as quoted in A Reporter's Lincoln by Walter B. Stevens, edited by Michael Burlingame
  • I have known Andy for many years... he made a bad slip the other day, but you need not be scared. Andy ain't a drunkard.
    • Abraham Lincoln, on Johnson's infamous speech on the day of his inauguration as Vice-President, as quoted in Hannibal Hamlin: Lincoln's First Vice President (1969) by H. Draper Hunt
  • It has been a severe lesson for Andy, but I do not think he will do it again.
    • Abraham Lincoln, as quoted by Senate aide John Wien Forney, with whom Johnson had been drinking the night before his swearing in as Vice-President, in Anecdotes of Public Men (1873) by John W. Forney
  • It was pretended at the time and it has since been asserted by historians and publicists that Mr. Johnson's Reconstruction policy was only a continuation of that of Mr. Lincoln. This is true only in a superficial sense, but not in reality. Mr. Lincoln had indeed put forth reconstruction plans which contemplated an early restoration of some of the rebel states. But he had done this while the Civil War was still going on, and for the evident purpose of encouraging loyal movements in those States and of weakening the Confederate State government there. Had he lived, he would have as ardently wished to stop bloodshed and to reunite as he ever did. But is it to be supposed for a moment that, seeing the late master class in the South intent upon subjecting the freedmen again to a system very much akin to slavery, Lincoln would have consented to abandon those freemen to the mercies of that master class?
  • This is one of the last great battles with slavery. Driven from the legislative chambers, driven from the field of war, this monstrous power has found a refuge in the executive mansion, where, in utter disregard of the Constitution and laws, it seeks to exercise its ancient, far-reaching sway. All this is very plain. Nobody can question it. Andrew Johnson is the impersonation of the tyrannical slave power. In him it lives again.
    • Senator Charles Sumner during Johnson's impeachment trial (May 1868)
  • Whatever may have been the opinion of the President at one time as to "good faith requiring the security of the freemen in their liberty and their property," it is now manifest from the character of his objections to this bill that he will approve no measures that will accomplish the object.
  • No man in Tennessee has done more than Andrew Johnson to create, to perpetuate and embitter in the minds of the Southern people, that feeling of jealousy and hostility against the free States, which has at length culminated in rebellion and civil war. Up to 1860, he had been for 20 years among the most bigoted and intolerant of the advocates of slavery and Southernism.
    • The Nashville Press (February 1863)
  • The history this man leaves is a rare one. His career was remarkable, even in this country; it would have been quite impossible in any other. It presents the spectacle of a man who never went to school a day in his life rising from a humble beginning as a tailor's apprentice through a long succession of posts of civil responsibility to the highest office in the land, and evincing his continued hold upon the popular heart by a subsequent election to the Senate in the teeth of a bitter personal and political opposition.... Whatever else may be said of him, his integrity and courage have been seldom questioned though often proved. He was by nature and temperament squarely disposed toward justice and the right, and was a determined warrior for his convictions. He erred from limitation of grasp and perception, perhaps, or through sore perplexity in trying times, but never weakly or consciously. He was always headstrong and "sure he was right" even in his errors.
    • Obituary in The New York Times (1 August 1875)

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ANDREW JOHNSON (1808-1875), seventeenth president of the United States, was born at Raleigh, North Carolina, on the 29th of December 1808. His parents were poor, and his father died when Andrew was four years old. At the age of ten he was apprenticed to a tailor, his spare hours being spent in acquiring the rudiments of an education. He learned to read from a book -which contained selected orations of great British and American statesmen. The young tailor went to Laurens Court House, South Carolina, in 1824, to work at his trade, but returned to Raleigh in 1826 and soon afterward removed to Greeneville in the eastern part of Tennessee. He married during the same year Eliza McCardle (1810-1876), much his superior by birth and education, who taught him the common school branches of learning and was of great assistance in his later career. In East Tennessee most of the people were small farmers, while West Tennessee was a land of great slave plantations. Johnson began in politics to oppose the aristocratic element .and became the spokesman and champion of the poorer and labouring classes. In 1828 he was elected an alderman of Greeneville and in 1830-1834 was mayor. In 1834, in the Tennessee constitutional convention he endeavoured to limit the influence of the slaveholders by basing representation in the state legislature on the white population alone. In 1835-1837 and 1839-1841 Johnson was a Democratic member of the state House of Representatives, and in 1841-1843 of the state Senate; in both houses he uniformly upheld the cause of the " common people," and, in addition, opposed legislation for " internal improvements." He soon was recognized as the political champion of East Tennessee. Though his favourite leaders became Whigs, Johnson remained a Democrat, and in 1840 canvassed the state for Van Buren for president.

1 Ira Remsen was born in New York City on the 10th of February 1846, graduated at the college of the City of New York in 1865, studied at the New York college of physicians and surgeons and at the university of Göttingen, was professor of chemistry at Williams College in 1872-1876, and in 1876 became professor of chemistry at Johns Hopkins University. He published many textbooks of chemistry, organic and inorganic, which were republished in England and were translated abroad. In 1879 he founded the American .Chemical Journal. In 1843 he was elected to the national House of Representatives and there remained for ten years until his district was gerrymandered by the Whigs and he lost his seat. But he at once offered himself as a candidate for governor and was elected and re-elected, and was then sent to the United States Senate, serving from 1857 to 1862. As governor (1853-1857) he proved to be able and non-partisan. He championed popular education and recommended the homestead policy to the national government, and from his sympathy with the working classes and his oft-avowed pride in his former calling he became known as the " mechanic governor." In Congress he proved to be a tireless advocate of the claims of the poorer whites and an opponent of the aristocracy. He favoured the annexation of Texas, supported the Polk administration on the issues of the Mexican War and the Oregon boundary controversy, and though voting for the admission of free California demanded national protection for slavery. He also advocated the homestead law and low tariffs, opposed the policy of " internal improvements," and was a zealous worker for budget economies. Though opposed to a monopoly of political power in the South by the great slaveholders, he deprecated anti-slavery agitation (even favouring denial of the right of petition on that subject) as threatening abolition or the dissolution of the Union, and went with his sectional leaders so far as to demand freedom of choice for the Territories, and protection for slavery where it existed - this even so late as 1860. He supported in 1860 the ultra-Democratic ticket of Breckinridge and Lane, but he did not identify the election of Lincoln with the ruin of the South, though he thought the North should give renewed guarantees to slavery. But he followed Jackson rather than Calhoun, and above everything else set his love of the Union, though believing the South to be grievously wronged. He was the only Southern member of Congress who opposed secession and refused to " go with his state " when it withdrew from the Union in 1861. In the judgment of a leading opponent (0. P. Morton) " perhaps no man in Congress exerted the same influence on the public sentiment of the North at the beginning of the war " as Johnson. During the war he suffered much for his loyalty to the Union. In March 1862 Lincoln made him military governor of the part of Tennessee captured from the Confederates, and after two years of autocratic rule (with much danger to himself) he succeeded in organizing a Union government for the state. In 1864, to secure the votes of the war Democrats and to please the border states that had remained in the Union, Johnson was nominated for vice-president on the ticket with Lincoln.

A month after the inauguration the murder of Lincoln left him president, with the great problem to solve of reconstruction of the Union. All his past career and utterances seemed to indicate that he would favour the harshest measures toward exConfederates, hence his acceptability to the most radical republicans. But, whether because he drew a distinction between the treason of individuals and of states, or was influenced by Seward, or simply, once in responsible position, separated Republican party politics from the question of constitutional interpretation, at least he speedily showed that he would be influenced by no acrimony, and adopted the lenient reconstruction policy of Lincoln. In this he had for some time the cordial support of his cabinet. During the summer of 1865 he set up provisional civil governments in all the seceded states except Texas, and within a few months all those states were reorganized and applying for readmission to the Union. The radical congress (Republican by a large majority) sharply opposed this plan of restoration, as they had opposed Lincoln's plan: first, because the members of Congress from the Southern States (when readmitted) would almost certainly vote with the Democrats; secondly, because relatively few of the Confederates were punished; and thirdly, because the newly organized Southern States did not give political rights to the negroes. The question of the status of the negro proved the crux of the issue. Johnson was opposed to general or immediate negro suffrage. A bitter contest began in Feb. 1866, between the president and the Congress, which refused to admit representatives from the South and during 1866 passed over his veto a number of important measures, such as the Freedmen's Bureau Act and the Civil Rights Act, and submitted to the States the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Johnson took a prominent and undignified part in the congressional campaign of 1866, in which his policies were voted down by the North. In 1867 Congress threw aside his work of restoration and proceeded with its own plan, the main features of which were the disfranchisement of ex-Confederates and the enfranchisement of negroes. On the 2nd of March 1867 Congress passed over the president's veto the Tenure of Office Act, prohibiting the president from dismissing from office without the consent of the Senate any officer appointed by and with the advice and consent of that body, and in addition a section was inserted in the army appropriation bill of this session designed to subordinate the president to the Senate and the general-in-chief of the army in military matters. The president was thus deprived of practically all power. Stanton and other members of his cabinet and General Grant became hostile to him, the president attempted to remove Stanton without regard to the Tenure of Office Act, and, finally, to get rid of the president, Congress in 1868 (February-May) made an attempt to impeach and remove him, his disregard of the Tenure of Office Act being the principal charge against him. The charges 1 were in part quite trivial, and the evidence was ridiculously inadequate for the graver charges. A two-thirds majority was necessary for conviction; and the votes being 35 to 1 9 (7 Republicans and 1 2 Democrats voting in his favour on the crucial clauses) he was acquitted. The misguided animus of the impeachment as a piece of partisan politics was soon very generally admitted; and the importance of its failure, in securing the continued power and independence of the presidential element in the constitutional system, can hardly be over-estimated. The rest of his term as president was comparatively quiet and uneventful. In 1869 he retired into private life in Tennessee, and after several unsuccessful efforts was elected to the United States Senate, free of party trammels, in 1875, but died at Carter's Station, Tenn., on the 31st of July 1875. The only speech he made was a skilful and temperate arraignment of President Grant's policy towards the South.

1 The charges centred in the president's removal of Secretary Stanton, his ad interim appointment of Lorenzo Thomas, his campaign speeches in 1866, and the relation of these three things to the Tenure of Office Act. Of the eleven charges of impeachment the first was that Stanton's removal was contrary to the Tenure of Office Act; the second, that the appointment of Thomas was a violation of the same law; the third, that the appointment violated the Constitution; the fourth, that Johnson conspired with Thomas "to hinder and prevent Edwin M. Stanton ... from holding ... office of secretary for the department of war "; the fifth, that Johnson had conspired with Thomas to " prevent and hinder the execution " of the Tenure of Office Act; the sixth, that he had conspired with Thomas " to seize, take and possess the property of the United States in the department of war," in violation of the Tenure of Office Act; the seventh, that this action was " a high misdemeanour "; the eighth, that the appointment of Thomas was " with intent unlawfully to control the disbursements of the moneys appropriated for the military service and for the department of war "; the ninth, that he had instructed Major-General Emory, in command of the department of Washington, that an act of 1867 appropriating money for the army was unconstitutional; the tenth, that his speeches in 1866 constituted " a high misdemeanour in office "; and the eleventh, the " omnibus " article, that he had committed high misdemeanours in saying that the 39th Congress was not an authorized Congress, that its legislation was not binding upon him, and that it was incapable of proposing amendments. The actual trial began on the 30th of March (from the 5th of March it was adjourned to the 23rd, and on the 24th of March to the 30th). On the 16th of May, after sessions in which the Senate repeatedly reversed the rulings of the chief justice as to the admission of evidence, in which the president's counsel showed that their case was excellently prepared and the prosecuting counsel appealed in general to political passions rather than to judicial impartiality, the eleventh article was voted on and impeachment failed by a single vote (35 to 19; 7 republicans and 12 democrats voting " Not guilty ") of the necessary two-thirds. After ten days' interval, during which B. F. Butler of the prosecuting counsel attempted to prove that corruption had been practised on some of those voting " Not guilty," on the 26th of May a vote was taken on the second and third articles with the same result as on the eleventh article. There was no vote on the other articles.

President Johnson's leading political principles were a reverence of Andrew Jackson, unlimited confidence in the people, and an intense veneration for the constitution. Throughout his life he remained in some respects a " backwoodsman." He lacked the finish of systematic education. But his whole career sufficiently proves him to have been a man of extraordinary qualities. He did not rise above untoward circumstances by favour, nor - until after his election as senator - by fortunate and fortuitous connexion with great events, but by strength of native talents,. persistent purpose, and an ironwill. He had strong, rugged powers, was a close reasoner and a forcible speaker. Unfortunately his extemporaneous speeches were commonplace, in very bad taste, fervently intemperate and denunciatory; and though this was probably due largely to temperament and habits of stump-speaking formed in early life, it was attributed by his enemies to drink. Resorting to stimulants after illness, his marked excess in this respect on the occasion of his inauguration as vice-president undoubtedly did him harm with the public. Faults of personality were his great handicap. Though approachable and not without kindliness of manner, he seemed hard and inflexible; and while president, physical pain and domestic anxieties, added to the struggles of public life, combined to accentuate a naturally somewhat severe temperament. A lifelong Southern Democrat, he was forced to lead (nominally at least) a party of Northern Republicans, with whom he had no bond of sympathy save a common opposition to secession; and his ardent, aggressive convictions and character, above all his complete lack of tact, unfitted him to deal successfully with the passionate partisanship of Congress. The absolute integrity and unflinching courage that marked his career were always ungrudgingly admitted by his greatest enemies.

See L. Foster, The Life and Speeches of Andrew Johnson (1866); D. M. De Witt, The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1903); C. E. Chadsey, The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction (1896); and W. A. Dunning, Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction (1898). Also see W. A. Dunning's paper ' ` More Light on Andrew Johnson" (in the American Historical Review, April 1906), in which apparently conclusive evidence is presented to prove that Johnson's first inaugural, a notable state paper, was. written by the historian George Bancroft.

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