Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
17th President of the United States
In office
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
Preceded by Abraham Lincoln
Succeeded by Ulysses Grant
16th Vice President of the United States
In office
March 4, 1865 – April 15, 1865
President Abraham Lincoln
Preceded by Hannibal Hamlin
Succeeded by Schuyler Colfax
United States Senator
from Tennessee
In office
March 4, 1875 – July 31, 1875
Preceded by William Brownlow
Succeeded by David Key
In office
October 8, 1857 – March 4, 1862
Preceded by James Jones
Succeeded by David Patterson
17th and 19th Governor of Tennessee
In office
October 17, 1853 – November 3, 1857
Preceded by William B. Campbell
Succeeded by Isham Harris
In office
March 12, 1862 – March 4, 1865
Preceded by Isham Harris
Succeeded by William Brownlow
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1843 – March 3, 1853
Preceded by Thomas Arnold
Succeeded by Brookins Campbell
Personal details
Born December 29, 1808(1808-12-29)
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Died July 31, 1875(1875-07-31) (aged 66)
Elizabethton, Tennessee, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party
National Union Party (1864–1868)
Spouse(s) Eliza McCardle
Children Martha
Profession Tailor
Religion Irreligion / Non-denominational Christianity[1][2]
Signature Cursive signature in ink

Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the 17th President of the United States (1865–1869). As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial Reconstruction era of the United States in the four years after the American Civil War. Johnson's policies failed to address the suffrage and other rights of the Freedmen, and he therefore came under vigorous political attack from Republicans.

Johnson, born in poverty and of Scots-Irish descent, became a master tailor and was self educated, married and had five children. He served in both houses of the Tennessee legislature before spending five consecutive terms in the U. S. House of Representatives and two terms as Governor of Tennessee. His signature legislative endeavor in the state and federal arenas was passage of the Homestead Act. When Tennessee seceded in 1861, Johnson was a U.S. Senator from Greeneville, Tennessee, and was dedicated to a government limited in size and spending. Also a Unionist, but initially pro-slavery, he was the only Southern senator not to resign his seat during the Civil War, became the most prominent War Democrat from the South and supported Lincoln's military policies. In 1862, Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of occupied Tennessee, where he was energetic and effective in fighting the rebellion, implemented Reconstruction policies in the state and transitioned to a pro-emancipation policy.

Johnson was nominated as the vice presidential candidate in 1864 on the National Union Party ticket. He and Lincoln were elected in November 1864 and inaugurated on March 4, 1865. Johnson succeeded to the presidency upon Lincoln's assassination on April 15, 1865.

As President, he implemented his own form of Presidential Reconstruction – a series of proclamations directing the seceded states to hold conventions and elections to re-form their civil governments. These proclamations embodied Johnson's conciliatory policies towards the South, as well as his rush to reincorporate the former Confederate states back into the union without due regard for freedmen's rights; these positions and his vetoes of civil rights bills embroiled him in a bitter dispute with Radical Republicans.[3] The Radicals in the House of Representatives impeached him in 1868 (a first for a U.S. President), charging him with violating the Tenure of Office Act, when he sought to remove his Secretary of War without Senate approval; nevertheless, the Senate acquitted him by a single vote.

Johnson's loyalty to his party was equivocal during his presidency, as it had been throughout his career. He did not identify with the two main parties – though he did seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 1868. While President he attempted to build a party of loyalists under the National Union label. His failure to make the National Union brand an actual party made Johnson 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.[4] Johnson's administration has received an aggregate ranking of 41 among his presidential peers.


Early life and political start

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

Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, to Jacob Johnson (1778–1812) and Mary ("Polly") McDonough (1783–1856), a seamstress and the daughter of Andrew McDonough. He had a brother William four years his elder and a older sister Elizabeth who died in childhood.[5] The Johnson ancestors, who originated in Amelia County, Virginia, were farmers and gradually migrated to North Carolina.[6] Johnson's grandfather William was poverty striken, and left his son Jacob landless and illiterate. In Raleigh, Jacob became town constable and suddenly died shortly after rescuing three drowning men, leaving his family in poverty when Andrew was three.[7] Johnson's mother then took in work spinning and weaving to support her family, and she later remarried to Turner Doughtry. She bound Andrew as an apprentice tailor; Johnson had no formal education but taught himself how to read and write, with some help from his masters, as was their obligation under his apprenticeship.[8]

As a youngster living in poverty, along with his childhood friends, Johnson was an object of ridicule from members of higher social circles; as such, he was commonly referred to as "poor white trash" by the elite in Raleigh. Nevertheless, he and his peers were acutely aware that they were one step above the lowest on the socio-economic ladder, i.e. the black community. As a consequence, Johnson assumed an attitude of white supremacy typical of one in his position in his town, and he was unable to ever shed this perspective during his life.[9]

Eliza McCardle Johnson

At age 16 or 17, Johnson left his apprenticeship and ran away with his brother, landing ultimately in Laurens, South Carolina for two years, where he found work as a tailor. Here he found his first love, Mary Wood, for whom he made a quilt. His marriage proposal to her was rejected however, and he returned to Raleigh but could not remain there, as his master J. Selby refused to release him from his apprenticeship obligation. He made his way to Mooresville, Alabama, where he learned under Joseph Sloss to tailor frock suits and continued his prodigious reading.[10]

Johnson returned to Raleigh and from there traveled with his mother, stepfather and brother to Greeneville, Tennessee and established a very successful tailoring business in the front of his home; he was joined by a partner, Hentle W. Adkinson. At the age of 18, Johnson married 16 year-old Eliza McCardle in 1827; she was the daughter of a local shoemaker. The couple were married for 50 years and had five children: Martha (1828), Charles (1830), Mary (1832), Robert (1834), and Andrew Jr. (1852). Though she suffered from consumption, Eliza was consistently supportive of Johnson's endeavors; she taught Johnson arithmetic up to basic algebra and tutored him to improve his literacy, reading, and writing skills.[11]

His reading about famous oratory sparked in Johnson a natural interest in political dialogue and private debates with customers having opposing views on issues of the day. Johnson then initiated public debates and organized a debating society with a customer Blackston McDannel. He also participated in debates at Tusculum College in Greeneville, and later helped organize a mechanics' party ticket that elected him as a town alderman in 1829, a position he retained until he was elected Mayor in 1834. In 1831 he became a member of the 90th Regiment of the Tennessee militia. Neither the Democratic or the newly formed Whig party was then well organized in that part of Tennessee.[12] At that time, a state convention was called to pass a new constitution, including provisions to disenfranchise freedmen and to reform real estate tax rates; the constitution was submitted for a public vote and Johnson successfully campaigned in favor of it, which provided him with additional positive statewide exposure.[13]

Tennessee politics

In 1835, Johnson made a bid for election to the "floater" seat for his district in the Tennessee House of Representatives; he "demolished" the opposition in debate and won the election with almost a 2 to 1 margin.[14] In his first term in the state house, Johnson chose not to ally himself consistently with the Democrats or the Whigs, though he revered Jackson, the Democratic President. He consistently opposed non-essential government spending and the railroads, which distanced him from his electorate locally, where there was little transportation. As a result, after serving a single term, he was defeated for re-election.[15]

In 1839, Johnson entered the race for re-election to his house seat, initially as a Whig; when another Whig entry arose, to enhance his position in the campaign, he ran as a Democrat and was elected to his second, non-consecutive term in the Tennessee House. He then announced his support of Democrat, and states rights proponent, John C. Calhoun; from that time he never wavered from the Democratic party and built a powerful political machine in Greene County.[16] Johnson was then a consistent supporter of Martin Van Buren and early on expressed an interest in the public lands, eventually being considered a father of the Homestead Act of 1862.[17]

In 1840 Johnson was appointed as a presidential elector for his state, giving him more statewide exposure. Despite Van Buren's defeat, Johnson was instrumental in keeping Greene County in the Democratic column.[18] He was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 1841, where he served one two-year term.[19] The 1841-42 legislative session, with Whigs having a majority in the House chamber and the Democrats a smaller majority in the senate, was marked by an impasse over the election of Tennessee's two United States senators. The Whigs in the House sought, by use of a joint session majority, to dictate the choice of the two U.S. senators. The Tennessee senate however, controlled by Democrats, and lead by Johnson, boycotted the joint session and thus blocked the filling of both U.S. Senate seats, denying Tennessee representation in the U.S. Senate until 1843.[20]

After a promotion in the militia in 1841, he was often locally referred to as "Colonel Johnson".[21] Also by this time Johnson had achieved considerable financial success in his tailoring business, which he sold in order to narrow his political focus. He had also acquired additional real estate, including a larger home and a farm where his mother and stepfather took residence. He as well assumed ownership of as many as 8 or 9 slaves.[22]

Congressional incumbency

First three terms

Pre-Civil War photo of Johnson.

In 1843, Johnson was the first Democrat to run for, and win, election as the U.S. representative from Tennessee's 1st congressional district, and joined a new Democratic majority in the House. In his first term in the House, he quickly established the principles he would steadfastly promote throughout his ten year tenure; he advocated for the interests of the poor, while maintaining an anti-abolitionist stance, insisted on limited spending by the government and opposed protective tariffs. While these positions were well suited for most of his local constituency, this was not the case when he stepped outside that region politically.[23] Johnson advocated "a free farm for the poor" bill that would give land to landless farmers.[23] When not on the House floor, Johnson, in Washington without wife Eliza, shunned social functions in favor of increased self study and reading in the Congressional library.[24]

In one of his first speeches on the floor, he commented that neither the federal nor the state government had any authority to abolish slavery, asserting that this property was guaranteed by the Constitution.[25] "The black race of Africa were inferior to the white man in point of intellect – better calculated in physical structure to undergo drudgery and hardship – standing, as they do, many degrees lower in the scale of gradation that expressed the relative relation between God and all that he had created than the white man." Johnson frequently alienated his party through his strict adherence to his positions on slavery and as well with respect to the tariff and limits on government spending.[26]

Johnson was victorious in his run for a second Congressional term in 1845 against his perennial and vituperative opponent, Wiliam G. Brownlow; in this second campaign, Johnson particularly posed as a defender of the poor against the aristocracy. He also devoted considerable attention expressing his outrage at accusations made against his father. In his second term, he supported the administration's decisions to fight the Mexican War. He also promoted a measure requiring the turnover of all government jobs every eight years. In this term, he introduced for the first time his Homestead Bill, which provided 160 acres for every poor family head "without money and without price"; while the measure fell on deaf ears initially, Johnson did not rest until passage some years later.[27]

Johnson's third term in Congress found him stiffening in his opposition to any sort of non essential government spending, from the new Smithsonian Institute to funds for purchase of portraits for the White House. As well, discussions of slavery were becoming progressively acrimonious, as he remained immovable in his support of the "peculiar institution'. Johnson departed from his southern allies supporting slavery when he maintained that slavery was essential to the preservation of the Union.[28] In the presidential election in 1848, the Democratic party split over the slavery issue, with the abolitionists leaving the party and forming the Free Soil Party, and making Martin Van Buren their nominee. Johnson supported the Democratic nominee, Lewis Cass, who thought it up to the people in each state to decide on the issue. Nevertheless, with the party split, Whig nominee Zachary Taylor was easily victorious, and carried Tennessee as well, despite Johnson's local efforts to hold the state for his party.[29] Johnson, in the face of the national mania over new railroad construction, and in response to the need in his own district for additional mode of transportation, found himself moderating in his opposition to them. Thus, he supported funding to the state to assist the expansion of the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. During this term Johnson also made a concerted effort to increase his sphere of interactions; his expanded profile was exemplified by a biographical sketch published in the New York Times in May of 1849, describing him as an excellent committee worker and investigator. It was also during this time that Johnson purchased a newspaper named the Greeneville Spy.[30]

Final two terms

The Andrew Johnson House, built in 1851

In the campaign for election to his fourth term in 1849, Johnson directed his attention on three issues – slavery, homesteads and judicial elections. He defeated his opponent, Nathaniel G. Taylor, with a greater margin of victory than in previous campaigns. When the House reconvened, the party schism caused by the Free Soil Party precluded the formation of a majority needed to elect a Speaker. Johnson proposed adoption of a rule allowing election of a Speaker by a plurality; the rule was passed and Howell Cobb was so elected.[31] This marked the beginning of one of the most controversial sessions of Congress, as the issue of slavery began to take front stage. The proposed admission to the union of California as a state set off a debate as to whether a prohibition of slavery should be made a condition of admission. Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a series of resolutions, the Compromise of 1850, to allow admission while addressing concerns of both sides of the issue; at the same time Johnson introduced a similar more streamlined version of compromise in the House.[32] Johnson supported the Compromise of 1850 with the exception of its provision for the abolition of slavery in the nation's capitol.[28] Also in this term Johnson renewed in vain his efforts to bring his Homestead bill to a vote. As Chairman of the Committee on Public Expenditures, he also attempted but failed to reduce by one-fifth all federal salaries over $1,000.[33] He reprised resolutions for constitutional amendments to provide for 1) the direct election of the president, rather than by the electoral college, 2) the direct election of U.S. Senators, rather than by state legislatures and 3) the limiting of judges' terms to twelve years. These were all defeated, by an opposition that included a fellow Tennessean, Isham G. Harris, who later became a bitter enemy.[34]

Democratic adversaries in the campaign for his fifth and final term put up an opponent Landon Carter Haynes. The campaign included fierce debates; Johnson's primary issue was the passage of the Homestead bill, which Haynes contended would facilitate abolition. Johnson won the election by over 1600 votes.[34] At this time Johnson built a larger home in Greeneville (Eliza had given birth to another son and his mother had moved in with them following the death of his stepfather.) In 1850 he also accepted an invitation to join the Masons Lodge in Greeneville.[35] Though he was not enamored with the party's presidential nominee, Franklin Pierce, Johnson campaigned for him, though he failed to carry Tennessee.[36] In December of 1852 Johnson realized his dream of passage in the House of his Homestead Act, which even garnered the support of Horace Greeley. A long struggle lay ahead in the Senate. Johnson had been so obsessed with the measure that he was said to be "a little cracked on the subject".[37] Though his final session in Congress was uneventful, he did reintroduce seven resolutions, which failed, providing for rotation of federal appointees. The Whigs had gained control of the Tennessee legislature, and redrew Johnson's First District so as to ensure that House seat for their party, under the leadership of Gustavus Adolphus Henry, Sr.; the Nashville Union termed this "Henry-mandering".[38]

Governor of Tennessee

When it became apparent that Johnson would lose his seat, an effort began by ally George W. Jones to put forward Johnson's name for governor. The Democratic convention unanimously nominated him for the spot, although the conservative clique from Nashville had serious reservations. When his district was redrawn by the Whigs, that party had won the past two gubernatorial elections, in addition to gaining control of the legislature. The campaign was sure to be a struggle; the Whigs nominated their "Eagle Orator" Gustavus Henry, and Johnson wasted no time in calling him to task for his "Henry-mandering" of the First District, as their debates made their way across the state from one county seat to the next. Henry attacked Johnson for his voting record in denying pay increases to federal troops.[39] Johnson won the election by 2,250 votes, some of which were Whig votes received in return for his promise to support Nathaniel Taylor for his prior seat in Congress.[40] In his inaugural speech, he reaffirmed his Jeffersonian principles, and added that, "Democracy in the political sphere, and Christianity in the moral sphere, proceed in converging lines."[41]

As he had in the past, Johnson continued to steadfastly object to unnecessary spending by the government, including the military and internal improvements; he demonstrated he still had no desire to please the conservatives in his party or the opposition. Johnson attempted to make the most of the opportunities the position offered, using it as a springboard to higher honors, as the Governor's powers in the state were limited to offering mere suggestions on legislation (with no veto power), and managing the Bank of Tennessee and the penitentiary. Most government positions also were appointed by the legislature.[42] Johnson succeeded in getting the bank appointments he wanted, in return for his endorsement of John Bell for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats. He nominated his Board of Inspectors for the prisons but to his surprise they refused to appoint his choice for warden, Richard White. He then withdrew the Board nominations with the Senate's approval, replaced them, and White became the warden. In his first biennial speech, he urged simplification of the state judicial system, abolishment of the Bank of Tennessee and establishment of an agency to provide uniformity in weights and measures, the latter of which was passed. Johnson was critical of the Tennessee common school system and suggested funding be increased via taxes, either statewide or county by county – a mixture of the two was passed.[43]

Despite his initial reluctance, Johnson agreed to run for re-election for governor in 1855, and became the nominee at the party convention. His prospects dwindled when Meredith P. Gentry received the Whig nomination. A series of more than a dozen of debates ensued, where the exchanges grew increasingly vitriolic. Johnson was surprisingly victorious, albeit with a narrower margin.[44] Not long thereafter Johnson gave a speech in Nashville, denouncing the Know Nothing party, and rebuked a prominent Whig lawyer, Thomas T. Smiley, who took issue with him. Smiley later wrote to Johnson, saying he was ready to fight; a potential duel was prevented by the intervention of Washington Burrow and Benjamin F. Cheatham.[45] In his second term, the Whigs remained in control of the legislature, again limiting Johnson's ability to influence the agenda. When the presidential election of 1856 approached, Johnson and supporters harbored a vague hope for the presidency, and he gave a speech to the Tennessee Democratic delegates reiterating his views; some county conventions designated him a favorite son and the Nashville Union and American proposed his nomination. Johnson's position that the best interests of the Union were served by slavery in some areas made him a practical compromise candidate for president. However, he was not nominated in 1856 in part due to a split within his home state's delegation. Though he was not impressed by either, he campaigned for the Democratic ticket of Buchanan and Breckenridge.[46]

Johnson decided not to seek a third term as Governor, with an eye towards election to the United States Senate. In 1857, on a return trip from Washington, his train derailed causing serious damage to his right arm which would plague him in the future.

United States Senator

The Whigs thought Johnson a dangerous prospect as a United States Senator, and made it a priority to prevent his election by the state legislature. Johnson, aware of the uphill battle, interjected himself into the campaigns for the legislature in the election of 1857. Though his party won the governor's race and control of the legislature, Johnson still had to overcome considerable opposition from the conservatives in both parties.[47] His final biennial speech as Governor was pivotal, and he used it to recapitulate his populist philosophy of government. Two days later the legislature elected the outgoing governor to the U.S. Senate. The opposition was appalled, with the Richmond Whig for example, referring to him as "the vilest radical and most unscrupulous demagogue in the Union."[48]

He immediately set about introducing again the Homestead Act in the Senate, as he had ushered it to passage in the House years before. It became apparent that, as the slavery issue took center stage, the slaveholding states were more reluctant to agree with the bill, with the primary antagonists being the senators in Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Alabama.[49] In May of 1860 a significantly amended version of the Act was passed in both houses but was vetoed by President Buchanan.[50] As chairman of the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expense, Johnson continued his relentless opposition to spending, especially when the Capitol city was the beneficiary; he argued it was egregious to expect citizens in other states to fund the infrastructure of another locality, regardless of the fact it was the seat of government.[51]

Time was also taken up in a controversy involving his senate colleague from Tennessee, John Bell, a leading Whig. The state legislature had passed resolutions instructing their representatives in Washington to support pro slavery and popular sovereignty measures such as the LeCompton Constitution and the Kansas–Nebraska Act. Bell took great exception to these attempts to supersede his voting discretion, and requests were made for his resignation. Johnson took advantage of this opportunity to express his strong views in favor of the measures in question, as well as popular instruction.[52] As the slavery debate escalated, Johnson continued to take an independent course. He opposed the antislavery Republican Party while making it clear that his devotion to the Union was consistent with his devotion to his perceived Constitutional right to own slaves.

In 1860, the Tennessee delegation nominated Johnson for president at the Democratic National Convention, and Johnson tentatively offered himself as a Vice-President on the Douglas ticket as a back up plan. But when the convention and the party showed signs of a split, he withdrew from the race entirely. In the general election, Johnson reluctantly supported John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, the candidate of most Southern Democrats.[53] Johnson took to the Senate floor after the election demonstrated the schism in the country, giving a sensational speech headlined by the New York Times: "...I will not give up this government...No; I intend to stand by it...and I invite every man who is a patriot to... rally around the altar of our common country...and swear by our God...that the Constitution shall be saved, and the Union preserved."[54] As southern Senators began to express their intent to resign their seats, Johnson reminded Sen. Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy's future leader, that if his coalition would only hold to their seats, the Democrats would control the Congress, and thus better defend the South's interests. During this session, Johnson also supported the pro-slavery Crittenden Compromise.[55]

Johnson continued to ingratiate himself with the North, the President-elect and his party with his Unionist speeches in the Senate in early 1861: "I have an abiding confidence in the intelligence, the patriotism, and the integrity of the people, and I feel in my own heart that, if this subject could be got before them, they would settle the question and the Union of these States would be preserved."[56] In fact, Lincoln ultimately looked to Johnson for considerable help with Tennessee's federal patronage decisions.[57]

Johnson returned home when his state legislature took up the issue of secession. His area of East Tennessee was a Unionist stronghold, but the secessionists dominated the Middle and Western areas. The legislature voted to put the matter to a popular vote. Before the Tennessee electorate voted on secession, Johnson, at his peril, toured the state speaking in opposition to the measure, which he said was unconstitutional. Johnson was an aggressive stump speaker and responded forthrightly to hecklers and even endured instances of assault, though uharmed. When Tennessee seceded, though the vote did not win a majority East Tennessee, Johnson was forced to flee from the state with armed security; he was in fact 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."[58] For their protection as well, his family were forced to leave; they would not return to Greeneville for eight years. Between Congressional sessions he toured Kentucky and Ohio in vain, trying to convince any Union commander he could reach to conduct an operation into East Tennessee.[59] Johnson was named to the Joint Committee on Conduct of the War whose purpose was to goad on laggard Union generals; Johnson, to no avail, used this venue to voice the urgency of military intervention in East Tennessee.[60]

Military Governor and Vice President

Johnson's tenure in the Senate came to a conclusion when Lincoln appointed him military governor of occupied Tennessee in March 1862. With the Confederates having confiscated his land, his slaves taken away, and his home made into a military hospital, Johnson made his final comments in the Senate: "I am a Democrat now, I have been one all my life; I expect to live and die one, and the corner-stone of my Democracy rests upon the enduring basis of the Union."[61] The Senate quickly confirmed his nomination along with a rank of brigadier general.[62]

At the time of his appointment, his destination Nashville had been evacuated by the Confederates after the fall of Ft. Donelson, and the government which he intended to displace had fled to Memphis. In his first speech in Nashville, Johnson declared he had come back home with an olive branch in one hand and the Constitution in the other. His mantra as military governor was – traitors must be punished and treason crushed. During his three years in this office, he "moved resolutely to eradicate all pro-Confederate influences in the state." As examples, he seized the Bank of Tennessee, shut down secessionist newspapers and levied an assessment against wealthy secessionists, ostensibly to provide funds for wives and children of soldiers 'forced' into service by the Confederacy.[63]

Johnson's vintage independent streak put him very much at odds with professional military commanders, including Gen. Don Carlos Buell who left Nashville defenseless when he had to reinforce Grant at the Battle of Shiloh. The city was continually harassed with cavalry raids conducted by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forest, while Johnson undertook as best he could the defense of the city. He succeeded in enlisting two ready regiments and four others which were near-ready on an immediate basis, in addition to two additional ones a year later. Another challenge was a serious shortage of horses and equipment. Relief from Union regulars did not come until Gen. William S. Rosecrans replaced Buell and stopped the Confederates at Murfreesboro. Nevertheless, it was 1863 before Eastern Tennessee was liberated.[64] Despite his tough talk concerning traitors, Johnson in many cases authorized early release of prisoners and commutation of sentences to facilitate Reconstruction.[65]

Notably during his military governorship Johnson began to moderate in his view of slavery. In the summer of 1862 he said, "If you persist in forcing the issue of slavery against the government, I say in the face of heaven: Give me my government and let the negroes go."[66] Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation applied initially only to states in rebellion; Johnson rationalized that Tennessee in this regard was a part of the Union, and on that basis requested, and received, an exemption from the Proclamation. It would not be long however, before he joined the pro-emancipation ranks.

National Union Party presidential ticket, 1864. Currier and Ives

On a trip to Washington with a final plea for help in East Tennessee in early 1863, he gave a speech in Indianapolis, saying: "If the institution of slavery denies the government the right of agitation, and seeks to overthrow it, then the government has a clear right to destroy it." In Washington, Lincoln planted a seed in his mind, saying he was impressed to hear that Johnson was giving consideration to raising a negro military force. The political advantage of accepting such an invitation, as well as emancipation, was quite apparent to Johnson.[67] By that September Johnson declared he was unequivocally in favor of emancipation, describing slavery as a "cancer on our society", and also succeeded in enlististing 20,000 black troops for the Union.[68] In January of 1864 Johnson organized a gathering of his state's Union loyalists, where resolutions were passed to elect county officials throughout the state, including a plan for a convention to dispose of the slavery issue; also adopted was a very controversial and mandatory oath for voters to protect and preserve the Union in the future.[69] He later spoke out for black suffrage, though not purely based on race, but merit oriented, 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."[70]

As a leading War Democrat and pro-Union southerner, Johnson was an ideal candidate for the Republicans in 1864 as they sought to enlarge their base to include War Democrats; they even changed the party name to the National Union Party to reflect this expansion. Johnson's "unwavering commitment to the Union" was a significant factor in making him Lincoln's choice as vice president on the Union Party's premier ticket in 1864.[71] He won the nomination at the party's convention in Baltimore on the second ballot, and thereby replaced incumbent Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin as Lincoln's running mate.[72] In his speech accepting the nomination, Johnson said that by taking a nominee from a seceding state, "the Union Party declared its belief that the rebellious states are still in the Union, that their loyal citizens are still citizens of the United States." He and Lincoln were elected in a landslide victory.

After the election Johnson was most anxious to complete the re-establishment of civil government in Tennessee; Union forces brought the war to an end in that state with their victory in the Battle of Nashville in December. Johnson again organized a convention for January of 1865 which in turn made provisions for the abolishment of slavery and an election in March for state government offices.[73]

At his and Lincoln's inaugural ceremony on March 4, 1865, Johnson, who had been drinking that morning, as well as the night before with John W. Forney, 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."[74] Biographer Trefousse indicates that Johnson's drinking on the occasion was the result of ill health which began before his arrival in Washington, though the exact nature of the ailment is not specified. The records of many who worked with Johnson throughout his career corroborate that this was an isolated incident.[75] Lincoln commented, in response to Hugh McCullough's criticism of Johnson's behavior, that "I have known Andy Johnson for many years; he made a bad slip the other day, but you need not be scared; Andy ain't a drunkard."[76]

Presidency 1865–1869

On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, who conspired to coordinate assassinations of others, including Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant and Secretary of State William H. Seward that same night. Seward narrowly survived his wounds, while Johnson escaped attack as his would-be assassin, George Atzerodt, failed to go through with the plan. Leonard J. Farwell, a fellow boarder at the Kirkwood House, awoke Johnson with news of Lincoln's having been shot at Ford's Theater; Johnson rushed to the President's deathbed for a brief time, commenting, "They shall suffer for this. They shall suffer for this." Lincoln expired around 7:00 A.M.; Johnson's swearing in occurred at 11:00 that morning with Chief Justice Salmon Chase presiding in the presence of the most of the cabinet. Johnson's demeanor was described as "solemn and dignified", and "his bearing produced a most gratifying impression upon those who participated." At noon, Johnson conducted his first cabinet meeting in the Treasury Secretary's office, asked all members to remain in their positions, and directed the appropriate members to initiate Lincoln's funeral arrangements. William Hunter was appointed acting Secretary of State for the wounded Seward.[77]

Johnson's initial statements and actions in the government transition stressed his proven record and sought to reassure his audience that he could carry on the government as before. He demonstrated his discretion and flexibility in his initial discussions with the Radical Republicans and conservatives alike in an attempt to assure a smooth transition at least at the outset. He especially was able to begin a positive relationship with War Secretary Stanton, though it would completely deteriorate later.[78] Shortly after Lincoln's death, Gen. William T. Sherman reported he had, without consultation with Washington, reached an armistice agreement with Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, an agreement which was unacceptable to Johnson and outraged Stanton, since it made no provision for emancipation of slaves or freedmen's rights. Johnson managed to nullify the agreement, initially placating Stanton on the one hand, but without alienating Sherman and his allies.[79]

The President also reassured many by his decisiveness in quickly ordering in May the establishment of a military commission to try the surviving conspirators envolved in Lincoln's assassination. The defendants were tried and convicted within seven weeks. Four of the eight were given the death penalty and were executed by hanging in July.[80]

Presidential Reconstruction

Lincoln had begun putting Reconstruction policies in place during the war, but Northern anger over the assassination and the immense human cost of the war led to new demands for harsh policies towards the Southern states. There were also inherent conflicts for the North and the Republicans in the pursuit of Reconstruction. The South's restoration, as well as emancipation, would spawn the Democrat's resumption of control in Congress as well as a lapse of the three-fifths compromise in the Constitution. The ultimate delaying of this process was therefore a political reality, one which Johnson made little effort to avoid. Indeed, despite his many expressions to the contrary as military governor and as Vice President, Johnson's heart-felt white supremacy never left him, and began to express itself subliminally in his approach to Reconstuction.[81]

Communications to the President from many officials, including those from Maryland, Virginia and Louisiana, as well as Chief Justice Chase indicated that the Southern states were economically in a state of chaos and governmental disorganization, and most anxious to reach agreements which would restore them to the Union. These officials urged the President to use his leverage to insist on conditions assuring the rights of freedmen. But the Jeffersonian Johnson, with the support of many other officials including Seward, insisted that it was exclusively the power of the states, not the federal government, to address suffrage rights; the cabinet was divided on the issue.[82] Johnson grew increasingly intransigent on this position, as well as his posture that the states had legally never left the union.[83]

Johnson implemented his Reconstruction policy initially with two proclamations - one which recognized the Virginia government organized and lead by Gov. Francis Pierpont, and a second, which provided amnesty for all insurgents except those holding property valued at $20,000 or more and which also appointed a provisional governor for North Carolina including authority to hold elections. Neither of these proclamations included any provisions regarding black suffrage or freedmen's rights.[84] The President sanctioned parallel actions in other states, including South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida and Texas. Conservatives approved and the radicals, including Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner and Ben Wade, were appalled.[85]

The President's earlier moderated views favoring the freedmen and denouncing the secessionists did not endure. Johnson recommended that black voting begin with black troops and those who could read and write and those who had property of at least $200 or $250. He was also outraged when he heard that black troops had utilized his home during the war and he nullified an arrangement by Gen. Sherman whereby an abandoned coastal strip in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida could be used by freedmen. [86] Johnson also did not deal harshly with Confederate leaders, as he had earlier indicated he would; he expanded his pardons to include those in the highest ranks of the Confederacy, including their Vice-President, Alexander H. Stephens. Since Johnson's proclamations allowed the Southern states to control the procedure and conduct of their elections in 1865, prominent former Confederate leaders were elected to the U.S. Congress, which in turn refused to seat them. As the President's leniency towards the South became more apparent, the former secessionists responded with more arrogance; and Johnson's schism with Congress over Reconstruction widened.[87]

Break with the Republicans: 1866

Engraving of Johnson

Johnson-appointed governments all passed Black Codes that gave the freedmen second class status. In response to the Black Codes and Southern recalcitrance, the Republicans prevented the secessionist states' representatives from taking their seats in Congress in the fall 1865. Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, leader of the moderate Republicans and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was anxious to reach a compromise with the President. He ushered through the Congress's a bill expanding the Freedman's Bureau, but Johnson vetoed it. In a second effort at compromise, Trumbull presented for Johnson's signature the first Civil Rights bill, which sought to grant citizenship to the freedmen.[88]

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."[89] Johnson, in a letter to Gov. Thomas C. Fletcher of Missouri, had written, "This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men."[90] The Democratic party, proclaiming itself the party of white men, North and South, aligned with Johnson. However, the Republicans in Congress overrode his veto and the Civil Rights measure became law.[91]

The most significant 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 also guaranteed the federal war debt and voided all Confederate war debts. The amendment was submitted to the states for ratification by Congressional joint resolution, and therefore was not subject to Presidential veto, though Johnson vigorously opposed it, again because so many southern states were not represented in the Congress.[92] The moderates passed the Freedmen's Bureau Act a second time, and again the president vetoed it, but on this occasion the veto was overridden. By the summer of 1866 Johnson's method of restoring states to the union by executive fiat, without safeguards for the Union Party or the freedmen, was in deep trouble. Indeed, his home state of Tennessee ratified the Fourteenth Amendment despite the President's opposition, and was the only seceded state to empower a civil government during Reconstruction.[93]

In 1866, Seward and Weed sought out Democratic allies of the President and other conservatives in an effort to establish a stronger base for the President to oppose the Radical Republicans. It was also agreed that some reorganization of the cabinet would be helpful to draw more Democratic support; though changes were made, Seward and Stanton, who had the most tenuous relationship with the party, were not effected.[94] Meanwhile, also in the summer of 1866, a riot broke out in New Orleans when radicals, with strong opposition of conservatives, sought to re-convene the Louisiana convention of 1864. Forty radicals of both races were killed and 140 others injured. Johnson was criticized for not preventing this, especially in the North.[95]

The moderates' efforts to compromise with Johnson failed and a political war ensued 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, including speeches in Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Columbus, proved politically disastrous, with Johnson making distasteful and blasphemous comparisons between himself and Christ, and occasionally engaging in hostile and irrational arguments with hecklers.[96] The Republicans won by a landslide, increasing their two-thirds majority in Congress, and took full control of Reconstruction. Johnson's mood did not change; he continued to criticize the Congress for refusing to allow the Southern states to take their seats. Rep. Samuel S. Cox saw Johnson at this time and remarked that, when asked if the President would modify his views, "He got as ugly as the devil. He was regularly mad and couldn't talk like a reasonable being."[97]

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

"But," as Sumner shrewdly said, "the President himself is his own worst counsellor, as he is his own worst defender." Johnson acted in accordance with 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 yielded not a jot 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. Himself shrinking from the imposition on these communities of the franchise for the coloured people, his unyielding disposition in regard to matters involving no vital principle 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....He sacrificed two important objects to petty considerations. His pride of opinion, his desire to beat, blinded him to the real welfare of the South and of the whole country.[98]

Radical Reconstruction

In early March Congress, lead in part by Radical Republicans, passed the first in a series of four Reconstruction Acts, initially providing for the recognition of provisional governments to be established thereunder by the Southern states, on the condition that each state ratify the Fourteenth Amendment and assure suffrage for freedmen. Five military districts and commanders were delineated to oversee the region. Johnson said he would sooner sever his right arm from his body than sign the law, and vetoed it; and Congress overrode his veto.[99] The next session of Congress produced a second Reconstruction Act to further implement the first with specific voting regulations, which the President vetoed and Congress overrode.[100] Johnson's Attorney General issued legal opinions to the administration designed to thwart the execution of the Reconstruction Acts, and Congress was forced to pass a third Reconstruction Act to invalidate these opinions, which again required two votes to defeat the President's obstruction.[101] A fourth Reconstruction Act was passed (again over a veto) to provide ratification of each state's constitution by a majority of those voting (rather than of all those registered).[102]

When Secretary Stanton did not join the President's opposition to the Reconstruction Acts, Johnson decided the time had come to dismiss the War Secretary along with his radical subordinates. Johnson thought he could suspend Stanton without Senate approval and avoid violating the Tenure of Office Act, since Congress was in recess. Grant, Stanton's interim successor, advised against the move, but accepted the temporary appointment when Johnson proceeded with Stanton's suspension in August. The President thought this would also serve to drive a wedge between Grant and the Republicans and dampen Grant's presidential aspirations. Johnson then, over Grant's objection, removed Generals Sheridan and Sickles for not earlier following orders given to circumvent the Reconstruction Acts.[103]

Impeachment, trial and acquittal

Talk of impeaching the President actually began circulating informally after his veto of the Civil Rights Act. The foremost advocates of impeachment were Ben Butler and James M. Ashley. The first vote in the House to impeach the President occurred in the fall of 1867. On November 21, 1867, the House Judiciary committee produced a bill of impeachment that consisted of a broad collection of complaints against him, but as stated were not thought to be easily provable under the Constitution, "as treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors." After a vigorous debate, a formal vote for impeachment was held in the House of Representatives on December 5, 1867, and failed, 57–108.[104]

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

The second impeachment effort was presaged when Johnson notified Congress of War Secretary Stanton's suspension and Grant's interim appointment. When it reconvened in January of 1868, the Senate disapproved, and reinstated Stanton, contending Johnson had violated the Tenure of Office Act. Grant stepped aside, over Johnson's objection (causing a complete break between them), Johnson again dismissed Stanton and appointed Lorenzo Thomas to replace him.[105] As the Senate and House debated the matter, Thomas attempted to move into the war office, and Stanton had him arrested. Three days after Stanton's removal, the House impeached Johnson for intentionally violating the Tenure of Office Act, by a vote of 128 to 47.[106] The House adopted eleven articles of impeachment, for the most part bearing on Johnson's violation of the Tenure of Office Act in his dismissal of Stanton and appointment of Thomas.[107]

On March 5, 1868, the impeachment trial began in the Senate and lasted almost three months; Reps. George S. Boutwell, Ben Butler and Thaddeus Stevens acted as managers (prosecutors) for the House and William M. Evarts, Benjamin R. Curtis and Attorney General Henry Stanberry served as Johnson's counsel; Chief Justice Chase served as presiding judge. [108] Johnson's defense relied on the provision of the Tenure of Office Act that made it applicable only to appointees of the current administration; since Lincoln had appointed Stanton, not Johnson, the defense maintained there was no violation of the Act. The defense also argued that the President reserved the right to in good faith test the constitutionality of an act of congress.[109] Johnson's counsel were adamant that he make no appearance at the trial or public comments about the proceedings, and he managed to comply despite a compulsion to speak on his own behalf.

Johnson, through his allies, made maneuvers among the senators in an attempt to secure a favorable vote; for example, a pledge was made to Sen. James W. Grimes to install a more highly respected War Secretary and to cease interference with congress' Reconstruction efforts. Also, Sen. Edmund G. Ross received assurances that the radical constitutions ratified in South Carolina and Arkansas would be transmitted to the Congress.[110] 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, John B. Henderson, Lyman Trumbull, Peter G. Van Winkle and notably Senators Grimes and Ross, who provided the decisive vote;[111] purportedly disturbed by how the proceedings had been manipulated to give a one-sided presentation of the evidence, they voted against conviction, in defiance of their party and public opinion.[112]

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 Ulysses 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 Stanbery 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

Andrew Johnson appointed only nine Article III federal judges during his presidency, all to United States district courts. Johnson is one of only four presidents[113] who did not appoint a justice 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. Many critics considered Johnson's actions were passive and delayed, and thought his defense of the Monroe Doctrine in this instance was weak.[114] The French withdrew in 1867, and the government they supported quickly collapsed. Secretary of State Seward negotiated the treaty for the purchase of Alaska from Russia on April 9, 1867 for $7.2 million. This is equivalent to $113 million in present day terms.[115] Critics sneered at "Seward's Folly" and "Seward's Icebox" and "Icebergia." Nevertheless, the Senate approval of the Alaska treaty was Johnson's singular legislative accomplishment in the midst of a political war with Congress. ohnson's purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867 was his most important foreign policy action. The idea and implementation is credited to Seward as Secretary of State, but Johnson approved the plan.[116] 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 Britain to arbitrate the Alabama Claims.

The U.S. experienced tense relations with Britain 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 Fenians (Irish-American civil war veterans) into Canada. These small-scale Fenian Raids were easily repulsed by the British. Eventually, Johnson ordered the Fenians disarmed and barred from crossing the border, but the Canadians feared an American takeover and moved toward Canadian Confederation.[117]

Post-presidency and changing views

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.[118] He is the only former president to serve in the Senate.[118]

Johnson was buried just outside Greeneville 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 burial ground was dedicated as the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in 1906, now part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Senator Andrew Johnson in 1875. (age 66)

Views on Johnson changed over time, depending on historians' perception of Reconstruction. The widespread denunciation of Reconstruction after the compromise of 1877 resulted in Johnson being portrayed in a favorable light. By the 1930s a series of favorable biographies enhanced his prestige.[119] 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. Historians in opinion polls once rated Johnson "near great", but have since reevaluated and now consider Johnson "a flat failure".[120]

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.[120][121] 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.[120] In this vein, Eric Foner denounced Johnson as a "fervent white supremacist" who foiled Reconstruction,[120] whereas Sean Wilentz wrote that Johnson "actively sided with former Confederates" in his attempts to derail it.[122] Accordingly, Johnson is today among those commonly mentioned among the worst presidents in U.S. history.[121]

According to Glenn W. LaFantasie, Professor of Civil War History at Western Kentucky University, "Johnson is a particular favorite for the bottom of the pile because of his impeachment, despite his acquittal, and also due to his mishandling of Reconstruction policy, his inept dealings with his Cabinet and Congress, his bristling personality and his sense of self-importance. He once suggested that God saw fit to have Lincoln assassinated so that he could become president. A Northern senator averred that 'Andrew Johnson was the queerest character that ever occupied the White House.' " [123]

See also


Primary sources


  1. ^ "American President: Andrew Johnson: Family Life". Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. Retrieved May 26, 2009. 
  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. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ National Park Service Questionnaire
  5. ^ Trefousse, p,17.
  6. ^ Trefousse, p.18.
  7. ^ Trefousse, p.20.
  8. ^ Trefousse, p,23.
  9. ^ Trefousse, p.21.
  10. ^ Trefousse, pp,24–26.
  11. ^ Trefousse, pp. 27-29
  12. ^ Trefousse, p.35.
  13. ^ Trefousse, p.36
  14. ^ Trefousse, p.36.
  15. ^ Trefousse, p.38.
  16. ^ Trefousse, p.40,42.
  17. ^ Trefousse, p.41.
  18. ^ Trefousse, p.43.
  19. ^ Andrew Johnson at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  20. ^ Trefousse, p.46–47.
  21. ^ Trefousse, p.45.
  22. ^ Trefousse, p.46.
  23. ^ a b Trefousse, p.53.
  24. ^ Trefousse, p.56.
  25. ^ Trefousse, p.57.
  26. ^ Trefousse, p.58.
  27. ^ Trefousse, pp.61–63.
  28. ^ a b Trefousse, p.76.
  29. ^ Trefousse, p.69–71.
  30. ^ Trefousse, p.73.
  31. ^ Trefousse, p.74–75.
  32. ^ Trefousse, p.75.
  33. ^ Trefousse, p.77.
  34. ^ a b Trefousse, p.78.
  35. ^ Trefousse, p.79.
  36. ^ Trefousse, p.81.
  37. ^ Trefousse, p.80.
  38. ^ Trefousse, p.82.
  39. ^ Trefousse, pp.84–85.
  40. ^ Trefousse, p.88.
  41. ^ Trefousse, p.89.
  42. ^ Trefousse, p.91.
  43. ^ Trefousse, p.92.
  44. ^ Trefousse, p.95–97.
  45. ^ Trefousse, p.99.
  46. ^ Trefousse, pp.103–104.
  47. ^ Trefousse, p.106
  48. ^ Trefousse, pp.105-106.
  49. ^ Trefousse, p.111.
  50. ^ Trefousse, p.121.
  51. ^ Trefousse, p.114.
  52. ^ Trefousse, p.112.
  53. ^ Trefousse, pp.123–126.
  54. ^ Trefousse, p.131.
  55. ^ Trefousse, p.134.
  56. ^ Trefousse, p.136.
  57. ^ Trefousse, p.138.
  58. ^ Trefousse, p.65.
  59. ^ Trefousse, pp.140-148.
  60. ^ Trefousse, p.148.
  61. ^ Trefousse, p.151.
  62. ^ Trefousse, p.153.
  63. ^ Trefousse, p.154.
  64. ^ Trefousse, p.162.
  65. ^ Trefousse, p.164.
  66. ^ Trefousse, p.165.
  67. ^ Trefousse, p.166.
  68. ^ Trefousse, pp.168–170.
  69. ^ Trefousse, p.172.
  70. ^ Patton p 126
  71. ^ Sledge pg. 1071–1072
  72. ^ Schweikart and Allen, p.343.
  73. ^ Trefousse, p.186.
  74. ^ Trefousse, p.190.
  75. ^ Trefousse, pp.188–189.
  76. ^ Trefousse, p.191.
  77. ^ Trefousse, pp.194–195.
  78. ^ Trefousse, p.207.
  79. ^ Trefousse, p.210.
  80. ^ Trefousse, p.211.
  81. ^ Trefousse, p.215.
  82. ^ Trefousse, pp.215–216.
  83. ^ Trefousse, pp.234–235.
  84. ^ Trefousse, p.216.
  85. ^ Trefousse, p.217.
  86. ^ Trefousse, p.225–226.
  87. ^ Trefousse, p.235.
  88. ^ Trefousse, pp.240–241.
  89. ^ Rhodes, History 6:68
  90. ^ Trefousse, p.236.
  91. ^ Trefousse, pp.245–247.
  92. ^ Trefousse, p.252.
  93. ^ Trefousse, pp.253–254.
  94. ^ Trefousse, pp.256–257.
  95. ^ Trefousse, p.258.
  96. ^ Andrew Johnson Cleveland Speech (September 3, 1866)
  97. ^ Trefousse, pp.271.
  98. ^ Rhodes, James Ford (1904). History of the United States from the compromise of 1850 to the final restoration of home rule at the South in 1877. Macmillan Co.. p. 589. 
  99. ^ Trefousse, pp.278.
  100. ^ Trefousse, pp.281.
  101. ^ Trefousse, pp.288.
  102. ^ Trefousse, p.310.
  103. ^ Trefousse, pp.291.
  104. ^ Trefousse, pp.302–3.
  105. ^ Trefousse, p.306.
  106. ^ Trefousse, p.315.
  107. ^ Trefousse, p.316.
  108. ^ Trefousse, p.316.
  109. ^ Trefousse, p.319.
  110. ^ Trefousse, p.323.
  111. ^ "The Trial of Andrew Johnson, 1868".
  112. ^ "Andrew Johnson Trial: The Consciences of Seven Republicans Save Johnson".
  113. ^ The other three presidents are William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor and Jimmy Carter.
  114. ^ Trefousse, p.270.
  115. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2008. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  116. ^ Furs and fish were important but gold was not discovered in Alaska until 1880, 13 years after the purchase and oil was not discovered until 1968.
  117. ^ Hereward Senior, The last invasion of Canada: the Fenian raids, 1866-1870 (1991)
  118. ^ a b United States Senate: Death of Andrew Johnson
  119. ^ Highly favorable were Winston (1928), Stryker (1929), Milton (1930), and Claude Bowers, The Tragic Era (1929).
  120. ^ a b c d Foner, Eric (December 3, 2006). "He's The Worst Ever". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 15, 2008. 
  121. ^ 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.
  122. ^ The Worst President in History?, Sean Wilentz, Rolling Stone, April 21, 2006; accessed December 15, 2008.
  123. ^ Lafantasie, Glenn (February 21, 2011) Who's the worst president of them all?,

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