Andrew Johnson

Ally Armstrong

The early life of Andrew Johnson

(December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) Andrew Johnson was born in North Carolina. In 1827, at the age of 18, he married 16-year-old Eliza McCardle. The pair were married by Justice of the Peace Mordecai Lincoln, first cousin of Thomas Lincoln, whose son would become president. In 1840, Johnson was selected as a presidential elector for Tennessee, giving him more statewide publicity. This was the beginning of Johnson's political career.

Early presidential life

On the night of April 14, 1865, while spending an evening at Ford's Theater, in Washington, D.C., President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, and he died the next morning. Johnson was also a target on that fateful night, but his would-be assassin failed to show up. Three hours after Lincoln died, Andrew Johnson was sworn in as the 17th president of the United States. Johnson served from April 15, 1865 to March 4, 1869.

Political affiliation

In 1862 President Lincoln appointed Johnson Military Governor of Tennessee, and Johnson used the state as a laboratory for reconstruction. In 1864 the Republicans, contending that their National Union Party was for all loyal men, nominated Johnson, a Southerner and a Democrat, for Vice President.

Presidential overview

Johnson finished his term maintaining his opposition to Reconstruction and continuing his self-imposed role as protector of the white race. After leaving the White House, he took advantage of his excellent oratory skills and went on the speaking circuit. In 1874, he won election to the U.S. Senate for a second time. In his first speech after returning to the Senate, he spoke out in opposition to President Ulysses S. Grant's military intervention in Louisiana. Some historians view Andrew Johnson as the worst person who could have been president at the end of the Civil War. His racist views prevented him from making a satisfying peace. As president, he probably contributed to the national strife that followed the Civil War, and lost the opportunity to champion the rights of the disadvantaged.

Major presidential events

-Reconstruction (the system of bringing the Southern states back into the US)

-Alaska was purchased from Russia

-The 14th Amendment added to the Constitution

National opinion of Andrew Johnson

For the most part, historians view Andrew Johnson as the worst possible person to have served as President at the end of the American Civil War. Because of his gross incompetence in federal office and his incredible miscalculation of the extent of public support for his policies, Johnson is judged as a great failure in making a satisfying and just peace. He is viewed to have been a rigid, dictatorial racist who was unable to compromise or to accept a political reality at odds with his own ideas.

Quotes from Andrew Johnson

Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide.

The goal to strive for is a poor government but a rich people.

If I am shot at, I want no man to be in the way of the bullet.

It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.

There are no good laws but such as repeal other laws.