157 Facts About Andrew Johnson


Andrew Johnson was the 17th president of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869.


Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, as he was vice president at that time.


Andrew Johnson favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union without protection for the newly freed people who were formerly enslaved.


Andrew Johnson was acquitted in the Senate by one vote.


Andrew Johnson was apprenticed as a tailor and worked in several frontier towns before settling in Greeneville, Tennessee.


Andrew Johnson served as alderman and mayor there before being elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835.


Andrew Johnson became governor of Tennessee for four years, and was elected by the legislature to the Senate in 1857.

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Southern slave states seceded to form the Confederate States of America, including Tennessee, but Andrew Johnson remained firmly with the Union.


Andrew Johnson was the only sitting senator from a Confederate state who did not resign his seat upon learning of his state's secession.


In 1864, Andrew Johnson was a logical choice as running mate for Lincoln, who wished to send a message of national unity in his re-election campaign, and became vice president after a victorious election in 1864.


Andrew Johnson implemented his own form of Presidential Reconstruction, a series of proclamations directing the seceded states to hold conventions and elections to reform their civil governments.


Andrew Johnson vetoed their bills, and Congressional Republicans overrode him, setting a pattern for the remainder of his presidency.


Andrew Johnson opposed the Fourteenth Amendment which gave citizenship to former slaves.


Andrew Johnson persisted in trying to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, but ended up being impeached by the House of Representatives and narrowly avoided conviction in the Senate.


Andrew Johnson did not win the 1868 Democratic presidential nomination and left office the following year.


Andrew Johnson returned to Tennessee after his presidency and gained some vindication when he was elected to the Senate in 1875, making him the only president to afterwards serve in the Senate.


Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, on December 29,1808, to Jacob Johnson and Mary McDonough, a laundress.


Andrew Johnson had a brother William, four years his senior, and an older sister Elizabeth, who died in childhood.


Andrew Johnson's birth in a two-room shack was a political asset in the mid-19th century, and he would frequently remind voters of his humble origins.


Jacob Andrew Johnson was a poor man, as had been his father, William Andrew Johnson, but he became town constable of Raleigh before marrying and starting a family.


Polly Andrew Johnson worked as a washerwoman and became the sole support of her family.


Andrew Johnson's occupation was then looked down on, as it often took her into other homes unaccompanied.


Polly Andrew Johnson eventually remarried to a man named Turner Doughtry, who was as poor as she was.


Andrew Johnson's mother apprenticed her son William to a tailor, James Selby.


Andrew Johnson became an apprentice in Selby's shop at age ten and was legally bound to serve until his 21st birthday.

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Andrew Johnson lived with his mother for part of his service, and one of Selby's employees taught him rudimentary literacy skills.


Andrew Johnson's education was augmented by citizens who would come to Selby's shop to read to the tailors as they worked.


Andrew Johnson was not happy at James Selby's, and after about five years, both he and his brother ran away.


Andrew Johnson found work quickly, met his first love, Mary Wood, and made her a quilt as a gift.


Andrew Johnson returned to Raleigh, hoping to buy out his apprenticeship, but could not come to terms with Selby.


Andrew Johnson left North Carolina for Tennessee, traveling mostly on foot.


Andrew Johnson then worked as a tailor in Columbia, Tennessee, but was called back to Raleigh by his mother and stepfather, who saw limited opportunities there and who wished to emigrate west.


Andrew Johnson fell in love with the town at first sight, and when he became prosperous purchased the land where he had first camped and planted a tree in commemoration.


In Greeneville, Andrew Johnson established a successful tailoring business in the front of his home.


Andrew Johnson taught him mathematics skills and tutored him to improve his writing.


Shy and retiring by nature, Eliza Andrew Johnson usually remained in Greeneville during Andrew Johnson's political rise.


Andrew Johnson was not often seen during her husband's presidency; their daughter Martha usually served as official hostess.


Andrew Johnson's tailoring business prospered during the early years of the marriage, enabling him to hire help and giving him the funds to invest profitably in real estate.


Andrew Johnson later boasted of his talents as a tailor, "my work never ripped or gave way".


In 1843, Andrew Johnson purchased his first slave, Dolly, who was 14 years old at the time.


Notably, he received some monetary compensation for his labors and negotiated with Andrew Johnson to receive a tract of land which Andrew Johnson gave him for free in 1867.


In 1857, Andrew Johnson purchased Henry, who was 13 at the time and would later accompany the Johnson family to the White House.


Andrew Johnson freed his slaves on August 8,1863; they remained with him as paid servants.


Andrew Johnson helped organize a mechanics' ticket in the 1829 Greeneville municipal election.


Andrew Johnson was elected town alderman, along with his friends Blackston McDannel and Mordecai Lincoln.

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The constitution was submitted for a public vote, and Andrew Johnson spoke widely for its adoption; the successful campaign provided him with statewide exposure.


In 1835, Andrew Johnson made a bid for election to the "floater" seat which Greene County shared with neighboring Washington County in the Tennessee House of Representatives.


Andrew Johnson attained the rank of colonel, though while an enrolled member, Johnson was fined for an unknown offense.


The Whig Party had organized in opposition to Jackson, fearing the concentration of power in the Executive Branch of the government; Andrew Johnson differed from the Whigs as he opposed more than minimal government spending and spoke against aid for the railroads, while his constituents hoped for improvements in transportation.


Andrew Johnson became a strong advocate of the Democratic Party, noted for his oratory, and in an era when public speaking both informed the public and entertained it, people flocked to hear him.


In 1840, Andrew Johnson was selected as a presidential elector for Tennessee, giving him more statewide publicity.


Andrew Johnson was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 1841, where he served a two-year term.


Andrew Johnson had achieved financial success in his tailoring business, but sold it to concentrate on politics.


Andrew Johnson had acquired additional real estate, including a larger home and a farm, and among his assets numbered eight or nine slaves.


Andrew Johnson engaged in a number of political maneuvers to gain Democratic support, including the displacement of the Whig postmaster in Greeneville, and defeated Jonesborough lawyer John A Aiken by 5,495 votes to 4,892.


Andrew Johnson advocated for the interests of the poor, maintained an anti-abolitionist stance, argued for only limited spending by the government and opposed protective tariffs.


Andrew Johnson believed, as did many Southern Democrats, that the Constitution protected private property, including slaves, and thus prohibited the federal and state governments from abolishing slavery.


Andrew Johnson won a second term in 1845 against William G Brownlow, presenting himself as the defender of the poor against the aristocracy.


Andrew Johnson introduced for the first time his Homestead Bill, to grant 160 acres to people willing to settle the land and gain title to it.


Andrew Johnson supported the Democratic candidate, former Michigan senator Lewis Cass.


Andrew Johnson is very vindictive and perverse in his temper and conduct.


Andrew Johnson defeated his opponent, Nathaniel G Taylor, in August 1849, with a greater margin of victory than in previous campaigns.


Andrew Johnson proposed adoption of a rule allowing election of a Speaker by a plurality; some weeks later others took up a similar proposal, and Democrat Howell Cobb was elected.


Andrew Johnson voted for all the provisions except for the abolition of slavery in the nation's capital.


Andrew Johnson pressed resolutions for constitutional amendments to provide for popular election of senators and of the president, and limiting the tenure of federal judges to 12 years.

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In 1852, Andrew Johnson managed to get the House to pass his Homestead Bill, but it failed in the Senate.


Andrew Johnson won the election by 63,413 votes to 61,163; some votes for him were cast in return for his promise to support Whig Nathaniel Taylor for his old seat in Congress.


Tennessee's governor had little power: Andrew Johnson could propose legislation but not veto it, and most appointments were made by the Whig-controlled legislature.


Andrew Johnson succeeded in getting the appointments he wanted in return for his endorsement of John Bell, a Whig, for one of the state's US Senate seats.


Gentry was more equivocal on the alcohol question, and had gained the support of the Know Nothings, a group Andrew Johnson portrayed as a secret society.


Andrew Johnson was unexpectedly victorious, albeit with a narrower margin than in 1853.


Andrew Johnson was never a major contender; the nomination fell to former Pennsylvania senator James Buchanan.


Andrew Johnson decided not to seek a third term as governor, with an eye towards election to the US Senate.


Andrew Johnson gained high office due to his proven record as a man popular among the small farmers and self-employed tradesmen who made up much of Tennessee's electorate.


Andrew Johnson called them the "plebeians"; he was less popular among the planters and lawyers who led the state Democratic Party, but none could match him as a vote-getter.


Andrew Johnson came to Washington as usual without his wife and family; Eliza would visit Washington only once during Johnson's first time as senator, in 1860.


Andrew Johnson immediately set about introducing the Homestead Bill in the Senate, but as most senators who supported it were Northern, the matter became caught up in suspicions over the slavery issue.


Andrew Johnson continued his opposition to spending, chairing a committee to control it.


Andrew Johnson argued against funding to build infrastructure in Washington, DC, stating that it was unfair to expect state citizens to pay for the city's streets, even if it was the seat of government.


Andrew Johnson opposed spending money for troops to put down the revolt by the Mormons in Utah Territory, arguing for temporary volunteers as the United States should not have a standing army.


Andrew Johnson, by this time, was a wealthy man who owned 14 slaves.


Andrew Johnson hoped that he would be a compromise candidate for the presidential nomination as the Democratic Party tore itself apart over the slavery question.


The party split, with Northerners backing Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas while Southerners, including Andrew Johnson, supported Vice President Breckinridge for president.


Andrew Johnson returned home when his state took up the issue of secession.


Andrew Johnson demanded loyalty oaths from public officials, and shut down all newspapers owned by Confederate sympathizers.

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Andrew Johnson undertook the defense of Nashville as well as he could, though the city was continually harassed by cavalry raids led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest.


Andrew Johnson reluctantly supported efforts to enlist former slaves into the Union Army, feeling that African-Americans should perform menial tasks to release white Americans to do the fighting.


Andrew Johnson was named on the second ballot with 491 votes to Hamlin's 17 and eight for Dickinson; the nomination was made unanimous.


Andrew Johnson sought to boost his chances in Tennessee while reestablishing civil government by making the loyalty oath even more restrictive, in that voters would now have to swear that they opposed making a settlement with the Confederacy.


Congress refused to count Tennessee's electoral votes, but Lincoln and Andrew Johnson did not need them, having won in most states that had voted, and easily secured the election.


Andrew Johnson hoped to remain in Nashville to complete his task, but was told by Lincoln's advisers that he could not stay, but would be sworn in with Lincoln.


Trefousse states that Andrew Johnson wanted to "induce Lincoln not to be too lenient with traitors"; Gordon-Reed agrees.


Andrew Johnson's demeanor was described by the newspapers as "solemn and dignified".


At noon, Andrew Johnson conducted his first Cabinet meeting in the Treasury Secretary's office, and asked all members to remain in their positions.


Andrew Johnson presided with dignity over Lincoln's funeral ceremonies in Washington, before his predecessor's body was sent home to Springfield, Illinois, for interment.


Further, Andrew Johnson placed a $100,000 bounty on Confederate President Davis, then a fugitive, which gave Andrew Johnson the reputation of a man who would be tough on the South.


Andrew Johnson sought a speedy restoration of the states, on the grounds that they had never truly left the Union, and thus should again be recognized once loyal citizens formed a government.


Andrew Johnson feared that the freedmen, many of whom were still economically bound to their former masters, might vote at their direction.


Andrew Johnson was initially left to devise a Reconstruction policy without legislative intervention, as Congress was not due to meet again until December 1865.


Andrew Johnson would have preferred that the conflict arise over the legislative efforts to enfranchise African Americans in the District of Columbia, a proposal that had been defeated overwhelmingly in an all-white referendum.


Andrew Johnson ushered through Congress a bill extending the Freedmen's Bureau beyond its scheduled abolition in 1867, and the first Civil Rights Bill, to grant citizenship to the freedmen.


Trumbull met several times with Andrew Johnson and was convinced the President would sign the measures.


Additionally, both of Trumbull's bills were unpopular among white Southerners, whom Andrew Johnson hoped to include in his new party.


Andrew Johnson vetoed the Freedman's Bureau bill on February 18,1866, to the delight of white Southerners and the puzzled anger of Republican legislators.


Andrew Johnson considered himself vindicated when a move to override his veto failed in the Senate the following day.

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Andrew Johnson believed that the Radicals would now be isolated and defeated and that the moderate Republicans would form behind him; he did not understand that Moderates wanted to see African Americans treated fairly.


On February 22,1866, Washington's Birthday, Andrew Johnson gave an impromptu speech to supporters who had marched to the White House and called for an address in honor of the first president.


When called upon by the crowd to say who they were, Andrew Johnson named Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, and abolitionist Wendell Phillips, and accused them of plotting his assassination.


The veto, often seen as a key mistake of Andrew Johnson's presidency, convinced moderates there was no hope of working with him.


Andrew Johnson called a convention of the National Union Party.


Republicans had returned to using their previous identifier; Andrew Johnson intended to use the discarded name to unite his supporters and gain election to a full term, in 1868.


Andrew Johnson campaigned vigorously, undertaking a public speaking tour, known as the "Swing Around the Circle".


Andrew Johnson blamed the Democrats for giving only lukewarm support to the National Union movement.


Andrew Johnson both admired and was exasperated by his War Secretary, who, in combination with General of the Army Grant, worked to undermine the president's Southern policy from within his own administration.


Andrew Johnson considered firing Stanton, but respected him for his wartime service as secretary.


Stanton, for his part, feared allowing Andrew Johnson to appoint his successor and refused to resign, despite his public disagreements with his president.


The new Congress met for a few weeks in March 1867, then adjourned, leaving the House Committee on the Judiciary behind, tasked in the first impeachment inquiry against Andrew Johnson with reporting back to the full House whether there were grounds for Andrew Johnson to be impeached.


Andrew Johnson sought to pin down Stanton either as for, and thus endorsing Andrew Johnson's position, or against, showing himself to be opposed to his president and the rest of the Cabinet.


Andrew Johnson then suspended him pending the next meeting of Congress as permitted under the Tenure of Office Act; Grant agreed to serve as temporary replacement while continuing to lead the Army.


Grant, under protest, followed Andrew Johnson's order transferring Sheridan and another of the district commanders, Daniel Sickles, who had angered Andrew Johnson by firmly following Congress's plan.


The adverse results momentarily put a stop to Republican calls to impeach Andrew Johnson, who was elated by the elections.


Andrew Johnson notified Congress of Stanton's suspension and Grant's interim appointment.


Grant stepped aside over Andrew Johnson's objection, causing a complete break between them.


Andrew Johnson then dismissed Stanton and appointed Lorenzo Thomas to replace him.


Since Lincoln had appointed Stanton, the defense maintained Andrew Johnson had not violated the act, and argued that the President had the right to test the constitutionality of an act of Congress.

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Andrew Johnson promised to install the respected John Schofield as War Secretary.


Andrew Johnson came close with the Danish West Indies as Denmark agreed to sell and the local population approved the transfer in a plebiscite, but the Senate never voted on the treaty and it expired.


Andrew Johnson appointed nine Article III federal judges during his presidency, all to United States district courts; he did not appoint a justice to serve on the Supreme Court.


Andrew Johnson appointed his Greeneville crony, Samuel Milligan, to the United States Court of Claims, where he served from 1868 until his death in 1874.


In June 1866, Andrew Johnson signed the Southern Homestead Act into law, believing that the legislation would assist poor whites.


In June 1868, Andrew Johnson signed an eight-hour law passed by Congress that established an eight-hour workday for laborers and mechanics employed by the Federal Government.


Andrew Johnson sought nomination by the 1868 Democratic National Convention in New York in July 1868.


Andrew Johnson remained very popular among Southern whites, and boosted that popularity by issuing, just before the convention, a pardon ending the possibility of criminal proceedings against any Confederate not already indicted, meaning that only Davis and a few others still might face trial.


Andrew Johnson's support was mostly from the South, and fell away as the ballots passed.


Andrew Johnson sent Congress proposals for amendments to limit the president to a single six-year term and make the president and the Senate directly elected, and for term limits for judges.


Andrew Johnson still delayed as much as he could, but was required, in July 1868, to report the ratifications making the amendment part of the Constitution.


Nevertheless, Andrew Johnson regretted Grant's victory, in part because of their animus from the Stanton affair.


On Christmas Day 1868, Andrew Johnson issued a final amnesty, this one covering everyone, including Davis.


Andrew Johnson issued, in his final months in office, pardons for crimes, including one for Dr Samuel Mudd, controversially convicted of involvement in the Lincoln assassination and imprisoned in Fort Jefferson on Florida's Dry Tortugas.


Grant had made it known that he was unwilling to ride in the same carriage as Andrew Johnson, as was customary, and Andrew Johnson refused to go to the inauguration at all.


Andrew Johnson was honored with large public celebrations along the way, especially in Tennessee, where cities hostile to him during the war hung out welcome banners.


Andrew Johnson had arranged to purchase a large farm near Greeneville to live on after his presidency.


Some expected Andrew Johnson to run for Governor of Tennessee or for the Senate again, while others thought that he would become a railroad executive.


Andrew Johnson found Greeneville boring, and his private life was embittered by the suicide of his son Robert in 1869.


Andrew Johnson was seen as a likely victor in the Senate election, although hated by Radical Republicans, and by some Democrats because of his wartime activities.

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In 1872, there was a special election for an at-large congressional seat for Tennessee; Johnson initially sought the Democratic nomination, but when he saw that it would go to former Confederate general Benjamin F Cheatham, decided to run as an independent.


In 1873, Andrew Johnson contracted cholera during an epidemic but recovered; that year he lost about $73,000 when the First National Bank of Washington went under, though he was eventually repaid much of the sum.


Andrew Johnson began looking towards the next Senate election to take place in the legislature in early 1875.


Andrew Johnson began to woo the farmers' Grange movement; with his Jeffersonian leanings, he easily gained their support.


Andrew Johnson spoke throughout the state in his final campaign tour.


Andrew Johnson's comeback garnered national attention, with the St Louis Republican calling it "the most magnificent personal triumph which the history of American politics can show".


Andrew Johnson remains the only former president to serve in the Senate.


Andrew Johnson was buried with his body wrapped in an American flag and a copy of the US Constitution placed under his head, according to his wishes.


Andrew Johnson had intellectual force but it worked in a groove.


The resulting volumes, such as David Miller DeWitt's The Impeachment and Trial of President Andrew Johnson, presented him far more favorably than they did those who had sought to oust him.


In James Schouler's 1913 History of the Reconstruction Period, the author accused Rhodes of being "quite unfair to Andrew Johnson", though agreeing that the former president had created many of his own problems through inept political moves.


In short, rather than a boor, Andrew Johnson was a martyr; instead of a villain, a hero.