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Andrew Johnson

Updated May 15, 2019

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Andrew Johnson 17th President of the United States Compiled & Presented by Someone Table of Contents Section 1- Early Life Birthplace & Family Apprenticeship Andrew moves to Tennessee Section 2- Rise to Power Debate Team Mayor of Greeneville State Legislature U.S. House of Representatives Governor of Tennessee U.S. Senate A Symbol of Southern Unionism Vice-President 17th President of the United States Section 3- Johnson and the Reconstruction Ten Percent Plan Virginia Plan North Carolina Plan Amnesty Proclamation Section 4- Impeachment? The Articles One Vote Section 5- Life after the Presidency Section 1- Early Life Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on December 29, 1808.

His father, Jacob Johnson, worked at a local tavern as a handyman. His mother, Mary McDonough Johnson, was a maid in the same tavern. His father died in early 1812, as a consequence of rescuing two wealthy townsmen from an icy stream. His reward was burial in an unmarked grave in a potters field. Andrews mother took in washing and sewing to support her family, and married a poor man named Turner Daughtry.

Needless to say, Daughtry merely increased the poor familys destitution. In 1822, Andrew and his older brother, William, were apprenticed to a Raleigh Tailor named James Selby. As he learned the trade, he was taught the basics of reading by a physician and a preacher that he had been lucky enough to befriend. However, in June of 1824, Andrew and William ran away to South Carolina, fearful of arrest for having thrown stones at the house of an old woman. In the fall of 1825 Andrew returned to Raleigh and asked his master to allow him to finish his apprenticeship.

Shelby refused. Andrew then went to Tennessee. He later opened a tailor shop in Rutledge. Johnson moved to Greeneville in March 1827. He married Eliza McCardle two months later.

Section 2- Rise to Power Andrew first entered politics by joining a debate society. After that and some less formal conversations with his customers, it was an easy step into politics. He was elected mayor of Greeneville in 1831. He was successful there and in 1835 he went to the state legislature. He made a fatal mistake by opposing a bond measure that would build roads in Greeneville. Needless to say, he was retired from the legislature in the next election.

Johnson went back to the legislature in 1839. He joined the Democratic Party the next year. In 1842, he successfully ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Johnson served five consecutive terms, and was finally turned out of his seat in 1852 when the Whigs received control of the legislature. This did not stop him.

In 1853, Andrew rallied and won the race for Governor of Tennessee. He retained the office in the election two years later. He was sent back to the House in 1857. He was disappointed when he did not get the vice-presidential nomination in the 1852 election. He fought his way into the Senate.

After the secession of the South, he became the only senator from a rebel state to remain in office. He became the symbol of Southern Unionism, and therefore was deemed a traitor to his section. His strongest support was with the Republicans. He became military governor of Tennessee after the rebels were driven out in 1862. In 1865, he was on the Republican ticket with Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln was assassinated shortly after the inauguration. Andrew Johnson became the 17th President of the United States. Section 3 Johnson and the Reconstruction Johnson believed that constitutionally, the rebel states had never been separated from the union. As such, He did not require a long grueling road back to statehood the Radical Republicans were yelling for. He had four parts to his overall Reconstruction plan.

The first part was the Ten Percent Plan. It stated that ten percent of all citizens were to take an oath of loyalty to the Union before they were allowed to set up a state government or take place in federal elections. This did not sit well with the Radicals. Lincoln developed the original idea two weeks before the assassination. Johnson cut it down and only applied it to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

The second plan affected only Virginia. It called for the citizens of Virginia to recognize the Union regime already in place as its state government. The North Carolina plan pertained specifically to North Carolina but showed the pattern for the rest of the states not provided for by the Ten Percent Plan. This plan stated that the president was to appoint a provisional governor.

The governors duty was to call a state convention to draw up a new state constitution and establish a republican form of government. After this, the state resumed its former status. On May 29, 1865, Johnson made the Amnesty Proclamation. This proclamation pardoned all participants in the rebellion.

It also restored their property (with the exception of slaves and that property that was legally confiscated). It also required them to take an oath of loyalty to the Union. However, this excluded fourteen groups of people, mainly those that were upper civilian or military leaders of the Confederacy and people owning more than $20,000 in taxable property. These individuals would have to seek their pardon from the president.

Section 4- Impeachment? On February 24, 1868, The House of Representatives voted 126 to 47 to impeach Johnson. On March 2, They adopted eleven articles of impeachment. The important ones were the first and eleventh articles. The first was that he had violated the Tenure of Office Act (which stated that the President could not remove any official without Congresss approval) by dismissing Edwin Stanton from his position of Secretary of War.

The last was that Johnson had conspired against Congress and the Constitution. On March 13, the impeachment trial began. As the trial took place, most of the people realized that the trial was mainly an attempt by the Radicals to punish Johnson, and that they were not truly interested in justice. Some of the Radicals had gone so far as to try to accuse Johnson of murdering Lincoln. This heavily weakened their position. Johnson was so disgusted that he did not even appear at the trial.

Conviction requires a two-thirds vote, or 36 votes from the 54 members of the Senate. Acquittal only required 19 votes. Johnson felt he could count on three Conservatives and nine Democrats. In order to be acquitted, Johnson needed the support of seven of the 12 doubtful Republicans. The vote for the eleventh article (the one the Radicals thought had the best chance) took place on May 16. Johnson had the support of seven doubtfuls.

He was saved by one vote. Section 5- Life after the Presidency Johnson left the White House in 1869. He tried to remain in politics and ran for Congress in 1869 and 1872. He was unsuccessful. However, he was elected in 1874.

Andrew Johnson became the only former president to serve as a senator. Andrew returned to Tennessee. He often visited his daughter, Martha Patterson, at Carter Station. It was on one of these visits that he suffered a severe paralyzing stroke and died a few days later. His wife died six months later.

Eliza was buried alongside her husband. Bibliography The Presidency of Andrew Johnson Albert Castel The Regents Press of Kansas Kansas City, Kansas Copyright 1979 World Book Encyclopedia Johnson, Andrew David Herbert Donald Chicago, Illinois Copyright 1980 Volume XI PG 114-18.

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