Presidents: Andrew Johnson

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Following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, his Vice President Andrew Johnson became president. President Johnson oversaw the reconstruction period following

young Andrew Johnson

the Civil War. He was also the first President to be impeached.

Andrew Johnson was born on December 29, 1808 in a log cabin in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was the youngest of three children born to Jacob and Mary McDonough Johnson.

When Andrew was three years old, his father died a short time after rescuing three drowning men. His mother worked washing laundry for families to support her family. She eventually remarried.

Johnson developed a lifelong love for learning where he began apprenticing as a tailor at the age of ten. He was bound to apprentice for James Selby until the age of twenty-one, but he and his brother ran away at the age of fifteen. A bounty was placed on the boys and Andrew later returned to try and buy out his apprenticeship to no avail.

Johnson settled in Greeneville, Tennessee where he worked as a tailor. In 1827, at the age of eighteen, he married Eliza McCardle. The couple would have five children together.

Johnson was a voracious reader and his wife taught him mathematical and writing skills.

In 1829, he organized a municipal election in Greeneville. In 1831, he took part in passing a bill on slavery and in 1834 he was elected as mayor of Greeneville.

Andrew Johnson

By this time he had become a strong and prolific public speaker. He joined the Tennessee Militia and attained the rank of colonel.

He then was elected to the legislature in Tennessee. In 1841, he was elected to the Tennessee Senate. Around this time he sold his successful tailoring business to concentrate on politic. He also acquired a large amount of real estate.

In 1853, he became Governor of Tennessee and served for two terms.

Johnson is said to always have been “impeccably tailored” and treat everyone the same “not making him forget to be kind to the humblest citizen”.

In 1857, he became a U.S. Senator and arrived in Washington, D.C. without his wife, who was often ill, or the rest of his family.

He returned home when Tennessee succeeded from the nation. He became the only member from a seceded state to remain in the U.S. Senate. It is said that he had “Lincoln’s ear” in the early months of the war.

In March 1862, Lincoln appointed him as military governor of Tennessee. In 1863, his son Charles died when he was thrown from his horse and killed while serving as a surgeon in the war.

Andrew Johnson

In 1864, when Abraham Lincoln ran for re-election, Andrew Johnson emerged as his running mate. Andrew Johnson was sworn in as Vice President on March 4, 1865.

On the morning of April 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln succumbed to the injuries from an assassins bullet the night before. Andrew Johnson was sworn in as president later that morning. He sought all and had executed all those involved with the assassination attempt. He also gained a reputation as “being tough on the south”.

The plans for reconstruction fell on the shoulders of President Johnson to figure out. However, by 1866 tensions began to arise between the president and congress.

Tensions continued to rise, including in his own cabinet, and President Johnson was impeached in December 1867. The trial began on March 5, 1868, and lasted for three months. He was eventually acquitted.

Andrew Johnson lost the bid by his party for re-election. In his final days he issued a final amnesty covering all who had served in the Confederacy, including Jefferson Davis.

There were many hard feelings between Johnson and President-elect Grant and Johnson refused to attend the inauguration.

Andrew Johnson

Upon leaving Washington, he returned to Greeneville, TN for the first time in eight years.
In 1869, his son, Robert, committed suicide. He sought a return to the U.S. Senate but was defeated. In 1873, he contracted cholera, but recovered. However, he lost a small fortune when the First National Bank of Washington went under.

In January 1875, he narrowly won the vote to return to the U.S. Senate. His comeback garnered national attention with the St. Louis Republican calling it, “the most magnificent personal triumph which the history of American politics can show”. Johnson remains the only former president to serve in the Senate.

In the only speech he gave in the senate, he concluded his speech, “may God bless this people and God save the Constitution.”

After returning home to Tennessee, he traveled to Ohio to give a speech. He stopped to visit with his daughters and suffered a stroke. He died on July 30, 1875 at the age of 66. His burial ground was later dedicated as the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery.

President Johnson has mainly been remembered for his role in the Reconstruction during his time as president.


17th President of the United States
(April 15, 1865 to March 3, 1869)Nickname: None listed.

Born: December 29, 1808, in Raleigh, North Carolina
Died: July 31, 1875, in Carter’s Station, Tennessee

Father: Jacob Johnson
Mother: Mary McDonough Johnson
Married: Eliza McCardle (1810-1876), on May 5, 1827
Children: Martha Johnson (1828-1901); Charles Johnson (1830-63); Mary Johnson (1832-83); Robert Johnson (1834-69); Andrew Johnson (1852-79)

Religion: No formal affiliation
Education: No formal education
Occupation: Tailor, public official
Political Party: Democrati

  • Served as Alderman of Greeneville, Tennessee, 1830-33
  • Elected Mayor of Greeneville, Tennessee, 1834
  • Member of Tennessee State Legislature, 1835-43
  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1843-53
  • Governor of Tennessee, 1853-57
  • United States Senator, 1857-62
  • Military Governor of Tennessee, 1862-65
  • Vice President, 1865
  • United States Senator, 1875

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year

1865 President Lincoln is assasinated and Andrew Johnson is sworn in as the 17th President of the United States

1865 President Johnson appoints provisional governors for seven of the former Confederate states

1865 President Johnson presents his First Annual Message to Congress

1866 The University of North Carolina awards President Johnson an Honorary Doctorate

1866 President Johnson holds a reception at the White House for Queen Emma of the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii. This was the first time a queen had visited the White House.

1866 To try to persuade the public to elect a Congress sympathetic with his plan of reconstruction, President Johnson tours the Northeast and Midwest in his “Swing Around the Circle” campaign. The attempt fails.

1867 President Johnson vetoes the Tenure of Office Act and the Military Reconstruction Bills

1867 President Johnson suspends Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton

1867 The Senate approves the purchase of Alaska from Russia

1868 President Johnson removes Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War

1868 President Johnson is impeached by the House of Representatives on February 24th.

1868 President Johnson is acquitted by the Senate on May 16th & 26th.

1869 Andrew Johnson and his family return to Greeneville

1808 Born on December 29, 1808 in Raleigh, North Carolina

1827 Andrew Johnson married Eliza McCardle Johnson on May 17, 1827. They had 5 children

1830 Indian Removal Act
Oregon Trail opens

1831 Nat Turner’s revolt

1832 Black Hawk War
Seminole War begins
Department of Indian Affairs established

1830-33 Served as Alderman of Greeneville, Tennessee, 1830-33

1834 Elected Mayor of Greeneville, Tennessee, 1834

1835-43 Member of Tennessee State Legislature, 1835-43

1835 Texas War for Independence begins

1837 Battle of the Alamo

1838 1838-1839: The Trail of Tears

1843-53 Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1843-53

1846 Mexican-American War begins.

1853-57 Governor of Tennessee, 1853-57

1857-62 United States Senator, 1857-62

1859 Oregon admission to the US
Harper’s Ferry Raid

1860 Pony Express begins

1861 The American Civil War, also called the War between the States, was waged from April 1861 until April 1865. The 4 year war was between the federal government of the United States and 11 Southern states that asserted their right to secede (withdraw) from the Union. Abraham Lincoln was the central figure of the American Civil War. Andrew Johnson served in the Civil War.

1862-65 Military Governor of Tennessee, 1862-65

1863 Battle of Gettysburg

1864 Sand Creek Massacre

1865 Abraham Lincoln assassinated
United States Civil War ends

1865 Vice President, 1865 (under Lincoln)

1865 1865 Andrew Johnson became the President of the United States of America

1865 During his presidency he was involved in Reconstruction (1865–1877), the system of bringing the Southern states back into the Unites States after the Civil War.
Thirteenth Amendment Ratified (1865)

1867 Alaska Purchased (1867)

1868 Impeachment Proceedings (1868) Johnson breached the Tenure of Office Act by removing Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, from his cabinet without the consent of Congress.
Fourteenth Amendment Ratified (1868)

1869 1869 The Presidency of Andrew Johnson ended

1866 Civil Rights Act of 1866
Ku Klux Klan founded

1867 Alaska Purchase from Russia

1875 United States Senator, 1875

1875 Andrew Johnson died of a stroke on July 31, 1875 near Carter’s Station, Tennessee.





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