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Monday, 28 September 2015

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson was born in a log cabin in Raleigh, North Carolina, on December 29, 1808, to town constable Jacob Johnson and Mary ("Polly") McDonough.

Johnson's boyhood home  Mikehelms at English Wikipedia -

Jacob Johnson died of an apparent heart attack while ringing the town bell, shortly after rescuing three drowning men when his son Andrew was three. Polly Johnson worked as a washerwoman and became the sole support of her family.

Unable to attend school, young Andrew was hired out to a tailor at an early age. He learned the trade but was so unhappy at his job that he ran away two years later. The tailor put out a reward of $10 for their capture, but they were never apprehended. Johnson later became a successful tailor.

Johnson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1843, became Governor of Tennessee in 1853, and was elected to the Senate in 1857.

When Tennessee and ten other Southern slave states declared they were no longer part of the United States, Johnson was the only member from such a state to not quit his seat in the U.S. Congress.

The only U.S. president never to have gone to school, Andrew Johnson was later taught to read by his wife, Eliza McCardle Johnson.

Andrew Johnson is the only tailor ever to be president. As president, he would typically stop by a tailor shop to say hello. He would wear only the suits that he made himself.


As Southern states, including Tennessee, seceded to form the Confederacy, Johnson remained firmly with the Union. As a War Democrat in 1864, he was a logical choice as running mate for President Abraham Lincoln, who wished to send a message of national unity.

Johnson was sworn in as vice president in March 1865. He made a name for himself in Washington as vice president-elect when he arrived inebriated at the inauguration. Johnson had been suffering from typhoid fever and feeling weak, he self-medicated with some whiskey. He slurred his way through a drunken speech. When Johnson tried to swear in the new senators, he became so confused that he had to turn the job over to a Senate clerk.

Six weeks after being sworn in vice president, the assassination of Lincoln made Johnson president. Congress was then run by Republicans, and after Lincoln's assassination, they wanted stricter terms than Johnson did for the Reconstruction of the Southern states that had rebelled. As a result, he vetoed 29 bills passed by Congress, and is the president to have the most vetoes overridden (15) by Congress.

When in 1868, Andrew Johnson tried to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in possible violation of the Tenure of Office Act, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, and avoided removal from office by one vote. Johnson was the first president to be impeached.

Johnson sought nomination by the 1868 Democratic National Convention in New York in July 1868, but his support fell away as the ballots passed. On the 22nd ballot, former New York governor Horatio Seymour was nominated.

On March 3, 1869, Johnson hosted a large public reception at the White House on his final full day in office.

Johnson died of a stroke on July 31, 1875 at the age of 66. He was buried with his body wrapped in an American flag and a copy of the U.S. Constitution placed under his head, according to his wishes in Greeneville, Tennessee.

Senator Andrew Johnson in 1875 (age 66)

The burial ground was dedicated as the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in 1906, and with his home and tailor's shop, is part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded the assassinated Abraham Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson, who like Andrew Johnson was a southerner, succeeded the assassinated John F. Kennedy and was born in 1908.

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