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Statue of Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States, taking over after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. He handled reconstruction poorly and was the first president to be Impeached, but was acquitted for some reason.

Rough Start

1865 for Andrew Johnson started out rough. On the day he was sworn in as Vice President, he was hungover. Stupidly, he asked the outgoing Vice President for another drink. Taking two drinks, he said "I need all the strength for the occasion I can have."

Johnson delivered a rambling address as Lincoln, the Congress, and dignitaries looked on. Almost incoherent at times, he finally meandered to a halt, whereupon Hamlin hastily swore him in as vice president. [1]

Then a month later, he heard that Lincoln had been shot in the head.

Racism

Johnson didn’t believe that black people should be slaves and oversaw the passing of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that abolished slavery permanently, making it a DEMOCRAT who freed the slaves not the Republican Lincoln. (Well, maybe it was neither, since both Lincoln and Johnson were actually elected in 1864 as National Union Party candidates, but that's a complication to a complicated story.) During the American Civil War also he had worked to help end slavery with Lincoln. Despite this Johnson believed that black people were inferior to whites, as did Lincoln, and institutionalized discrimination against black Americans including denying them the vote. [1] Or, perhaps, both men believed that education was necessary to prepare freed slaves and society for extending the franchise. Universal white male enfranchisement was just coming into practice at that time. Incidentally Johnson himself was unfit to govern and as mentioned above narrowly escaped impeachment, or maybe he was fit to govern, Lincoln himself chose him. It was a contentious time, and points of view varied.

Fun section

We like some jokes in Liberapedia.

He and Lyndon B. Johnson show when running for president in the 60s of their century. Don't choose a VP named Johnson or you'll get shot. Makes sense, right?

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Worked his way up from poverty
  • Was a champion for the “common folk”

Cons

  • Anti-abolitionist
  • Alcoholic (was drunk when inaugurated as Vice President)
  • Extremely racist
  • Mishandling of reconstruction
  • Attempted to veto the Civil Rights Act of 1866
  • Alienated both the people and Congress
  • First President to be impeached

References

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