Andrew Johnson
17th President of the United States

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Table of Contents

Section 1- Early Life
Birthplace & Family
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
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 potter’s field. Andrew’s 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 family’s 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