Biographies >>US Presidents
President Andrew Johnson
was the 17th President of the United States.
Served as President: 1865-1869
Vice President: none
Age at inauguration: 56
Born: December 29, 1808 in Raleigh, North Carolina
Died: July 31, 1875 in Carter's Station, Tennessee
Married: Eliza McCardle Johnson
Children: Martha, Charles, Mary, Robert, Andrew Jr.
Nickname: The Veto President
What is Andrew Johnson most known for?
Andrew Johnson is most known for being the president to take over after Abraham Lincoln was killed. He is also known for being one of only two presidents to be impeached.
Andrew grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. His family was very poor and his father died when he was just three years old. Growing up in poverty, he was unable to attend school so his mother found him a position as an apprentice to a tailor. This way Andrew could learn a trade.
When he was a teenager his family moved to Tennessee. Here Andrew started his own successful tailoring business. He also met and married his wife Eliza McCardle. Eliza helped Andrew with his education, teaching him math and helping him to improve on his reading and writing.
Andrew became interested in debate and politics. His first political position was as a town alderman and in 1834 he became mayor.
Before He Became President
After serving in the Tennessee House of Representatives, Johnson was elected to congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. After many years as a congressman Johnson returned to Tennessee to become the governor. Later, he would return to congress as a member of the Senate.
The Civil War
Although Johnson came from the southern state of Tennessee, when the Civil War began he decided to stay on in Washington as Senator. He was the only southern legislature to continue working for the U.S. government after his state seceded. As a result, President Abraham Lincoln named him military governor of Tennessee.
Becoming Vice President
When Abraham Lincoln was running for his second term as president, the Republican Party decided they needed a southerner on the ballot to show support for the southern states and unification. Despite being a Democrat, Johnson was chosen as his Vice President.
Andrew Johnson's Presidency
Just a month after the inauguration, President Lincoln was assassinated and Johnson became president. This was a big shift in the leadership of the country at a critical time. The Civil War was over, but the healing had just begun and now there was a new leader in place and one that was a southerner at heart.
With the Civil War over, the United States needed to rebuild. Many of the southern states were in ruin from the war. Farms were burnt, homes destroyed, and businesses gone. Johnson wanted to do everything he could to help the southern states. He also wanted to be easy on the leaders of the Confederacy. However, many northerners were angry over Lincoln's assassination. They felt differently and this caused issues between Johnson and Congress.
Johnson began to veto many of the bills passed by Congress. He vetoed so many bills he became known as "The Veto President". Congress did not like this and felt that Johnson was abusing his powers. They wanted to get rid of him as president.
Congress can remove the president by "impeachment". This is sort of like firing the president. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Johnson. However, the Senate decided in a trial that he could stay on as president.
After Being President and Death
Johnson still wanted to be involved in politics after being president. He continued to run for office. In 1875 he was elected to the Senate, however he died shortly after.
Fun Facts About Andrew Johnson
- He made his own clothes for much of his life. He even sewed some of his own clothes while president!
- When he was buried, his body was wrapped in a United States flag and a copy of the Constitution was placed under his head.
- Johnson had much of the U.S. Constitution memorized.
- When he was a tailor he would pay someone to read to him while he sewed. After he was married, his wife Eliza would read to him.
- Johnson once suggested that God had Lincoln assassinated so he could become president.
Biographies >>US Presidents