#17: Andrew Johnson: The Aftermath of Confederate Terrorism
It was extremely hard for me to write about Lincoln. There's very little I can say that hasn't already been said and it's hard to write about him without sounding like some propaganda piece or like a weepy fan.
Luckily, I'm moving on to a much, much lesser man, Andrew Johnson.
Andrew Johnson came to power after Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth shortly after the surrender of the south.
The conspiracy to kill Lincoln was far reaching and his killer had conspirators that attempted to simultaneously kill his Secretary of State, William Seward and other members of the cabinet.
Into this confusion and turmoil stepped the Tennessean.
To use the phrase of George W. Bush, Johnson did not have a whole lot of political capital to spend.
As a Senator, Johnson was not respected by Southerners since he took the controversial stand of backing Lincoln during the Civil War and refusing to go over to the Confederacy.
He was especially hated by the citizens of Tennessee since he served as a somewhat despotic military governor during the war.
He was hated by Northerners since in the tradition of John Tyler, he was on Lincoln's ticket as VP to 'bring out the southern vote'. It was clear even as he was running that although he stopped short of wishing to secede from the Union, he certainly did not share the Republican party's beliefs, which was a problem, since that was the ticket he was running on.
Also- Johnson was hated for a whole host of other reasons:
He was kind of a dick.
He was completely drunk during his inauguration speech as VP.
He was so paranoid, it made Nixon seem like Jack Johnson.
and a whole host of other things which I'll try to get to in later posts.
For all these traits and his absolute bungling of the post war reconstruction era, Johnson is consistently ranked as one of the worst presidents we ever had.
I'm looking forward to writing about him!