Andrew Johnson, A Biography by Hans L Trefousse

Genre: History
Series: no
Dates Read: January 25 - January 31
Number of pages: 464
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: History Class

Andrew Johnson was a self-made man who was placed into a difficult position by his place in time. This enigmatic man was the only Southern Senator who remained loyal to the Union at the time the Civil War began. He believed whole-heartedly in the Union and the Constitution and throughout his life fought to preserve them. But he was a contradiction. He was a Democrat that served as Lincoln's (a Republican) Vice President, he was a white supremacist that was concerned about freed men of color, he was a politician who lost only two elections - one early one late in career - but was always looking for vindication by the people.

Johnson was a stubborn man who appeared to believe that he was always right when it came to political matters and here lies his difficulties. Since he was a Democrat in a Republican administration per se, he had little support for his plans for the Reconstruction of the nation at the end of the war and after Lincoln's assassination. He used the Presidential veto 29 times and was overridden 15. His personal feelings for other politicians frequently got in the way of vital legislation. However, he held ground in his belief of the powers of the Constitution and was vindicated at his impeachment proceedings by acquittal.

I still think I need more details concerning the impeachment process, so another book is in order for that historical event. As a President I don't think that he was great, but he wasn't as bad IMHO, as history makes him out.

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