Andrew Johnson
By Jane

Do you know who didn't attend a single day of school and taught himself to read? Andrew Johnson. He was born on December 29, 1808 in Raleigh, North Carolina. His mother apprenticed him and his brother to a tailor named James Selby. Johnson and his family moved to Greenville, Tennessee. Johnson became the town tailor in Greenville.

He met Eliza McCardle and they married on May 17, 1827. Eliza taught Johnson how to write, spell and do simple arithmetic. They had five children. Eliza was ill and she couldn't do her duties as First Lady. Her eldest daughter helped do the duties as First Lady when her mother was sick. They had three boys and two girls. One of the boys was thrown off a horse and killed. Another son was an alcoholic and the other one had developed a disease called tuberculosis, an infectious disease that affects the lungs. Whenever he was away, Johnson always sent letters of advice to them.

Johnson was governor of Tennessee, and an U.S. Senator. He was a Military Governor; also he was Vice President and of course he was President. He was a Democrat. When Lincoln was assassinated Andrew Johnson became President. Johnson tried to continue the reconstruction in the south. The reconstruction was the rebuilding of the South. He hoped to give blacks the right to vote. But the Southerners did not want to share political power with the people that were had been slaves. The people in the north didn't want to have another war so they just gave up. Johnson gave up the process.

The first impeachment in U.S. history took place on February 24, 1868. The House of Representatives voted to impeach Johnson. Johnson was almost impeached because Congress had made a law and he didn't like it so he didn't follow it. A team of lawyers defended Johnson on the trial. Johnson did not appear at the trial. The House of Representatives lost the impeachment by one vote. Andrew Johnson stayed as President for a few more years before he retired.

When Johnson retired he stayed interested in politics. In 1869 he ran for U.S. Senator but lost the election by two votes. He did win a U.S. Senate election in 1875, becoming the first President to serve in the Senate after leaving the White House. During a visit to Tennessee, Johnson suffered a paralytic stroke and died a few days later on July 31, 1875. He was buried in Greenville, Tennessee and was wrapped in an U.S. flag with his well-worn copy of the Constitution on his head.

Pocantico Hills School | Presidents' Page | Home

email us at: