April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869, one term
National Unionist, kind of a Democrat, (Vice President under Lincoln, who was a Republican) April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869, one term
Quote: "This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men." This stuff pretty much writes itself.
The good: As a Senator from Tennessee, Johnson was the only southern senator not to quit his post upon secession, and he supported Lincoln’s military policies during the Civil War. He presided over the Reconstruction, in which he reversed his hard-line rhetoric against Southern sympathizers and put into place some of the more lenient policies Lincoln had advocated.
Not so good: His leniency towards the postwar South. He supported allowing prominent former Confederate leaders to be elected to Congress, which pissed off Congress and began a power struggle with the Radical branch of the Republican Party that undercut his power, reversed most of the legislation he supported, and largely defined his Presidency. He allowed the Southern states to replace slavery with “Black Codes”, which furthered the discrimination against the former slaves by reaffirming the notion that they were inferior and had essentially no civil rights.
Johnson was the first President to be impeached, though he was acquitted. The impeachment was essentially a pissing match between Congress and the President, each believing they were on the right side of the Constitution, each . . . oh wait, that pretty much describes everything of note that goes on in Washington, doesn’t it? At any rate, this time, Congress said Johnson had violated the Tenure of Office Act, which Johnson claimed was unconstitutional, and they were all, “Fraid not” and he was like “Yah Hanh” and they went, “No way” and he went “Fraid so”.
Even though after his presidency was over, Johnson was elected to the Senate for the state of Tennessee, so apparently there were a sizable number of good simple folks in Tennessee who thought he was aces!
Fun Facts: Johnson was one of the targets of the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy. Lucky for him the guy who had the assignment to kill him, George Atzerodt, decided to get wasted on whiskey that night instead.
Johnson's inaugural address as Vice-President was rambling and incoherent. He had been drinking whiskey to dull the pain of typhoid fever.
When Johnson married his wife Elizabeth McArdle, he was 18. She was 16, the first child bride to become First Lady!