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Andrew Johnson the 17th President

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Andrew Johnson the 17th President

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  • March 13, 2005
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Background
Andrew Johnson, the 17th president, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on December 29th, 1808. At the young age of three years old, Andrew's father. Jacob Johnson passed away while drowning in an attempt to save the life of Editor Henderson from the Raleigh Gazette in 1812. Andrew's mother, Mary Johnson, worked hard as a seamstress and washerwoman in order to support Andrew and his three brothers, and her; but she was unable to afford to send them to school. From the age of 14 until 16 he worked as an apprentice to a tailor but talked to his mother and stepfather about moving and starting a new life. He then opened a tailor shop in Greenville, Tennessee, married Eliza McCardle on May 17, 1827 and participated in debates at the local academy.

Eliza and Andrew had five children, including one son who was later killed serving as a Union soldier in the Civil War. Andrew impressed the townspeople in several ways and at the age of nineteen he was elected into the village council.

In 1862, President Lincoln appointed him Military Governor of Tennessee and with this position he used the state as a laboratory for reconstruction. In 1864, the Republicans, contending that their National Union Party was for all loyal men, nominated Johnson, a Southerner and a Democrat, for Vice President.

Johnson was simple and direct in manner and sometimes seemed cold since he spoke so bluntly. He was a gifted orator and possessed a strong, clear voice. Andrew enjoyed playing checkers, puttering in his vegetable garden, going to the circus and minstrel shows.

Johnson was the first president to be impeached and was acquitted in the Senate by only a single vote. He was the only President without any schooling and didn't learn to read until his wife taught him at the age of seventeen. "There are some who lack confidence in the integrity and capacity of the people to govern themselves. To all who entertain such fears I will most respectfully say that I...