Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) became the 17th president of the United States of America (1865-69) with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in April 1865. He was a War Democrat from Tennessee, but was elected Vice President on the ad-hoc Union ticket in 1864. Johnson took charge of Reconstruction with the goal of reuniting the nation as quickly as possible. He appointed Unionist southerners as governors, allowed the old legislatures to meet, and demanded that they repeal secession and ratify the 13th Amendment (which abolished slavery). All ex-Confederate states did so, but the Radical Republicans in Congress refused to agree that the war was over. Johnson, a poor politician, lost support rapidly. His veto of the Freedman's Aid Bill astonished Republicans; his veto of the Civil Rights Bill angered the moderates who once supported him. Johnson blocked the 14th amendment the first time around. However in 1866 the Radical Republicans won control of Congress by large majorities, and they passed Reconstruction legislation over Johnson's veto. The Southern states were put under Army rule; blacks were registered as voters; 10,000 ex-Confederate leaders were disfranchised, and the states were required to ratify the 14th Amendment. A Republican coalition came to power in nearly all the South, comprising Carpetbaggers (Republicans recently arrived from the North), Scalawags (white southerners) and Freedmen. When Johnson tried to fire the Secretary of War, the House, controlled by Radical Thaddeus Stevens, impeached him. The Senate was one vote shy of the 2/3 needed to convict, so Johnson was not removed in 1868, but he was almost powerless in domestic affairs. Johnson had no party affiliation 1865-68, but after that he returned to the Democratic party; he was elected to the Senate shortly before his death. Johnson remains a highly controversial president.
Born: December 29, 1808 in Raleigh, North Carolina Died: July 31, 1875 in Carter's Station, Tennessee
- Beale, Howard K. The Critical Year. A Study of Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (1930). ISBN 0-8044-1085-2
- Benedict, Michael Les. The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1999). online edition
- Castel, Albert E. The Presidency of Andrew Johnson (1979). scholarly survey
- D. M. DeWitt, The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1903).
- Dunning, William Archibald. Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruction (New York, 1898) online edition
- Dunning, William Archibald. Reconstruction, Political and Economic (1907) online edition
- Fleming, Walter Lynwood. The Sequel of Appomattox: A Chronicle of the Reunion of the States (Yale University Press: Chronicles of America series; vol. 32) (1919) short popular history online version
- McKitrick, Eric L. Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (1961). ISBN 0-19-505707-4
- Mantell, Martin E. Johnson, Grant, and the Politics of Reconstruction (1973) online edition
- Means, Howard. The Avenger Takes His Place: Andrew Johnson and the 45 Days That Changed the Nation (New York, 2006)
- Milton, George Fort. The Age of Hate: Andrew Johnson and the Radicals (1930) online edition favorable biography
- Patton, James Welch. Unionism and Reconstruction in Tennessee, 1860–1869 (1934) online edition
- Rhodes, James Ford History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896. Volume: 6. 1920. Pulitzer prize. online edition
- Schouler, James. History of the United States of America: Under the Constitution vol. 7. 1865–1877. The Reconstruction Period (1917) online edition
- Stryker, Lloyd P. Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage (1929). ISBN 0-403-01231-7 online edition favorable biography
- Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography (1989). ISBN 0-393-31742-0 online edition, most useful scholarly biography
- Winston, Robert W. Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot (1928) online edition favorable biography
- Fleming, Walter Lynwood. ed. Documentary History of Reconstruction: Political, Military, Social, Religious, Educational & Industrial: 1865 to 1906 (1906-7; reprinted 1966 with introduction by David Donald) 2 vols., xviii, 493 and xiv, 480 pp. volume 1 online and vol 2 online
- Ralph W. Haskins, LeRoy P. Graf, and Paul H. Bergeron et al, eds. The Papers of Andrew Johnson 16 volumes; University of Tennessee Press, (1967–2000). ISBN 1-57233-091-0.) Includes all letters and speeches by Johnson, and many letters written to him. Complete to 1875.
- Newspaper clippings, 1865–1869
- Series of Harper's Weekly articles covering the impeachment controversy and trial
- Johnson's obituary, from the New York Times