Best Books About Andrew Johnson
Note: This page is still under construction. All links underlined in blue work as stated. Links in Black link to Amazon page with titles to multiple books on this President
On April 14, 1865, just as the American Civil War came to an end, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a Confederate actor. The next morning Andrew Johnson was suddenly elevated to the position of president of the United States at a time when the nation was still suffering from the effects of war. This biography explores the enigma of the homeless and uneducated tailor whose spectacular rise to power ended in disgrace. It relates how his term in office undermined the process of reconstruction and left a legacy of racism. Over a century later, Johnson remains the only president of the United States to have been impeached. The author explores Johnson’s undeniable skills as a political leader and his stubborn attachment to a mythical view of the America of his youth, which proved to be his undoing.
In 1868 Congress impeached President Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, the man who had succeeded the murdered Lincoln, bringing the nation to the brink of a second civil war. Enraged to see the freed slaves abandoned to brutal violence at the hands of their former owners, distraught that former rebels threatened to regain control of Southern state governments, and disgusted by Johnson’s brawling political style, congressional Republicans seized on a legal technicality as the basis for impeachment — whether Johnson had the legal right to fire his own secretary of war, Edwin Stanton.
An essential work on the Civil War period, this classic of Reconstruction scholarship challenges the longstanding myth of Andrew Johnson as misunderstood statesman, revealing him as a small-minded, vindictive, and stubborn man, whose rigid determination to defy Northern majority opinion thwarted the post-war reunion of North and South.
Johnson faced a nearly impossible task―to succeed America’s greatest chief executive, to bind the nation’s wounds after the Civil War, and to work with a Congress controlled by the so-called Radical Republicans. Annette Gordon-Reed, one of America’s leading historians of slavery, shows how ill-suited Johnson was for this daunting task. His vision of reconciliation abandoned the millions of former slaves (for whom he felt undisguised contempt) and antagonized congressional leaders, who tried to limit his powers and eventually impeached him.
This book argues that although Johnson’s impeachment did not succeed in ousting him, it was a justified step. It describes the critical issues and events leading up to the impeachment and then discusses the trial itself: what the grounds were, what the different sides’ motivations were and why the attempt failed.
Few figures in American political history are as reviled as Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth president of the United States. Taking office after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he clashed constantly with Congress during the tumultuous early years of Reconstruction. He opposed federally-mandated black suffrage and the Fourteenth Amendment and vetoed the Freedmen’s Bureau and Civil Rights bills.
Grand Inquests: The Historic Impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson by William H. Rehnquist
The Chief Justice presents a dramatic account of two precedent-setting impeachment cases that strengthened the concept of separation of powers and further defined the institutions of American government.
History of The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, President of The United States, by The House of Representatives, and His Trial by The Senate, for High Crimes and Misdemeanors in Office, 1868 by Edmund G. Ross
The Impeachment of President Andrew Johnson was the biggest affair in the United States during Reconstruction. The President was being tried on charges for breaking the Tenure of Office Act by removing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton from office and replacing him with Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas. Vice President Andrew Johnson had succeeded to the presidency on April 15, 1865 after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. His succession to the presidency had a negative impact on the country which led to major controversies between Johnson and the Radical Republicans. Edwin M. Stanton, Thaddeus Stevens and Benjamin F. Butler were the three most suspicious of the President and would usually meet with each other along with other Radicals at Stanton’s office or Stevens’ home to plan Johnson’s impeachment. This is the true story of one of the most dramatic and historical events in United States history. Andrew Johnson was the first president to ever be impeached, and he was acquitted by just one vote. The deciding vote was cast by the Republican Senator Edmund G. Ross, who later went on to write this book explaining the events leading to Johnson’s impeachment as well as the full story behind his historic decision. This is a must read for everyone interested in American history, as well as an important document illuminating the inner workings of the political system.
In Impeachment of a President, Hans L. Trefousse focuses on the causes of the failure to convict, the consequences of the acquittal, and the relationship of the impeachment to the ill success of Reconstruction. Drawing on a wealth of material, some only recently made available, Professor Trefousse sheds new light on the President’s objectives and character.
This illustrated book takes its readers back in time to reexamine the important historical events of the Presidency of Lincoln and Johnson while cleverly bring the reader up to speed by explaining how the decisions and personal feeling of the past from our former Presidents, affect us today. Excerpts from the Book: The reality is that we are in a situation whereby we must take control of what we are exposing to our children on television, the media, radio, and yes, the educational system. Above all things, teach your child to read, become productive people within our communities, learn as much as possible and be independent, self-sufficient, and to work for themselves.” “Because debt is slavery, and you are a slave to paying your electric bill, your rent or mortgage, your car note, the water bill, reduce your debt to the absolute necessities in life.
While it is commonly known that Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached, less well known are the circumstances that led to the unsuccessful campaign to remove him from office. This account of Johnson’s political life in Washington (including brief coverage of his early career in Tennessee) focuses on his conflict with the Radical Republicans, a group of fanatical abolitionists who, after Lincoln’s assassination, sought to dominate American government and punish the South as harshly as possible. Johnson’s focus on healing the nation and his refusal to submit to the Radicals’ demands led to his impeachment. Though Johnson was acquitted, his impeachment clearly illustrates the danger when one branch of government tries to dominate the others. This chronicle of the first U.S. presidential impeachment covers in detail the political forces that nearly removed him from office. Numerous illustrations, a bibliography and an index are included.
After Lincoln’s assassination, the commonest of men tried to fill the gigantic void. Andrew Johnson, a self-educated tailor from Tennessee, became the 17th President of the United States, and the first to enter office after the murder of his predecessor. Rising above an impoverished childhood, Johnson was truly a self-made man, learning a useful trade and developing his own successful business. At the same time, he rapidly ascended the poltical ladder–Alderman, Mayor, State Legislator, Congressman, Governor of Tennessee, United States Senator, Military Governor of Union-occupied Tennessee, Vice-President, and President of the United States.
Andrew Johnson, who became president after the assassination of Lincoln, oversaw the most crucial and dramatic phase of Reconstruction. Historians have therefore tended to concentrate, to the exclusion of practically everything else, upon Johnson’s key role in that titanic event. Although his volume focuses closely on Johnson’s handling of Reconstruction, it also examines other important aspects of his administration, notably his foreign, economic, and Indian policies. As one of the few historians to do this, the author provides a broader and more balanced picture of Johnson’s presidency than has been previously available.
During and after the Civil War, four presidents faced the challenge of reuniting the nation and of providing justice for black Americans—and of achieving a balance between those goals. This first book to collectively examine the Reconstruction policies of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Rutherford B. Hayes reveals how they confronted and responded to the complex issues presented during that contested era in American politics.