Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot

By Robert W. Winston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
LEAVING THE WHITE HOUSE

Soon after his acquittal, the President received a touching letter from his daughter Mary, down on the Stover farm in Tennessee. " Washington is ever dear to me," she wrote her father; "the happiest days of my life were spent there. We have been very uneasy but thank God you have come out victorious and we can say with Miriam:

"'Sound the loud symbols o'er Egypt's dark sea
Jehovah has triumphed, his people are free.'"1

The Harvard Law School likewise sent congratulatory resolutions on the failure to convict. But neither words of praise nor of censure affected Johnson's outward appearance. One visiting the White House would discover no change in him. "God's will be done," he piously ejaculated.

"It is a victory not for myself," said he, "but for the Constitution and the country, and I look with perfect confidence to my ultimate vindication and to the justice of that future which I am convinced will not be long delayed. . . . A day of wiser thought and wiser estimates is near."2 In truth, life to Johnson was but a fierce struggle and he knew how to take punishment. Hence he cherished no malice for opponents. Thad Stevens and Charles Sumner had fought him in the open, and, though fierce and terrible, they were never double-faced. Therefore, he bore them no resentment. Only the treacherous fellow excited his contempt, and even upon him Johnson wasted no anger. When the fight ended feeling subsided and he was content to bury the past.

"A heart full of kindness," said his secretary, "and a generous spirit of helpfulness to those in need or struggling

____________________
1
Johnson MS. No. 21,068.
2
Harper's Weekly, March 23, 1872; McPherson, History of Reconstruction, p. 143.

-471-

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Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Prefatory Note v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I: Odds - 1808-1860 1
  • Chapter I - Runaway Apprentice 3
  • Chapter II - A. Johnson, Tailor 15
  • Chapter III - Successor to Andrew Jackson 26
  • Chapter IV - Congressman 40
  • Chapter V - On the Stump 58
  • Chapter VI - Governor and Senator 76
  • Chapter VII - Home Life 95
  • Chapter VIII - Jeff Davis Spoils the Broth 108
  • Chapter IX - Father of the Homestead 128
  • Chapter X - Impasse 142
  • Part Ii: Alone - 1860-1865 153
  • Chapter I - Testing Time 155
  • Chapter II - Lion-Heart 174
  • Chapter III - Fight for Tennessee 188
  • Chapter IV - Senatorial Whip 205
  • Chapter V - Military Governor 217
  • Chapter VI - Lincoln and Johnson 243
  • Chapter VII - Vice-President 263
  • Chapter VIII - The Execution of Mrs. Surratt 277
  • Chapter IX - Hero of an Hour 292
  • Chapter X - Thad Stevens Pockets Congress 307
  • Part Iii: Unbowed - 1865 and After 323
  • Chapter I - Presidential Reconstruction 325
  • Chapter II - Swinging Round the Circle 347
  • Chapter III - Veto Follows Veto 372
  • Chapter IV - The Great Reconstruction 390
  • Chapter V - Impeachment of the President 405
  • Chapter VI - The Trial 428
  • Chapter VII - Foreign and Domestic Policy 455
  • Chapter VIII - Leaving the White House 471
  • Chapter IX - The Come-Back 490
  • Chapter X - Sixty Years After 510
  • Appendix A 521
  • Appendix B 522
  • Appendix C 526
  • Bibliography 529
  • Index 541
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