Andrew Johnson's presidency was a failure, but Johnson ( 1808-75) himself was in many respects an impressive figure. The only tailor ever to occupy the White House, he was fiercely proud of his craft. The only southern Senator to oppose secession, he bore the contempt and hatred of secessionists in Tennessee and elsewhere with courage and defiance. And the only President ever to be impeached, he behaved with dignity and restraint during the ordeal of trial by the U. S. Senate.
Johnson, who had no schooling, was apprenticed to a tailor at the age of ten. Though he rose rapidly in life after entering politics he never forgot his humble origins. "Andy Johnson," said people in East Tennessee, "never went back on his raisin'." 1 Johnson made his own clothes until he went to Washington as a Congressman. Even after he became President he almost never passed a tailor shop without dropping in for a chat. He also liked to stop and talk with mechanics whom he met on the street. "Adam, the Father of the race, was a tailor by trade," he told a meeting of mechanics in his hometown, Greenville, Tennessee, in May 1843, "for he sewed figleaves together for aprons. Tubal Cain was an artificer in brass and iron; Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a carpenter by trade, and the probability is strong that our Savior himself followed the same." 2
When Johnson was Governor of Tennessee (the "Mechanic Gover