Andrew Johnson: A Biography

By Hans L. Trefousse | Go to book overview

III
GREENEVILLE
POLITICIAN

JOHNSON relished his newly found position of importance. It was satisfying to play a distinguished role in the village to which he had come as a poor journeymen not too many years earlier. And he enjoyed office holding. If he had been elected alderman and mayor, why might he not pursue his political career further and seek higher honors? The thought appealed to him, and once having decided upon his goal, he continued to pursue it with singular devotion.

The political situation in Greeneville was still a bit vague. Neither the Democratic nor the newly organized Whig party was as well defined in 1834 as it would be later on. As he enjoyed excellent relations with the mechanics as well as with the well-to-do, Johnson could afford to wait and see before he definitely cast his lot with either of the emerging parties.

Johnson's first opportunity to move beyond the political confines of the village arose in 1834, after he was first elected mayor. Long governed under its original constitution of 1796, Tennessee was beginning to feel the changes brought about by Jacksonian democracy. The result was the convocation of a convention to write a new constitution. This new charter eliminated many property qualifications for office holding and the right to vote and contained provisions for rates of taxation based on the value of the property to be taxed instead of keeping the rates equal as before. In addition, like many similar documents, the constitution disfranchised free blacks and encouraged internal improvements.

-35-

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Andrew Johnson: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Andrew Johnson - A Biography *
  • Contents 9
  • Illustrations 11
  • Preface 13
  • I - Raleigh Poor White 17
  • II - Tennessee Tailor 25
  • III - Greeneville Politician 35
  • IV - Fledgling Congressman 51
  • V - Veteran Congressman 69
  • VI - Governor of Tennessee 84
  • VII - United States Senator 109
  • VIII - Unconditional Unionist 128
  • IX - Military Governor 152
  • X - Vice President 176
  • XI - Unionist President 193
  • XII - Presidential Reconstructionist 214
  • XIII - Pugnacious President 234
  • XIV - Beleaguered President 255
  • XV - Defiant President 272
  • XVI - Fighting President 293
  • XVII - President Impeached— President Acquitted 311
  • XVIII - President in Limbo 335
  • XIX - Ex-President 353
  • XX - Epilogue 375
  • Abbreviations 381
  • Notes 383
  • Index 447
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