Andrew Johnson: A Biography

By Hans L. Trefousse | Go to book overview

V
VETERAN
CONGRESSMAN

ALTHOUGH the years that followed Johnson's first two terms in Congress were increasingly dominated by the sectional struggle, at first he did not seem to take the matter too seriously. Still mainly concerned with his Jeifersonian-Jacksonian proposals, the Tennessee congressman continued his campaigns for economy in government, devoted himself wholeheartedly to the Homestead Bill, and took an interest in constitutional reform. Other party issues had his full support, but because of his radicalism, he continued to alienate Democrats as well as Whigs. Thus he had to be constantly on his guard. His opponents at home in both parties left him no peace.

When in the fall of 1847 Johnson returned to Washington for his third term, his performance was, if anything, even more unequivocal than before. Economy had now become a veritable obsession. In part, it accounted for his ever more pronounced vendetta against the Smithsonian Institution, which he attacked at every opportunity. After advocating the establishment of a committee of supervision for the institution, he so severely criticized one of its regents, his fellow congressman Henry W. Hilliard of Alabama, that members of the House were appalled. Disgusted by Johnson's "real demagogical speech," David Outlaw of North Carolina characterized him as "an ugly customer before the people ... entirely destitute of any elevated or enlarged views." He thought the former tailor's election to Congress had caused him to be "quite inflated with his own importance." 1

-69-

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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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