Andrew Johnson: A Biography

By Hans L. Trefousse | Go to book overview

VI
GOVERNOR OF
TENNESSEE

EVER since Johnson first began his climb to political power, he had given evidence of great ambition—ambition to be someone, to compete on even terms with self-styled aristocrats, to make a mark in politics. Therefore, when his opponents gerrymandered his district in the hope of making it safely Whig, it was hardly surprising that his reaction was not wholly passive. He was certainly not willing to retire without a murmur.

It is true that at first Johnson was not certain what his course should be. Should he really bow out and wind up his political career? Or should he seek further honors? "I will not deny it," he wrote in December 1852 to David T. Patterson, the Greeneville lawyer and later judge, soon to become his son-in-law, "for I have my ambition: but while I freely make the admission, I have always been determined not to let it run me into excessive error." Musing on the difficulties he had faced in the past and the successes he had achieved, he thought he might well retire. After all, in any try for governor or congressman he would have to overcome the Whig majority in the state and the district. In addition, the influence of former governor Aaron V. Brown and his friends was also against him. Naturally, he would prefer another term in Congress, but the governorship was not to be despised. Following two successive Whig victories, election to that office would constitute a vindication for him. Thus, if the consent of the other two grand divisions of the state could be secured for the nomination of an East Tennesseean, if the right platform was adopted, or, better yet, if no convention at all was held, he might

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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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