Andrew Johnson: A Biography

By Hans L. Trefousse | Go to book overview

VII
UNITED STATES
SENATOR

DURING Andrew Johnson's first years in the Senate, he was still anxious to further the same causes he had advocated for so long: first, the passage of a homestead law to secure land for the landless, and second, economy in government, no matter what the cost. Both of these principles fitted in well with his agrarian ideology, and their advocacy also helped him to become nationally known. Given his ambition, it was not surprising that he would attempt to translate this wider exposure into a quest for the presidency. But his dream of higher office ran afoul of the all‐ pervasive issue of slavery and sectionalism. As a Southerner espousing homestead legislation, Johnson would soon find himself in a difficult position. Senators from the slave-holding states were becoming almost solidly opposed to the idea of free or virtually free land.

After his departure from the state capital, Johnson did not stay long in Greeneville. Congress was to assemble on the first Monday in December, and the new senator was ready when Jesse D. Bright of Indiana, the senior member present, administered the oath to the newcomers. Asa Biggs of North Carolina presented Johnson's credentials; the Tennesseean took the oath and was assigned his seat.

The Senate still met in its old chamber, where open fires with four grates beneath mantel shelves and two Franklin stoves near the main entrance lent some comfort and homeyness. Each senator had his own desk, equipped with a sandbox for blotting. Arranged in semicircles, these desks were important to their frock-coated occupants, who had no

-109-

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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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