Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot

By Robert W. Winston | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
ON THE STUMP

Mr. Seward once declared that Andrew Johnson was the best stumper in America.1 However this may be, Johnson lived, moved, and had his being in the home of the "spellbinder." As there were few newspapers in Tennessee before the Civil War, the stump orator was at a premium, the destinies of both political parties depending on which side could "down" the other on the stump.

Thus in 1841 when "lank Jimmy" Jones, born between the plow handles, six feet two inches tall, and weighing a scant hundred and twenty-five pounds, led the Whigs, "he made a monkey of James K. Polk"2 and a great Whig majority was rolled up. On the other hand, in 1855 when Andy Johnson in speeches of two or three hours' length stamped his foot on the neck of Know-Nothingism, "the grand old Democratic party" was a sure winner. In fact, when Andy mounted the stump and set forth the virtues of Democracy "the crowds wept with joy"; but when he denounced the villainous and perfidious Whigs they "clutched the handles of their weapons."

During the campaign for Governor between Polk and Jones, the drollery, good temper and graveyard solemnity of "lank Jimmy" filled his party with such enthusiasm, their opponents "fled in dismay, as birds when a falcon is abroad."3

"And what did our man Polk say to-day?" a dismayed Polkite asked a fellow Democrat, who had ventured forth to one of the speakings.

"Oh! Polk made an ass of himself as usual," was the reply; "the idea of talking sense to a lot of d--d fools."

"And what did Jones say?"

" Jones--Jones? Why, I don't know what Jones said, nor

____________________
1
McCutcheon, A. Johnson at Albea, p. 532.
2
Temple, Chapter on "Jas. C. Jones."
3
Temple, p. 256.

-58-

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Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Prefatory Note v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I: Odds - 1808-1860 1
  • Chapter I - Runaway Apprentice 3
  • Chapter II - A. Johnson, Tailor 15
  • Chapter III - Successor to Andrew Jackson 26
  • Chapter IV - Congressman 40
  • Chapter V - On the Stump 58
  • Chapter VI - Governor and Senator 76
  • Chapter VII - Home Life 95
  • Chapter VIII - Jeff Davis Spoils the Broth 108
  • Chapter IX - Father of the Homestead 128
  • Chapter X - Impasse 142
  • Part Ii: Alone - 1860-1865 153
  • Chapter I - Testing Time 155
  • Chapter II - Lion-Heart 174
  • Chapter III - Fight for Tennessee 188
  • Chapter IV - Senatorial Whip 205
  • Chapter V - Military Governor 217
  • Chapter VI - Lincoln and Johnson 243
  • Chapter VII - Vice-President 263
  • Chapter VIII - The Execution of Mrs. Surratt 277
  • Chapter IX - Hero of an Hour 292
  • Chapter X - Thad Stevens Pockets Congress 307
  • Part Iii: Unbowed - 1865 and After 323
  • Chapter I - Presidential Reconstruction 325
  • Chapter II - Swinging Round the Circle 347
  • Chapter III - Veto Follows Veto 372
  • Chapter IV - The Great Reconstruction 390
  • Chapter V - Impeachment of the President 405
  • Chapter VI - The Trial 428
  • Chapter VII - Foreign and Domestic Policy 455
  • Chapter VIII - Leaving the White House 471
  • Chapter IX - The Come-Back 490
  • Chapter X - Sixty Years After 510
  • Appendix A 521
  • Appendix B 522
  • Appendix C 526
  • Bibliography 529
  • Index 541
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