Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader

By Henry Luther Stoddard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV
Johnson in the White House

THROUGH FOUR LONG YEARS following Lincoln's death Greeley had more than Jefferson Davis and "magnanimity" to worry about politically and so had the country -- in the person of North Carolina-born Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, former governor, congressman, and United States senator. He is our only Vice-President whose inaugural speech, because of liquor, was too incoherent ever to be made public; and our only President to face an impeachment trial. Whatever opinion you may have formed of the Johnson of the White House from 1865 to 1869, it is not to be forgotten that he was Lincoln's choice, and only Lincoln's, on the National Union ticket of 1864; remember, too, that he was the Union part of it -- not the Republican part -- for he never ceased to be a Democrat and a Southerner. He was the only senator who did not follow his seceding state out of the Union in 1861. He refused to resign his seat when Tennessee took that step, declaring: "Run away from here because Lincoln enters? I worked against him in the campaign, I talked against him and I voted against him, but Lincoln is now the only man who can save the Union, and by God I will stand with him! I still love my country; I love the Constitution. I intend to insist upon its guaranties, with the confident hope that if the Union remains together in less than four years the triumphant party of today will be overthrown."

At Lincoln's request in 1862 Johnson became military governor of Tennessee; he held that position when, two years later, Lincoln,

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