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Home > History > President 17 - Andrew Johnson Biography - Presidents Series

President 17 - Andrew Johnson Biography - Presidents Series

President 17 - This is a full biography on Andrew Johnson. It is part of our presidents series.
Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson

17th President

Advocate of the Common Man

Andrew Johnson was the 17th president of the United States. He was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1808. He was born into poverty and ran away to Tennessee at an early age. After starting his own tailor shop, he married Eliza McCardle. He soon entered politics and became known as an adept speaker. He frequently spoke against the Southern aristocracy and was an advocate for the common man and poor farmer.

Southerner Against the South

Johnson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1835, and later, to the Senate in 1841. In 1853, Johnson became governor of Tennessee. He then served as a Democrat in the United States Senate until 1862. During secession and the Civil War, Johnson was the only senator from a seceded state that continued to participate in Congress. President Abraham Lincoln appointed him military governor of Tennessee after the state fell into Union hands, and he became Lincoln’s vice president in 1864. After President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, Johnson was sworn in as America’s 17th president.

Clashes with Congress; Impeachment

During his term in office, Johnson presided over Reconstruction, the period after the Civil War in which the Southern states were reintegrated into the Union. Johnson and Congress argued over the specifics of Reconstruction. Johnson favored a quick restoration of rights and privileges, whereas Congress favored a more gradual approach. Tensions grew when Johnson replaced Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. Republicans claimed Johnson violated the newly passed Tenure of Office Act. The House of Representatives passed a resolution to impeach Johnson. Although he was acquitted (19 votes to 18), he was the first president to be impeached.

United States Presidents

 1. George Washington  16. Abraham Lincoln  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
 2. John Adams  17. Andrew Johnson  33. Harry S. Truman
 3. Thomas Jefferson  18. Ulysses S. Grant  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower 
 4. James Madison  19. Rutherford B. Hayes  35. John F. Kennedy
 5. James Monroe  20. James A. Garfield  36. Lyndon B. Johnson
 6. John Quincy Adams  21. Chester A. Arthur  37. Richard Nixon
 7. Andrew Jackson  22/24. Grover Cleveland  38. Gerald R. Ford
 8. Martin Van Buren  23. Benjamin Harrison  39. Jimmy Carter
 9. William Henry Harrison  25. William McKinley  40. Ronald Reagan
10. John Tyler  26. Theodore Roosevelt  41. George H.W. Bush
11. James K. Polk  27. William Howard Taft  42. Bill Clinton
12. Zachary Taylor  28. Woodrow Wilson  43. George W. Bush
13. Millard Fillmore  29. Warren G. Harding  44. Barack Obama
14. Franklin Pierce  30. Calvin Coolidge  45. Donald J. Trump
15. James Buchanan  31. Herbert Hoover  


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