DEAD: Andrew Johnson

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Andrew Johnson (aged 66)
17th president of the United States

Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson assumed the presidency as he was vice president of the United States at the time of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. He favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves; he came into conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. He was acquitted in the Senate by one vote. Johnson’s main accomplishment as president is the Alaska purchase.

DEATH: Johnson returned home after the special session concluded. In late July, convinced some of his opponents were defaming him in the Ohio gubernatorial race, he decided to travel there to give speeches. He began the trip on July 28, and broke the journey at his daughter Mary’s farm near Elizabethton, where his daughter Martha was also staying. That evening he suffered a stroke, but refused medical treatment until the next day, when he did not improve and two doctors were sent for from Elizabethton. He seemed to respond to their ministrations, but suffered another stroke on the evening of July 30, and died early the following morning at the age of 66. President Grant had the “painful duty” of announcing the death of the only surviving past president. Northern newspapers, in their obituaries, tended to focus on Johnson’s loyalty during the war, while Southern ones paid tribute to his actions as president. Johnson’s funeral was held on August 3 in Greeneville. He was buried with his body wrapped in an American flag and a copy of the U.S. Constitution placed under his head, according to his wishes. The burial ground was dedicated as the Andrew Johnson National Cemeteryin 1906, and with his home and tailor’s shop, is part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site.

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