Of The Day
But, sometimes not every day.

Most recent past comment.

January 7, 1999

Andrew Johnson's Most Notable Moment.
After which he was...
The Lamest Of All The Lame Ducks.

He was one of the founders of the modern Democratic Party. He was part of the Jacksonian Democracy. He was Mayor of Greenville, Tennessee. He was a strict constructionist and an advocate of State's Rights. He was elected to Congress in 1843, and lost his seat in 1852 because of the Gerrymandering of a Whig-dominated legislature back home. He won the Governorship in 1853 and served two full terms. And, then, he went to the US Senate in 1857. He advocated the Homestead Act, and alienated the Southern Democrats. He endorsed Stephen Douglas for President in 1860. Once the sectionalism took over, Johnson backed John Breckinridge, further angering the Southern Democrats, who now identified him as a symbol of evil. And then, in a final insult to them, he allied himself with pro-Union Whims to fight the secessionists in his home state.

When the Civil War began, Johnson was the only Senator from a Confederate state who did not leave Congress. During the war, he joined the National Union Party of Republicans and pro-war Democrats. In 1864, Lincoln named him military governor of the captured portion of Tennessee, and then in 1864 selected him as his running mate on the National Union ticket. He was drunk, when he delivered his inaugral speech, confirming rumors of alcoholism. Within six weeks he was sworn in as President, facing the daunting and complex task of reconstruction. His early-day philosophies of limited government and strict constructionism reemerged, and he allowed the former Confederate states to return to the Union quickly, leaving the civil rights of the former slaves under the control of the former slave-owners. Obviously, this incensed the Radical Republicans in Congress. They began passing their own programs over Johnson's many vetoes, implementing military districts in the south and inspiring the President to aid the Southern resistance and firing the barricaded Secretary of State Stanton, who was the darling of the radicals. The Republican-controlled House accused him on 11 counts, including several articles accusing him of speaking ill of the House, but only three actually made it to the Senate. After acquittal by one vote, on all three counts, he became the lamest of all lame ducks. He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party's nomination in 1868. He returned to Tennessee, where after several failures to return to elective office, he was reelected to the US Senate. He served only fives before dying in office on July 31, 1875. His last surviving child died in 1901.

In the end, his most defining moment was one-vote margin of victory against impeachment. Til now, he stood alone as the only President ever impeached.

Lyman Trumbull (R-Illinois), who is credited with the deciding vote, explained his determination to acquit this way: "No future President will be safe who happens to differ with the majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate on any measure deemed by them important."

And, now William Jefferson Clinton stands in the tiny shadow of this all-but-forgotten President, hoping, yes, praying, to follow in his footsteps. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, JFK all aside, Clinton now wants to be like Andrew Johnson.

And, while I hope for his acquittal, I do recognize that this is not America's finest hour.

Not to be frivolous, but if you're like me and wonder what
Hillary Clinton is thinking about these days, here is her most recent syndicated column (12/30/98) published in newspapers all over America.

See you next time?

To our visitors: many thanks for your support and returning visits to our site.
We are dedicated to the intellectual exploration of the Internet and the human race.
Without you, it would be far less explorative and far less intellectual.
And far less human.
This past year we had over 750,000 hits. - Legend Advertising - Search - Archives - Online Store
Marblehead Magazine - AdInfo - Contact Us