Andrew Johnson National Historic Site

History

HISTORY & CULTURE

Andrew Johnson was a man with whom nearly every American can relate, from the poorest to the wealthiest. With unyielding determination, he rose from dire circumstances to the nation's most prestigious office without having attended a single day of school.

Curriculum Materials

PREVISIT STUDY AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Where was Andrew Johnson born?

2. Why was Andrew Johnson apprenticed at the age of nine to James Selby to learn a trade? What was the trade?

3. Did Andrew Johnson ever go to school?

4. Who was responsible for giving Andrew Johnson most of his education?

5. What kind of a shop did Andrew Johnson run in Greeneville?

6. How many children did Andrew and Eliza Johnson have? What were their names and what became of them?

7. What was the first elected office held by Andrew Johnson?

8. What was the last elected office held by Andrew Johnson?

9. Was Andrew Johnson a Republican or a Democrat? He was of a different political party than his running mate, Abraham Lincoln - what was the name of their party? Has it ever existed again?

10. Andrew Johnson is known as the "father" of what Bill?

11. How many southern Senators kept their Senate seats when their states seceded before the Civil War?

12. To what office in Tennessee did Lincoln appoint Andrew Johnson during the Civil War after the fall of Nashville?

13. Which congressional body has the Constitutional power to impeach?

14. Does being impeached mean you are automatically removed from office?

15. Who presides over an impeachment trial?

16. Who decides guilt in an impeachment trial?

17. What was the stated reason for Johnson's impeachment? The unstated reason?

18. Was Johnson found guilty or innocent? By how many votes? Who cast the deciding vote?

19. Did Andrew Johnson "retire" from politics after he left the office of the Presidency?

20. Where and when and how did Andrew Johnson die?

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

1. Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina to Jacob and Polly Johnson.

2. Andrew Johnson's father died when Andrew was only three years old. His mother took in washing to support him and his brother William, but she found she could not sustain the family. She had to apprentice her boys to a tailor so they could learn a trade and be provided for.

3. Andrew Johnson never attended a day of school.

4. Andrew's wife Eliza was the person who provided her husband with the basic elements of an education. His own determination took him from there.

5. Andrew Johnson had his own Tailor Shop in Greeneville.

6. Andrew and Eliza had five children. Their names were Martha, Charles, Mary, Robert, and Andrew "Frank" Jr.

Martha acted as White House hostess while her father was President. She married and had two children.

Charles became a pharmacist and during the Civil War served as an assistant surgeon with the Union army. He was killed before the war was over from a fall from a horse.

Mary's husband died during the Civil War, so she was at the White House with her family. She came back to the Greeneville house before everyone else, though, to fix it up for the return. Soldiers had been in the house during the war and had left it in bad shape.

Robert was a lawyer and a state legislator. During the war he served as colonel of a cavalry unit. While his father was President, he served as his private secretary. He died in his room shortly after the family returned to Greeneville from Washington.

Andrew Jr. was younger than his siblings by 18 years. He started a newspaper in town with another man, and he was the only one of Johnson's sons to marry. He died when he was only 26 years old.

7. Andrew's first elected office was that of alderman of Greeneville.

8. Andrew's last elected office was that of U.S. Senator.

9. Andrew Johnson was a Democrat. He and Lincoln ran on the "National Union Ticket." It has never again existed.

10. Andrew Johnson was the father of the "Homestead Bill" which provided 160 acres of land in the west to those who would farm and improve the land for five years.

11. Andrew Johnson was the ONLY Senator to keep his Senate seat when the southern states seceded from the Union.

12. Abraham Lincoln made Andrew Johnson military governor of Tennessee during the Civil War. One of Andrew's achievements as military governor was to free all the slaves in Tennessee. Since Tennessee was back under Union control, the Emancipation Proclamation didn't extend here. Andrew Johnson had owned slaves before the war, but they, too, were freed by his measures.

13. The House of Representatives has the power to impeach.

14. No; it means you have been accused of a crime and must stand trial to be found guilty or innocent.

15. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the trial. In Johnson's case, it was Salmon P. Chase.

16. The Senate decides guilt or innocence.

17. The stated reason was the "Tenure of Office Act." It said that the President could not fire a member of his cabinet without asking Congress's permission. Andrew Johnson thought that was unconstitutional and in violation of the system of checks and balances so he fired his Secretary of war, Edwin Stanton to take the bill to court.

The unstated reason was that Congress disagreed with Johnson on how the southern states would be treated during reconstruction after the Civil War. Johnson wanted to carry out Lincoln's lenient plan, but the "radical Republicans" in Congress wanted to impose military rule and a hard piece. They needed more power than the President to carry out their plan.

18. Andrew Johnson was finally found innocent by one vote! Edmund G. Ross of Kansas was the one who cast the deciding vote.

19. Andrew did not retire. He was elected back into the Senate in 1875.

20. Andrew Johnson died in 1875 from a stroke at the age of 66. He died at his daughter's home in what is now Elizabethton, TN.

IDENTIFICATION

Identify the following names and terms, and tell of their significance to Andrew Johnson.

1. Apprentice

2. James Selby

3. Greeneville

4. Eliza McCardle

5. Mordecai Lincoln

6. Tailor

7. Homestead Act

8. Civil War

9. Abraham Lincoln

10. Reconstruction

11. Alaska

12. Tenure of Office Act

13. Edwin Stanton

14. Impeachment

15. Edmund G. Ross

Answers:

1. Apprentice: One who must work for another for a set number of years to learn an art or a trade.

2. James Selby: A tailor in Raleigh, NC to whom Andrew Johnson and his brother William were apprenticed. When the boys ran away, James Selby put out a reward of $10.00 for their return.

3. Greeneville: The town in which Andrew Johnson settled and made his home for the rest of his life.

4. Eliza McCardle: Andrew Johnson's wife. She is greatly responsible for her husband's education. Later, she became ill with tuberculosis.

5. Mordecai Lincoln: A relative of Abraham Lincoln who married Andrew and Eliza Johnson.

6. Tailor: A person who made clothes for men. Andrew Johnson was a tailor before he got into politics.

7. Homestead Act: This was a bill that Andrew Johnson supported. It gave every man "who was the head of a family" 160 acres of land "without money and without price." Andrew Johnson is sometimes called the "Father of the Homestead Act."

8. Civil War: A war between the Northern and Southern States that lasted for four years.

9. Abraham Lincoln: 16th President of the United States. Abraham Lincoln was president during the Civil War. Johnson was Abraham Lincoln's vice-president; he became president when Lincoln was assassinated.

10. Reconstruction: This was the name given to the time period right after the Civil War. During this time, the government was trying to "reconstruct" the nation and return the seceded states to the union.

11. Alaska: Alaska was purchased from Russia during Andrew Johnson's presidency.

12. Tenure of Office Act: This was an act passed by Congress that provided no office-holder who had been appointed by the President could be removed by the President except with the Senate's consent. Andrew Johnson thought this act was unconstitutional and violated the balance of powers in the government. In 1926, this act was decided to be unconstitutional.

13. Edwin Stanton: This was Andrew Johnson's Secretary of War. Johnson fired Stanton and violated the Tenure of Office Act.

14. Impeachment: Impeachment is an accusation of wrongdoing. It does not mean removal from office. The House votes impeachment and the Senate tries the case.

15. Edmund G. Ross: The man who cast the deciding vote of not guilty in Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial.