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Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States serving from 1865 to 1869 Johnson became president as Abraham Lincoln's vice president at the time of Lincoln's assassination a Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket Johnson came to office as the civil war concluded the new president favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union his plans did not give protection to the former slaves and he came into conflict with the republican-dominated Congress culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives the first American president to be impeached he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote Johnson was born in poverty in Raleigh North Carolina apprenticed as a tailor he worked in several frontier towns before settling in Greenville Tennessee he served as alderman and mayor there before being elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835 after brief service in the Tennessee Senate Johnson was elected to the federal House of Representatives in 1843 where he served five two-year terms he became governor of Tennessee for four years and was elected by the legislature to the Senate in 1857 in his congressional service he sought passage of the homestead bill which was enacted soon after he left his Senate seat in 1862 as southern states including Tennessee seceded to form the Confederate States of America Johnson remained firmly with the Union in 1862 Lincoln appointed him as military governor of Tennessee after it had been retaken in 1864 Johnson as a war Democrat and southern unionist was a logical choices running mate for Lincoln who wished to send a message of national unity in his re-election campaign their ticket easily won Johnson was sworn in as vice president in March 1865 giving a rambling and possibly drunken speech and he secluded himself to avoid public ridicule six weeks later the assassination of Lincoln made him president Johnson implemented his own form of presidential reconstruction a series of proclamations directing with seceded States to hold conventions and elections to reform their civil governments when southern states returned many of their old leaders and past Black Codes to deprive the freedmen of many civil liberties Congress refused to seat legislators from those states and advance legislation to overrule the southern actions Johnson vetoed their bills and Congress overrode him setting a pattern for the remainder of his presidency Johnson opposed the 14th amendment which gave citizenship to African Americans as the conflict between the branches of government grew Congress passed the tenure of office act restricting Johnson in firing cabinet officials when he persisted in trying to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton he was impeached by the House of Representatives and narrowly avoided conviction in the Senate and removal from office returning to Tennessee after his presidency Johnson sought political vindication and gained it in his eyes when he was elected to the Senate again in 1875 the only former president to serve there just months before his death although Johnson's ranking has fluctuated over time he is generally considered among the worst American presidents for his opposition to federally guaranteed rights for African Americans early life and career childhood Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh North Carolina on December 29th 1808 to Jacob Johnson 1778 to 1812 and Mary Polly Magda Neff 1783 to 1856 a laundress he had a brother William four years his elder and an older sister Elizabeth who died in childhood being born in a log cabin was a political asset in the 19th century and in the years to come Johnson would not hesitate to remind voters of his humble birth Jacob Johnson was a pool man as was his father William but became town constable of Riley before marrying and starting a family he died of an apparent heart attack while winning the town Bell shortly after rescuing three drowning men when Andrew was three Polly Johnson had worked as a washer woman she continued in that trade as the sole support of her children at the time her occupation was considered less than respectable as it often took her into other's homes unaccompanied the Johnsons were considered white trash and there were rumors that Andrew who did not resemble his siblings was fathered by another man eventually Polly Johnson married Turner Daughtry who was also poor Polly Doty apprenticed her eldest son William to a tailor james Selby Andrew followed his brother as an apprentice in Selby's shop at the age of 10 he was legally bound to serve until his 21st birthday Selby does not appear to have had any great influence on the future president the apprentice was boarded with his mother for part of his service one of Selby's employees was detailed to teach him rudimentary literacy skills this minimal education was augmented by citizens who came to Selby's shop to read to the tailor's as they worked even before he was an apprentice young Andrew came to listen these readings began a lifelong love of learning for the boy his biographer Annette gordon-reed suggests that Johnson who would be acclaimed as a public speaker learned the basics of the tart as he threaded needles and cut cloth Andrew Johnson was not happy at James Selby's and at about age 15 ran away with his brother Selby responded by placing an advertisement in the paper as customary for master seeking missing apprentices ten dollars reward ran away from the subscriber to apprentice boys legally bound named William and Andrew Johnson to any person who will deliver said apprentices to me in Raleigh or I will give the above reward for Andrew Johnson alone the boys went to Carthage North Carolina where Andrew Johnson worked as a tailor for several months fearing he would be taken and returned to Raleigh Andrew moved on to Lauren's South Carolina there he found work in his craft and met his first love Mary wood for whom he made a