The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
»Johnson's Background

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This section deals primarily with the background of Andrew Johnson, as well as with Harper’s Weekly’s comparison of him with other non-elected Vice Presidents as his presidency evolved. The remaining sections will portray Johnson’s struggle with Congress that ultimately led to his impeachment – on a chronological basis between May 1865 when he was inaugurated and March 1869 when he left office.

June 25, 1864, page 401 (cover)
Andrew Johnson

Harper’s Weekly first featured Andrew Johnson on its cover in the issue of June 25, 1864 after he was nominated for Vice President. It gave his background and an editorial boost on an inside page. This photograph by Mathew Brady was its national audience’s introduction to what Andrew Johnson looked like.

On May 13, 1865, Andrew Johnson again was featured on the cover as the seventeenth President. A week later, the background of his nomination was detailed as engineered by Secretary of State William H. Seward.

On September 15, 1866, Harper’s Weekly again printed the same picture of Andrew Johnson, along with many additional biographical details and an analysis of his personality and temperament. This review is positive for his pre-presidential days, but negative after that as it lays out the divergence of views between the President and the 39th Congress with regard to Reconstruction.

In 1867, Harper’s Weekly published two unfavorable editorials, one reviewing Johnson’s nomination and the other comparing him to John Tyler and Millard Fillmore. All three inherited the Presidency and did badly. They are included in this section so that viewers may see how Harper’s Weekly’s presentation of Johnson’s background changed as his progressed.

Articles relating to Johnson's Background:
Andrew Johnson (small bio)

June 25, 1864, page 402

The Union Nominations
June 25, 1864, page 402

President Andrew Johnson
May 13, 1865, page 289

The President and the Secretary of State
May 20, 1865, page 306

Andrew Johnson
September 15, 1866, page 583

Andrew Johnson
September 15, 1866, page 584

The Vice-Presidency
September 14, 1867, page 578

The Vice-Presidency
December 7, 1867, page 770


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