The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
»Early Presidency

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Harper's Weekly,
November 4, 1865, page 691

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The President's "Friends"
Mr. John Van Buren, the merry gentleman who leaped from the Buffalo anti-Slavery platform of 1848 to the Chicago surrender to Slavery platform of 1864; who in the autumn of 1862 demanded that "the erring sisters" should be allowed to go; and in the spring of 1868 insisted that they should be compelled to stay; and in the summer of 1864 declared that it was impossible to keep them, is the same lively joker who in the autumn of 1864 announced that Andrew Jackson was a bold usurper who violated the Constitution, and in the autumn of 1865 informs a smiling public that he looks upon Mr. Johnson as patriotic, wise and prudent.

The World, also, the chief organ of the Chicago "Conservatism" of last year, now takes the President under its special patronage. The Chicago gentlemen, it informs him, are the only friends he can safely trust. What said this faithful friend of the President eight months ago on the 7th of March 1865? Only this:

"God bless and spare Abraham Lincoln! Should this Andrew Johnson become his successor, the decline and fall of the American Republic would smell as rank in history as that of the Roman empire under such atrocious monsters in human shape as Nero and Caligula."

Of course the President will desert his old friends of the war for these honest and fair-spoken gentlemen, especially after the result of the elections in all the States that have voted. The new performance of the old Chicago company, we trust, serves to amuse the Chief Magistrate and lighten the cares of office. Kings formerly had their jesters. Why should not the President have his merry men?

1864 Democracy 1865
November 11, 1865, page 713 (Cartoon)

HarpWeek Commentary:
This Thomas Nast cartoon shows Manton Marble, editor of the anti-Lincoln Peace Democrat (Copperhead) New York World, and John Van Buren (son of the eighth president) vilifying Johnson in 1864 and cozying up to him a year later. Fernando Wood, Copperhead Mayor of New York and Democratic Congressman, is between Johnson and Van Buren on the right, with Marble kneeling. (The other man in both pictures looks like George William Curtis, editor of Harper’s Weekly but cannot be positively identified. Curtis clashed with Nast on occasion but probably not as early as this; moreover, Curtis did support Johnson’s nomination in 1864).

Text from "Democracy," Thomas Nast Illustration:

Upper Left Hand Corner:

"The drunken and beastly CALIGULA, the most profligate of all the Roman emperors, raised his horse to the dignity of consul–an office that, in former times, had been filled by the greatest warriors and statesmen of the republic, the SCIPIOS, the CATOS, by CICERO, and by the mighty JULIUS himself. The consulship was scarcely more disgraced by that scandalous transaction than is our vice-presidency by the late election. This office has been adorned in better days by the talents and accomplishments of ADAMS and JEFFERSON, CLINTON and GERRY, CALHOUN and VAN BUREN; and now to see it filled by this insolent, drunken brute, in comparison with whom even CALIGULA’S horse was respectable!–for the poor animal did not abuse his own nature." –New York World.

Bottom Left Hand Corner:


"ANDREW JOHNSON is Military Governor of Tennessee, and this test oath is proposed by him, and substantially excludes every man opposed to the Administration from taking a vote.***Talk to me of a Democrat sustaining all these usurpations, these violations of the Constitution and of the elementary principles of civil liberty! I submit that no man who has democratic heart in his bosom and a democratic intellect in his head could fail to seize this occasion to drive from power the Administration that has been signalized by acts like these."


Upper Right Hand Corner:


"Such did the Democratic masses find to be the record of ANDREW JOHNSON. They found as Civil Governor of Tennessee, member of Congress, or federal Senator, not one word or act of his which a national Democrat would not defend, and, as Military Governor of Tennessee, they appreciated the exigency in which he was placed. This cheered and delighted them."–New York World.

Lower Right Hand Corner:


"I look upon him [ANDREW JOHNSON] as a patriot and as a statesman who for twenty-five years has been distinguished in the service of his country in the various offices that he has filled, from the Legislature to Governor of the State, in both Houses of Congress, as Vice-President and President of the United States. I look upon him as patriotic, wise, and prudent."



Articles related to Johnson's Early Presidency:
President Johnson’s Amnesty Proclamation
June 10, 1865, page 355

Pardon-Seekers at the White House
October 14, 1865, page 641

General Logan upon Reorganization
September 20, 1865, page 611

The President’s Experiment
September 30, 1865, page 610

Moses and John Tyler
October 7, 1865, page 627

The President’s Fidelity
December 9, 1865, page 771

The President’s "Friends"
November 4, 1865, page 691

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