Track 1 Analytical Essay #2: Andrew Johnson

824 words - 4 pages

Although the Tenure of Office Act that got Andrew Johnson impeached was unconstitutional, this does not mean that he did not deserve to get impeached. Johnson was not a good president because he let personal issues of revenge on aristocrats and viewpoints of slavery blind him. Johnson would also have a stubborn personality that did not aid him in his path for reconstruction against the radical republicans. He would let feelings get in the way of his reason that made him the only president to be forced out of office due to breaking a law that he knowingly deified and would end in his demise igniting “ridicule” by the American people (H.A. Tompkins).
Johnson did not do well as president because first he let personal matters and viewpoints affect his legislation for reconstruction instead of working with Congress to find a workable solution. When Andrew Johnson was young, his family was poor and the wealthy aristocrats tortured him and his friends, so “anger was directed at the Southern aristocrats, not the entire South, and he sought to transfer political power in the region from the planters to Unionist yeoman farmers and mechanics” (Miller 143). Johnson let this vengeance of destroying aristocrats get in the way of solving how to get the South back into the union by working with Republicans, because he was a “plebeian” and wasted time attempting to fulfill revenge that would fail in the end (ibid.). Johnson’s outlook on slavery also affected the way his plan for reconstruction would get through by being “an uncompromising racist” and “insist[ing] that the blacks did not deserve citizenship [,]” which shocked moderates [so much that they] voted with the radicals to override the presidential veto[,]… [and they also] refused to accept his conservative states interpretation of the Constitution, regard[ing] him as major obstacle to restoring loyalty in the southern states” (Miller 132 and 145). Just as Johnson’s revenge got involved in his legislation, he would let his view of race influence his decisions; therefore undermining his administration. If Johnson could have put his feelings of race away and passed the freedman’s bureau, then he could have maybe had more moderates on his side and possibly could have fared better with congress. Johnson was not a moderate but almost an extremist, pushing for his legislation to pass letting his personal experience of retribution and outlook on African Americans affect his “voice of reason” making him a “poor president” (H.A....

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