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Andrew Johnson

(1808—1875) American Democratic statesman, 17th President of the US 1865–9.


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(1808–75)

US politician; 17th President of the USA (1865–69). As the only southern senator to support the Union in the American Civil War he was appointed military governor of Tennessee. Having been elected as Vice‐President to Abraham Lincoln in 1864, he became President as a result of Lincoln's assassination in April 1865. His reconstruction policy, which failed to protect the interests of former slaves in the ex‐Confederate states, brought him into bitter conflict with the Republican majority in Congress: his vetoes of several reconstruction measures were overridden by two‐thirds majorities in Congress. His dismissal of his Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton (in defiance of a Tenure of Office Act) led to his impeachment (a US legal procedure for removing officers of state before their term of office expires), and Johnson only survived by a single vote in the Senate (1868). He returned to the Senate in 1875 but died soon after.


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