From Poor White Trash to President of the United States: Andrew Johnson

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Did the Presidency of Andrew Johnson set the United States back politically almost a century?
Born December 29, 1808; Andrew Johnson embarked on a political campaign that watched him rise from absolute destitution to the heights of President of the United States. Andrew Johnson was born in a log cabin in Raleigh North Carolina.(1) His parents Jacob and Polly were both illiterate, hence, Andrew had basically no education during his youth. Jacob Johnson, Andrew’s father, passed away when Andrew was quite young, leaving Polly to take care of Andrew and his brother William four years his senior.(2) With next to no money, Polly Johnson did the only thing she could to make ends meet.
Sending Andrew and William to work for James Selby, owner of a local tailor shop, turned out to benefit Andrew quite well. While working as an apprentice Andrew would listen to the local patrons discussing politics, this peaked his curiosity, and sent him on a quest for self-improvement. After about five years working as an apprentice Andrew and his brother William, ran away from Selby’s shop.(3)
Andrew went town to town; on foot I might add, to start a new life. He worked at a local tailor shop in both Carthage, North Carolina, and Laurens, South Carolina, before finally calling Greenville, Tennessee home for some time. There he married Eliza McCardle age sixteen, and he eighteen, the man who married them was Mordecai Lincoln, first cousin of Thomas Lincoln, the father of Abraham Lincoln, small world.(4) It was here in Greenville, that Johnson would win his first elected position as Alderman. A young Johnson now began to realize his true abilities in politics. Understanding that he was illiterate until his early twenties, it is amazing the accolades he ach...

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...son. New York, NY: Times /Henry Holt, 2011. Print.,p.40
8. Ibid.p.40.
9. Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: Norton, 1989. Print.,p.120
10. Gordon-Reed, Annette. Andrew Johnson. New York, NY: Times /Henry Holt, 2011. Print.,p.75
11. Ibid.p.83-85.
12. Ibid.p.88.
13. Ibid.p.95.
14. Ibid.p.101
15. Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: Norton, 1989. Print.,p.19
16. Ibid.p.177
17. Ibid.p.188-189
18. Ibid.p.189
19. Gordon-Reed, Annette. Andrew Johnson. New York, NY: Times /Henry Holt, 2011. Print.,p.97
20. Ibid.p.101
21. Ibid.p.115-116
22. Ibid.p.132-134
23. Ibid.p.135
24. Ibid.p.139

"Andrew Johnson Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

Gordon-Reed, Annette. Andrew Johnson. New York, NY: Times /Henry Holt, 2011. Print.

Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: Norton, 1989. Print.
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