Andrew Johnson   (1808-1875)

By Washington Bogart Cooper, after 1866. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Seventeenth President, 1865-1869

Nominated vice president for Lincoln's second term, Andrew Johnson was the only U.S. Senator from the South to stay loyal to the Union. On becoming president after Lincoln's assassination, Johnson worked hard to bring the country together again using Lincoln's policies of leniency towards the defeated Southern states. But the wounds of the war were too fresh, and not everyone was willing to give power back to those who had broken away from the Union. Johnson lost the support of the Republican party when he refused to sign a bill protecting the rights of freed Southern slaves. When he persisted in following Lincoln's plans for reconstruction of the South, Johnson was put on trial by the Senate. In 1868 Johnson became the first president to be impeached; he was spared removal from office by one vote.