The Guy No One Likes: Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)

The Busybody

According to the C-Span historians, the two presidents who served right before and after the Civil War were the worst in history. I agree that James Buchanan was a failure in every way, but Andrew Johnson doesn’t quite belong in the cellar. He was an unsatisfactory president, not an abysmal one.

He was a virulent racist, and no one wants to go to bat for someone like that. But he is misjudged in ways that need correction. I will assess Johnson on the same basis I do the other presidents: on what his policies did for the causes of peace, prosperity, and liberty. His racism obviously matters, but only to the degree that it intrudes on his policies for the detriment of society.


Let’s get this part out of the way. Johnson was one of three presidents (four including Trump, at the time of this writing) who…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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