Monday, November 01, 2004

The American President: Andrew Johnson

The American President: Andrew Johnson - Fact file and comprehensive biographical sketch based on PBS series. Also includes quotations, recommended sites and related lesson plans.

From the site:

Andrew Johnson gives truth to the saying that in America, anyone can grow up to become President. Born in a log cabin in North Carolina to nearly illiterate parents, Andrew Johnson did not master the basics of reading, grammar, or math until he met his wife at the age of seventeen. The only other man to attain the office of President with so little formal education was Abraham Lincoln. Whereas Lincoln is esteemed as America's greatest President, Johnson, his successor, is ranked as one of the worst.

After Andrew's father died, his mother and her new husband apprenticed fourteen-year-old Andrew and his older brother William to a local tailor. After serving a number of years in this trade, the boys ran away for several years, dodging rewards for their capture placed by their former employer. Andrew later returned to his mother, and the entire family moved west to Greeneville, Tennessee, where young Andrew set up shop as a tailor and met his wife, Eliza McCardle. Eliza educated Andrew and helped him make wise investments in town real estate and farmlands. When Johnson reached the White House, First Lady Eliza Johnson was a semi-invalid suffering from tuberculosis during her husband's term in office. She only made two public appearances during her entire stay in the executive mansion. Nevertheless, she operated behind the scenes with energy and tact and was fondly remembered by the White House staff.

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