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The Unitary ExecutivePresidential Power from Washington to Bush$
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Steven G. Calabresi and Christopher S. Yoo

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300121261

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300121261.001.0001

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Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson

(p.174) 17 Andrew Johnson
The Unitary Executive

Steven G. Calabresi

Christopher S. Yoo

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, one of only two presidents to be impeached due to his sabotage of congressional Reconstruction. Johnson began his political career as a Jacksonian Democrat, and was added to the Republican ticket in 1864, when the Republican Party temporarily renamed itself the Union Party in order to attract support from Northern Democrats and border state Unionists. After Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson tried to assume Jackson's presidential swagger, though “‘common sense’ dictated [that he should proceed] with caution and restraint.” As Albert Castel writes, “Andrew Jackson was [Johnson's] hero and model,” and it did not help that Johnson “inherited from Lincoln what, in some respects, was an almost dictatorial presidency.” Johnson did not understand that as an accidental president, he could not immediately step into Jackson's and Lincoln's shoes.

Keywords:   sabotage, congressional Reconstruction, Andrew Johnson, Tennessee, Jacksonian Democrat, Union Party, presidential swagger, Albert Castel, dictatorial presidency, accidental president

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