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Andrew Johnson was the successor to Abraham Lincoln and was the first president of the United States to be impeached.
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Johnson finished his term maintaining his opposition to Reconstruction and continuing his self-imposed role as protector of the white race. After leaving the White House, he took advantage of his excellent oratory skills and went on the speaking circuit. In 1874, he won election to the U.S. Senate for a second time. In his first speech after returning to the Senate,
he spoke out in opposition to President Ulysses Grant’s military intervention in Louisiana. During the Congressional recess in the summer, Johnson died from a stroke near Elizabethton, Tennessee, on July 31, 1875. According to his wishes, he was buried just outside Greeneville, his body wrapped in an American flag and a copy of the Constitution placed under his head.
Historians view Andrew Johnson as the worst person who could have been president at the end of the Civil War. His racist views prevented him from making a satisfying peace. His lack of political skills alienated him from Congress, and his arrogance lost him the public’s support. As president, he probably contributed to the national strife that followed the Civil War, and lost the opportunity to champion the rights of the disadvantaged.
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