Andrew johnson and the politics of character

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

By late fall of 1866, the usually staid Atlantic Monthly had had enough. Benefit of the doubt had been extended; novel circumstances acknowledged; regional habits respected. But this was too much: President Andrew Johnson- this "accident of an accident"-had just finished a three thousandmile journey-ostensibly to commemorate a statue to Stephen Douglas in Chicago-and thus plead his case to the American people. It proved in the end an exercise so futile, so embarrassing, so lacking in any sense of dignity or decorum, that it served only to lower the new president into the "grave of his own reputation." And no clearer evidence of the premature death of Andrew Johnson could be summoned than in the rhetorical disaster with which the tour was attended. "His speeches on the route," the magazine reported, "were a volcanic outbreak of vulgarity, conceit, bombast, scurrility, ignorance, insolence, brutality, and balderdash." The view was hardly isolated: "Touched with insanity, corrupted with lust, stimulated with drink," The Independent warned, "let the President of the United States, standing for a half hour by the grave's edge, calm his blood and chasten his thoughts, till he can reflect . . . how a chief magistrate who betrays his country shall become a handful of dishonored dust." James Russell Lowell imagined the tour an "indecent orgy," Thomas Nast skewered Johnson in the pages of Harper's, and even General Grant, his own traveling companion, murmured, "I am disgusted at hearing a man make speeches on the way to his own funeral.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBefore the Rhetorical Presidency
PublisherTexas A&M University Press
Pages194-212
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781603440714
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

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president
politics
accident
magazine
reputation
funeral
habits
grant
disaster
death
evidence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Browne, S. H. (2008). Andrew johnson and the politics of character. In Before the Rhetorical Presidency (pp. 194-212). Texas A&M University Press.
Browne, Stephen Howard. / Andrew johnson and the politics of character. Before the Rhetorical Presidency. Texas A&M University Press, 2008. pp. 194-212
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Browne, SH 2008, Andrew johnson and the politics of character. in Before the Rhetorical Presidency. Texas A&M University Press, pp. 194-212.

Andrew johnson and the politics of character. / Browne, Stephen Howard.

Before the Rhetorical Presidency. Texas A&M University Press, 2008. p. 194-212.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Browne SH. Andrew johnson and the politics of character. In Before the Rhetorical Presidency. Texas A&M University Press. 2008. p. 194-212