Andrew Johnson (1808-1875)

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,013
SoCal
#11
We are talking about the same period of time where Southerners were staging coups against Republican governments in the South and massacres and the government wasn't really intervening. They wouldn't have given up schools with any less of a fight.
Yes, I am tempted to agree with this. However, as I wrote above, Southerners are likely to use legal means as well as extralegal means to challenge school integration in the 1870s and 1880s.

As for the rest, my argument is not that Southerners would have been less "obstinate", it's that someone other than Andrew Johnson would likely not have encouraged violence by leniency and also would have responded more forcefully to violence that did occur, which can be a powerful deterrent. Compare Eisenhower throwing the military into desegregating Little Rock with the response to the Kennedys temporizing with the authorities during the Freedom Rides, the former went a lot more smoothly.
Completely agreed with this. That said, though, what are the odds that you'll have a consistent chain of U.S. Presidents who will aggressively respond to rights violations and abuses of Blacks in the South in the late 19th century?
 
Jul 2016
243
Just outside the Rust Belt
#12
The real question is, who would have been the best person to do Reconstruction? Given that Lincoln is still assassinated, who should he have picked as his Vice President to start the process? In other words, who should be the Johnson to his Kennedy?
 
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Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
#13
The real question is, who would have been the best person to do Reconstruction? Given that Lincoln is still assassinated, who should he have picked as his Vice President to start the process? In other words, who should be the Johnson to his Kennedy?
I have an incredibly contrarian possible answer to this, and I will be surprised if this answer does not draw some outcry, but I will throw it out there for the sake of discussion.

Benjamin Butler.
 
Mar 2015
861
Europe
#14
How and when did Andrew ever legally get out of his indenture, and did his master eventually receive a proper compensation? He contacted James Selby some months after escape requesting to buy his freedom, but could not reach agreement and fled on to Tennessee. So what precisely became of James Selby and the indenture? Did Andrew remain an unfree fugitive person as a rich slaveowner himself, and as President?
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,283
#15
How and when did Andrew ever legally get out of his indenture, and did his master eventually receive a proper compensation? He contacted James Selby some months after escape requesting to buy his freedom, but could not reach agreement and fled on to Tennessee. So what precisely became of James Selby and the indenture? Did Andrew remain an unfree fugitive person as a rich slaveowner himself, and as President?
His indenture was as an apprentice tailor. I don't know if he legally got out of it. He owned 8 slaves, which doesn't make him rich.

Many people went west, particular to areas that were illegal to settle in west of the Proclamation of 1763 under the British and Texas when it was Mexican territory and then an independent republic because they were running from something. People also came to the US from Europe or elsewhere for similar reasons. They could be fugitives from the law, running from debts, runaway apprentices, deserters from the military, leaving their wife and/or kids, etc. It was sort of accepted, more so than in Europe and the east coast.

He was elected to the Tennessee legislature from mountainous east Tennessee, which had few slaves. He represented the poor white southerners who were Unionist. That is why he was a good candidate to strengthen Lincoln's election chances. He hated "traitorous" slave owning Confederates, but was opposed to black political power.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,013
SoCal
#16
I have an incredibly contrarian possible answer to this, and I will be surprised if this answer does not draw some outcry, but I will throw it out there for the sake of discussion.

Benjamin Butler.
Did he ever actually have a realistic shot at the US Presidency?

I agree with you that he might have been a great C-in-C during Reconstruction, but I do want to know if he actually had a realistic shot at the big job.
 

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
#17
Did he ever actually have a realistic shot at the US Presidency?

I agree with you that he might have been a great C-in-C during Reconstruction, but I do want to know if he actually had a realistic shot at the big job.
I don't know how much truth there is to the claim, but he was supposedly considered as a potential Vice-Presidential candidate in 1864, which is partly why I picked him rather than another radical.
 
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Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
#19
Which other radical were you thinking of here?
Well, Ben Wade came within one vote in the Senate of obtaining the Presidency during the Andrew Johnson impeachment. Of course, part of the reason they fell short was that the notion of Ben Wade as President bothered even some Republicans, so your mileage may vary on that one.

Butler might also have been the best hope for Reconstruction because he eschewed the pro-creditor economics that were mainstream in both parties at the time, running as a third party candidate for the Greenbacks at the time. Reconstruction foundered on a number of shoals, but two of them were these; the Republicans ultimately lost interest in enforcing civil rights and equality and failed to do so, and they also failed to pursue economic policies beneficial enough to poor Southerners to shake their Democratic loyalty. Fear of this possibility and the coalition it could cause is what drove Andrew Johnson's furious attempts to poison the well of Reconstruction. Butler was a loyal ally of civil rights advocates and black Americans in the post-war period, and his policies in many regards foreshadowed the most popular elements of the Populist program of the 1890s. And in terms of enforcing Reconstruction, he certainly proved vigorous in cracking down on perceived disloyalty as a military governor in the Civil War.

There's reason to be cynical about all of this of course; even with Butler actually potentially offering an economic vision that would benefit poor whites and blacks alike, there's little reason to be certain this would form a lasting type of coalition for the Republican Party here. White voters have often prioritized their racial interests over their class interests and such alliances, while often briefly visible, have rarely proved stable. Still, with someone like Butler in charge rather than Johnson from the start, Reconstruction may have been placed on a very different foundation.
 
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Sep 2013
900
Chattanooga, TN
#20
I have an incredibly contrarian possible answer to this, and I will be surprised if this answer does not draw some outcry, but I will throw it out there for the sake of discussion.

Benjamin Butler.
Didn't Benjamin Butler once have a man hanged just because the man took the American flag down off of a flagpole? I think that hanging a person just for disrespecting a flag (any flag) is monstrous, so I never really cared for Benjamin Butler.

Speaking of Benjamin Butler, I always thought that NYPD Blue actor Dennis Franz resembles Benjamin Butler a great deal. What do you think?
Dennis Franz - Wikipedia
 
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