Andrew Johnson

An impetuous and sometimes corrupt Congress has often hamstrung the efforts of the president since the earliest days of the Republic

On a little-remarked, steamy day in late June 1973, a revolution took place in Washington, D.C., one that would transfer far more power and wealth than did the revolt against King George III in 1776. Read more >>

Would the disastrous Reconstruction era have taken a different course?

What would have happened had Abraham Lincoln not been assassinated? Every time I lecture on Lincoln, the Civil War, or Reconstruction, someone in the audience is sure to pose this question—one, of course, perfectly natural to ask but equally impossible to answer. This has not, however, deterred historians from speculating about this “counterfactual” problem. Read more >>

Whatever you were taught or thought you knew about the post-Civil War era is probably wrong in the light of recent study

IN THE PAST twenty years, no period of American history has been the subject of a more thoroughgoing réévaluation than Reconstruction—the violent, dramatic, and still controversial era following the Civil War. Read more >>

Conjectural or speculative history can be a silly game, as in “What if the Roman legions had machine guns?” But this historian argues that to enlarge our knowledge and understanding it sometimes makes very good sense to ask …

What if any of the pre-Civil War Presidents had gone mad? What if Andrew Johnson had been successfully impeached? What if William McKinley had not been assassinated? Read more >>

The ex-Presidency now carries perquisites and powers that would have amazed all but the last few who have held that office

Vinnie Ream sculptured Lincoln while she was still a teen-ager

President Lincoln had been dead more than three years in May of 1868, and the model of his statue still rested unfinished in young Vinnie Ream’s Capitol studio. Read more >>

Was it, as Navy Secretary Welles believed, “a conspiracy to overthrow the government”?

“The President came forward and the sun burst through the clouds.”

One of the saddest tales in American history tells how a well-intentioned President lost a dazzling opportunity

Reconstruction after the Civil War posed some of the most discouraging problems ever faced by American statesmen. The South was prostrate. Its defeated armies straggled homeward through a countryside desolated by war. Read more >>