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01-14-2020, 08:37 PM
Post: #1
What kind of a relationship did Abraham Lincoln have with his two vice presidents?

Mark Gruben, former Special Education / Mathematics Teacher (Retired) (1987-2015)

Lincoln’s first vice-president, Hannibal Hamlin, was chosen for him; Lincoln did not make the choice, and barely knew Hamlin at all until after they were elected. Hamlin, a US Senator from Maine, was selected partly to bring geographic balance to the ticket, and partly because, as a former Democrat, he could help convince other anti-slavery Democrats to join the Republican Party. At that time, the Vice-President’s role tended toward the legislative branch than the executive - after all, the Vice-President is also President of the Senate - yet he and Lincoln had a good working relationship. They were not particularly close, and he seldom visited the White House, mostly because he and Mary Lincoln disliked each other. From Mary’s perspective, it was largely jealousy - Hamlin took Lincoln’s attention away from her - which produced an uncomfortable tension between them that only grew worse over the four years Hamlin served in office.

Since 1860, Hamlin had been a member of the Maine State Guard, and in June, 1864, his unit was called up. Although he was told that, as Vice-President, he would be excused, he opted to serve anyway. He believed he needed to set an example of the duty expected of a citizen. However, since it was felt that billeting the Vice-President with enlisted men was unseemly, he was placed in officers’ quarters.

All of this was just as well; Lincoln hoped to broaden his base of support, especially since the war was winding down, and the focus would then be on Reconstruction of the nation. Somewhat reluctantly, Hamlin agreed to be dropped from the ticket in the 1864 campaign. Republicans and northern Democrats joined forces to create the National Union Party. Democratic Senator Andrew Johnson, who Lincoln had appointed as military governor of occupied Tennessee in 1862, was selected to run with Lincoln.

Lincoln knew Johnson reasonably well on a professional level, but they were not close friends. Because of his duties as military governor, Johnson had few opportunities to campaign at all, and other than one short visit to Washington in October, 1864, he did not see Lincoln again until they were inaugurated in March, 1865. As such, he had no role in selecting the new cabinet, nor much of anything else. He was barely settled into his new role as Vice-President when, five weeks after taking office, Lincoln was assassinated.
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01-15-2020, 07:25 AM
Post: #2
RE: Interesting
How reliable is it, that Lincoln said "Andy ain't a drunkard" ?

It seems that Mary Lincoln was publicly less forgiving of his behavior than Mr. Lincoln

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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01-15-2020, 10:54 AM
Post: #3
RE: Interesting
According to the Fehrenbachers, the quote is attributed to Hugh McCulloch. They give the quote a "C."

A "C" is given to a quote that is "recorded non-contemporaneously."

McCulloch reported Lincoln as saying, "I have known Andy Johnson for many years; he made a bad slip the other day, but you need not be scared; Andy ain't a drunkard."
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01-15-2020, 06:20 PM (This post was last modified: 01-15-2020 07:40 PM by L Verge.)
Post: #4
RE: Interesting
I'm switching this to President Buchanan's White House years because I knew that Lincoln's predecessor had faced the possibility of impeachment (which our modern media "historians" never mention), but I did not know the circumstances. Here's what Wiki says - after covering much of his career, both good and bad:

Covode Committee

In March 1860, the House created the Covode Committee to investigate the administration for alleged impeachable offenses, such as bribery and extortion of representatives. The committee, with three Republicans and two Democrats, was accused by Buchanan's supporters of being nakedly partisan; they charged its chairman, Republican Rep. John Covode, with acting on a personal grudge as to a disputed land grant designed to benefit Covode's railroad company.[63] The Democratic committee members, as well as Democratic witnesses, were enthusiastic in their pursuit of Buchanan in their condemnations.[64][65]

The committee was unable to establish grounds for impeaching Buchanan; however, the majority report issued on June 17 alleged corruption and abuse of power among members of his cabinet, and accusations from the Republican members of the Committee, that Buchanan had attempted to bribe members of Congress in connection with the Lecompton constitution. The Democratic report pointed out that evidence was scarce, but did not refute the allegations; one of the Democratic members, Rep. James Robinson, stated that he agreed with the Republican report though he did not sign it.

Buchanan claimed to have "passed triumphantly through this ordeal" with complete vindication. Republican operatives distributed thousands of copies of the Covode Committee report throughout the nation as campaign material in that year's presidential election.

Excuse me, but does this sound very familiar? Democrats vs. Republicans; that "partisan" word, etc. History repeating itself?

Found this answer to what former presidents did during the U.S. Civil War also interesting:

Martin Van Buren (8th President) was alive at the start of the Civil War. He was a vocal abolitionist who had retired to his home in Kinderhook, NY. He died with his antislavery opinions in full public view in July 1862 one year into the war.

John Tyler left the White House in 1845 and lived on his estate in Virginia. When the war came in 1861 he followed his home state of Virginia into the Confederacy and became a member of the Confederate House of Representatives. It should be noted however that as a senior statesman he tried very diligently to prevent the war and secession of the states by leading negotiations between leaders of the two sides.

Millard Fillmore left the White House in 1853 and returned to NY to continue his law practice. During the war he continued to press for a national compromise in an effort to avert the terrible blood shed and potential destruction of the US. He did not approve of Lincoln’s approach to executing the war.

Franklin Pierce (14th President) served immediately after Fillmore and served one term ending in 1857. Even though he was from New Hampshire he strongly sympathized with the southern view on trade and slavery. After leaving the White House he returned home to New Hampshire where he lived a rather reclusive life.

James Buchanan (15th) was perhaps the poorest President in our nation’s history. We’ve had some ineffective Presidents who did neither much good nor harm, unfortunately Buchanan was a damaging President and served the 4 years immediately preceding Lincoln and the war. He was from Pennsylvania, a life long bachelor, and a strong endorser of the Dred Scott Decision. He took no forceful actions to help avoid the war. After the Presidency, he retired quietly to his home in Pennsylvania and was strangely absent from any activities during the war years.
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