Miller Center

Andrew Johnson: Life After the Presidency

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After President Johnson lost the Democratic Party nomination for the 1868 presidential election, he finished his term in office and then returned to Tennessee. "I have performed my duty to my God, my country, and my family," he insisted as he left Washington. "I have nothing to fear.”

Back at home, he stayed involved with politics, running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. However, he returned to the Senate in 1875, becoming the only U.S. President to serve in the Senate after his presidential tenure. On learning of his election, Johnson commented, "I’d rather have this information than to learn that I had been elected President of the United States. Thank God for the vindication." As a senator, Johnson spoke out against the policies and corruption of the administration of Ulysses S. Grant.

He did not serve long in the Senate; he suffered a stroke in July 1875 and died shortly thereafter. He is buried in Greenville, Tennessee, in what is now the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery. The cemetery is part of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, which also includes his residence.

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Elizabeth R. Varon

Professor Varon is the Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia. Her writings include:

Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859 (University of North Carolina Press, 2008)

Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy (Oxford University Press, 2003)

We Mean to Be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia (University of North Carolina Press, 1998)