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Andrew Johnson’s close association with Abraham Lincoln, as both his vice president and his successor, often disguises Johnson’s own slave ownership. He is a complicated example of a southerner who simultaneously supported the Union and gradual emancipation while perpetuating slavery through the bondage of others—perhaps even fathering children with his enslaved servant. Some of these enslaved individuals were later freed and brought to work at the White House during the Johnson administration. While Andrew Johnson was loyal to the North and pompously referred to himself as the “Moses of the colored men,” his legacy, largely measured by his mishandling of Reconstruction politics after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, remains marred by racial prejudice.1 Click here to learn more about the household of President Abraham Lincoln.

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