The Curious Case of President Andrew Johnson
I came across this brief comment in my newspaper researches for the Black Guides of Mammoth Cave Project. It is from Vermont phœnix., September 14, 1866, page 2:
It reads in part: “Today the excursionists will visit Louisville, where great preparations have been made for the president’s reception. Tonight they will leave for Cincinnati, stopping at Madison and making a torch-light visit to Mammoth Cave.“ The date of the article seems to be September 11, 1866.
A second mention of this Mammoth Cave appears in the Evening star, September 11, 1856, page 1.
When would this trip have taken place? Here is a calendar for the year 1866:
September 6th is a Thursday and the article is talking about arriving in Louisville Tuesday next – which would be September 11th. September 8th is a Saturday and it talks about making plans for President Johnson’s arrival in Cincinnati Wednesday next – or Wednesday September 12th. Therefore the trip to Mammoth Cave if it took place between the 7 and 10th, likely on the 9th. Did this trip ever take place?
I don’t know. There is a nice write up of Louisville weekly courier, September 19, 1866 http://kdl.kyvl.org/catalog/xt7jq23qw89f_1 That talks about president Johnsons trip to Louisville, but makes no mention of any trip to Mammoth Cave.
Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the 17th President of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson became president as Abraham Lincoln’s vice president at the time of Lincoln’s assassination. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. The new president favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves, and he came into conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The first American president to be impeached, he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Johnson
This trip described above was a part of a Great Circle Tour undertaken by President Johnson to try to bolster his policies. It generally was not viewed as successful.
The battleground was the election of 1866; Southern states were not allowed to vote. Johnson campaigned vigorously, undertaking a public speaking tour, known as the “Swing Around the Circle”. The trip, including speeches in Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Columbus, proved politically disastrous, with the President making controversial comparisons between himself and Christ, and engaging in arguments with hecklers. These exchanges were attacked as beneath the dignity of the presidency. The Republicans won by a landslide, increasing their two-thirds majority in Congress, and made plans to control Reconstruction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Johnson
Photograph of President Andrew Johnson at a banquet in his honor during the Swing Around the Circle speaking tour. Johnson appears seated in the center, with Ulysses S. Grant to his left.
“Andy’s Trip,” a lampooning of Johnson’s “Swing Around the Circle” campaign tour by cartoonist Thomas Nast.
Does anyone have any information about whether or not he ever made the trip to Mammoth Cave?