Last week, at a round table in the back of the Homy Inn, history teacher Dave Diehl gave a lesson on Andrew Johnson and the reconstruction of the South following the Civil War.
Over beers and several dog food dishes worth of peanuts, Diehl explained (re-explained? My memory of high school history is so very, very hazy) how Johnson (a Democrat) came to run on the same ticket as Abraham Lincoln (a Republican) and thus succeed him as president after Lincoln’s assassination. Diehl explained how Johnson, who had barely interacted with Lincoln during his presidency, was woefully unprepared both for the job and for the task of dealing with a Congress made up almost entirely of Republicans. He explained various highly partisan bills and schemes that came to pass, including Johnson’s eventual impeachment.