President Andrew Johnson in York: ‘There was not very much enthusiasm’
This story from The (York, Pa.) Gazette and Daily in 1925 tells about unpopular President Andrew Johnson’s visit to York County, but focuses on the Civil War hero U.S. Grant. The general was part of President Johnson’s entourage. (For a post detailing other presidential visits, click here. Background posts: Local man tells about goofy encounter with Gerald Ford and York-based historian shakes hands with 8 U.S. presidents and Visit with former president James Buchanan: Talk did not touch on matters of state.
Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln’s successor, made York part of his “Swing Around The World” tour, designed to promote his policies.
His reception in York in September 1866 was akin to that received elsewhere.
“There was not very much enthusiasm when the trained stopped, and the presidential party began to emerge from private coaches which formed the train,” The Gazette and Daily reported years later.
But then the crowd spotted Gen. U.S. Grant and Admiral David Farragut excitement reigned.
“Cheer upon cheer rent the air when these boys and men heard that two of the greatest heroes of American history were with the party,” the newspaper reported.
Johnson gave a speech from the Washington House second-floor balcony, appearing with the popular military men. He explained his side of his ongoing battle with Congress, which eventually served to undermine his presidency.