Lot #7038
Andrew Johnson Autograph Letter Signed

"I am a democrat in the enlarged and proper sense of the term and have devoted the best efforts of my life to ameliorate the condition of the laboring man"
 
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Estimate: $12000+

Description

"I am a democrat in the enlarged and proper sense of the term and have devoted the best efforts of my life to ameliorate the condition of the laboring man"

ALS, one page both sides, 7.75 x 9.75, May 15, 1851. Boldly penned letter to John H. Keyser, in part: "Your letter of the 6th ult. was received by this days mail. In reply I have last time to say, [struck through: that I am no candidate for the Vice Presidency]. At present I am a candidate for reelection to the congress of the U.S. with the hope of success, which will enable me I trust to accomplish an object that I have had at heart, that is to see every man who desires it domiciliated. I am now in the midst of the canvass and have not the time to write you a long letter on the Subject…Enclosed you will find a copy of a…Speech made some time since in congress which will give you the bones of my views on the 'Homestead.' I am a democrat in the enlarged and proper sense of the term and have devoted the best efforts of my life to ameliorate the condition of the laboring man. The time has arrived when…thousands in the U.S. should be honored with a laboring man for the Presidency-A man who in fact has been a laboring man, one whose sympathies are with the mass. There is too much talk about this thing of labor and too little practice. If the work was commenced in good earnest the people, the real people I mean, would respond to it…You will please accept of my sincere thanks for your friendly feelings…and also the profoundest feeling of my heart for the success of any scheme that will elevate the oppressed condition of my kind." He adds a handwritten postscript, struck through: "I repeat that I am no candidate for the Vice Presidency." In very good to fine condition, with splitting to the ends of the horizontal folds. Accompanied by a handsome custom-made leather presentation folder.

Largely informed by his own humble roots, one of Johnson's key positions during his long service in the Congress was the support of a 'Homestead Bill' which would grant 160 acres of land in the American West to anyone who wished to settle there. He believed that this could be the path to wealth for thousands of laboring Americans. After having spent seven years advocating the concept, Johnson finally triumphed in 1852 and got the House to pass his Homestead Bill-only to have it fail in the Senate. It would be another decade before the Senate finally passed a similar bill. Johnson's mysteriously crossed-out musings on the vice presidency are certainly the most intriguing element of this letter, but the nominating convention was still a year away and he does not seem to have ever been seriously considered. Overall, this letter offers fantastic content in an uncommon format.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: U.S. Presidents
  • Dates: #630 - Ended February 17, 2022





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