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Greeneville Astros 36

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2016 August 20

First of all, this is another one of those reviews where I basically spend no time talking about the actual name or logo. Why bother? Parent team's name, modified version of parent team's logo; said logo consists of a star inside a circle with the city initial on top. Nothing to say, really. So if all you care about is the actual logo review, just skip to the bottom.

I'm also not going to write much about the history of the town where the team plays (my usual go-to when the logo itself isn't worth writing about), because I didn't find much there. But I did find one interesting connection between Greeneville and my current home of Raleigh: Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth president of the United States. Raleigh is where Johnson was born. Greeneville, Tennessee is where Johnson began his political career.

America was big on electing presidents who came from humble beginnings back in the 1800s, which sounds inspiring at first but becomes less so when you look at presidential rankings and realize that most of the presidents from that time frame were lousy. Seriously, with the exception of Polk pretty much every president starting with William Henry "32 days in office" Harrison and ending with James "I tried to maintain the peace between North and South and just wound up pissing everybody off" Buchanan is consistently ranked as among the ten worst presidents. (And we're talking about six presidents here, so the level of consistent suckitude is actually quite impressive when you think about it.) Anyway, Johnson came from similarly humble beginnings. He was born in a house that had originally been built as a kitchen and later converted into a house. I've seen the house, and by my estimation it's only a little bit bigger than my living room. His childhood was similarly humble, and at an early age he was apprenticed to become a tailor. That may seem like a strange beginning for a future president: not because being a tailor does almost nothing to prepare you for becoming president of the United States, but rather because being a tailor does absolutely nothing prepare you for becoming president of the United States. I'm not saying that derisively; my career doesn't prepare me for it, either. Then again, I don't have political ambitions. Johnson did. And after leaving Raleigh and wandering west to Tennessee (which is a nice way of saying "running away from the tailor in Raleigh he was apprenticed to"), Johnson landed in Greeneville, where he was soon elected alderman, then mayor. He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives at the age of 26. By the age of 44 he was governor of Tennessee.

Toward the end of his term as governor, the state legislature appointed him to the U.S. Senate (from what I could find, these two terms actually overlapped by about a month, although the Senate wasn't in session during the overlap). I think they sent him there in part to get rid of him; he wasn't popular with the leaders of the Tennessee Democratic Party but was quite popular with the tradesman and small farmers. One of the things I read about why tradesman and small farmers liked him had to do with him always looking impressive in his finely-tailored clothes, which means I should probably take back what I said about being a tailor not preparing you for a political career.

Johnson was still in the Senate when the Civil War started, and when Tennessee seceded from the Union. Every other senator from a seceding state resigned from the Senate when his state seceded, but Johnson, who was from the pro-Union eastern part of Tennessee, did not. This impressed Abraham Lincoln and many other Yankees. (The Confederates, not so much.) So Lincoln sought a way to reward Johnson for his loyalty. In March 1862, Lincoln appointed Johnson military governor of Tennessee while the state was under Union control and martial law. Never mind the fact that the Union actually controlled less than ten percent of Tennessee at this time. One of the few areas it did control was the capitol of Nashville, and that was good enough for Lincoln. It was good enough for Johnson, too, and so he proudly strolled into the capital city. It was not good enough for the Confederates that still controlled most of the state, including Johnson's home in Greeneville: they confiscated his land and turned it into a military hospital. They also confiscated his slaves, which I mention largely so you don't get the idea that Johnson's support of the Union actually meant he was opposed to slavery.

By the end of 1862, the Union controlled most of central and western Tennessee but not eastern Tennessee. Or to put it another way, the Union controlled the parts of the state that were pro-Confederate and the Confederacy controlled the parts that were pro-Union. In fact, Greeneville managed to remain under Confederate control for Johnson's entire term as military governor, despite having been such a hotbed of pro-union sentiment that several local leaders from surrounding counties had actually met there soon after the state seceded in an attempt to breakaway from the state and rejoin the Union.

In 1864, it was time for another election, and Lincoln was looking for another running mate. There were concerns that he might not win re-election, so he was looking for a running mate who had broader appeal than his current V.P., Hannibal Hamlin. Also, his wife hated Hamlin. Since the Democratic Party was split between so-called "Peace Democrats" (who wanted to end the war even if it meant letting the Confederacy secede) and "War Democrats" (who wanted the South forced to rejoin the Union), and since the alliance between Republicans and War Democrats had gone so far that the Republicans had temporarily renamed themselves the "National Union Party", it made sense to pick a War Democrat as his running mate. And what War Democrat could be a more natural pick than Johnson, the most prominent War Democrat of them all? It would pick up support with little downside. I mean, it's not like the Vice President could actually do much, could he? And what were the odds of Lincoln being assassinated? After all, he'd survived the five previous assassination attempts, right?

And so, less than six weeks after becoming Vice President, Johnson became President.

That wasn't supposed to happen, in more ways than one. Obviously, it wasn't supposed to happen because Lincoln was supposed to live. But it also wasn't supposed to happen because the plot to assassinate Lincoln was actually a plot to assassinate Lincoln, Johnson, and a couple other members of the administration. But Johnson was fortunate that the person assigned to assassinate him decided he'd rather assassinate a few bottles of whiskey, and wound up too drunk to do much of anything. He was even too drunk to resist when he was arrested. For all I know, he was drunk when they hanged him, too. But back to the newly inaugurated President Andrew Johnson.

Johnson had a bit of a problem on his hands. With the Civil War over, the alliance between the War Democrats and the Republicans was over. Furthermore, the Republicans had split into radical and moderate factions. The radical Republicans wanted voting rights and civil rights for the newly-freed slaves and for black people in general, and also wanted those who had been involved in the Confederacy punished. The moderate Republicans were fine with the punishing Confederates part but weren't so keen on the letting black people vote part. The Northern Democrats wanted Southern states restored in short order with few changes, perhaps because they understood that pretty much everyone involved in the Confederacy was a Democrat, and it would really help the party's chances of winning the Senate if all those Confederates could vote. (This is what is known in modern parlance as "Country First".) The former Confederates, of course, wanted to go back to the old ways as much as possible. As for Johnson, he tended to side with his fellow Democrats, although he also supported a power shift within the Democratic Party from wealthy white people to working-class white people. (Apparently you can put the tailor in the White House, but you can't...never mind, there's no way to say what I'm trying to say using this rhetorical construction, but I think you get my meaning.) He also was hoping to be re-elected, which he thought would be child's play since all the Republicans hated him because he was a Democrat, all the Southern Democrats hated him because he had been pro-Union, and all the Northern Democrats hated him because everyone else was doing it and it looked like fun.

So Johnson decided that since Congress wasn't in session, it was a good time to handle the reconstruction himself. And with no Congress around to tell him what to do, he did things how he wanted to do them. Once the Republicans arrived in December, they reacted about the way you might expect: they were pissed off, and they passed a bunch of laws to do things the way they wanted to do them. Johnson vetoed these bills. Congress said "Who the hell died and made you president, anyway?" and passed the laws again. Johnson responded that Abraham Lincoln died and made him president, and vetoed the laws again. Congress responded, "Screw you!" and overrode the vetos.

You might think from reading this that Johnson was basically alone in Washington without a single ally. But he had his cabinet on his side. Except, that is, for the fact that he basically inherited Lincoln's cabinet and most of them hated his guts as well. So, yeah, he was basically alone in Washington without a single ally. In order to have a few Cabinet members on his side, he pondered firing a couple of the current ones (Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in particular), but then Congress passed a bill called the Tenure of Office Act, which basically said a president couldn't fire a member of the Cabinet without Senate approval. Johnson, as usual, vetoed the bill; Congress, as usual, overrode the veto. Johnson said he thought the law was unconstitutional and fired Stanton anyway, with the idea that he could force the Supreme Court to rule on the law. Congress took a different approach: they just impeached Johnson for violating the law.

Johnson may have had a lot of senators opposed to him, but he did have one thing on his side: the rules of succession. Johnson had no vice-president of his own (prior to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment's passage in 1967, when a vice-president ascended to the presidency the office of vice-president remained vacant until the next presidential election), and under the rules of succession in place at the time the person who would have become president if Johnson were removed was the president pro tempore of the Senate. At the time, that position was held by one Benjamin F. Wade of Ohio. Wade was a radical Republican, and was even radical by radical Republican standards. (He supported women's suffrage, for example.) As a result, moderate Republicans were wary of removing Johnson. The fact that Johnson had less than a year left in his term also meant removing him from office would do more to humiliate him than to actually make a difference in what direction the Republic was headed. With twenty-seven states represented in the Senate at the time (most Southern states were yet to be reinstated, and much of the west was still territories rather than states), he needed nineteen votes in his favor to remain president. He received exactly nineteen.

He then set his sights on re-election. The first step, of course, was winning the nomination. So he headed to New York for the 1868 Democratic Convention (slogan: "This is a white man's country, Let a white man rule." No, I'm not making that up.) Now, as we all know, incumbent presidents always win the nomination of their party for re-election if they run, right? Not so fast. There are exceptions to that rule, such as when the entire country hates you. With 212 votes required for nomination, Johnson got a mere 65 on the ballot. It went downhill from there: by the time the convention got to the eighth ballot, he wasn't even pulling double digits anymore. In the end, the convention chose Horatio Seymour, who had repeatedly begged not to be nominated. Not that it mattered, of course: General Ulysses S. Grant won that November in a landslide. Seymour barely got a third of the electoral votes, and he woudln't have gotten that much had he not had the good fortune to be from New York, then the most populous state in the country.

So Johnson went back to Washington to finish out his term. He vetoed a few more bills, and Congress overrode them. At the end of his term he skipped Grant's inauguration, and headed back to Greeneville, where he bought a farm to live on. But how you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Washington? He found life in eastern Tennessee pretty boring, and quickly decided that the best way to irritate his enemies in Congress would be to join them. It took a few tries, but he eventually managed to be appointed to the Senate in 1875.

He served a single session in the Senate before dying of a stroke. Note that I said session, not term (in fact, it was a "special session" and lasted less than three weeks). In some ways it's probably just as well. If the rest of his life was any indication, he'd probably have pissed a bunch of powerful people off and gotten removed from office had he stayed much longer. By dying so soon into his term, he managed to go out on a relatively high note.

Final Score: 36 points.
Penalties: Offspring, 12 pts; Letter, 24 pts.
Bonuses: None.


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