“In this engrossing new book, Robert S. Levine has penned a nuanced and detailed study of the ‘hopes and frustrations of Reconstruction’ during Andrew Johnson’s presidency. While focusing on the relationship between Johnson and Frederick Douglass, the author also includes the views of numerous African American writers who witnessed Johnson’s transformation from self-styled ‘Moses to Black People’ to betrayer of Reconstruction.The Failed Promise is a lesson for our times as we continue to confront our nation’s unfulfilled promise of racial equality.”


Just finished The Failed Promise by Robert S. Levine. Non-Fiction. Audio version.
This book is about the relationship between Frederick Douglas and President Andrew Johnson.
Johnson, a Democratic Senator from the State of Tennessee was against Tennessee trying to leave the Union during the Civil War and was actually at one point very anti slavery, to the point that he freed the slaves that weren’t freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in his home State. Lincoln chose Johnson for his vice-presidential running mate in the election of 1864, and shortly after the war ended in 1865 he assumed the Presidency upon the death of Lincoln by assassination.

The book really centers about Johnson’s actions in regard to slavery, his failure to endorse the reconstruction of the southern states and instead chose to believe that the south never actually seceded from the union because, in Johnson’s opinion, the Constitution didn’t allow it. This controversy will lead in part to Johnson’s impeachment. The first President to have this happen to.

As a bonus, the book also has a complete speech by Mr. Douglas which has bearing on today’s events.
The relationship between the two men was born from necessity as you will read and it is very interesting to read about Johnson’s belief that he was the “Black Moses”
An interesting look at the reconstruction era,


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 3rd October 2022

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