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Richard M. Johnson:
A Vice Presidential Unit

Richard M. Johnson was born in Beargrass (now Louisville) Kentucky on October 17, 1780. Although he started his education when he was 15, he was admitted to the law in 1802. He then opened many retail stores and businesses. He had a long-term relationship with Julia Chinn, who was a slave left to him after his father’s death. Although he wanted her to be his wife, the law wouldn’t allow him and she later died from cholera in 1833. He volunteered for war of 1812 and became the United States Senator of Kentucky in 1819. As a senator, he has supported many projects such as the legislation chartering Columbian College. In 1837, he became the 9th Vice President of the United States. Richard M. Johnson died of a stroke on November 19, 1850 in Kentucky.

Political Party: Democratic-Republican Party, Democratic

Years Served: March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841

President: Martin Van Buren

Name of his parents: Milton Johnson and

Wife’s name: Julia Chinn

Education: Transylvania University

State of Birth: Kentucky

Trivia Questions:

1. Why was he criticized for having a relationship with Julia Chinn?
She was a mulatto slave.

2. When did he die?
November 19, 1850 in Frankfort, Kentucky at the age of 70

3. For what reason did Johnson proposed a seven-day workweek for the postal service?
Because he enjoyed receiving letters every day

Of Note:

- He served 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- After Julia Chinn’s death, Johnson engaged in a relationship with another family slave.
- “What other nations call religious toleration, we call religious rights. They are not exercised in virtue of governmental indulgence, but as rights, of which government cannot deprive any portion of citizens, however small.”
- “Let the professors of Christianity recommend their religion by deeds of benevolence - by Christian meekness - by lives of temperance and holiness.”


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