, Research Paper
II. ANDREW JOHNSON
A. EARLY YEARS
B. POLITICAL CAREER
C. PRESIDENCY SUCCESSION
D. POWER STRUGGLE
A. POLITICALLY MOTIVATED?
Ebbitt House, in Fourteenth Street,
EFFECT OF THE VOTE ON THE ELEVENTH ARTICLE
3. http://www.impeach-andrewjohnson.com/09ImpeachmentAndAcquittal/vi-59.htm n
4. Table 4 n
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Impeachment, in the United States and Great Britain proceeding by a legislature for the
removal of office of a public official charged with misconduct in office. Impeachment
compromises both the act of formulating the accusation and the resulting trial of charges; it is
frequently but mistakenly taken to mean removal from office of an accused official. An
impeachment trial may result in an acquittal or in a verdict of guilty. The U.S. Constitution, in
Article 1, Section 3 , provides for the impeachment of public federal officials and gives precise
directions for conducting impeachment. The House of Representatives initiates impeachment
proceedings by resolution and appoints a number of its members to act as managers in
prosecute the impeachment before the Senate, which serves as a court to try the official. The vice
president, who presides over the Senate, also presides at impeachment trials, except in the case of
an impeachment of the president. A two-thirds majority vote of the senators present at an
impeachment trial is necessary to secure a conviction.
The first president to be impeached was Andrew Johnson. The 17th president, Johnson
became president at a critical time in American history. He succeeded Abraham Lincoln when
Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, only a few days after the Civil War ended. In addition to
these trying times, Johnson also had trouble cooperating with other political leaders while
proceeding to accomplish his goals.
Johnson was born in 1808 to Jacob and Mary Mcdonough Johnson in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 1827 ,Johnson opened a tailor shop in a small frame building. Soon after opening that shop
Johnson married Eliza McCardle. She was intelligent and had some schooling. With the help of
his wife Johnson improved his reading and learned writing and arithmetic. In 1829 Johnson ram
successfully for alderman on a platform that appealed to Greenville?s working class. In 1834 he
was elected mayor of Greenville. Johnson then served in the Tennessee House of Rep.
from 1835 to 1837 and from 1839 to 1843, when he was elected to the state senate. In 1843,
Johnson became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the lower chamber of congress
where he served until 1853. In Congress he was a champion of the poor . He felt a kinship with
the working people and small farmers, and disliked people of wealth or privilege.
In June 1864 the Republicans met in Baltimore, Maryland, and renominated Lincoln. To
reward the Southerners who had remained loyal to the Union, Johnson was nominated to be vice
president, since Johnson was a War Democrat. In November the Lincoln -Johnson was elected.
Lincoln was assasinated only six weeks after Johnson was sworn in as vice president. Angry
at the assassination Johnson was at first inclined to be vindictive in his treatment of the
Confederate leaders, who also represented the privileged class that he hated. His attitude
towards the Confederacy won him the approval of the militant wing of the Republican Party
(Radical Republicans). However , to the surprise of the Radicals, Johnson soon dropped these
punitive activities for more constructive tasks. He began with the Johnsonian Reconstruction
which was at first accepted with the readmission of the Southern States. Then the Radicals were
outraged at this refusal to admit that the Southern states were traitors. A long battle between the
president and Congress began. The Radicals passed a bill to enlarge the scope of the
Freedmen?s Bureau, which Congress had established in March 1865 to help the freed slaves.
Johnson vetoed the bill. In July a second bill was enacted over his veto. The Radicals were
already angered with the president this just enraged them even more. The Tenure of Office Act
was passed in 1867. This act forbade the president from removing federal office holders
including Cabinet members, without the consent of the Senate. The other acts were vetoed by
Johnson, but were passed over his veto. Congress now seemed all-powerful since the majority
was Republican. The Tenure of Office Act angered Johnson , and even more were the acts that
The Secretary of War Stanton had been cooperating with the Radicals from the beginning of
Johnson?s presidency. In August 1867, while Congress was adjouned, Johnson suspended
Stanton and named General Ulysses S.Grant to the post. In January 1868 the Senate refused to
accept Stanton?s suspension. When Grant stepped out in favor of Stanton, the president again
dismissed Stanton and appointed General Lorenzo Thomas as Secretary of War. Congress seized
on the Stanton affair to remove Johnson from the presidency.
On Febuary 24,1868, a resolution of impeachment was passed by the House of
Representatives, and a committee was appointed to ?report the articles of impeachment? against
the president. The committee consisted of seven Radicals, including Thaddeus Stevens, all of
whom had voted for the impeachment resolution. By March 4 the committee had prepared 11
articles of impeachment, and on March 5 Chief Justice Chase began presiding
over the impeachment trial of President Johnson before the Senate. Of the 11 articles of
impeachment, 10 were related to Johnson?s violation of the Tenure of Office Act. The president
did not want to personally participate in trial. He left his defense to lawyers, who easily proved
that the president?s purpose in removing Stanton had been to test the constitutionality of the
Tenure of Office Act. Johnson?s lawyers argued that the act did not pertain to Stanton, since he
had been appointed by Lincoln, not by Johnson. The act applied to Cabinet officers, but only for
the term of office of the president who had appointed them.
On May 16 and May 26,1868,the Senate voted on three articles of impeachment. The
Radicals had been pressing hard for a solid Republican vote, which would have given them more
than two-thirds majority required for conviction. Surprisingly seven Republicans joined 12
Democrats in voting against conviction. The final count of 35 to 19 was one vote short of the
two-thirds majority needed for a conviction. Johnson was acquitted.
.1 Garraty, John A., The American Nation (HarperCollins CollegePublishers,1995)