Overview April 15, 1865 Andrew Johnson takes over as President after assassination of President Lincoln. The 17thPresident, Andrew Johnson, becomes the the FIRST U.S. President to be impeached in 1868. Johnson was in office just under THREE years when the House of Representatives formally brought impeachment charges. March 16, 1868 Johnson impeachment trial takes place – avoids removal by one vote.
April 15, 1865 Johnson becomes President of the United States upon the death of President Abraham Lincoln • Owned slaves prior to war • “He held no views on race that could be considered ‘unorthodox’ in the South.” - Even though Lincoln’s Vice President, Johnson was a Southerner (from Tennessee) and was a Democrat(unlike Lincoln).
Late-April, 1865 In spite of strong opposition from Republicans in Congress, Johnson keeps Lincoln’s cabinet in tact. Interior Caleb Smith John Usher Navy: Gideon Welles Treasury: Salmon Chase, Hugh McCulloch • Republicans in Congress hoped Johnson would be tougher on the South than Lincoln was. • After he kept Lincoln’s cabinet, Congress started to oppose him. Postmaster General: Montgomery Blair William Dennison War: Edwin Stanton Attorney General: Edward Bates, James Speed State William Seward
an official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offenses May 29, 1865 Johnson issues his Proclamation of Amnesty, which proposes his plan for Reconstruction. He does this while Congress is not in session…on purpose. • By issuing his plan when Congress was not in session, it made it clear to the public who was in charge… - There had been an ongoing struggle between the Executive and Legislative branches of government over who would direct Reconstruction.
December, 1865 Radical Republicans in Congress refuse to seat those elected from rebel states • Cite election fraud/abuse in Southern states • Radicals in Congress advocate a Congressional-takeover of Reconstruction
February 19, 1866 President Johnson vetoes a bill to increase funding for, and extends, Freedman’s Bureau. • Many in Congress begin to rise up and stop Johnson’s efforts to dismantle Reconstruction • Congress eventually overridesveto
February 22, 1866 Johnson gives a speech on GeorgeWashington’s birthday, calling radicals in Congress “dis-unionists.” • Speech delivered oneday after Congress overrides veto • Johnson called out many Congressmen by name; accused them of being disloyal to Union
March 27, 1866 Johnson vetoes the Civil Rights Bill. This bill extended citizenship to “all persons born in the United States…of every race and color…without regard to previous condition of servitude.” • Congress overrides the veto 3 weeks later • But, Congress worried the act wouldn’t survive future Congresses. • Resolutions are brought forward in Congress that would later become the 14thAmendment.
May, 1866 Tensions heighten between the President and Congress due to race riots in Memphis, TN. • Conflict between black soldiers and white peace officers leads to death of 46 men, women, and children; 4 black churches and 12 schools burned. • Pushes public opinion closer toward the RadicalRepublican plan for Reconstruction.
July, 1866 Race riots take place in New Orleans, LA. • Riots are cited as evidence that the President’s “Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction” was not working.
August, 1866 To save his plan (and his image) Johnsontravels across the country, delivers famous “Swing Around the Circle” speeches • Speeches viewed as ineffective. • Johnson continues to label the Radicals in Congress as “dis-unionists.” • Intended to garner support for those in Congress who supported his plan before the mid-term elections.
November, 1866 Radicalswin many victories in the 1866mid-term elections – gain majorities of over two-thirds in each branch of Congress. What does this mean, if the Radicals now have over 2/3 support in each side of Congress? Radicals believed themselves to be in a good position to demand that Southern states accept the proposed 14th amendment.
March 2, 1867 The new Congress passes the first ReconstructionAct. Johnson vetoes the act, but is quickly overridden by the new Congress (remember, radicals have 2/3 majority in both sides). • Divides the south into 5 military districts to enforce a stricter Reconstruction policy. • Required states ratify the 14th Amendment before it could be readmitted or have its representatives seated in Congress • Firmly placed control of Reconstruction into the hands of Congress, not the President.
March 2, 1867 Congress overrides Johnson’s veto of the Tenure of Office Act. • Required Senate approval before the President could dismiss any government official who was originally approved by the Senate (including members of the cabinet) • Done to protect Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, since he was supporter of Radical agenda - Law eventually struck down in 1926 as unconstitutional!
August 12, 1867 Johnson temporarily suspends Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and replaces him with General Ulysses S. Grant. Congress is out of session at the time. • Oh, snap! Is this legal?
January, 1868 The Senate votes when they return and they do not consent to removing Stanton. • Johnson ignoresSenate vote and presents Stanton with formal dismissal • This was a flagrant violation of the Tenure of Office Act, and sufficient grounds for impeachment.
February 24, 1868 Impeachment charges filed against Johnson by the House of Representatives. • 9 of 11 charges are on violation of Tenure of Office Act • The remaining 2 charges dealt with his libelous speech against members of Congress. Libel: published false statements that are damaging to one’s character
March 30, 1868 The Senate begins the firstever impeachment trial of a U.S. president. • While a president who is found guilty can remain in office, most Americans agreed that if found guilty then he had to leave.
May 16, 1868 The Senate fails to convict Johnson of the impeachment by only one vote. • A later Supreme Court (1926; Myers vs. United States) ruling that the Tenure of Office Act was “invalid.” • Johnson had the power to dismiss Stanton all along! • Andrew Johnson was acquitted of all chargesfiled in the impeachment. acquit: free someone from a criminal charge by a verdict of not guilty.
The aftermath of Johnson’s impeachment? - Vetoed virtually every act of Congress through the remainder of his term and Congress continued to override him Johnson was the only President to be impeached until the 1998 impeachment of Bill Clinton. The only two presidents to be impeached were both acquitted! - Could not secure the Democratic nomination for President in 1868 (Horatio Seymour got it!) - Replaced by Ulysses S Grant in 1868