The Impeachment Of Andrew Johnson Essay Research — страница 2

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calculated to overthrow, subvert, or corrupt the government of the United States. + At this point, however, there was essentially nothing found to cause a vote of impeachment. During this time, several bills that Johnson vetoed were overturned by a majority vote in Congress. On March 2, 1867, three major unconstitutional bills were passed. The first called for martial law in the South, limited white Southerner voting rights, and gave unlimited voting rights to Blacks in the South. The second bill, (the Army Appropriations Act), removed the President as Commander-in-Chief. The third, which ultimately led to Johnson s impeachment, was the Tenure of Office Act. This act took away the President s right to remove any office holder whose appointment had required Senate approval, unless

the Senate consented. Later, it was also added the Cabinet members would hold their office for the same length of term as the President. Clearly, this provision was aimed directly at Johnson, who was finishing Lincoln s term. For a long period of time, Johnson had suggested that Edwin Stanton resign. Stanton was a Radical who opposed Johnson s policies and was in favor of strict Reconstruction legislation. Then on August 5, 1867, the President forced him out of his Cabinet post, without consulting Congress. General Ulysses S. Grant was appointed in Stanton s place. In January 1868, the Senate invoked the Tenure of Office Act and returned the position to Stanton. Still insisting the unconstitutionality of the Tenure of Office Act, Johnson dismissed Stanton a second time on

February 21, despite the impeachment investigation that was going on behind the scenes. Three days afterwards, on February 24, 1868, the House of Representatives officially impeached the President. The Senate would be forced to decide his fate. Johnson requested forty days to prepare for the trial, but was only granted ten. On March 5, eleven articles of impeachment were presented. The first eight were concerning violations of the Tenure of Office Act, the ninth had to do with orders sent through improper channels, and the tenth stated that Johnson had questioned the authority of Congress. The final article summarized the first ten, and accused Johnson of failing to execute the Reconstruction Acts. Five attorneys spoke for the President, while he did not appear at the trial. The

proceedings were unfair. The Senate consistently overruled decisions made by the Chief Justice, members of the Cabinet were prohibited from testifying for the President, and defense evidence was excluded. Despite the overwhelming desire in America for conviction, Johnson was acquitted of all articles of impeachment on May 16. Those who were for Johnson s conviction fell short of the victory by one vote from a two-thirds majority. Ten days later, on May 26, a vote on the second article produced the same result. That day marked the end of the impeachment trial. The President of the United States would not be removed from office, because of the will of a minority. Some of these people were moderate Radicals who disliked Senator Wade of Ohio, who was next in line for the presidency.

Also, some did not believe that the charges were strong enough, and thought that the motives of Johnson s accusers were not pure enough to remove a president from office. After all, the President was indeed elected by the people, for the people, and Johnson only attempted to represent the will of Americans who had the lower hand in America s government during his term.