By the end of this section, you will:Explain the effects of federal government policy throughout Reconstruction on society from 1865 to 1877

Suggested Sequencing

Use this Decision allude alongside the Comparing Impeachments throughout U.S. History Lesson to introduce students to the principle of impeachment and how it has been used throughout U.S. History.

You are watching: What was one reason congress gave for wanting to remove president johnson from office?

On January 15, 1868, George Templeton Strong, a brand-new York lawyer, read the news from the country capital and wrote in his diary, “Affairs at Washington look stormy. A destructive explosion that some sort is very possible.” the “makes up,” that wrote, “a threaten prospect.”

It can be said that solid was underestimate the situation. The residence of to represent was about to impeach a president of the unified States, Andrew Johnson, for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Everywhere, one observer complained, “the wait is heavy with threats and also apprehensions.”

Impeachment would certainly be constitutional however breathtakingly messy—and unprecedented. No president in U.S. History had however been impeached.

It ultimately happened on February 24, little more than a month after solid wrote the explain in his diary. By a margin the 126 to 47, the home voted to impeach Johnson and also the next day educated the U.S. Senate, whereby the president would certainly be put on trial together the structure required. The Senate would certainly vote to either acquit Johnson or convict him and remove him from office.

Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, phibìc Carolina, come a poor mudsill father who died when his son was three years old. Johnson had no officially education; instead, his mommy apprenticed him to a tailor once he to be ten year old. At period 18 years, he to be an illiterate village tailor in his newly adopted state that Tennessee. There he met and married 16-year-old Eliza McCardle, the daughter the a shoemaker, who taught him to read and also write.


This campaign poster because that Lincoln and also Johnson in the 1864 election featured images of farmers and cornucopias come evoke feelings of peace and prosperity that would certainly come through Lincoln as president.

Johnson to be a guy of significant demeanor, who one visitor experienced as “narrow and also dogmatic” v “an obstinate, suspicious temper.” among his most obvious traits was his stubbornness. An observer claimed he was constantly “sure he to be right, also in his errors.” This trait offered him ok in his relationships with Congress and brought him come impeachment.

The impeachment to be the last blowup in between Johnson and Congress over exactly how to manage Reconstruction that the Union after the polite War—and who was walking to execute it. Johnson thought he was going to do it his way. Radicals in the Republican Congress observed it together their job and their task alone.

At stake was the fate of four million previous slaves freed during the war or through the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Were they to be offered every benefit of freedom, as Congress desired? Or left to survive as best they could, unprotected in a vengeful, violent, racist South? Johnson, a white supremacist, to be not much concerned about their fate and also was specifically opposed to offering black guys the best to vote. Likewise in concern was the postwar function of southerly leaders who had actually participated in secession. To be they to it is in severely punished, as Radicals running Congress wished, or put back in charge, as Johnson wanted?

When Johnson became president after Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, the Radicals to be delighted, believing he would be friendlier to your program and easier to attend to than Lincoln. During the war and also before Johnson came to be president, an ex-Confederate had actually said that him that he “breathed fire and hemp against the South, proclaimed he would certainly make treason odious by hanging traitors.” This enjoyment the conference Radicals. But after becoming president at war’s end, Johnson readjusted his watch as his belief in white supremacy and also his an individual racism resurfaced. He believed African Americans were an inferior race unfit to govern themselves and also others, and he meant the Southern states to be readmitted right into the Union and white Southerners to resume their prominence over blacks.


This politics cartoon depicts the impeachment that Andrew Johnson. Edwin Stanton is loading cannon balls labeled “justice” right into a cannon labeled “Congress” while holding a ramrod labeled “Tenure that Office Bill.” The cannon is pointed in ~ Johnson and also Lorenzo Thomas, the guy the president had actually selected to replace Stanton. Johnson stop a piece of file behind his back titled “coup d’état,” implying he plans to overthrow the constitution system.

It was going to it is in a political impeachment, not a criminal one.

With chief Justice Salmon Portland chase presiding, the attempt in the Senate began at 1:00 pm on in march 5, 1868. Native March 30 to April 9, the residence managers, aided by a team of five prominent lawyers, presented your case. Senators spoke. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, still listed for vitriolic speeches despite having been attacked by preston Brooks because that one a few years before, summed up Radical not say of Johnson. “Andrew Johnson” he said, “is the impersonation that the tyrannical servant power. In the it lives again.” His “attempt to substitute himself for conference in the job-related of reconstruction was slim usurpation.” The veto power, Sumner charged, “was turned right into a weapon versus Congress.” The power of removal was seized as “an engine that tyranny.” Sumner dubbed Johnson “this deeply flawed man.”

James Grimes that Iowa, one of seven Republican senators who broke ranks and voted because that acquittal, synthetic up the opposing position: “I can not agree to damage the harmonious functioning of the Constitution because that the benefits of acquiring rid the an i can not accept President.” He more explained:

However widely, therefore, i may and also do differ with the chairman his politics views and also measures, and however deep I have regretted, and do regret, the differences between himself and Congress. . . I am no able to document my vote the he is guilty the high crimes and also misdemeanors by factor of this differences. In mine opinion, the President has actually not to be guilty of an impeachable offense.

The three posts the Radicals were counting ~ above to convict all dropped one vote brief of the two-thirds bulk necessary to remove Johnson native office. On might 26, the Senate acquitted the by a margin the 35 come 19 and adjourned as a court of impeachment. In the dramatic contact of the roll, city council Edmund Ross that Kansas actors the deciding poll that saved the president.

Andrew Johnson reshaped Reconstruction policies from reconciliation and restore the Union to a struggle in between the president and also congressional Radical Republicans. He helped impede repair in the South, wherein it was currently a challenging struggle to carry out African Americans through equal rights. The permanent results to be a strengthened Congress, a weakened presidency, and also failed repair for afri Americans.

Review Questions

1. Which plot did Johnson violate that led to the home of representatives to impeach him?

Freedmen’s office ActCivil rights ActFirst military Reconstruction ActTenure the Office Act

2. What to be the main reason Johnson vetoed many of the receipt the Radical Republican Congress sent out him come sign?

He did not think the legislation to be details enough.He thought the regulation was ahead of that time.He thought the bills to be discriminatory.He believed the task of repair belonged to him and also not come Congress.

3. Why did Johnson eliminate Secretary of war Edwin M. Stanton indigenous his Cabinet?

Stanton to be a Radical Republican and thus an ally of Congress.Johnson walk not favor Stanton personally.Johnson assumed Stanton to be incompetent.Johnson want to put Stanton in a different cabinet position.

4. Why was Andrew Johnson called Lincoln’s vice presidential to run mate in the election of 1864?

The recognize Nothings sustained Johnson, a center Republican.Republicans thought that Johnson, a war Democrat, would increase the ticket’s appeal.Johnson winner the Republican nomination by to win a sufficient number of primary elections.Hundreds of voter petitioned because that Johnson to it is in nominated.

5. In his speech during Johnson’s impeachment trial, Massachusetts councilor Charles Sumner was encouraged by

Johnson’s criminal intentpolitical principlesfinancial gaindifferences in the interpretation of the Constitution

6. The Civil civil liberties Act the 1866 led to

full implementation of Radical Republican Reconstructionthe Fourteenth Amendmentthe Fifteenth Amendmentthe production of the Freedmen’s Bureau

Free solution Questions

Explain exactly how the Radical Republicans’ setup for repair differed from chairman Andrew Johnson’s.Compare the Radical Republican attitude toward afri Americans v that of president Andrew Johnson.

AP exercise Questions

“Be it enacted . . . , the every person holding any civil office to which he has been appointed by and also with the advice and consent that the Senate, and also every human being who candlestick hereafter be appointed to any kind of such office, and also shall become duly qualified to act therein, is, and shall be entitled to hold such office until a follower shall have remained in like manner appointed and duly qualified, other than as herein otherwise provided: Provided, the the Secretaries that State, the the Treasury, of War, that the Navy, and also of the Interior, the Postmaster-General, and the attorney general, shall organize their offices respectively for and during the ax of the president by who they may have been appointed and for one month thereafter, topic to removal by and also with the advice and consent that the Senate.”

Tenure that Office Act, passed in march 2, 1867

Refer come the excerpt provided.

1. The main an inspiration for i of the regulation excerpted to be to

give congress authority end the president’s an option of room membersgive the Radical republicans the capacity to appoint the President’s cabinetcontrol the political actions the the executive branchgrant the presidential cabinet an ext authority

2. The historical context bordering the detailed excerpt was

the armed forces strategy necessary to success the civil Warthe postwar power struggle in between Congress and also the presidentthe dispute over the finish of slaverythe investigation of the conspiracy that brought about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination

3. The regulation excerpted led to

anger against the Radical republicans that price them regulate of congress in the 1868 electiona legislative impasse because Congress can not gain anything accomplishedremoval the the chairman from officethe impeachment of the president

Primary Sources

“Articles the Impeachment versus Andrew Johnson.”

“Articles of the Impeachment the Andrew Johnson.” Teaching American History.

“Supplement come The congressional Globe: comprise the Proceedings the the Senate Sitting because that the psychological of Andrew Johnson, Fortieth Congress 2nd Session.”

Suggested Resources

Benedict, Michael Les. The Impeachment and also Trial the Andrew Johnson. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.

Gordon-Reed, Annette. Andrew Johnson. New York: times Books, 2011.

Stewart, David O. Impeached: The trial of chairman Andrew Johnson and also the Fight because that Lincoln’s Legacy. Brand-new York: Simon and also Schuster, 2009.

See more: Which Of The Following Would Not Be Classified As A Long-Term Liability?

Wineapple, Brenda. The Impeachers: The trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream that a simply Nation. New York: arbitrarily House, 2019.