What Was Andrew Johnson's Impeachment

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Ever since President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial there has been controversy concerning the final vote that sealed the decision. Johnson had taken the office as president after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. However Johnson, who was a Democrat, immediately clashed with the Grand Old Party because it had been dominated by Radical Republicans, specifically Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner. Many bills were passed by the Republican Congress, but Johnson would veto them. Because the republicans had a majority they would override his every veto with a two-thirds vote. The Congress began to have enough of his Democratic ways and the House of Representatives impeached him on February 24th of 1868. They believed he had been removing government office-holders without the approval of the Senate, which was against the Tenure of Office Act. This escalated when Johnson decided to remove the Secretary of War and prominent Radical Republican, …show more content…

However, on May 16th the last vote was cast by Senator Edmund Ross. Up until that evening, he had always believed Johnson was guilty, but his final vote surprised everyone when he stated “Not Guilty”. The Republicans in the Senate were very angered by this and adjourned until May 26th. In the end, after many failed attempt, Johnson was not convicted. But, why was this vote such a controversy? There were two constitutional problems that arose during the trial. First, many believed the Tenure of Office Act was unconstitutional, and the second was the uncertainty of who was to become president upon Johnson’s removal from office. Furthermore, some people believed the reason why Ross voted “Not Guilty” was because he would benefit from the $150,000 slush fund that had been set up by Johnson’s

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