Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, May 17, 2019

When we talk about whether to impeach President Trump, we cite the near impeachment of Richard Nixon or the actual prosecution of Bill Clinton. Oddly, though, we don't talk much about the first-ever presidential impeachment, which very nearly succeeded in removing Andrew Johnson from office. In the spring of 1868, his impeachment trial was the hottest thing in town. Walt Whitman often sat in the Senate gallery, and Anthony Trollope finagled a seat when he visited Washington. Men and women lucky enough to receive a color-coded ticket -- a different color for each day's hearing -- handed it to uniformed Capitol police officers, who checked them for explosives before they were allowed to enter the building. Reporters pushed into the Senate gallery, furiously scribbling, and newsboys shouted the latest on Washington streets.

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Of course, the impeachment of President Johnson took place in the aftermath of a brutal war, a presidential assassination, and the struggle not just to end slavery but also to create a fair, equal and just republic. Many of Lincoln's fellow Republicans had initially assumed that Johnson, although a Southern Democrat, would help heal the country and eradicate the pernicious, lingering effects of slavery. Otherwise, as Representative Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania warned, white supremacy "will germinate and produce the same bloody strife which has just ended."

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FTA:

The Judiciary Committee initially voted against impeachment. Later that year it changed its mind, but the vote failed in the full House. Quoting Thaddeus Stevens, Mark Twain called Congress a bunch of "damned cowards."...

Ironically, Andrew Johnson temporarily resolved the question of whether impeachment should be defined narrowly, as an infraction of law, or broadly, as abuse of power, when he stepped on a statute. He violated the dubious Tenure of Office Act, passed in 1867, which stipulated that cabinet members and other officers who had been appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate could not be fired without the Senate's approval. Congress had passed the act to protect the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton. Stanton was in charge of the military, and the military was protecting black men at the polls. When Johnson fired Stanton without the Senate's consent, the House voted overwhelmingly, 126 to 47, to impeach the 17th president.

During that spring of 1868, the broader interpretation of impeachment -- abuse of public trust -- was lost in the weeds of legal bickering. And at his trial in the Senate, one vote saved Andrew Johnson. It was cast by Senator Edmund Ross, Republican of Kansas, who may have been bribed. Ross was heartily praised by John F. Kennedy in his "Profiles in Courage," which promoted a longstanding view: Johnson's impeachment was the brainchild of partisan fanatics rather than thoughtful, even visionary people who, having abolished slavery, were determined to alter the direction of the country.

Yet despite their loss, those who fought courageously for Johnson's impeachment, knowing it might be an uphill battle, did get some of what they wanted: Andrew Johnson was not nominated to run for president in 1868 by either party, and the discredited supremacist is remembered, when he is remembered at all, as the first American president to be impeached and tried by the Senate.

#1 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-05-17 08:46 PM | Reply

- the brainchild of partisan fanatics

Déjà vu

#2 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2019-05-17 08:51 PM | Reply

More FTA:

"If different people take different lessons from Johnson's impeachment, one is unforgettable: Impeachment is a constitutional process meant to restore good government and thus our faith in it; in so doing, impeachment suggests hope, the glimmering hope of a better time coming, and a means for making that happen, peacefully, reasonably and with dignity."

#3 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-05-17 09:26 PM | Reply

Impeachment Is a Form of Hope

Since the Democrats and their leadership are too weak-kneed to do it, hope just went out the door.

#4 | Posted by Spork at 2019-05-17 09:49 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

hope just went out the door.
#4 | POSTED BY SPORK

Hate to say it, but you seem to be right.

#5 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2019-05-17 10:00 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Hate to say it, but you seem to be right.

True enough.

Republicans are the "Party of Fear".

Democrats are the "Party of Afraid".

#6 | Posted by REDIAL at 2019-05-17 10:46 PM | Reply

Since the Democrats and their leadership are too weak-kneed to do it

No they aren't .... they are waiting ...

Watch the Democrats gorilla dust this thing for 9 months, bring it to the fore front bring impeachment sometime April 2020.

#7 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2019-05-17 11:55 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Treason. Go ahead and spark a Second Civil War based on lies or even something stupid. See what happens.

This is exactly what happened to Bill Clinton, and it has nothing to do with "Hope!", or Andrew Jackson at all.

Jesus, Cthulhu, Allah, etc...

#8 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2019-05-18 05:54 PM | Reply

Treason. Go ahead and spark a Second Civil War based on lies or even something stupid. See what happens.
This is exactly what happened to Bill Clinton, and it has nothing to do with "Hope!", or Andrew Jackson at all.
Jesus, Cthulhu, Allah, etc...

#8 | Posted by HeliumRat a

www.msn.com

Illegitimate President Bucket of ---- performs impeachable acts, daily.

#9 | Posted by truthhurts at 2019-05-18 05:58 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

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