1 minute read

President Andrew Johnson Impeachment Trial: 1868

Consciences Of Seven Republicans Save Johnson

Throughout the two-month-long trial, Johnson's defense lawyers repeatedly saw their sound legal arguments thwarted by purely political forces. However, seven Republican senators were disturbed by how the proceedings had been manipulated to permit a one-sided presentation of the evidence. Senators William Pitt Fessenden, Joseph S. Fowler, James W. Grimes, John B. Henderson, Edmund G. Ross, Lyman Trumbull, and Peter G. Van Winkle defied their party and public opinion and voted against impeachment.

The Senate met on May 26, 1868, for the final vote. The shift by the seven Republicans proved critical: the tally was 35 to 19 in favor of impeachment, one vote short of the two-thirds majority necessary to impeach Johnson. Johnson was acquitted. But his political career never recovered. Later in 1868 the war hero General Ulysses S. Grant was elected the next president of the United States.

Stephen G. Christianson

Suggestions for Further Reading

Aymar, Brandt and Edward Sagarin. Laws and Trials That Created History. New York: Crown Publishers, 1974.

Dorris, Jonathan Truman. Pardon and Amnesty Under Lincoln and Johnson. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1953.

Gerson, Noel B. The Trial of Andrew Johnson. Nashville and New York: Thomas Nelson, 1977.

Paul, M. "Was Andrew Johnson Right?" Senior Scholastic (Teachers' Edition). (November 1982): 26.

Simpson, Brooks D., Leroy F. Graf, and John Muldowny. Advice After Appomattox: Letters to Andrew Johnson. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987.

Smith, Gene. High Crimes & Misdemeanors: The Impeachment and Trial of Andresw Johnson. New York:William Morrow & Co., 1977.

Strong, George Templeton. Diary. New York: Macmillan Co., 1952.

Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson, a Biograpkv. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 1989.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1833 to 1882President Andrew Johnson Impeachment Trial: 1868 - Johnson Becomes An Unpopular President, Senate Tries President Johnson, Senate Republicans Thwart Johnson's Defense