President Andrew Johnson came to power in 1865 after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Johnson was a pro-war Democrat, and he had been chosen as Lincoln's running mate on the National Union Party ticket in an attempt to unify the country, but nobody ever expected him to occupy the White House. As president, Johnson routinely disagreed with congressional Republicans who wanted severe punishments for ex-Confederates, and a guarantee of civil rights for the freed slaves. The congressional Republicans began to view Johnson as a Southern sympathizer, who abused his
military authority in order to subvert congressional policy. Although Johnson has often been portrayed as the victim in this saga,the congressional Republicans were perhaps justified in attempting to remove him from office. Johnson wanted to bring ex-Confederates back into the union as quickly as possible, and this was unacceptable to Republicans. Congressional Republicans blocked the re-admission of ex-Confederate states into the union, while Johnson had supporte re-admitting them as quickly as possible. Johnson would also veto the first ever Civil Rights Bill on
March 27, 1866. The Republicans in congress would over-ride Johnson's veto,allowing the Civil Rights bill to become law.
On November 21, 1867, but this first attempt at impeachment failed to garner enough support in the House of Representatives. In February of 1868, Johnson fired Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, this violated the Tenure of Office Act, which stated that a president could not fire a cabinet official without congressional approval. This allowed congress to attempt to impeach Johnson once again, and this time they were successful in indicting him. Johnson would be acquited of the charges by a single vote, cast by Senator Edmund G. Ross of Kansas.
This report prepared by Nathaniel Ford