Should Andrew Johnson have been impeached?

Did President Andrew Johnson merit impeachment?

  • Yes

    Votes: 7 35.0%
  • No

    Votes: 13 65.0%

  • Total voters
    20
Jan 2008
18,733
Chile, Santiago
#1
Andrew Johnson is widely regarded as a member of the short-list for being perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States. Selecting him as Vice President in 1864 has often been put forward as the single worst decision (in hindsight) that Abraham Lincoln ever made. It is at least arguable that no other individual made a greater contribution to the maintenance of white supremacy in the aftermath of the Civil War than Johnson - and he was proud of this "accomplishment"!

He was also the first president ever subjected to an impeachment trial in the Senate, which notoriously failed by only a single vote amidst a fervid atmosphere of horse-trading and (some alleged) outright bribery.

Even a number of historians who detest Johnson, have argued that this outcome was a good thing. It rejected the dangerous notion that impeachment is a legitimate political tool to remove a sitting president from office, if their shortcomings - however deplorable - do not measure up to the "high crimes and misdemeanors" mentioned by the constitution.

What do you think?
 
Last edited:

Baltis

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,005
Texas
#2
I think only high crimes and misdemeanors should qualify for impeachment and it should not be allowed as a political tool. It represents a very dangerous situation when one elected body has the power to remove another elected body just because they don't agree on something.
 
Jul 2009
9,579
#3
I think only high crimes and misdemeanors should qualify for impeachment and it should not be allowed as a political tool. It represents a very dangerous situation when one elected body has the power to remove another elected body just because they don't agree on something.
"High crimes and misdemeanors" are peculiarly political. The legitimacy of impeachment has been degraded in recent decades as calls for the impeachment of the last three presidents have been nothing more than political slander. The instrumentality of impeachment has become partisan self abuse.
 
Aug 2012
1,733
Colorado
#6
If I may share my personal feelings, I'm not a particular fan of Johnson, but I don't think he violated protocol to a degree that would warrant impeachment. He certainly wasn't morally correct according to our values today, but these aren't the criteria used to determine impeach-ability.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,982
#7
He was a good pick for VP at the time because he was from a Confederate state. Hannibal Hamlin was from Maine, and the Republicans had New England locked up.

Johnson was one of the few middle class Senators ever from a slave state. He was tough and strong-willed from a mountainous area. In 1861, he had denounced secession as treason and was the only Senator from a seceded state to remain.

He thought radical reconstruction was harmful to the south, and he wasn't able to compromise. He did not handle the situation well politically. However, radical reconstruction did not accomplish much for the country, the south, or former slaves. It is possible his approach would have worked better.

I agree that Lincoln or Hamlin would have handled the political situation better, but do not think that Johnson should have been impeached.

Technically, he was impeached but not convicted.
 
Nov 2013
588
US
#8
Much like another impeachment that happened, the vote ended up being partisan debate rather than a constitutional one.

Just because someone has a bad policy, even if its a disastrous policy, doesn't mean it's illegal.
 

RoryOMore

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,394
USA
#9
I think the test should be whether subsequent persons, including future Presidents, would ever be indicted or convicted under closely analogous facts. In Johnson ' s case, it seems pretty clear that the charges against him have been repudiated as crimes by history.
 

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