This Day in History

Feb. 24, 1868: President Andrew Johnson Impeached by House

Time Periods: 1865
Themes: Reconstruction, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights
Johnson in Congress.

The Senate as a court of impeachment for the trial of Andrew Johnson, 1868. Source: Library of Congress

On February 24, 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House of Representatives in response to his pardons of former Confederates, his hampering of the Reconstruction Acts, and his public defiance of the Radical Republicans. After an 11-week trial in the Senate, he escaped removal from office by a single vote. Johnson would continue to veto Reconstruction and Civil Rights bills for the remainder of his term, but Congress was able to override his vetoes.

Calling for Johnson’s impeachment during the trial, Rep. William D. Kelley said:

Sir, the bloody and untilled fields of the ten unreconstructed States, the unsheeted ghosts of the two thousand murdered negroes in Texas, cry . . . for the punishment of Andrew Johnson.

Learn more at PBS and at the U.S. Senate website.

Check out the Zinn Education Project national report, “Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle: How State Standards Fail to Teach the Truth About Reconstruction,” and find teaching resources on Reconstruction below.