Johnson’s Struggles with Congress
Based on this week’s readings, explain the root causes of Johnson’s conflict with Congress. Why did Congress believe it had the right to impeach Johnson? In your view, and based on your understanding of presidential and congressional powers, was Congress right to impeach Johnson?
Your initial post should be at least 250-300 words in length. Support your claims with examples from required material(s) and/or other scholarly resources, and properly cite any references. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts by Day 7.
Politics was the root cause of President Andrew Johnson’s conflict with Congress, which ultimately led to his impeachment in 1868. Impeachment is defined as a formal charge of wrongdoing brought against a government official, resulting in a trial and upon conviction removal from office. The House of Representatives has the sole power to bring these charges of impeachment by a majority vote. However, this process does not remove an officer from office; rather it subjects him or her to trial by the Senate. Only after a trial can the Senate remove the federal official from office by a two-thirds vote. Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached by the Senate (Dye, 2011).
The hostility between Johnson and Congress was rooted in the Republican Reconstruction policy itself. The Republican-dominated Congress was greatly opposed to Johnson’s Reconstruction program. The Reconstruction period was from the end of Civil War until 1877. One of the central conflicts within the federal government was concerning whether Congress or the President was to set the terms of Reconstruction. President Lincoln started the Reconstruction Era and he wanted to get southern state governments in operation before Congress met in order to avoid the persecution of the vindictive Radical Republicans (www.history.com/this-day-in…/president-andrew-johnson-impeached).
However, President Lincoln was assassinated and died from his injury the very next day. Johnson was sworn in as President after Lincoln’s assassination and enacted a lenient Reconstruction policy for the defeated South.