Impeachment Time Line

March 2, 1867
President Johnson vetoes the Tenure of Office Act. This Act states that a President may not dismiss appointed officials without the consent of Congress. Johnson felt this was a violation of the Constitution.Congress overrides Johnson's veto and the act becomes law. Johnson later removes Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, from his cabinet. This will become an Article of Impeachment.

A measure is added to the Army Appropriations Act for 1867-8 that stated the President had to issue all military orders through the General of the army stationed in Washington, D.C. Johnson felt this hindered his rights as Commander in Chief of the army and navy.

Johnson later places conservative generals in command in the South, thereby disregarding the Army Appropriations Act and Congress's desire for strict military reconstruction. This will also become an Article of Impeachment.

February 21, 1868
Andrew Johnson issues an order removing Edwin Stanton from the office of Secretary of War without the consent of Congress, thereby breaching the rules set forth in the Tenure of Office Act.

February 24, 1868
The U.S. House of Representatives passes a resolution impeaching the President of "high crimes and misdemeanors" by a strict party vote of 128 to 47. After the vote, the House appointed a committee to draw up specific charges.

February 29, 1868
The House committee reported ten articles of impeachment. After debate, the number of articles were reduced to nine. All but two were based on Johnson's alleged violation of the Tenure of Office Act. After the House adopted these charges, it added two more articles of Impeachment.

March 4, 1868
The House managers deliver and exhibit the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate.

March 5, 1868
The court on impeachment convenes and Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, takes the oath as presiding officer of the impeachment trial.

March 23, 1868
President Johnson's counsel responds to the articles.

March 24, 1868
The House managers file a reply to the President's response.

March 30, 1868
The trial begins.

April 4, 1868
The House managers conclude the presentation of their case.

April 9, 1868
The president's attorneys begin their defense.

April 20, 1868
The presiden't attorneys conclude the presentation of their case.

April 22, 1868
Closing arguments begin.

May 6, 1868
Closing arguments end.

May 12, 1868
The first vote on the articles is scheduled, but postponed until May 16 due to the illness of Senator Jacob Howard, MI.

May 16, 1868
The first vote is taken on the eleventh article, which was considered to be the one to have the most support for conviction. The vote was 35 to convict and 19 to acquit, one vote short of the two-thirds necessary to convict.

Seven Republican Senators voted for acquittal, one of whom was Senator Edmond Ross of Kansas. He was the last undecided Republican, and it was his vote in the impeachment trial that determined the fate of the President. By voting with his conscience, his own political career was ruined.

The Chief Justice announces, "Two-thirds not having pronounced guilty, the President is, therefore, acquitted of this article."

The Senate adjourns for ten days.

May 26, 1868
The second and third votes on the first and second articles are taken with the same result as the first vote on May 16. The majority gave up and a motion to adjourn carried. The trial is over.

Last updated: June 10, 2020

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