President Andrew Johnson
Found "Not Guilty" by visitors
in 2013 - 2014
Greeneville TN: In May of 1868, the United States Senate acquitted President Andrew Johnson of impeachment charges. The margin of acquittal was only one vote. Visitors to the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site today have the opportunity to cast their own vote. As part of the experience of visiting the site, visitors are given a replica of the ticket used to gain entry to Andrew Johnson's 1868 impeachment trial. In the museum, the visitors have an opportunity to learn more of the circumstances regarding the impeachment charges, and they are encouraged to tear the end tab from their ticket and vote in a ballot box for Johnson's acquittal or guilt. Each year on May 26, the anniversary of the second Senate vote that acquitted President Johnson, site employees tally the visitor results. Andrew Johnson was found "Not Guilty" for the 2010-2011 voting year with 3,609 Not Guilty and 432 Guilty. In 2011-2012, the visitor count resulted in 506 "Guilty" votes and 4,264 "Not Guilty" votes. For 2012-2013, the result was 377 "Guilty" and 3,204 "Not Guilty."
In the aftermath of the Civil War, the political relationship between the President and Congress deteriorated on matters concerning the restoration of the country. A climax of the tension came when Congress passed the "Tenure of Office Act." This Act denied the president the authority to dismiss members of his cabinet without approval from Congress. Johnson felt this violated the presidential rights granted by the Constitution. He vetoed the act, but Congress overrode his veto. Later he tested the Constitutionality of the act by firing his troublesome Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton.
After this bold political move, the House of Representatives voted impeachment and the Senate tried the case, but Johnson was acquitted and continued to serve as President.
Members of the community and beyond are invited to come to the site to learn more about their 17th President and to cast their vote.
Last updated: April 14, 2015