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Sketch of 'The last speech on impeachment...,' 1868
Thaddeus Stevens closing the debate on impeachment in the House, 1868

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Vote to Impeach Andrew Johnson
May 16, 1868

It's no small decision for Congress to impeach (accuse of a crime or misdemeanor) the president, but in 1868 that's exactly what happened. In February, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson. His trial, with the chief justice of the Supreme Court presiding, began on March 30 with the Senate serving as jury. Johnson was accused of having broken the law, but on May 16, 1868, the U.S. Senate failed to convict him by one vote. A second vote taken 10 days later had the same result: one vote short of the two-thirds majority required to convict. What did Johnson do that led to his impeachment and near arrest?
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