On February 24, 1868, the House of Representatives impeached the 17th President of the United States, Andrew Johnson.
Vice President Andrew Johnson succeeded President Abraham Lincoln after he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 15, 1865. Tensions were high during Johnson’s presidency as he and the wing of Radical Republicans continually butted heads on the issue of newly freed slaves and the punishment for Confederate soldiers.
The Radical Republicans wanted to pass Reconstruction legislation that would protect newly freed slaves and create harsh punishments for the Confederates. Johnson, a Southerner through and through, sought more lenient treatment of Confederate soldiers and repeatedly rejected civil rights legislation and financial support to former slaves.
Andrew Johnson was charged based on 11 articles of impeachment including a violation of the Tenure of Office Act. He was impeached by a vote of 126 to 47. Later, the impeachment and trial would come to be known as an act of political convenience rather than requirement.
Andrew Johnson was the only United States President to have been impeached by the House of Representatives until President Bill Clinton 131 years later.