President Johnson impeached

The Constitution for Kids (K-3)
The Constitution for Kids (K-3)

President Andrew Johnson is best known as the Vice President who was appointed the presidency after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. He is also only one of three presidents of the United States to be impeached. While Johnson was President, he was nicknamed “The Veto President” because he vetoed 29 bills passed by Congress. Fifteen of those bills were overridden by Congress including the Freemen’s Bureau and the Civil Rights Bill.

President Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment Facts for Kids

Andrew Johnson

  • Andrew Johnson was pro-slavery and anti-secession.
  • Andrew Johnson was the only President of the United States to never go to school.
  • He held numerous political offices like mayor, state senator, governor, U.S. Senator, and he was a member of the House of Representatives.
  • He was the only southern politician to remain in Washington. D.C. after the South seceded from the Union.
  • He was selected to be President Abraham Lincoln’s running mate because he was from the South. Johnson was sworn in as President of the United States after the assassination of President Lincoln.
  • President Johnson vetoed 29 bills passed by the U.S. Congress, including the Freemen’s Bureau and Civil Right bills. He also encouraged southern states not to ratify the 14thAmendment, which gave black people citizenship.
  • He is the first and one of three presidents of the United States to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • While President Johnson allowed his Secretary of State, William Seward, to purchase Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million or two cents per acre.

Early political career

Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. He later moved his family to Tennessee. In Tennessee, he became a mayor of a small town, and then he was elected as a state senator in Tennessee.

From here, Johnson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1843, where he served until 1853. In 1853 he was elected the Governor of Tennessee and held that office for four years. In 1857 Johnson was then elected a Senator from Tennessee.

Andrew Johnson was the only southern politician to remain in Washington, D.C., after the South seceded from the Union. For his loyalty to the Union, President Lincoln appointed him the military governor of Tennessee in 1862. While in the House of Representatives and as Senator, Johnson supported slavery but not the South’s secession. He helped to convince President Lincoln to exclude Tennessee from the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 1864 President Lincoln asked Andrew Johnson to be his vice president. Lincoln felt that Johnson would help heal the nation when the Civil War ended. After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson was sworn into office in Washington, D.C., on April 15, 1865, by Salmon Chase, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Presidency

President Andrew Johnson was not well-liked by the Republicans who held most votes in the U.S. Congress. Johnson wanted even more leniency for Confederate supporters rejoining the Union after the Civil War.

Because President Johnson allowed southern states to elect ex-Confederate officials back to the U.S. Congress, he was alienated by the Republicans in Washington, D.C.

He was also against freeing the slaves. President Johnson was instrumental in giving pardons to numerous Confederate supporters. He vetoed major legislation like the Freemen’s Bureau, the Civil Rights Bill, and he encouraged southern states not to ratify the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Johnson was more interested in helping southern states rebuild their farms and infrastructure than helping the newly freed slaves.

Impeachment

President Johnson’s actions soon boiled over with the Republicans when he fired the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. The House of Representatives immediately felt that Johnson had abused the powers of the office. The U.S. Congress was not happy that he had vetoed 29 bills during his presidency.

The U.S. House of Representatives proceeded to impeach or remove President Andrew Johnson from office. In February 1868, the U.S. House of Representatives found him guilty and, with a simple vote, impeached him from office. To be removed from office, President Johnson needed to be found guilty in the U.S. Senate by a 66% majority of votes. He survived impeachment and his removal from office in the U.S. Senate by one vote.

After impeachment

After President Johnson was impeached, he served out his last year in office. Johnson was later voted back to Washington, D.C., as a Senator in 1875. He died shortly after taking office in 1875.

Questions

  1. What was President Andrew Johnson’s nickname while President?
    The Veto President
  1. How many United States Presidents have been impeached?
    Three
  1. What state did Andrew Johnson represent in the U.S. Congress?
    Tennessee
  1. How many bills passed by the U.S. Congress did President Andrew Johnson veto while President?
    29 bills
  1. What piece of land did President Johnson authorize Secretary of State Seward to purchase?
    Alaska