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This deadlock culminated in the first impeachment proceedings in U.S. history. In February 1869, the House voted articles of impeachment and seven House Managers, including former Civil War Majors General Benjamin F. Butler and John A. Logan, prepared Johnson's trial. Lincoln appointee Salmon Chase, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, presided. Ten of eleven articles concerned the Tenure and Army Appropriations Acts; the last article claimed Johnson had attempted to undermine the Congress. Johnson did not attend the trial.

Between May 16 and May 26, when the vote was called a second time, enormous pressure and actual threats were brought to bear on the seven Republicans who joined the Senate's twelve Democrats to vote against conviction. Yet the final count, 35 to 19, remained one vote short of the two-thirds needed for conviction. When he was given the news, Johnson broke into tears.

Learn more about impeachment in American Memory:




 

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