Who Was The First President Ever To Be Impeached?

The first president ever to be impeached was Andrew Johnson. The United States House of Representatives decided to impeach democrat and a sitting president Andrew. The first impeachment ever happened on February 21, 1968.

Additionally, Andrew Johnson was also the first ever democrat to be impeached. Truly, a first ever in the history of US politics.

portrait of Andrew Johnson the first ever impeached president
Andrew Johnson, first-ever president to be impeached.
By Mathew Brady – File: Andrew Johnson photo portrait head and shoulders, c1870-1880.jpg, Library of Congress., Public Domain

Why Was Andrew Johnson First President Ever To Be Impeached?

Johnson, vice president at the time, had assumed office after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865. His Southern roots philosophy ignited the conflict between him and the Radical Republicans.

Radical Republicans and Reconstruction Acts

It turns out that Radical Republicans wanted to pass the Reconstruction acts. These laws guaranteed to free slaves and prevent giving control of the government to the former Southern rebels.

However, Johnson favorized ex-Rebels and continuously gave them pardons. In his speeches, he frequently opposed the Radicals. Although the Radicals wanted to reconstruct the South, they knew it is not possible with Johnson in office.

The Tenure Office Act

Soon things changed. The Tenure Office Act from 1867 made it impossible for Johnson to dismiss government officials. He had to consult the Senate.

Since Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War was the only person from Johnson’s cabinet to support the reconstruction program. As a result, Johnson suspended Edwin M. Stanton and appointed General Ulysses S. Grant.

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The Congress decided to overrule Stanton’s suspension, while Grant resigned. However, Johnson formally discharged Stanton on February 21, 1868.

Stanton refused to leave, and the Republicans supported him. The House of Representatives impeached Johnson due to his open defiance on February 24.

Republicans charged Johnson with the violation of the Tenure Office Act. As a result, Andrew Johnson became the first president ever to be impeached.

Andrew Johnson’s Trial

Andrew Johnson’s trial became a public spectacle and lasted 11 weeks. It resulted in excusing Johnson, which allowed him to serve out his term until March 4, 1869.

Albeit, Johnson continued to oppose the Reconstruction acts. Still, Congress managed to turn the tables and continued with passing the acts.

people sitting in courtroom watching the first ever president to be impeached
The impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson, April 11, 1868.
By Theodore R. Davis – Illustration in en: Harper’s Weekly, April 11, 1868., Public Domain

List of Impeached Presidents

The first president ever to be impeached in the US was Andrew Johnson. However, Andrew Johnson managed to stay in the office. Nevertheless, he wasn’t the only one who faced charges.

Abolhassan Banisadr – The Second President To Be Impeached

Additionally, Abolhassan Banisadr, the president of Iran, was the second president ever to face charges. After that, Banisadr was impeached in 1981.

The second president who almost lost his job was Richard Nixon. As a result of the 1974 Watergate scandal, Nixon was in trouble. Finally, Nixon resigned before the impeachment process took place.

Bill Clinton – The President Who (Almost) Got Impeached

Bill Clinton was the third president ever who almost got impeached in the US. As a result of the sexual harassment lawsuit in 1998 involving Monica Lewinsky.

Nonetheless, Bill Clinton stayed in the office until 2001, when his presidency ended.

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Similarly, one popular question lingers. Will the people impeach Donald Trump? Well, currently, Trump is still the president of the United States. However, will Trump get to keep his presidency? History will tell.

UPDATE: Trump has become the third-ever president in US history who got impeached.

Also, don’t forget to check out who was the first god ever.