Who Was the First US President to Be Impeached?


Quick Answer

Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, was the first chief executive to be impeached. The impeachment effort, however, would ultimately fail, and Johnson remained in office until the end of his term.

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Full Answer

Andrew Johnson, the moderate southern Democrat who succeeded to presidency after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, was impeached as the result of a political rift that developed between his office and the Republican radicals, who dominated both houses of Congress. The disputes between Johnson and the radicals culminated in Johnson's removal of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, a radical ally with whom he often disagreed, from his cabinet. This action breached the Tenure of Office Act, thus prompting the House of Representatives to vote impeachment. A trial was then held by the Senate, but the vote to remove Johnson ultimately fell one short of the two-thirds vote that was necessary.

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