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Congressional Reconstruction. SSUSH10 The student will identify legal, political, and social dimensions of Reconstruction. e. Explain the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in relationship to Reconstruction. . Reconstruction Act of 1867.

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congressional reconstruction

Congressional Reconstruction

SSUSH10 The student will identify legal, political, and social dimensions of Reconstruction.

e. Explain the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in relationship to Reconstruction.

reconstruction act of 1867
Reconstruction Act of 1867
  • Debate over the 14thAmendment was fierce and sometimes violent
  • Radical Republicans in Congress wanted civil rights for African Americans
  • Pres. Johnson refused to grant equal rights to African Americans
  • Moderate Republicans were somewhere in the middle
provisions of the act
Provisions of the Act:

1. The south was put under military rule, dividing it into 5 districts, each governed by a northern general

2. Ordered southern states to hold new elections to create new state constitutions

3. States must allow all qualified male voters, including African Americans, to vote

4. It temporarily barred those who supported the Confederacy from voting

5. Southern states had to guarantee equal rights to all citizens

6. All states must ratify the 14th Amendment

the power struggle between president and congress
The Power Struggle between President and Congress
  • Pres. Johnson vetoed the Reconstruction Act of 1867 – Congress promptly overrode the veto
  • 2 Radical Republicans led the charge against Pres. Johnson – Mass. Senator Charles Sumner and Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Penn.
  • Radical leaders felt Johnson was not carrying out his Constitutional obligation to enforce the Reconstruction Act – for example, he removed military officers who attempted to enforce the act
  • The Radicals began to look for reasons to impeach the president

In early 1868, Johnson tried to fire Sec. of War Edwin Stanton, a Lincoln appointee, because he didn’t want him to preside over the military rule of the South.

  • This violated the Tenure of Office Act of 1867 – this act placed limits on the President’s power to hire and fire government officials
  • The Senate had to approve any firings
impeaching johnson
Impeaching Johnson
  • The House found that Johnson’s actions were unconstitutional and voted to impeach him on February 24, 1868
  • Johnson’s trial before the Senate lasted from March to May 1868 - he avoided impeachment by only 1 vote
  • This set the precedent that Presidents could only be impeached for the most serious offenses
  • This avoided a dangerous precedent of Congress using impeachment to exert power over the Executive Branch
grant is elected
Grant is Elected
  • After the impeachment trial, the Democrats knew that Johnson would not win a bid for reelection
  • They nominated a war hero, Horatio Seymour
  • Seymour’s opponent from the Republican party was General Ulysses S. Grant
  • Grant won the election with the support of 500,000 African American voters