The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
ĽName: George Sewall Boutwell

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George Boutwell was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of a farmer. Young Boutwell studied law but chose to enter politics rather than the legal profession. He served as a member of the Massachusetts legislature from 1842 to 1850, becoming a leader in the state Democratic party. He was elected governor in 1850 and reelected in 1852. Having switched to the Republican party, Boutwell first entered national politics during the Civil War with his election to Congress in 1862 and served until his fourth term expired in 1869. He was one of seven members chosen by the House of Representatives to prosecute its impeachment charges against President Andrew Johnson during the removal trial in the Senate.

In 1869, Boutwell was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to serve as Secretary of the Treasury after Grant’s first choice, businessman A. T. Stewart, was forced to withdraw his name from consideration. When James Fisk and Jay Gould attempted to gain control of the gold market on Black Friday (24 September 1869), Boutwell followed the president’s order to release federal gold reserves in order to counteract the financiers’ scheme. After Grant’s reelection, Boutwell resigned his cabinet post to serve one term as U.S. senator from Massachusetts (1873-1877). He published Educational Topics and Institutions, several books on taxation and political economy, and The Constitution of the United States at the End of the First Century, which is considered to be his most important work. He died in Groton, Massachusetts.

Robert C. Kennedy, HarpWeek

Sources consulted:  Harper’s Weekly Encyclopedia of United States History; William Degregorio, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents.


George Sewall Boutwell
(28 January 1818 - 27 February 1905)
Source:  History of Congress, 1867-69, Vol. II

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