The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
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The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

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Learning More About The Johnson Impeachment
There are many books from which one can learn more about the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Several deal specifically with the great trial and preceding events. Michael Les Benedict’s The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (Norton, 1973) was the first study to challenge the old idea that the impeachment was nothing but a partisan attempt to railroad the president. In Impeachment of a President (University of Tennessee Press, 1975), Hans L. Trefousse argued that Johnson aggressively courted impeachment as part of a generally successful plan to subvert Reconstruction.

June 25, 1864, page 401 (cover)
Andrew Johnson


Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was less sympathetic to the Republicans in Grand Inquests: The Historic Impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson (Morrow, 1992). For an old-fashioned slam at the proceedings as utterly without foundation or fairness, see the relevant chapter of Raoul Berger’s, Impeachment: The Constitutional Questions (Harvard University Press, 1973). You can make up your mind based on some of the material you have found at this website.

To learn more about the pugnacious Andrew Johnson’s whole career, take a look at Lately Thomas’s well-written The First President Johnson (Morrow, 1968), Hans Trefousse’s Andrew Johnson: A Biography (Norton, 1989), or James E. Sefton’s, Andrew Johnson and the Uses of Constitutional Power (Little, Brown, 1980).

If you want to know more about the conflict between President Johnson and Congress, try Eric L. McKitrick’s classic study, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (University of Chicago Press, 1960). His brief description of the impeachment is more traditional than the rest of his analysis, however. For a more detailed assessment, see Michael Les Benedict, A Compromise of Principle: Congressional Republicans and Reconstruction, 1863-1869 (Norton, 1974). Finally if you want a much-praised account of the twelve-year struggle over Reconstruction after the Civil War, of which the Johnson impeachment was only one exciting episode, read Eric Foner’s, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution (Harper and Row, 1988), or the abridged version, Reconstruction (Harper and Row, 1990).

HarpWeek Commentary: HarpWeek asked Professor Michael Les Benedict to prepare this reference section for those who want to learn more about the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

For additional documents and information about the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, see The Papers of Andrew Johnson.   Volumes 13 & 14.

Or contact the Andrew Johnson Papers Project at the University of Tennessee using the following information:

Paul H. Bergeron, Editor & Director
Andrew Johnson Papers Project
University of Tennessee
: (423) 974-2449
Fax: (423) 974-2085

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