|Learning More About
The Johnson Impeachment
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 Benedicts 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.
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 Bergers, 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 Johnsons whole
career, take a look at Lately Thomass well-written The
First President Johnson (Morrow, 1968), Hans Trefousses Andrew Johnson: A Biography (Norton, 1989),
or James E. Seftons, Andrew Johnson and the Uses of
Constitutional Power (Little, Brown, 1980).
you want to know more about the conflict between President Johnson and Congress, try Eric
L. McKitricks 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 Foners, Reconstruction:
Americas Unfinished Revolution (Harper and Row, 1988), or the
abridged version, Reconstruction (Harper
and Row, 1990).
Commentary: HarpWeek asked Professor Michael Les Benedict to prepare this
reference section for those who want to learn more about the impeachment of Andrew