Answer to Question #151366 in History for Shane

Question #151366
How did radical Republicans handle their frustration over Andrew Johnson‘s leader ship
Expert's answer

Andrew Johnson and the Congress

Andrew Johnson became the president of the United States after Abraham Lincoln's assassination and he was to preside over the Reconstruction. He was the first president to be impeached. The primary reason for his impeachment was the contradicting views of over the nation's reunification after the American's civil war. He wanted to punish the leaders of the South, thus set forth a harsh and unfair policy to punish them. He blamed the wealthy plantation owners of the South and excluded them from political rights which they would only be able to access after directly seeking a pardon from him. He set strict conditions for allowing the seceded nations back into the Union. The conditions were adopting a constitution that rejected the separation of nations, slavery and debts that the state had accumulated during the civil war (Castel, 1979). Moreover, he had many Confederate officials arrested.

These actions angered the Radical Republicans in the Congress and prompted them to take numerous actions to counter this. They repudiated any action to be replaced by the Southern representatives and senators in the Congress. The congress passed the Civil Rights Bill which gave equal rights of protection under the law to the African Americans and renewed the Freedman's Bureau in 1866. Johnson vetoed the two bills but he was overturned by the Congress (Castel, 1979). This is because the Republican party controlled more than two thirds of both houses of Congress thus they had a lot of influence on the Reconstruction in the South.

The Congress enacted the First Reconstruction Act which split the South into five districts. The act also expected Southern states to draft new constitutions that granted blacks equal protection rights under the law and allowed them to vote. Besides, they repudiated Johnson's plan for reconstruction. President Johnson reacted by firing the Secretary of War, Stanton who implemented the Congress' policies. He violated the the Tenure of Office Act through this action hence the House of Representatives began his impeachment (Benedict, 1999). However, Johnson remained president as the votes failed to reach the required two-thirds majority for impeachment.


Albert, C. (1979). The presidency of Andrew Johnson. University Press of Kansas.

Les Benedict, M. (1999). The impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson. WW Norton & Company.

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