Wednesday, July 19, 2017

First Paragraph

The floor of the crimson and gilt Senate Chamber filled quickly as the senators and representatives took their places to hear Congressman Ben Butler of Massachusetts present the case against President Andrew Johnson. Twenty-five days earlier, on March 5, 1868, the president's trial had formally opened with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase residing over the fifty-three senators who sat as a court of impeachment. One hundred and ninety-two members of the House of Representatives, having voted to impeach Johnson for "high crimes and misdemeanors in office," were present as accusers. On March 3, the representatives had adopted eleven articles of impeachment, the most notorious, Article X, having been written by Butler himself. In it, he had accused Johnson of bringing Congress into disgrace by "inflammatory and scandalous harangues" and of degrading his office "to the great scandal of all good citizens." That ailing but most savagely vindictive Radical Republican leader Thaddeus Stevens had taken the occasion to warn the president: "Unfortunate, unhappy man, behold your doom!"

- From American Heritage History of The Confident Years, 1866-1914 by Francis Russell

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