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Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy

Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy


Book Overview: Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy

Historian and Constitution expert David O. Stewart recaps the landmark impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. "The fullest recounting we have of the high politics of that immediate post-Civil War period...Stewart's graceful style and storytelling ability make for a good read." --The Washington Post

In 1868 Congress impeached President Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, the man who had succeeded the murdered Lincoln, bringing the nation to the brink of a second civil war. Enraged to see the freed slaves abandoned to brutal violence at the hands of their former owners, distraught that former rebels threatened to regain control of Southern state governments, and disgusted by Johnson's brawling political style, congressional Republicans seized on a legal technicality as the basis for impeachment -- whether Johnson had the legal right to fire his own secretary of war, Edwin Stanton.

The fiery but mortally ill Congressman Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania led the impeachment drive, abetted behind the scenes by the military hero and president-in-waiting, General Ulysses S. Grant.

The Senate trial featured the most brilliant lawyers of the day, along with some of the least scrupulous, while leading political fixers maneuvered in dark corners to save Johnson's presidency with political deals, promises of patronage jobs, and even cash bribes. Johnson escaped conviction by a single vote.

David Stewart, the author of the highly acclaimed The Summer of 1787, the bestselling account of the writing of the Constitution, challenges the traditional version of this pivotal moment in American history. Rather than seeing Johnson as Abraham Lincoln's political heir, Stewart explains how the Tennessean squandered Lincoln's political legacy of equality and fairness and helped force the freed slaves into a brutal form of agricultural peonage across the South.

When the clash between Congress and president threatened to tear the nation apart, the impeachment process substituted legal combat for violent confrontation. Both sides struggled to inject meaning into the baffling requirement that a president be removed only for "high crimes and misdemeanors," while employing devious courtroom gambits, backstairs spies, and soaring rhetoric. When the dust finally settled, the impeachment process had allowed passions to cool sufficiently for the nation to survive the bitter crisis.

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PublisherSimon & Schuster
Publication Date2010-06-15
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Weight lbs
David O. Stewart is a critically acclaimed American author known for his exceptional works in historical non-fiction. He gained distinction in his field through his decades of valuable contributions to literature. With a background in Law from Harvard University, Stewart transitioned from being a successful trial lawyer to an accomplished author, utilizing his ability to distill complex concepts into compelling narratives. His diverse body of work spans American history, covering the founding fathers, the Lincoln era, the Constitution, and more. Some of his notable books include "The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution" and "American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America," which have earned him much appreciation, including the prestigious Washington Writing Prize for history. Stewart is not just a talented writer but also an impressive speaker and history enthusiast. He is frequently invited to speak on constitutional and historical topics, sharing his acquired wisdom with audiences of all ages. Combining law, history, and master craftsmanship, David O. Stewart continues to forge a path as an influential figure in American historical literature.

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