I think that we can all agree that Andrew Johnson was a first-rate dickhead. He certainly ranked among the most egregious offenders when I recently conducted a “who’s the biggest dickhead in US history” survey. So when it comes to his impeachment trial, given the chance, we would all probably be inclined to convict. But on what grounds…legally? I mean, last I checked, trying to obstruct congressional legislation and an amendment specifically designed to protect freedmen was the monumentally lame move of a king asshat – but not really illegal. And violating the Tenure of Office Act? Hmmmm….
So what do you say? Imagine yourself a senator in 1868 faced with the decision to convict (or not) and thus oust the president (…or not). What do you do? Remember…AJ’s lawyer has promised that he would make nice for the rest of his term and radical Benjamin Wade from Ohio is next in line for the job.
PS – I had a group of about 60 students do this exercise once…bonus points if you can guess what the majority decided.