How did Andrew Johnson feel about slavery?

February 24, 1868: The first impeachment proceedings against a president are opened in the USA

1865, USA: The Civil War is over, the Union is restored

Abraham Lincoln, the Republican president and “slave liberator”, is assassinated - he is succeeded by his vice Andrew Johnson, Democrat from Tennessee and a racist.

Like many poor whites in the southern states who had found their backing at the time in the Democratic Party, Johnson was against the slave-owning aristocracy - but neither did he want blacks to have a say.

Rather, Johnson wanted the United States to remain a republic of white men. He opposed the right to vote for the freed slaves. And he tried to prevent black people from getting their own land.

Johnson blocks, the Republicans react

Johnson's policies, his constant veto of their bills, were a thorn in the side of many Republicans: he opposed the right to vote and owned land for blacks and pardoned tons of former slave owners.

Harriet Tubman instead of Andrew Johnson: the face of the new twenty dollar bill

Hollywood-style scenes in Washington, DC

The trigger for the first impeachment proceedings in US history, which opened against Andrew Johnson on February 24, 1868, was, however, a far more absurd spectacle:

Johnson had dismissed his Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, which he was legally not allowed to do at the time - the Senate should have approved. Stanton, however, never thought of quitting and holed up in his office.

Can you sit out a dismissal?

He stayed there for three months, until the impeachment proceedings ended. Occasionally he only crept out to change linen.

The new Minister of War, Lorenzo Thomas, wanted to gain access to the Ministry. Stanton had Thomas arrested, who was released again - and invited by Stanton to the Ministry for a glass of whiskey.

However, the former Minister of War was still not ready to give up. And the blame for this back and forth was put on Johnson. His open breach of law with the dismissal of Stantons became the reason for the impeachment proceedings.

Picture battle with bison costume: The storm on the US Capitol

First impeachment ... failed!

Yes, surprise: The process failed due to a single missing vote for a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Reason: his vice in office, Benjamin Wade, was too liberal even Johnson's opponents - he demanded the right to vote not only for blacks, but also for women!

Manuscript for the broadcast

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