Johnson's Impeachment: Yea or Nay?

Andrew Johnson was thrust into the Presidency by the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. This lesson plan investigates Johnson’s firing of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton which led to impeachment proceedings against the President. Students will explore arguments for and against the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson at his tria.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Analyze the choice of Andrew Johnson as Vice-President, his succession to the Presidency, his plan for Reconstruction and his conflict with the Radical Republicans.
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Learning objectives: 

The student will be able to

  • Analyze how the Civil War and Reconstruction altered power relationships between the states and the federal government and among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
  • Analyze how efforts by radical and moderate Republicans to reconstruct the defeated South changed the balance of power between Congress and the Presidency and yielded some successes.
Essential and guiding questions: 

What political actions led to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson and how did he overcome the allegations of the impeachment?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

“Impeachment Crises: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton”
Students will read the article by David Offutt (pp. 10 & 11) to compare and contrast Andrew Johnson’s and Bill Clinton’s impeachment trials. Students will complete the Venn diagram to comprehend the differences and similarities with a connection to
modern history. 
Students could also create a timeline for each President’s impeachment proceedings.