HIST 119 - Lecture 22 - Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President

Lecture 22 - Constitutional Crisis and Impeachment of a President


Professor Blight continues his discussion of the political history of Reconstruction. The central figure in the early phase of Reconstruction was President Andrew Johnson. Under Johnson's stewardship, southern whites held constitutional conventions throughout 1865, drafting new constitutions that outlawed slavery but changed little else. When the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress reassembled late in 1865, they put a stop to Johnson's leniency and inaugurated Radical (or Congressional) Reconstruction, a process that resulted in the immediate passage of the Civil Rights bill and the Fourteenth Amendment, and the eventual passage of four Reconstruction Acts. The Congressional elections in 1866 and Johnson's disastrous "Swing Around the Circle" speaking tour strengthened Radical control over Congress. Each step of the way, Johnson did everything he could to obstruct Congressional Reconstruction, setting the stage for his impeachment in 1868.


Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction, 1863-1877, chapters 1-4, pp. 1-81

Michael P. Johnson, Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War, parts 9-10, pp. 268-280 and pp. 307-332

William Gienapp, Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection, part 2, pp. 293-316

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