The mood of our nation is grim. The President of the United States has been impeached for just the third time in history with the American people standing staunchly divided. The resolution was passed along party lines with many significant questions left unanswered, and despite protests from the Republicans. Few note, however, that this has all happened before.
It was the late 1860’s and the nation was still recovering from its wounds suffered in the Civil War, which took 620,000 lives. The much-beloved Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, who brought the Union out from the horrors of war had recently been assassinated. In his place came an unorthodox, Union-loyal, Democrat named Andrew Johnson. Johnson was well-respected by Lincoln as he had been the only Senator from a seceding state supporting the war and emancipation of slaves, hence the reason Lincoln chose him as a running mate.
Despite his reputation, Johnson quickly had major beef with the so-called “Radical Republicans” in Congress once he took office. The Republicans in the House were in discordance with the President and his proposed reconstruction policies. Overriding the veto of Johnson they passed by the Tenure of Office Act which required Senate Approval for dismissal of any official which had to be confirmed by the Senate. It was obvious Congress passed the act to save the employment and influence of Lincoln-appointed cabinet members inside the White House. Their trap was set and all they had to do was wait.
Johnson issued a legal challenge to the act but the Supreme Court offered no ruling (they would not declare the Act unconstitutional until 1926). After this, a practical challenge to the act was imminent, and that is just what the Republicans wanted.
Feeling that it was his right as Chief Executive to take such action, Johnson moved to fire members of his cabinet anyway and proceeded to replace his Secretary of War with General Lorenzo Thomas. Thomas predictably, was not favored by Congress. By dismissing his Secretary of War without consulting the Legislature, Johnson fell over the tripwire of impeachment that even Admiral Ackbar could have seen coming. The Republicans pounced. Not believing in waiting less than a year for the next Presidential election, the Republicans did what everyone knew they were out to do: they made Johnson the first President to ever be impeached. Within three days, they put forth and adopted articles of impeachment for violation of the Tenure of Office Act.
Today the parties have switched places but the story remains the same. Impeachment has long been the goal of the Democrats. Liberal pundits and Democrats alike have been calling for the impeachment of President Trump for years. Conservatives have duly noted how the left has been waiting and hoping for any stumble however small, inconsequential, or insignificant to pull the impeachment trigger.
It has always been President Trump’s less than perfect behavior that has perhaps revealed more about his opponents intentions than his own imperfections. Legislators and activists alike held a candlelight vigil in front of the White House to show support for the Mueller probe and its prospective legal implications against the President. The investigation found no prosecutable actions. Lest we forget the jubilant displays of excitement when the prospect of obstruction of justice was implicated in the firing of James Comey-surely that was enough for impeachment! At certain times in his term, the President’s behavior has been questionable at best and condemnable at its worst. The order of impeachment remains a high statute to meet, and one the Democrats are all too willing to lower. It is a dangerous precedent, but again, we have been here before.
A politically motivated and premeditated impeachment, much like the one we are currently watching, came to pass in the most divisive decade in American history and yet the bonds of our nation stood strong. Partisan impeachments are unfortunate to say the least, but, before we declare all hope to be lost, let us not forget the trials our nation has gone through before and survived nonetheless.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.