Reconstruction II: The First Presidential Impeachment

May 16, 1868. The Capitol is filled with spectators, anxiously trying to predict how each Senator will vote. It’s the first presidential impeachment trial in American history, and its outcome will have profound effects on Reconstruction, the great project of rebuilding the nation after the Civil War. What made many members of Congress declare President Andrew Johnson unfit to lead that effort? And what motivated this former ally of Abraham Lincoln to declare himself an enemy of true Reconstruction?

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