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Public Notices

April 20, 2014

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Johnson 'Not Guilty' Again In Vote Of Visitors To Site

Originally published: 2013-05-30 10:44:31
Last modified: 2013-05-30 10:48:51

The verdict is in: President Andrew Johnson is "not guilty."

In May 1868, the United States Senate acquitted President Johnson of impeachment charges. The margin of acquittal was only one vote.

Visitors to the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site were able to cast their own vote on the question over the last year, an annual tradition at the Greeneville museum.

Andrew Johnson was found "not guilty" for the 2012-2013 voting year, with 3,204 "not guilty" and 377 "guilty" votes tallied.

Each year on May 26, the anniversary of the second Senate vote that acquitted President Johnson, site employees tally the visitor results.

As part of the experience of visiting the site, visitors are given a replica of the ticket used to gain entry to Andrew Johnson's 1868 impeachment trial.

In the museum, the visitors have an opportunity to learn more of the circumstances regarding the impeachment charges, and they are encouraged to tear the end tab from their ticket and vote in a ballot box for Johnson's acquittal or guilt.

The reasons for the impeachment vote are complex.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, the political relationship between the president and Congress deteriorated on matters concerning the restoration of the country. A climax of the tension came when Congress passed the "Tenure of Office Act."

The Act denied the president the authority to dismiss members of his cabinet without approval from Congress.

Johnson felt this violated the presidential rights granted by the Constitution.

He vetoed the act, but Congress overrode his veto. Later he tested the constitutionality of the act by firing his troublesome Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton.

After the bold political move, the House of Representatives voted impeachment and the Senate tried the case, but Johnson was acquitted (by a single vote) and continued to serve as president.

Voting for next year at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site has already begun.

The public is invited to come to the site to learn more about the 17th president and to cast their vote, National Park Service officials said.

The Visitor Center at the corner of Depot and College streets is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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