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Presidential Impeachment and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy 4/29/10

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, ” Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address March 4, 1865

How did President Andrew Johnson, a conservative Democrat and white racist, apply those principles to the four million freed black slaves, to the Americans who had fought to preserve slavery, to the Americans who had fought to save the Union, and to those who fought to end the vestiges of slavery after the American Civil War? How did a dispute about President Johnson’s application of those principles result in his impeachment by a Radical Republican House of Representatives? Were the few United States Senators who voted not to remove the impeached President “profiles in courage” or were they something less noble? What lessons does the impeachment have to today’s disputes between the American President and the Congress?