On This Day, Feb. 24, 1868 – House Impeaches President Andrew Johnson
1868 – The U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson due to his attempt to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
The final blow came after the passage of the Tenure of Office Act in 1867. This law made it impossible for the president to dismiss important government officials without the permission of the Senate. In a move than infuriated Congressmen, Johnson defied the act.
The president had long wanted to dismiss the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton. Stanton was the only member of Johnson’s cabinet who supported the Radical Republicans’ program for reconstruction. On August 12, Johnson suspended Stanton. In his place, Johnson appointed the popular General Ulysses S. Grant Secretary of War. By doing so, Johnson hoped to challenge the constitutionality of the Tenure of Office Act.
When Congress reconvened, they overruled Stanton’s suspension, and Grant resigned his position. The event heightened Grant’s popularity and depressed Johnson’s — at least as far as Republicans were concerned. Ignoring Congress, Johnson formally dismissed Stanton on February 21, 1868. With the support of the Republicans, Stanton responded by locking himself in his office and refusing to leave.
Angered by Johnson’s open defiance, the House of Representatives formally impeached him on February 24 by a vote of 126 to 47. They charged him with violation of the Tenure of Office Act and bringing into “disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt, and reproach the Congress of the United States.” It was then up to the Senate to try Johnson.
Johnson was acquitted in Senate.
1803 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled itself to be the final interpreter of all constitutional issues.
1835 – “Siwinowe Kesibwi” (The Shawnee Sun) was issued as the first Indian language monthly publication in the U.S.
1839 – William S. Otis received a patent for the steam shovel.
1857 – The first shipment of perforated postage stamps was received by the U.S. Government.
1863 – Arizona was organized as a territory.
1866 – In Washington, DC, an American flag made entirely of American bunting was displayed for the first time.
1886 – Thomas Edison and Mina Miller were married.
1900 – New York City Mayor Van Wyck signed the contract to begin work on New York’s first rapid transit tunnel. The tunnel would link Manhattan and Brooklyn. The ground breaking ceremony was on March 24, 1900.
1903 – In Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, an area was leased to the U.S. for a naval base.
1938 – The first nylon bristle toothbrush was made. It was the first time that nylon yarn had been used commercially.
1942 – The U.S. Government stopped shipments of all 12-gauge shotguns for sporting use for the wartime effort.
1942 – The Voice of America (VOA) aired for the first time.
1945 – During World War II, the Philippine capital of Manilla, was liberated by U.S. soldiers.
1946 – Juan Peron was elected president of Argentina.
1956 – The city of Cleveland invoked a 1931 law that barred people under the age of 18 from dancing in public without an adult guardian.
1981 – Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Britain’s Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.
1983 – A U.S. congressional commission released a report that condemned the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
1988 – The U.S. Supreme Court overturned a $200,000 award to Rev. Jerry Falwell that had been won against “Hustler” magazine. The ruling expanded legal protections for parody and satire.
1989 – Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini sentenced Salman Rushdie to death for his novel “The Satanic Verses“. A bounty of one to three-million-dollars was also put on Rushidie’s head.
2007 – The Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution expressing “profound regret” for the state’s role in slavery.
2008 – Cuba’s parliament named Raul Castro president. His brother Fidel had ruled for nearly 50 years.
Source: pbs.org; On-This-Day.com