In February 1868 Congress voted in 126 to 47 to impeach the 17th President of the United States, Andrew Johnson. The charge was violation of the Tenure of Office Act, specifically removing Edwin Stanton then Secretary of War and replacing him with General Lorenzo Thomas. It would be the first impeachment of a president since the creation of the office in 1789. The impeachment charge was the culmination of tensions created after the president broke with the republicans on the countries reconstruction strategy after taking over the office in 1865.

However, earlier in December of 1867 shortly after he won the re-election campaign a vote was taken by Congress on an earlier November resolution to impeach the President which was defeated by a vote of 57 in favor and 108 opposed.

An article in the December 14th, 1867 edition of the Cecil Whig discusses the vote results.

“The vote on impeaching the President was taken in the House on Monday last, 27 Republicans voting for Impeachment and 66 against it, combined with 42 Democrats, making 108 against to 57 for. A number dodged the question by being absent or not voting.

It is generally claimed by the anti-impeachers among the Republicans that the time has gone by when impeaching the President would have any practical good results; in other words that it is not “policy” to punish him now; but the better plan will be to watch him by Congress remaining in perpetual session till the end of his term the 4th of March, 1869. It was reasonable to suppose, judging from what the present Congress had done, that it would take the clumsiest mode of checking the President’s outrages upon the Government. If he has been guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors“ justice demands that he should have been tried and punished, even if he had but three days remaining in which to disgrace the Presidential chair. It seems to us to be the poorest “policy” conceivable to allow the guilty to escape. Andy Johnson is directly chargeable for the murder of thousands of loyal men in the rebel States on account of his encouragement and aid to the traitors, in his efforts to force “my policy’’ of reconstruction upon the country, in defiance of the known wishes of the loyal people, and for the purpose of gratifying a selfish ambition to force himself into the Presidential chair a second term. But Congress dallied, and let the culprit escape a year ago when the whole loyal portion of the nation demanded his impeachment. And now, having procrastinated, they strive to make a’ virtue of their fault, by saying the time has passed when impeachment would have any good results. The fact is that official patronage, direct or indirect is the true solution to the backing and filling of those Republican members who baffled, and finally defeated impeachment.

Having the fear of Impeachment removed Andy will be free to “carry on” from now to the end of his Presidential term, but perhaps finding the game won’t pay for the candle —standing no chance it would seem for a nomination from any party, and that the Southern States are bound to re-enter the Union more Radical Republican than even New England, he will conclude to amuse himself the remainder of his disgraceful official life with the Mrs. Cobbs that pollute the White House and in drinking deeper potations than ever, while Jerry Black writes his messages.

The President, It must be confessed, has “roared like a sucking dove” recently, and is no longer regarded as that devil unchained who was to make a meal of the whole Republican party and pick his teeth with Thad Stephens’ and Sumner’s bones.”

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