United States and American History: 1868
About the history of the United States in 1868, President Andrew Johnson is impeached, the typewriter is invented.
--Charles Fleischmann of Cincinnati, O., introduced an exciting new product for the housewife: compressed fresh yeast.
Feb. 24 The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Johnson. Angered by Johnson's policies for the defeated South, House radical leaders passed laws that included the controversial Tenure of Office Act, a bill which forbade Johnson to dismiss Cabinet members without congressional approval. He promptly fired Secretary Stanton, who defied him with an office sit-in. Thaddeus Stevens, the radicals' leader, accepted the challenge and drew up 11 charges for impeachment. They were all politically motivated and, although titled "high crimes and misdemeanors," were of a trivial, vindictive nature.
In the Senate hearing, staged as a trial with Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding, 8 of the charges were speedily voted down. On the 2nd, 3rd, and 11th charges, accusing Johnson of violating the Tenure of Office Act, the Senate voted 35-19 for conviction, one vote short of the constitutionally-required 2/3 needed for removal from office.
The trial lasted 11 1/2 weeks. Some witnesses for Johnson were kept out of court, others were offered bribes. Benjamin Wade, the President pro tempore of the Senate and 1st in line to succeed Johnson if the President were convicted was allowed to vote as a member of the Senate jury. Wade was so sure that the President would be removed that he had already chosen the men he wanted in his Cabinet.
The Tenure of Office Act was declared unconstitutional in 1926 by the Supreme Court. But it was too late to save the political careers of 7 Republican senators who followed their consciences and voted for acquittal: Grimes (Ia.), Trumbull (Ill.), Ross (Kans.), Van Winkle (W. Va.), Fessenden (Me.), Fowler (Tenn.), and Henderson (Mo.).
Mar 21 "Sorosis," the 1st professional club for women, was founded in New York City by English-born journalist Jane Cunningham "Jennie June" Croly. Later she helped to found the Federation of Women's Clubs.
June 23 A new machine called the "typewriter" was assigned patent #79265. Conceived by Christopher Lathan Sholes in 1867, the design resembled a miniature piano with 2 rows of black walnut keys. Its letters, painted on the keys in white, were all capitals, and there were other keys for numbers 2 through 9, plus a comma and a period. Sholes coined the name for the invention. To test the "typewriter" for efficiency, his friend, Charles Weller, created the sentence, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the country."
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