Tenure of Office Act


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Tenure of Office Act

The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, left the post–Civil War United States in the hands of his ineffectual and unpopular successor, Andrew Johnson. It became Johnson's responsibility to determine a reconstruction policy, and he incurred the anger of the Radical Republicans in Congress when he chose a moderate treatment of the rebellious South.

Congress sought to diminish Johnson's authority to select or remove officials from office, and the Radical Republicans particularly wanted to protect Lincoln's secretary of war, edwin m. stanton. Stanton, a valuable member of the existing cabinet, supported the Radicals' Reconstruction policies and openly opposed Johnson. On March 2, 1867, Congress enacted the Tenure of Office Act (14 Stat. 430), which stated that a U.S. president could not remove any official originally appointed with senatorial consent without again obtaining the approval of the Senate.

Andrew Johnson vetoed the measure and challenged its effectiveness when he removed the dissident Stanton from office. Stanton refused to leave, and the House of Representatives invoked the new act to initiate Impeachment proceedings against Johnson in 1868. The president was acquitted, however, when the Senate failed by one vote to convict him. Stanton subsequently relinquished his office, and the Tenure of Office Act, never a popular measure, was repealed in 1887.

Further readings

Hearn, Chester G. 2000. The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Pol'y 667, 746-58 (2003) (detailing the history of President Andrew Johnson's battle with Congress over the constitutionality of the Tenure of Office Act, which restricted the President's ability to remove certain executive officers without the approval of the Senate, and describing Johnson's impeachment and acquittal by a single vote).
Tenure of Office Act had been repealed almost forty years earlier.
had a few critical words to say about the Tenure of Office Act, which
Tenure of Office Act, shielding President Lincoln's appointees from
The Tenure of Office Act demonstrated that congressional
The Tenure of Office Act thus created a dramatic change in relations between the President and the Senate concerning the President's cabinet.
As noted by Cadwalader, Congress and the Senate, by the Tenure of Office Act and other measures, had over the years opposed rather than ratified the executive practice.
In this case, it was not legislation that shaped the process of impeachment, as the independent counsel statute did; it was the legislation the violation of which constituted the principal charge against the president: the Tenure of Office Act restricting Johnson's ability to remove senior officials.
Tenure of Office Act in March 1867, over President Johnson's veto.
Third, the high-ranking law officers were somewhat protected from firing by the revised Tenure of Office Act. The Senate made it clear that it was not going to surrender this power in 1869, and, one year later, Congress established the Department of Justice.
Here was a clear violatio n of the Tenure of Office Act, in the view of House Republicans.
Andrew Johnson was accused by Congress of having violated the Tenure of Office Act of 1867, which forbade the president to discharge any federal officeholder appointed "by and with the consent of the Senate." Johnson tested the act by removing Sec.