As talk of impeachment process spreads through our country, I, as a history nerd, can't help but think back to the history of impeachment in the United States. Throughout our forty-five different presidents, only two have been impeached (Nixon would have been but he resigned before they could impeachment). Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton have been the only two presidents that have been impeached.
The word impeachment has a very hot connotation. Many people think being impeached means that a president is removed from office, but that is not the case. Being impeached is just the first step to be removed from office. Both the house and the senate have to vote in favor of removal from office for a sitting president to be removed. This has never been done.
President Andrew Johnson was the first president to ever be impeached. He became president after Lincoln was assassinated, taking over a very politically rough country. His impeachment was a messy one, chalked up mostly to the fact that many politicians across the aisle didn't agree with his policy and style of politics.
At the most basic, Johnson was impeached over the Tenure of Office Act which stated that a president could not dismiss one of their cabinet members without advising the Senate first. Johnson tried to twist thing law by dismissing one of his cabinet members while congress wasn't in session. Of course, Congress didn't like that Johnson went over their heads to dismiss one of his cabinet members.
Because he wasn't removed from office, Johnson's impeachment trial served as a reminder to the United States government that a president cannot be removed from office because of disagreement in their handling of administration. Also, it proved how hard it can be to remove a president from office.
Bill Clinton was the forty-second president of the United States. His impeachment is much more fresh in the minds of the American people because it happened only happened in the '90s. Clinton was impeached on charges of encouraging false testimony from Monica Lewinsky, an intern who he was having sexual relations with. He was also charged with tampering with evidence and the nature of his relationship with Lewinsky.
Bill Clinton was also not removed from office. All of the Democrats and some of the Republicans decided that the charges and the evidence against him weren't enough to remove him from office.
With the trial for the impeachment of Trump approaching, some people have an idea in their heads that it may be easy to remove him from office. Given the history of impeachment in our country, I think it may be hard to remove Trump from office. However, there is always time to make history.