Brenda Wineapple talks about her latest book The Impeachers. (8/8/19)
The year 1865, after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and Vice President Andrew Johnson became the original “accidental President,” was a dangerous time in America. Devastated by war and resorting to violence, many white Southerners hoped to maintain a highly segregated and unequal society, if not slavery, something that looked a lot like it. Johnson seemed to share their goals, despite the great cost of the Civil War, which had concluded only in April of that same year. With the unchecked power of executive orders, President Andrew Johnson ignored Congress, pardoned rebel leaders, promoted white supremacy, opposed civil rights and called Reconstruction unnecessary. It fell to Congress to stop an American president who acted as if he was a king. In this installment of “Leonard Lopate at Large” on WBAI, Brenda Wineapple talks about her new book “The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation” which details the first presidential impeachment in American history.