Tenure of Office Act

Kelsey Lints and Michael Mares

Tenure of Office Act

Passed in 1867, this act prevented President Andrew Johnson from removing Senate-approved officers without senatorial consent. The act was enacted by the Radical Republicans in order to control the reconstruction in the South. It was thought the the act was also put in place to prevent Johnson from removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from office. Johnson dismissed Stanton and appointed General Ulysses S. Grant as Secretary of War, but Grant had to return the office to Stanton, for the Senate did not approve of his dismissal. Johnson was impeached after appointing General Lorenzo Thomas as Secretary of War. In 1887, the act was repealed, as President Grover Cleveland challenged its constitutionality. In 1926, Supreme Court declared the act to be unconstitutional.

Significance

President Johnson did not approve of the radical approach to reconstruction in the South, which put him at odds with his Secretary of War. He showed defiance towards Senate by dismissing Stanton. Johnson was not officially impeached because the required 2/3 vote was not achieved. The law was not clear on whether officials appointed by a previous president, like Stanton, were protected.

Bibliography

History.com Staff. "Tenure of Office Act." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web.

19 Dec. 2014.

"Tenure of Office Act | United States." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

"Tenure of Office Act." Infoplease. Infoplease, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

Andrew Johnson. Digital image. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/587631/Tenure-of-Office-Act>.