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United States Congress, "An Act regulating the Tenure of certain Civil Offices," March 2, 1867

Legislative Iconic image, U.S. Capitol, 2008

Frustration with the policies of President Johnson, the increasingly radical United States Congress began to take matters firmly in hand in early 1867.  They were passing the first Reconstruction Act that imposed military government on the former Confederate states until such time as reforms and order allowed a full role for acceptable civilian governance and during the same period initiated the "Tenure of Office Bill" that would ensure that the Executive could not trouble this development by using its power to appoint and dismiss federal officials.  Senator George H. Williams of Oregon had introduced the original bill in the Senate on the first day of the "lame duck" session of the Thirty-Ninth Congress, on December 3, 1866.  Both houses initially passed the measure before the end of the year but disagreement over the inclusion of certain officials, specifically members of the Cabinet, that the lower House stood firm upon, delayed the final passage of the bill until February 19, 1867.  As expected, President Johnson rejected the bill and both chambers easily over-rode his veto on the same day, March 2, 1867.  The Tenure Act would play a major role in the ultimate clash between the executive and legislative branches the following year when Andrew Johnson faced impeachment after his dismissal of Edwin Stanton, his Secretary of War.  (By John Osborne)


How to Cite This Page: "United States Congress, "An Act regulating the Tenure of certain Civil Offices," March 2, 1867," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,