The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
ĽName: John Armor Bingham

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John Bingham was born in Mercer, Pennsylvania, the son of a carpenter. After working two years as a printer, he attended Franklin College, then began to study law. Upon admission to the bar, he opened a legal practice in 1840 at Cadiz, Ohio. He gained recognition as a popular speaker for the "log cabin" campaign of Whig presidential candidate, William Henry Harrison, in 1840. Bingham, a moderate Republican, served as a U.S. Representative from Ohio from 1855 to 1863 and again from 1865 to 1873. During the Civil War, he was an early advocate of emancipation. In January 1864, he was appointed judge-advocate (essentially a prosecutor) and later helped present the government’s case in the conspiracy trial of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassins.

After returning to Congress, he played a leading role in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. Bingham opposed the first two attempts to impeach the President, but changed his position when Johnson violated the Tenure of Office Act by removing Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War. Bingham chaired the House committee that argued the articles of impeachment during Johnson’s trial in the Senate, and gave the closing, three-day summation. During Reconstruction, he was responsible for drafting the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, which extended the constitutional protections of due process and privileges and immunities against state government interference. In 1873, he was appointed U.S. Minister to Japan, where he served for twelve years. He died in Cadiz, Ohio.

Robert C. Kennedy, HarpWeek

Source consulted:  Dictionary of American Biography


John Armor Bingham
(21 January 1815 - 19 March 1900)
Source:  History of Congress, 1867-69, Vol. I

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