The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
ĽName: Benjamin Franklin Wade

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Benjamin Wade was born near Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1821, he moved to Ohio, and in 1827 he was admitted to the bar. He was elected prosecuting attorney in 1835, a state senator in 1837, and represented Ohio in the U. S. Senate, 1841-69. As a leading anti-slavery advocate in the Senate he opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. During the Civil War, he was chair of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War and sponsored the Wade-Davis Bill (1864), an early attempt by Congress to wrest control over the Reconstruction process from the President. The bill stipulated Confederate disfranchisement, a loyalty oath of 50 percent of the electorate, and abolition of slavery before a state could be readmitted to the Union. It was pocket-vetoed by President Lincoln.

Wade joined other Radical Republicans to contravene President Johnson’s Reconstruction policies and attempt to oust him from office. Wade’s position as president pro tem of the Senate made him next in line to succeed to the Presidency. That caused several Moderate and Conservative Republicans to resist the movement to impeach and remove Johnson because they considered Wade to be a dangerous demagogue and opposed his stance on other issues, especially his support of "soft money." Wade died in Jefferson, Ohio.

Robert C. Kennedy, HarpWeek

Source(s) consulted:  Harper’s Encyclopedia of United States History; Albert Castel, The Presidency of Andrew Johnson.

Benjamin Franklin Wade
(27 October 1800 - 2 March 1878)
Source:  History of Congress, 1867-69, Vol. I

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