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Impeachment remains the most serious constitutional weapon against the President of the United States It is rarely seriously considered, and only three presidents have been placed in serious jeopardy of removal from office In each case, they were spared, though usually politically wounded Andrew Johnson s Articles of Impeachment passed the House of Representatives only to flounder in the Senate Richard Nixon resigned rather than facing his impending removal And Bill Clinton faced a trial in the Senate that lacked the votes to convict.These three stories have many similarities Each president, mostly fueled by their own hubris, at some point felt sure they could survive politically Similarly, all three times Congress was forced to consider whether a president s conduct placed himself dangerously above the country However, each has severe differences, and therein lies the special craft of this book Three separate scholars tackle each of the presidents in extended essays, examining impeachment proceedings and their immediate impacts.Biographer Jon Meacham has perhaps the most difficult job tackling Andrew Johnson His presidency is furthest removed from the present, and there is some specific background necessary for readers to fully appreciate the charges against John Mostly, he wasn t Lincoln However, Meacham isthan up to the task and this essay ultimately sets the tone for the rest of the book.Historian Timothy Naftali picks up the pace with his analysis of Richard Nixon The only case of presidential resignation, Naftali carefully sifts and compresses the overwhelming wealth of Nixon information into a digestible format.Finishing, journalist Peter Baker examines Bill Clinton Here, not only is there a compelling narrative about impeachment, but also about the personal lives of politicians.All of this is bookended by Jeffrey Engel, who covers some basic impeachment information and relates it to today Altogether, the result is a constructed patchwork of history, with parallels appearing to interweave with each successive case and on into the present.And that s really the elephant in the room with this book Discussion of impeachment have cropped up repeatedly throughout the current presidential administration, starting even before Inauguration Day With the backdrop of most any other administration, it s hard to imagine a book like this having such relevance Engel even suggests as much, asking readers of the opening chapter to put aside thoughts of the current president until the last chapter It s effective This is not a case for or against impeachment but, rather, a wonderfully researched examination of how the country has handled the issue during its most tumultuous times.Note I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.Review also posted at (((EBOOK))) ⇶ Impeachment: An American History ↞ Four Experts On The American Presidency Review The Only Three Impeachment Cases From History Against Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, And Bill Clinton And Explore Its Power And Meaning For TodayImpeachment Is Rare, And For Good Reason Designed To Check Tyrants Or Defend The Nation From A Commander In Chief Who Refuses To Do So, The Process Of Impeachment Outlined In The Constitution Is What Thomas Jefferson Called The Most Formidable Weapon For The Purpose Of A Dominant Faction That Was Ever Contrived It Nullifies The Will Of Voters, The Basic Foundation Of Legitimacy For All Representative Democracies Only Three Times Has A President S Conduct Led To Such Political Disarray As To Warrant His Potential Removal From Office, Transforming A Political Crisis Into A Constitutional One None Has Yet Succeeded Andrew Johnson Was Impeached InFor Failing To Kowtow To Congressional Leaders And In A Large Sense, For Failing To Be Abraham Lincoln Yet Survived His Senate Trial Richard Nixon Resigned In July OfAfter The House Judiciary Committee Approved Three Articles Of Impeachment For Lying, Obstructing Justice, And Employing His Executive Power For Personal And Political Gain Bill Clinton Had An Affair With A White House Intern, But InFaced Trial In The Senate Less For That Prurient Act Than For Lying Under Oath About ItIn The First Book To Consider These Three Presidents Alone, And The One Thing They Have In Common, Jeffrey Engel, Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali, And Peter Baker Explain That The Basis And Process Of Impeachment Is Political Than It Is A Legal Verdict The Constitution States That The President, Shall Be Removed From Office On Impeachment For, And Conviction Of, Treason, Bribery, Or Other High Crimes And Misdemeanors, Leaving Room For Historical Precedent And The Temperament Of The Time To Weigh Heavily On Each Case These Three Cases Highlight Factors Beyond The President S Behavior That Impact The Likelihood And Outcome Of An Impeachment The President S Relationship With Congress, The Power And Resilience Of The Office Itself, And The Polarization Of The Moment This Is A Realist, Rather Than Hypothetical, View Of Impeachment That Looks To History For Clues About Its Future With One Obvious Candidate In Mind This is a great overview of American impeachment, with a chapter on each of the impeachment episodes in our history the impeachment and narrow acquittal of Andrew Johnson, the almost certain impeachment and conviction of Richard Nixon had he not resigned first, and the impeachment and anticlimactic acquittal of Bill Clinton with an introduction and conclusion addressing the elephant in the room and one detailing how impeachment came to exist in the Constitution the way it does.There s a lot of great info here delivered in a brief, easy to digest format There are lots of great books about the Watergate crisis, relatively few about the Johnson impeachment and the racial divisions that sparked it, and of course plenty of us were alive during the Lewinsky scandal But regardless of your knowledge level, the respective authors are likely to surprise you with new or forgotten information about these three episodes.What becomes clear is how the various actors in each drama wrestled with similar questions over the criteria for impeachment, the meaning of the Constitution s language, and the countervailing impulses of partisanship and patriotism It also becomes clear that the bipartisan consensus over Nixon s guilt although it was slow to develop before quickly coalescing in the weeks before his resignation was based on a shared commitment to facts and the good of the country among most members of Congress that is hard to imagine today That said, it was also hard to imagine in 1974 until it happened.Obviously, this book does not exist in a vacuum Impeachment is a topic because the current president appears to be ethically and perhaps legally compromised in numerous ways Although Donald Trump s name is never mentioned in the four main chapters of the book, his presence lurks beneath all of them Each chapter seems at least in part to be saying This is what happens when a president is impeached Are you sure this is the appropriate pathIn my opinion, the answer is clearly yes Based on the historical examples before us and the written record of the founders, Trump is exactly the kind of president the framers feared could take advantage of the system and damage American democracy But you ll have to read this excellent book for yourself and come up with your own answer Before long, we might be adding another chapter. I received my copy free through Goodreads Giveaway.I m impressed with a rational treatment of what could be a hysteria driven topic I appreciated the information in the current political climate Nicely done. Very interesting and very topical no matter your political stance With all the talk of the I word going on this is a must read for a true understanding what it meant to the framers of the constitution, how it has been applied in the past in the case of Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton , and what the future may hold for presidents in our increasingly divisive tribal politics.Author Peter Baker gives us a quick overview of the three which have faced impeachment,If the Andrew Johnson impeachment was judged by history to be illegitimate because it essentially litigated a policy dispute rather than a high crime and if the Richard Nixon scandal was judged to be clear cut in meeting the standard for removing a president from office, then the Clinton episode fell somewhere in the murky middleHe further summarizes,Any impeachment, however legitimate or not, however wise or not, rewrites the rules for the presidents who follow until the next one comes along and rewrites them all over again Quoting another of the authors Jeffrey A Engel They are rare, but increasingly relevant Congress impeached only one president in the country s first 184 years The next two impeachment crises took a mere twenty fivePlotted on a timeline their pace thus appears to be quickening, but we need not employ so crude a measure as dots and graph paper to tell us that talk of impeachment swirls today as rarely before I learned surprisingly there is no constitutional definition of high crimes and misdemeanors It is the way the designers wanted it They wanted itto be such a high political bar that it exceeds mere partisan fury, but instead requires a president whose proof of malfeasance is unquestioned, lest the question itself split the nation further and perhaps beyond repair Mr Engel wraps it all up thus,So long as there are doubts, there is always another election And with the important caveat that so long as there remains no doubt that the next election will occur, we would all be less frustrated if we focused on winning the next rather than litigating the last This is truly what the study of history teaches that the past cannot be changed, merely employed to bring about a better future Brief but concise, this handy overview just published by Modern Library offers a satisfying breakdown of the components of a last resort tool which, so far, has only been used to completion once There was an attempt to impeach Andrew Johnson the votes were short then Nixon who saw the writing on the wall and resigned then Clinton when impeachment was realized As well, impeachment rumblings began for a few other presidents but soon died out Throughout US government history, impeachment is an action that has either energized politicians considerably or made them inordinately nervous each depending on what was thought to be gained or lost by it and that was an outcome that could never be anticipated for sure It was originally conceived as a guard against absolute tyranny Over time, it has been determined that it can be hard to decipher what constitutes tyranny or what can start as a separate offense which could lead to tyranny, or some form of undermining the country Cause for impeachment has loosened Of course, as seen through its original purpose, it has currently strengthenedthan considerably For those who have access to impeachment as an option, it s never a relatively simple matter of You ve gone too far, so we ll vote on Out you go The burden of proof rests not only on What is too far but what genuinely motivated that can that even be known and,importantly, what is the extent of harm likely to befall Americans as a unified people To say the least once set in motion, it s an intricate undertaking It was just as intricate an idea when the original Constitution s designers were, for months, figuring out how to define impeachment as something uniquely necessary For me, one of the best but most frustrating results of this kind of walk through history is the reminder that people never change Everything else i.e., global advancement, technology changes, but not people There are always those with a fundamental urge for progress and those with just the opposite growth stunting pride Given the opportunity, the former would use impeachment to legitimately thwart the latter the latter would use it for spite Though this volume is short, it s still a bit of a challenge mainly because, in spite of its singular focus, it makes us think of the many power games employed by Congress the arena of little but power games. Impeachment An American History is a wonderful examination, unbiased analysis, and historical perspective on the process of impeachment It is quite a relevant subject at the moment and for anyone seriously interested in the pros and cons of impeachment, and why the Founders found it necessary to include it in the Constitution, well, then this is a book for you. Four distinguished historians and constitutional scholars consider the unique role of presidential impeachment by the Congress in American jurisprudence Jeffrey Engel, founding Director of the Center for Presidential History at SMU, first discusses how impeachment found its way into the Constitution Convinced that, with the exception of George Washington, all chief executives seek to increase their power and influence and become kings, the framers not only included checks and balances but also formulated impeachment by the House and trial by the Senate as a way of removing a president who exceeds his authority or is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors Pulitzer Prize winning presidential historian and biographer Jon Meacham discusses the impeachment and trial of Andrew Johnson by Republicans for pursuing a course of action toward the defeated South and the newly freed slaves far different from Lincoln s and contrary to the wishes of Congress His narrow acquittal by the Senate indicate that impeachment is not to be used in cases of incompetence or policy disagreements Timothy Naftali, founding Director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, analyzes the case against Richard Nixon as he attempted to conceal his complicity in the Watergate break in and bugging of the Democratic headquarters The move to impeach him for obstruction of justice that resulted in his forced resignation demonstrated the importance that both parties need to be on board for an impeachment to succeed Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for the NY Times, discusses the impeachment of Bill Clinton for perjury for lying about his tawdry Oval Office affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky Did his misbehavior rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors His acquittal by the Senate demonstrated that impeachment is impossible without the approval of members of both parties and the American people This well written book concludes with Jeffrey Engel discussing the status and role of impeachment at this point in our history in the light of these precedents and the implications with regard to the possible impeachment of our present president, Donald Trump. I received this book compliments of Random House through the Goodreads giveaway program What does the history of impeachment reveal about its potential That s the question that prompted this book and the ensuing exploration of the subject is fascinating Although they realized a stronger central government was necessary, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were really wary of the Presidency becoming a vehicle for a tyrant to take control They considered how to deal with such a situation and settled on impeachment Realizing that it would be an extremely serious action they didn t make it easy Three presidents have faced impeachment Each case had a different cause and was handled differently There were repercussions for all sides and all players It s stressful for the entire nation Public attitudes toward government and the media are affected and don t go back to how they were The chapters on Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton explain the politics and strategies of each episode The mechanics are interesting on their own, but also illustrative of the consequences It would seem that so far the constitutional provision for impeachment has held up pretty well After reading this book I hope that politicians now and in the future take impeachment as seriously as the men who wrote it into the Constitution. I found this book to be fascinating in that each section was written by a different author researcher except to the opening and conclusion which were both done by Jeffrey A Engel Jon Meacham addresses the circumstances surrounding the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson and does a good job highlighting that it wasof a political attack at that time than one of committing high crimes and misdemeanors Timothy Nafatli wrote about the near impeachment of Richard Nixon where there was a muchclear case of high crimes and misdemeanors revolving around the Watergate break in and subsequent cover up along with numerous other questionable activities Peter Baker digs into the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton and whether or not his actions met the test of high crimes and misdemeanors which the Senate eventually determined they did not Jeffrey Engel does address the potential or lack thereof of an impeachment of the current president.I recommend this book for anyone with an interest in the impeachment process and how it has been used and abused in our political system.I received a free Kindle copy of Impeachment An American History by Jeffrey A Engel, Jon Meacham, Peter Baker and Timothy Naftali courtesy of Net Galley and Random House, the publisher It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads,and my fiction book review blog I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I am an avid read of american history and this book presented a perspective that I have not previously read about.