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Tension between the executive and legislative branches had been high since shortly after Johnson's ascension to the White House upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.Because the Tenure of Office Act did permit the President to suspend such officials when Congress was out of session, when Johnson failed to obtain Stanton's resignation, he instead suspended Stanton on August 5, 1867, which gave him the opportunity to appoint General Ulysses S.Grant, then serving as Commanding General of the Army, Secretary of War ad interim.Johnson and Grant would later disagree on an understanding between the two of them.
If the Senate later failed to concur with Johnson's removal of Stanton, the President claimed that Grant agreed to either remain in office or pre-notify Johnson that he would resign so that Johnson could replace him.
This was the first impeachment of a President since creation of the office in 1789.
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