IMPEACHMENT- History of and Autograph Collecting
by Stephen Koschal
When most autograph collectors think of impeachment, Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and now Donald Trump usually comes to mind.
Most collectors are not aware that in our United States, there has been 20 persons impeached in 21 impeachments.
In my inventory I recently found a signature of U.S. Grant’s Secretary of War. To my surprise I discovered he was impeached in 1876. I decided to investigate this a bit more and see who the others are that have also been impeached.
- William Blount. Senator from Tennessee. Impeached in 1797 for assisting Great Britain’s attempt to seize Spanish controlled territories in modern day Florida and Louisiana. His charges were dismissed because he was expelled from the Senate before his trial.
|Signature of William Blount|
2. John Pickering. Judge, District of New Hampshire. Impeached in 1803. Charges of intoxication on the bench. Found guilty, removed from office.
3. Samuel Chase. Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Impeached in 1804. Charges of arbitrary and oppressive conduct of trials.
4. James H. Peck. Judge, Western district of Tennessee. Impeached 1830. Charges of abuse of the contempt power. Acquitte.
5. West H. Humphreys. Judge, Western district of Tennessee. Impeached 1862. Refusing to hold court, waging war against the U.S. Government, Guilty, removed from office and disqualified from future office.
6. Andrew Johnson. President of the United States. Impeached 1868. Charges of violating the Tenure of Office Act by removing Secretary of war, Edwin Stanton from office.
7. Mark H. Delahay. Judge in Kansas. Impeached 1873. Charges of intoxication on the bench. Resigned prior to trial.
8. William W. Belknap. U.S. Secretary of War. Impeached 1876. Charges for accepting payments in exchange for making official appointments. Acquitted. Beltnap was a soldier in the Union Army. While Secretary of War, he was investigated by Congress and found he was directly involved in the sale of arms and munitions to France. This Trader Post Scandal at FT. Sill led to Beltnap’s resignation and impeachment by the Democratic controlled house.
Signature of William W. Beltnap
- Charles Swayne. Judge, northern district of Florida. Impeached 1904. Charges of abuse of contempt power and other misuses of office. Acquitted.
- Robert W. Archbald. Associate judge, U.S. Commerce Court. Impeached 1912. Charges of improper business relationship with litigants. Guilty, removed from office and disqualified from future office.
- George W. English. Judge, Eastern District of Illinois. Impeached 1926. Charges of abuse of power. Resigned, proceedings dismissed.
- Harold Louderback. Judge, Northern district of California. Impeached 1933. Charges of favoritism in the appointment of bankruptcy receivers. Acquitted.
- Halsted L. Ritter. Judge, Southern district of Florida. Impeached 1936. Charges of favoritism in the appointment of bankruptcy receivers and practicing law as a sitting judge. Guilty, removed from office.
- Harry E. Claiborne. Judge in Nevada. Impeached 1986. Charges of income tax evasion and remaining on the bench following criminal conviction. Guilty, removed from office.
- Alcee L. Hastings. Judge, Southern district of Florida, Impeached 1988. Charges of perjury and conspiring to solicit a bribe. Guilty, removed from office.
- Walter L. Nixon. Judge Southern district of Mississippi. Impeached 1989. Charges of perjury before a federal grand jury. Guilty, removed from office.
- William J. Clinton. President of the United States. Impeached 1998. Charges of lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstruction of justice. Acquitted.
- Samuel B. Kent. Judge, Southern district of Texas. Impeached 2009. Charges of sexual assault, obstructing and impeding an official proceeding, and making false statements. Resigned before completion of trial.
- Thomas Porteous, Jr. Judge, Southern district of Louisiana. Impeached 2010. Charges of accepting bribes and making false statements. Guilty, removed from office and disqualified from holding future office.
- Donald J. Trump. President of the United States. Impeached in 2019. Charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Acquitted.
- Donald J. Trump. President of the United States. Impeached January 13, 2021. Charge of incitement of insurrection. Result to be announced.
OBSERVATIONS: All those found guilty were removed from office.
Of the 20 individuals impeached, 15 were judges.
Three Presidents of the United States were impeached. All three were acquitted.
Of all the impeachments, charges were dismissed on four because they were no longer in office.
Of the 20 persons impeached, eight were acquitted.
I am not aware of any collector who has tried or is trying to obtain signatures of the 20 men impeached. It would be a most interesting collection!