The U.S. Capitol Historical Society will present a book talk with Brenda Wineapple on Wednesday, May 29 from noon to 1 pm in Ketchum Hall (VFW Building, 200 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002). Wineapple will discuss her newest work, The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation. The event is free and open to the public.
Brenda Wineapple is an acclaimed historian and author whose books include Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877 (a New York Times Notable Book), among several others. Her numerous other honors include a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and more. Most recently, she’s been awarded a National Endowment Public Scholars Award. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Society of American Historians and regularly contributes to major publications such as The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, and The Nation.
When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 and Vice-President Andrew Johnson became “The Accidental President,” Congress was divided over how the Union should be reunited. Devastated by war and resorting to violence, many white Southerners hoped to restore a pre-Civil War society, just without slavery, and the pugnacious Andrew Johnson, who was no Lincoln, seemed to share their goals. With the unchecked power of executive orders, Johnson ignored Congress, pardoned rebel leaders, promoted white supremacy, opposed civil rights, and called Reconstruction unnecessary. Wineapple’s book details how Congress tried to stop the American president who acted like a king.