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Meaning of impeachment

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By Arthur I. Cyr

Only the third impeachment trial of a president in our history.

These are the sort of words used by various media people to underscore and dramatize the alleged importance of the just concluded political performance in Washington, D.C. Delivered in solemn tones, the statement seems to carry great gravity and the weight of American history.

However, this is a misleading representation of our past ― and our present. The impeachment and trials of Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump both took place quite recently in historical terms, over the past quarter century.

The first presidential impeachment and trial in 1868 involved President Andrew Johnson, Abraham Lincoln's successor. For a century thereafter, the experience was considered so terrible, so fraught with danger, and so discredited by the targeting of President Johnson that there was no desire for repetition.

Johnson, a Democrat from Tennessee, was selected as Republican........

© The Korea Times