Here are some one liners...
The First Impeachment of a President -- Andrew Johnson is the first but not the last.
Grant Disavows General Order 11 -- US Grant is running for President and disavows his order given several years ago regarding expelling Jews from his jurisdiction. I talk about how some illegal things are made to happen.
The Last Public Hanging and the First Private One -- I talk about the Gary Gilmore execution by firing squad in 1977.
In Other News -- Traffic lights, color photography and Japanese modernization.
The First Impeachment of a PresidentImpeachment is a vote by the US House of Representatives on evidence a that a public official has committed "high crimes and misdemeanors." It is not a judgement of guilt of a crime in the normal sense of the word. For example, if a public official is playing golf and appearing to neglect his duties, he could be impeached. (FYI, golf is not a crime in the USA... yet.) After a trial before the US Senate a two-thirds vote could remove an official from office. OK, so what has President Andrew Johnson done now? He is a Tennessee Democrat who sided with the Union, but is now fighting the Radical Republicans. The Radicals did not like Lincoln's conciliatory policies of "malice toward none." The Radicals have built up a lot of malice toward the Confederates. They also want complete political and civil equality for the Freedmen (as ex-slaves are now called). To be fair, President Johnson has been opposing the Radicals based on the constitutional law of the time. The apparent issue at hand is whether the President has the power to dismiss a cabinet member without the advice-and-consent of Congress. In anticipation of this fight, Congress has passed a veto-proof law specifically prohibiting the President from doing any such thing. The President gives Congress the middle finger and replaces his Secretary of War who is a Radical Republican. President Johnson is impeached. With no VP currently in office, the President of the Senate will replace Johnson if he is removed, but the vote is 1 short. The Senate goes into recess for 10 days to further coerce... uh... I mean, CAREFULLY RECONSIDER THE EVIDENCE, but when they return, no joy. President Johnson keeps his office. FYI, President Nixon was chased from office on the threat of impeachment, and President Bill Clinton was impeached but walked after the Senate vote fell short. The removal of a President from office is a difficult process and should be. Judges... not so much.     
Grant Disavows General Order 11Back during the War Between the States, General U.S. Grant issued his infamous General Order Number 11 which expelled Jews from his jurisdictions. It was one of many such orders issued by the Union military during the war. The reasons given are many but it boils down to the fact that Jewish peddlers did not understand the niceties of American commerce during wartime... or maybe they understood them all too well, and it became an embarrassment to the Union. Certainly General Grant found it embarrassing when he realized that HIS OWN FATHER had been drawn into a get-rich-quick scheme with a Jewish business partner who was looking for a special permit from General Grant to buy cotton from Southern vendors and was using Grant's father as leverage. Buying cotton from the South was considered illegal even though it was going on in Texas through Mexican agents. Grant had a love-hate relationship with his father and in many ways General Grant's current success in running for President of the United States can be attributed directly to his father. Whenever Grant must decide what to do, he asks himself what his father would do, and then do exactly the opposite. After the General had issued Order Number 11, complaints reached President Lincoln, who countermanded the order immediately. Now Grant is running for President, so he must address his past mistakes. He disavows Order 11. He says he is free of prejudice and wants each individual to be judged on his own merits. He thereafter treats it as a closed issue and never mentions it again.   
The Last Public Hanging and the First Private OneMichael Barrett is the last man to be hanged as a public spectacle. His crime was his part in Clerkenwell Explosion in which the Irish Republican Brotherhood used gunpowder to collapse a wall of Clerkenwell Prison. The idea was to free one of their fellows. In fact 12 people were killed and none of the prisoners escaped. Shortly after Mr. Barrett's hanging, the UK Parliament prohibits public hangings. Executions will now take place behind the walls of the prison and the body buried on the grounds of the prison. The first to be privately hanged is 18-year-old Thomas Wells for the murder of Edward Walshe, the stationmaster at Dover Priory railway station.   
In Other News
- Decoration Day is established. The Northern States commemorate the fallen troops by decorating their graves. The South is already doing this. The holidays will eventually merge into the national Memorial Day.