Decision making with critical thinking in school and home
Activity and Lesson plan (middle grades)

Overview

Often decisions are made consciously and subconsciously or emotionally without sufficient investigation or critical thinking. It's necessary to consciously use a decision making process to think critically to solve problems or create opportunities in all aspects of our lives for enjoyable, productive, and healthy lives.

The purpose of these activities is to develop better decision making skills to think critically about health and other issues. In this unit students will learn a decision making process, apply it to historical situations, school scenarios, out of school scenarios, and other situations to benefit their future decision making for better living.

Background information:

This unit was created as an introductory study of decision making to integrate into curricular areas and specifically a Health curriculum.

Background information for teachers:

  1. Scholastic article: Teens and Decision Making: What Brain Science Reveals
  2. Discover article The Young and the Riskless by Kayt Sukel
  3. Decision Making, Critical Thinking, and Change Processes
  4. Decisions and Decisions Scenario page

 

Big ideas, concepts, facts, and outcomes

Decision-making skills to enhance health.

Big ideas: Decision-making skills are needed to identify, implement, and sustain health-enhancing behaviors. This includes essential steps needed to make healthy decisions applied to health, safety, and social issues that enables people to individually or in collaboration with others improve their quality of life.

Related concepts and facts

  • Health and safety problems are related to decision making.
  • The better a person knows them self, the better decisions they will make.
  • Knowing social skills and better social interactions improves communication and getting along with people.
  • Thinking about a problem before experiencing it will help make better decisions.
  • There are positive and negative consequences for all decisions.

Outcomes

  1. Describe the relationships between making good decisions and being healthy.
  2. Describe a decision making process that includes identification of a problem, possible solutions with positive and negative consequences, and implementation suggestions.
  3. Describe influences on decision making and choices made.
  4. Use a decision making process to make safe and healthy decisions that improve their quality of life.

Specific outcomes -

5.12.1 Examine barriers that can hinder healthy decision making.
5.12.2 Determine the value of applying a thoughtful decision-making process in health-related situations.
5.12.3 Justify when individual or collaborative decision making is appropriate.
5.12.4 Generate alternatives to health-related issues or problems.
5.12.5 Predict the potential short and long term impact of each possible solution on self and others.
5.12.6 Defend healthy choices when making decisions.
5.12.7 Evaluate the effectiveness of health related decisions.

Inquiry in the Practice of health

Health is the practice of making observations, isolating variables based on those observations to establish cause and effect to create explanations that can be applied for a physical, social, and emotional / mental well-being.

Related concepts and facts

  • Observation and verifiable evidence can be used to determine safe and healthy situations.
  • Events have different and similar effects that can have positive and negative consequences on safety and health.
  • Cause and effect are associated with variables, which are used to create explanations and models, which in turn are used to understand the world and make predictable decisions.

Outcome

Reasonable healthy decisions require observable verifiable evidence of cause and effect that can be used to create explanations and models to be used in a comprehensive decision making process.

Specific outcomes -

  1. Use critical thinking with a decision making process (six step) to explain how solutions are and are not logical and well reasoned for wise healthy and safe solutions that reduce risk and promote health.

Pedagogical Overview

Unit activity sequence to provide sufficient opportunities for students to achieve the outcomes.

Lesson plans:

  1. Initial thoughts on critical thinking and decision making. - Exploration
  2. Develop six step decision making process - Invention
  3. Use the six step decision making process to analyze scenarios - Discovery
    General suggestions for planning analysis of in school, and out of school situations to investigate, with a specific example for historical scenario analysis.
  4. Summary of the importance of knowing and using a decision making process.
  5. Review for a health dimensions unit that includes a six step decision making question for the Louisiana purchase

Focus questions

Focus question:

How do people make good decisions?

Sub focus questions:

  1. How do people make decisions?
  2. What influences their decisions?
  3. What different options do they have that are available?
  4. How are options or choices determined?
  5. How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options?
  6. How are the options evaluated?
  7. What steps do good problem solvers follow?
  8. What steps do people who make good decisions take?

Resources and materials

  1. Lab notes for activities
  2. Fact sheets
  3. Other

Scoring guide suggestions (rubric)

Decision-making with critical thinking

Top level:

  • Uses critical thinking to make decisions by using a process that includes focus on a process, accurate information, identification of a problem or opportunity, analysis, generation of alternative options and choices with positive and negative consequences, implementation, and evaluation suggestions and describes benefits for a comprehensive decision making process.
  • Uses critical thinking to make decisions with a process that includes identification of a problem, alternative solutions with positive and negative consequences, and implementation suggestions and describes benefits for a comprehensive decision making process.
  • Makes decisions with a multiple step process that uses several appropriate steps for making decisions and excludes some that may be necessary to make better critical decisions.
  • Makes decisions subconsciously and emotionally or in a manner that believes will result in the best rewards personally, socially (parents, teachers, friends, ...)

Bottom level:

Lesson Plan

Introduction to decisions and decision making

Materials:

  1. Critical thinking and decision making lab notes
  2. Thoughts on critical thinking and decision making steps lab notes
  3. Six step decision making process fact sheet
  4. Worksheet for a Six Step Decision Making Cycle fact sheet
  5. Circles of influence diagram fact sheet

Focus question:

How do people make good decisions?

Sub focus questions:

  1. How do people make decisions?
  2. What influences their decisions?
  3. What different options do people have to help them?
  4. How are options or choices determined?
  5. How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options?
  6. How are the options evaluated?
  7. What steps do good problem solvers or critical thinkers use to make good decisions?

Learning outcomes:

  • Decision can be made with little or no thinking or with deep comprehensive critical thinking
  • A person who uses a comprehensive decision making process is more likely to think critically and make better decisions.

Suggested procedure:

  1. Discuss when people need to make decisions and how better decisions can be made if a person knows how to use critical thinking and a decision making process to make better decisions.
  2. Introduce the six step decision making process
  3. Provide students with different scenarios or situations to practice using a six step decision making process.

Scoring guide for Decision-making with critical thinking

Top level:

  • Uses critical thinking to make decisions by using a process that includes focus on a process, accurate information, identification of a problem or opportunity, analysis, generation of alternative options and choices with positive and negative consequences, implementation, and evaluation suggestions and describes benefits for a comprehensive decision making process.
  • Uses critical thinking to make decisions with a process that includes identification of a problem, alternative solutions with positive and negative consequences, and implementation suggestions and describes benefits for a comprehensive decision making process.
  • Makes decisions with a multiple step process that uses several appropriate steps for making decisions and excludes some that may be necessary to make better critical decisions.
  • Makes decisions subconsciously and emotionally or in a manner that believes will result in the best rewards personally, socially (parents, teachers, friends, ...)

Bottom level

Initial thoughts on critical thinking and decision making - Exploration

  1. Give students lab notes one
  2. Put students in groups
  3. Tell them to answer the questions:
    1. How do people make decisions?
    2. What influences their decisions?
    3. What different options do people have to help them?
    4. How are options or choices determined?
    5. How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options?
    6. How are the options evaluated?
  4. Let students share their answers. Accept all answers during exploration.

Develop a six step decision making process - Invention

  1. After students share their answers with the class, go over each question and have them fill in additional information from below as you think necessary.
    1. How do people make decisions? Go with their gut. React without thinking. Use critical thinking to develop and use a process that follows a series of steps:
    2. What influences their decisions? Their emotions, past experiences, values, parents, friends, desire, rewards ... (Circles of influence diagram)
    3. What different options do people have to help them?They can make a decision based on critical thinking, a logical process, consider what other authority figures would suggest, seek help, listen to a friend's advice, ...
    4. How are options or choices determined? Brain stormed ideas, from past experiences, listening to what others suggest ...
    5. How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options? Brain storm, from past experiences, listening to what others suggest ...
    6. How are the options evaluated? With the consequences, ethics, legal, moral, and values applied to consequences and risks.
  2. Give students lab notes two
  3. Ask. Do you think people who use critical thinking and make good decisions use different ways to make decisions? Yes.
  4. Ask. How do you think they are different? Some probably are more like guesses, others think about a few things, and others are a lot more comprehensive in what they think about before making a decisions.
  5. Tell students, With out doing any research what are the steps that come to your mind that you would think of using? Accept all answers. This will assess what they might remember from previous experiences.
  6. Respond to student's answers to the previous question, if possible by relating their answers to the six steps in the six step decision making process.
  7. Tell students that critical thinkers use a decision making process that includes steps? For example a six step process might include:
    1. Identify a problem or opportunity
    2. Focus on the situation and collect information
    3. Identify choices, solutions, and implementation
    4. Analyze consequences and values for all situations
    5. Make a decision and implement
    6. Evaluate.
  8. Tell them that knowing what each step is helps people to think more critically about a situation when making a decision. However, the more a person uses a decision making process the more they have to consider.
  9. Tell them you are going to share a very comprehensive fact sheet that has these six steps with several ideas for each step. And in groups they are to review the ideas for each step and write on their lab notes page ideas that they want to include for each step to use to make decisions for some scenarios they will be given later. For example. Step one could write - be sure to accurately define the problem and consider out of the box ideas. Remind them the are to take the ideas and make them so they can use them.
  10. Share students notes and check to see if they are missing any important ideas.

Discovery Activities

Select from the categories below the Discovery activities you want students to analyze with the six step decision making process. Support information for specific ideas and scenarios include: historical, in school, out of school, substance abuse, decision dilemmas, belief and value analysis.

Specific historical example: President Johnson's Trial

Focus question - How would the decision making process fit with historical decisions?

Suggested procedure:

  1. Give students the Fact sheet - President Johnson's Trial timeline.
  2. Go over the fact sheet to give students the essence of the legal and political complexities of the time. I believe it would be interesting for groups to analyze different focuses.
    • A focus on legality
      • Did President Johnson violate The Tenure of Office Act? Remove a cabinet member without Senate approval? The Tenure of Office Act was passed to make it illegal for the President to fire a cabinet member. However, the Act was later found (1926) to be unconstitutional so it was.
      • Did President Johnson refuse to implement legislation?
      • Did President Johnson disgrace congress?
    • Focus on political actions that would result in what would be best for the future of the United States of America. Should President Johnson be removed from office for his actions with respect to amnesty, reconstruction, and treatment of Black Americans?
      • Should southern states be readmitted to the union with or without consequences?
      • If consequences, what kind and how punitive?
      • Should property be returned or kept as compensation for war?
      • Should Blacks be given compensation, education, right to vote, .... ?

    Should the two ideas be separate or combined?

  3. Give students a Six step decision making for a historical scenario lab note page.
  4. Ask. Why they think the steps are in a circle? Because the steps don't have to be worked on one at a time from first to sixth. Yes. It is not only okay to skip around it is probably a good idea.
  5. Put students in groups
  6. Tell them to use the six step cycle and the President Johnson fact sheet to outline a decision to support or reject the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.
    1. Problem or opportunity
      Vote to impeach Johnson or not for ...
      Vote to remove him from office or not for ...
    2. Focus on situation & gather information
      There were two general goals: continue with what President Johnson was doing or to do something that was more punitive and pro Black American based around issues like:
      • Treatment of freed slaves. Assure that Blacks are set free, given right to vote, serve in office, be educated, and provided assistance to economically live as free men.
      • Assistance to poor, refugees, and others displaced.
      • Punishment, if any, for those who fought and assisted the Confederacy. Extreme punishment, no punishment, or exchanged a reduction of punishment when certain goals were achieved and then made permanent. 
      • What southern culture would be. A return to the way it was before the war with minimal change. Or something with more integration of Blacks and Whites. 
      • Should all southerners receive extreme punishment, more lenient, with pardons, land and property, except slaves returned?
      • Should southern politicians return to office or run for election without consequences? 
      • Should Blacks be segregated or removed from the country
      • Should Blacks be left on their own to create their own systems, education, medical, economic ... ?
    3. Choices, solutions, implementations
      • Impeach or not impeach on a charge of misconduct  
      • Impeach and send to trial to find guilty or innocent of a crime and remove from office. 
        Note - Can impeach with the idea that he wasn't guilty of a legal crime for which he would be found not guilty during the trial by the Senate.
    4. Analysis of consequences and values of situations
      Can impeach or not impeach along with either removal from office or don't remove from office.
      There was a power struggle between the ideas outlined above ....
      (Separation of the powers between executive branch and legislative branch)
      • If it was the intent of Congress (legislative branch) to have their Acts carried out as and Stanton attempted to do, but was blocked by Johnson, then he is guilty of obstruction and not following The Tenure of Office Act. However, as it was later shown to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, it could be reasoned that Johnson could have asked the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of his dismissal of Stanton, and it would have found he had the authority to dismiss him.
      • If Johnson, as President, is the leader of the nation (head of the executive branch), then he has the authority to make executive decisions that are constitutional and could only be impeached and removed from office if he committed crimes of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. While his decisions on how to reset the country  might have been unpopular they were not treasonous, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. While some of his reasons for his vetoes may have been unethical, without the 14th amendment, which was not yet law, they were at the time legal. 
      • Consequences and values
        If Johnson is impeached and not found guilty, which is what happened. It could be argued that the policies implemented lead to segregation and slow incremental changes for Black Americans rather than significant change more timely after the Civil War. For example: If Johnson were found guilty after he was impeached, then he might have been replaced by someone who would have helped Stanton implement changes that would have been more supportive of integration and positive change for Black Americans. 
    5. Decide implement
      Yes or no
    6. Evaluate
      Historically did it make the country better?
  7. Share results and discuss different analysis as the facts presented flow logically to the conclusions made.
  8. Process decision making results with the scoring guide suggestions.

General suggestions for investigating decision making categories:

General procedure for Historical scenarios:

Focus question - How would the decision making process fit with historical decisions?

Suggested procedure:

  1. Have students review factual information related to a historical situation Samples.
  2. Give students the Six step decision making for a historical scenario lab note page.
  3. Ask. Why they think the steps are in a circle. Because the steps don't have to worked on one at a time from first to sixth. Yes. It is not only okay to skip around it is probably a good idea.
  4. Put students in groups
  5. Tell them to use the six step cycle and the facts they researched to outline a decision for the historical scenario.
  6. Share results and discuss different analysis as the facts presented flow logically to the conclusions made.
  7. Process decision making results with the scoring guide suggestions.

General procedure for In school scenarios:

  1. Present an in school scenario.
    • The halls are empty as you round a corner and see someone you know really well is taking stuff from a locker that you know isn't their locker. You quickly back up and wait till you hear the locker close and he or she moves into another classroom.
      Later that day you hear that the students whose locker you saw your classmate taking stuff from has reported several items stolen (cards, gift cards, and some other things their friends had given them in the morning for his or her birthday) What do you do?
    • Scenario example written as a play.
  2. Ask how they feel about the situation?
  3. Ask how they feel about each person?
  4. What affects those feelings?
  5. What values, ethics, rules, laws... apply?
  6. Would they feel differently if one of the students was a friend? Brother or sister?
  7. If the setting changed like: Between classes, during class, in a mostly empty classroom, or a classroom with everyone present.
  8. After discussing how they feel,
  9. Tell them to use the six step cycle and the facts they researched to outline a decision for the historical scenario.
  10. Share results and discuss different analysis as the facts presented flow logically to the conclusions made.
  11. Process decision making results with the scoring guide suggestions.

At a friend's home example:

  1. Present a scenario
    • You are at a friend's house, alone, with him or her. He or she stands up and says come on... Lets have a (drink wine, beer, ...; smoke ...; or watch a video ... ) He or she has poured two drinks and reaches one to you ... ; He or she pulls two cigarettes and lights up handing one to you; types in the search box and presses return ... What do you do?
    • Substance abuse scenarios
    • Decision dilemmas
  2. Ask how they feel about the situation?
  3. Ask how they feel about each person?
  4. What affects those feelings?
  5. What values, ethics, rules, laws... apply?
  6. Would they feel differently if one of the students was a friend? Brother or sister?
  7. If the setting changed like: Between classes, during class, in a mostly empty classroom, or a classroom with everyone present.
  8. After discussing how they feel,
  9. Tell them to use the six step cycle and the facts they researched to outline a decision for the historical scenario.
  10. Share results and discuss different analysis as the facts presented flow logically to the conclusions made.
  11. Process decision making results with the scoring guide suggestions.

Personal example:

  1. Create your own personal scenario. It may be a situation you had to make or just know about, that you are willing to write about and share...
  2. You may think about your decision in what ever way you feel comfortable with. You can review what you actually did or you may change what you did and review it differently either positively or negatively. It is okay for the situation to be changed and made fictional. We are looking at the process and different ideas can provide learning experiences.
  3. Use the Six Step Decision Making Cycle worksheet to guide and record your ideas to share later.

  4. Share an discuss in groups and as a class.

Summary

Have students complete a summary for the unit on the lab notes summary page.

  • What was most import for you to learn about critical thinking?
  • What is the importance of knowing a decision making process and how can you continue to get better at being a critical thinker?

Lab Notes

My thoughts on critical thinking and decision making (1)

How do people make decisions?

 

 

 

What influences their decisions?

 

 

 

What different options do people have to help them?

 

 

 

How are options or choices determined?

 

 

 

How are positive and negative consequences determined for the options?

 

 

 

How are the options evaluated?

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on critical thinking and decision making steps (2)

Do you think people, who use critical thinking and make good decisions, use similar ways to make decisions? Yes - No

With out doing any research what steps do you think would be helpful to use when making decisions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use the six step decision making with critical thinking process fact sheet to include ideas you think are important for each step.

1. Identify a problem or opportunity

 

 

 

2. Focus on the situation and collect information

 

 

 

3. Identify choices, solutions, and implementation

 

 

 

4. Analyze consequences and values for all situations

 

 

 

5. Make a decision and implement

 

 

 

6. Evaluate.

 

 

 

Six step decision making for a historical scenario

 

Nine step decision making diagram

 

Hint: Decision making process steps and suggestions

Notes:

 

 

 

Six step decision making

 

Nine step decision making diagram

 

Hint: Decision making process steps and suggestions

Notes:

 

 

Summary

 What was most import for you to learn about critical thinking?

 

 

 

 

What is the importance of knowing a decision making process and how can you continue to get better at being a critical thinker?

 

 

 

 

Fact Sheets

President Johnson's Trial Timeline

Overview:

The United States was not prepared for Lincoln's assassination as the constitution did not designate who would become President if the President was not able to serve. President Lincoln, a Republican, chose Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, as Vice President for national unity and to help with reunification after the war. Unfortunately, after Lincoln's assassination, President Johnson deviated from President Lincoln's unification plans which opposed the views of the majority of Congress and government officials appointed by President Lincoln.

  • July 1-3, 1863 The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
  • July 4, 1963 Vicksburg, Mississippi, surrenders to General Grant
  • Summer 1963 President Abraham Lincoln plans to reunify the North and South after the war (Reconstruction).
    He issued a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. It was based on the idea, succession was illegal and states should be forgiven and reunited with the United States. He hoped for a quick end of the war and cooperative union after.
    The proclamation included amnesty and pardons for all but high-ranked Confederate officers and reconstruction included a Ten-Percent Plan, which would readmit a state when 10 percent of its voters swore an oath of allegiance to the United States. It would also protect all their private property, except slaves, from seizure.
    The proclamation wasn’t much of a plan. Therefore, it is difficult to know for sure what Lincoln wanted, but it seems he expected states to reconstruct with little assistance from the national government. That he did not want to punish southerners or reorganize southern society. He thought reconstruction could be short and completed after the secessionist states adopted new constitutions.
  • Evidence beyond the proclamation is his approval of Louisiana’s New Constitution, which was completed in 1864 under the ten percent plan before the end of the war. Delegates promised free public schooling, improvements to the labor system, and public works projects., abolished slavery in the state, but did not give freed slaves the right to vote. However, Congress rejected it when they refused to acknowledge the election of 1864 and the actions of those state delegates as legal.
  • 1864 Abraham Lincoln (Republican) chose Andrew Johnson (Democrat) from Tennessee to run with him as Vice President. They were elected on November 8, 1864.
  • January 31, 1865. The 13th Amendment was passed. It abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.
  • March 3, 1865 the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill was signed by Lincoln to create a federal agency to help freed men, transition from slavery to freedom and relocate refugees dislocated by the war and how to deal with confiscated and abandoned land. How to provide food, shelter, clothes, medical services, and land to all Southerners, black and white, in need. Lincoln supported the Bill and discussed it in detail with the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, who Lincoln wanted to implement it. Among the ideas considered for it address were:
    • How should blacks be treated? Should they be citizens, allowed to vote, have the same right and opportunities as whites, be given reparations, paid for slave property value, value of past work, given assistance to become economically stable, what kind, should they be educated with whites, how?
    • How should southerners be treated? Should confederate leaders be punished, have all their property returned: except slaves, be pardoned for war crimes or tried as war criminals, be given economic assistance?

These questions would have been difficult enough to resolve in the best of times. However, Lincoln’s death and the appointment of a President whose views were much different than the party that elected Lincoln made it impossible for the path Lincoln had laid out to be followed, even though at a time President Johnson agreed to do so.

  • April 9, 1865 Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. The unofficial end of the Civil War as there were other armies that surrendered later across the country with the last surrender on November 6 in Liverpool, England. President Johnson formally declared the end of the war on August 20, 1866.
  • April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated and died the next morning.
  • April 15, 1865 Andrew Johnson was sworn in as President of the United States. At this time the Constitution didn’t say who would be president if the president died or could not serve.

President Johnson

  • June 8, 1865 the Senate passed the 14th Amendment, 33-11. It included ... All persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens, (except Native Americans). No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. It empowered congress to affect a state’s representation if they did not comply. Also barred Confederates from state or national office. Document source
  • December 8, 1865 the 13th Amendment was ratified
  • February 19, 1866 Congress passed a bill to extend and expand the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill
    • President Johnson vetoed the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill. He opposed the bill based on his belief the federal government should not pass laws to tell states what they could or couldn’t do, because it cost too much, because it used the military during peacetime to impose it, and because it favored some groups of people over others.
  • In March 27, 1866 President Johnson vetoed the Civil Rights Act. An act meant to better define the 13th Amendment, by specifying: all people, except Native Americans, can bring lawsuits, make contracts, own property, and benefit from all laws. He explained his veto in part as these rights belonged to the states. That states should determine the rights of its people and to discriminate as it saw fit. Basically rejecting the idea that rights of blacks should be the same as whites.
  • April 9, 1866 Congress overrode Johnson’s veto and passed the Civil Rights Act affirming that all citizens are equally protected by the law.
  • July 16, 1866 Congress got back to the Freedmens' Bureau Bill and overruled Johnson's veto. Which was to continue support to help black slaves and poor whites in the south to transition and become economically productive.
    • However, because of Johnson's and other's opposition, the bureau was not given sufficient funds and personnel to achieve its purpose. President Johnson actions of removing Bureau employees he thought were too sympathetic to blacks, issuing 7,000 pardons to Confederates, and restoring their land undermined the Bureau’s ability to achieve its intended purposes. Besides being underfunded and understaffed it suffered from lack of direction with disagreement over amounts and types of assistance as well as local people viewing their actions as interfering with local concerns to outright racists actions of terror from organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan.
    • However, it did fed millions of people, build hospitals, negotiate labor conflicts, legalize marriages, build schools and colleges for blacks. This caused Congress to try to increase the Bill’s powers, but Johnson vetoed it and it was not overridden. Eventually the Bureau was shut in 1872. Source
  • Fall 1866 congressional elections, voters overwhelmingly rejected Johnson's policies and elected a Republican majority.
  • March 2, 1867 Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867, Johnson vetoed it, and the majority was able to pass it over Johnson’s veto. It let the Confederate States to be readmitted to the Union and provided military administration for them. Removed the right to vote and seek office of those who were leading rebels allowing southerners who supported the Union during the War to be leaders. It divided the South into military districts and empowered the army to protect black property and citizens. The Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, Was charged to enforce it.
  • Johnson thought if Stanton was removed from office he as President could implement his ideas.
  • March 2, 1867 The Tenure of Office Act was passed over the veto of President Andrew Johnson. It was written to forbid the President to remove civil officers without approval of the Senate. Who some believed was specifically written to protect Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from removal of office. In 1926 the law was found by the U.S. Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.
  • August 12, 1867. Johnson notified Congress and Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, that he was replacing him.
  • January 13, 1868 the Senate voted overwhelmingly to reinstate Stanton.
  • February 21, 1867 President Johnson was determined to get rid of Stanton so he notified congress that he dismissed Stanton again and this time he would replace him with someone he hoped Senators would find acceptable. They didn’t. They voted his action as illegal and on ...
  • February 24, 1868 The House of Representatives voted 126 to 47 to impeach him for violating the Tenure of Office Act.
  • Secretary of War, Stanton and others claimed the Tenure of Office Act protected Stanton from being dismissed.
  • Johnson disagreed with Stanton and Congress and believed he did not break any laws. Hence, his defense was. A President must be guilty of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors to be impeached and then found guilty. Since he was innocent of all of these his defense was simple: Only a clear violation of the law warranted his removal from office and since he didn’t break any laws, therefore, he was innocent.
  • May 26, 1868, Andrew Johnson was the first President to be impeached. The House of Representatives brought 11 articles of impeachment against him. Many people felt Congress wanted to get rid of him because he would not implement their legislation. Nine of the articles of impeachment related to Johnson's removal of Stanton: alleged violation of the Tenure of Office Act, alleged the appointment of Thomas, to replace Stanton was without the advice and consent of the Senate, and accused Johnson of conspiring with Thomas to remove Stanton, citing such conspiracy as a crime that deprive Stanton of his rightful position without congress approval. Two others charged Johnson with disgracing Congress.
  • May 16, 1868, the Senate concluded their trial and 35 voted guilty. One short of a 2/3rds majority required. Seven Senators crossed party lines and voted not guilty. Stanton left office.
  • July 9, 1968 the 14th Amendment was ratified.

Resources

 

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
homeofbob.com & schoolofbob.com