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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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In the News: What is this Word Called Impeachment?

Using the News in Your Classroom:

You may have heard the word IMPEACHMENT being used in the news. Some people are talking about impeachment and the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump. On September 24, 2019, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has announced an official "impeachment inquiry" into Donald Trump’s behavior. 

What exactly is impeachment? In U.S. History, only two presidents have been impeached. Those presidents were Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Neither were convicted during a trial and finished out their terms of office.  A third president, Richard Nixon, was going to be impeached but he resigned, pressured by members of his own Republican party, before he was impeached.  

Introduce your students to the issue of impeachment, what it is, how it works and the history of previous presidents who faced impeachment. At this time, Donald Trump has not been impeached. There will be a formal inquiry into different things which Trump has done which may have violated the U.S. Constitution. A vote will eventually be taken in the House of Representatives to determine IF Donald Trump should be impeached. A number of 218 is needed to vote for impeachment. At this time, it is believed that the House of Representatives has that needed number to impeach Donald Trump. The next step is a trial would be held in the U.S. Senate. The chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, would be the person overseeing the trial. It would take a 2/3 majority (67 senators) to find the president guilty of the charges. At this time, with the majority of senators being of the president's party, it is not believed that Donald Trump would be convicted of charges. Time will tell if the "impeachment inquiry" leads to formal impeachment charges and a trial in the U.S. Senate.

Impeachment is a very serious matter and if a president is found guilty, results in his/her immediate removal from office. 

Did you Know?

  1. Andrew Johnson’s trial failed by ONE vote to remove the President from office.

Use this webquest to learn more about how the founding fathers determined the use of impeachment in the U.S. Constitution and the history of impeachment.

There are 10 web questions on this topic (including the Order of Succession and the Checks and Balances between the three branches of government). There is also a short Did You Know? section and several comprehension questions. The Teacher Page includes the key and several extension activities.