Students will compare and contrast the individual impeachment cases of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton and determine if each president was impeached mostly for constitutional reason or mostly for political reasons.
Students will assess whether in each case the presidents behavior rose to the level of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Partisanship: prejudice in favor of a particular cause; bias
What is partisanship? Better yet what is partisan politics and how does this relate to Bill Clinton? The definition above answers the first question and the following lessons will address Bill Clinton. It is safe to say that our country has experienced partisanship many times at the local, state, and federal levels. Let us not look any further than Springfield Illinois and the mess we our currently fighting over what I believe can be boiled down partisanship between the two parties. The history of partisanship can go back decades and we will examine one case in point with Andrew Johnson impeachment. Why does it seem today that partisanship is at an all time high and what lessons can we learn from the past when partisanship seemingly spiraled out control during Bill Clinton's presidency?
By the end of the 1980s, partisanship in Congress had risen dramatically and has remained at a high level ever since. The percentage of party votes-votes where the majority of one party votes together against the majority of the other party increased substantially, as did party unity scores (the percentage of votes in which a member votes with the majority of his or her fellow party members).
The bottom line is that more so than at any time in American history party elites are currently engaged in coherent ideological conflict that reaches across issues areas; a Republican Party that is consistently conservative on matters relating to race, cultural concerns, and economic equality, and a Democratic Party that is equally liberal on the same issus. Rather than the older economic equality cleavage being pushed aside by the newer racial and cultural issue cleavages in a process described by Schattschneider (1960) and Sundquist (1983), all three issue areas now exist alongside one another and intermingle in the universe of partisan conflict. As Layman and Carsey (2002b) put it, the positions advocated by Democratic and Republican elites on these kinds of issues are now "packaged together for public consumption." And the parties' positions on these issues are truly out there for the public to perceive. No longer is partisan agenda-setting and position-taking solely the province of presidents and presidential candidates, or perhaps of the quadrennial national nominating conventions. The parties in Congress now regularly engage in attempts to publicize their issue positions and set the policy agenda. Increasingly the congressional parties are at least participating in the effort to inform the general public about what the parties stand for and how they differ on important issues (Pomper and Weiner 2002). Party elites in all areas of national politics (and state politics as well) are now forcefully articulating partisan positions and stances on a wide variety of issues. (Information from http://web.posc.jmu.edu/seminar/readings/1a-citizen%20images%20parties/rise%20of%20partisanship%20as%20explan%20for%20partisan%20conflict.pdf)