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The Ladies' Gallery of the Senate during the Impeachment Trial.

The Ladies' Gallery of the Senate during the Impeachment Trial.
by William S.L. Jewett
Harper's Weekly
Wood engraving, black and white, 1868-04-18
Image with text measurement
      Height: 9.0625 inches  (23.01875 cm)
      Width:  13.6875 inches  (34.76625 cm)
Cat. no. 38.00086.002

The Andrew Johnson impeachment trial began on March 30, 1868, and lasted almost two months. The illustrated papers sent scores of ”special artists” to Washington, D.C., to keep the public informed of these historic proceedings. Aside from being one of the most dramatic events in Senate history, the trial was the focus of the city’s social season. Only holders of numbered and dated tickets could enter the Senate galleries. Harper’s Weekly reported that ”the most lovely as well as the most distinguished ladies of Washington have been in daily attendance.”[1] Police officers were stationed at the doors to hold back the crowd, which was ”continually asking questions, making appeals, and muttering threats. ”On May 6, when Representative John Bingham finished summarizing the prosecution’s case, spectators caused such an uproar that the sergeant at arms was forced to clear the galleries. As reported in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, ”the clapping of hands, the waving of handkerchiefs, the tumult of -excited approbation, presented a scene not often associated with the history of parliamentary proceedings.”