CSU Archives/Everett Collection.
Americans exercise their good sense by not caring much about the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.
….Owing to a combination of circumstances, the trial has produced absolutely no excitement in the public mind. All attempts to make it “sensational” have failed utterly. The attitudes, the speeches, the evidence have been listened to by the country with perfect calm. It has been found impossible to work people up into anything like fervor about the case. We hear of “tremendous pressure” being brought to bear on the Senate in favor of conviction, but it is not organized pressure from the party at large; most of it, we suspect, comes from individual politicians in search of places. There has been no perceptible addition to the mails, in the shape of letters from imperious constituents; and if there have been any prayers offered up for the President’s condemnation, they have been private prayers.
The natural consequence of this absence of excitement, for which, let us add, we have to thank not the politicians or newspapers, but the popular good sense, has been the absence of any disturbance in business or in society. Had the public risen to the same height of moral exaltation as the original impeachers and the Washington correspondents of the party organs, few of us would have passed many nights in bed during the last two months, or had either heart or head for the care of our private affairs. But, owing to the general coolness, not only has the Senate been enabled to conduct the trial with fairness, dignity, and decorum, but the world of trade and commerce has enjoyed unwonted repose. Gold has declined; business has, if anything, showed signs of revival; and owing to the concentration of the attention of the House and Senate on the trial, a temporary stop has been put to the attempts to tinker currency which were so common during the winter. The natural result of this general repose has been to deprive the impeachment, in the public eye, of most of its obnoxious features. Although we are satisfied few, if any, of those who before it was commenced thought it inexpedient, now think differently, nobody considers it as dangerous as he once did. Moreover, enough has been brought against the President to make an otherwise harmless attempt to convict and remove him seem reasonable and justifiable. People say to themselves that if impeachment involves no more disturbance to the body politic than this impeachment has so far caused, the House cannot be very much blamed for trying it, even if it results in nothing. So that even if the party has been unwise in taking the matter up, it has more than atoned for its want of wisdom by its manner of conducting the process….