World View

The State Of The World

A daily Commentary by Wayne Blank

"The State of The World" Number 31
Complete Index Of All Issues

The Impeachment Of The President

The English-language word "impeachment" is derived from an ancient Latin word, impedicare, which meant to impede or to block. In politics or governance, it came to mean stopping someone from doing something - whether ongoing criminal activity, or continuing in office or authority after having committed crimes or condemnable behavior i.e. "high crimes and misdemeanors."

Numerous countries around the world have impeachment. A few examples from the long list are Germany, Brazil, India, Iran, Italy, Russia, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The impeachment of Baron Latimer (1330-1381) for corruption and bribery in 1376 is regarded as the earliest formal impeachment in the English Parliament. Latimer was accused (impeached) and convicted.

The United States of America adopted the existing English impeachment procedure as its own shortly after 1776.


It's important to keep in mind that impeachment is not in itself a removal from office. Impeachment is merely the first step, the charges, that then must be proven and judged.

In the United States of America, impeachment has two parts. First, the House of Representatives must pass, with any majority, the articles, or charges, of impeachment. Then, if the first stage "impeaches" the accused, it moves on to the Senate where a two-thirds majority is required to convict.

Two U.S. Presidents (Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998) have been impeached, but were not convicted, and so remained in office. A third President, Richard Nixon, resigned from office before impeachment proceedings from the Watergate affair, and the result, could have been known for certain. Nixon obviously thought that he would have been convicted.

Wayne Blank