Gov. Holden’s Impeachment Trial Began

An image of Gov. William W. Holden from the State Archives

An image of Gov. William W. Holden from the State Archives

On January 30, 1871, Gov. William Woods Holden’s impeachment trial began. The only Chief Executive in North Carolina history to be impeached and removed from office (and the first in the nation), Holden was a central figure in the state’s Civil War and Reconstruction era.

Holden was the editor of the North Carolina Standard, a Democratic newspaper based in Raleigh, and used the paper to help lead Zebulon B. Vance to victory in the gubernatorial race of 1862. In 1864, Holden ran against Vance and suffered a humiliating defeat.

On May 20, 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Holden provisional governor, though he lost the election to the seat that fall.  He made a final bid for governor in 1868 and successfully attained his goal. Vowing to destroy the Ku Klux Klan, he made several decisions that led to racial violence and the imposition of martial law in Alamance and Caswell Counties,effectively  ending his political career. Notified that he had been impeached by the House of Representatives, Holden turned the duties of his office over to Lieutenant Governor Tod R. Caldwell on December 20. The trial lasted nearly three months. On March 22, 1871, the North Carolina Senate ordered Holden removed from office.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 833 other followers

%d bloggers like this: