First Cabinet Secretary Impeached

1876

Secretary of War William Belknap hands his resignation to President Ulysses Grant and bursts into tears shortly before the House votes to impeach him on charges of bribery and corruption. Despite the resignation, the Senate proceeds with a trial, and on Aug. 1, 1876, a majority finds against Belknap on all charges. But each vote falls short of the two-thirds majority needed, and he is acquitted. No further action is taken against Belknap, whose lavish parties and well-dressed first and second wives stirred initial suspicion about his activities.