The Vice-President of the Untied States is supposed to be the people’s second choice to the President, should the President fall while in office. More often than not these days they are put into that position to win over some battleground state or serve some cause that the actual President did not put high enough on their priority list. In theory, if the President cannot continue in his/her office the Vice-President should run the country exactly as his/her predecessor would have. But it never seems to work out that way.
Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 allows for the succession of the Vice-President to become President if for any reason the President can not continue in their office. In the United States this has happened 9 times. The first was during Benjamin Harrison’s presidency when he died of pneumonia in 1842. Vice-President John Tyler took office.
Millard Fillmore took over for Zachary Tyler when he died from an illness in 1850.
We all know about Abraham Lincoln. His Vice-President was Andrew Johnson when he was assassinated. Johnson had been brought in because of his southern heritage and Lincoln thought is would help to calm at least parts of the south. When Lincoln was killed he did his best to follow Lincoln’s wishes but the entire country thought he was soft on the south since he was from the south. He wasn’t, but the country did not know that.
Chester Arthur took over for James Garfield when he was shot, lingered, and then died. It was 1881.
Theodore Roosevelt took over for William McKinley in 1908 after his assassination.
Calvin Coolidge became president when Warren G. Harding died of a heart attack in 1923.
Harry S. Truman took over for Franklin D. Roosevelt, the only president elected to office for more than two terms (and the reason no other president can be elected for more than 2 terms) when he died in office.
Lyndon B. Johnson was the unfortunate Vice-President to John F. Kennedy. That’s a hard act to follow
And finally Gerald Ford took over for Richard Nixon, the only president to ever resign from office.
Like them or not, they became President because they were one heart-beat away from the Oval Office. Think about that when you are electing the next president. It really can make a difference.
Just in passing, there have been sixteen times a President did not have a Vice-President, at least not for his entire time in office. In such a case, if the President should fall, and there is no Vice-President, the office falls to the Speaker of the House – Ever watch Eagle Eye! And if worse comes to worse, it falls to the Designated Survivor. Which is a new tv series coming out soon!
How to celebrate – Take the time to learn who the Vice-Presidents have been and what they stood for. Find out the duties of the Vice-President while in office. Find out why we can’t elect our own Vice-President. Why should we settle for who the President thinks is the best!?!