b. Nine Vice Presidents have filled unexpired terms upon the death or resignation of their President i. John Tyler succeeded William Henry Harrison on April 4, 1841 1. Harrison died from pneumonia, widely believed to have resulted from delivering histories longest Inaugural Address in the bitter cold just a few weeks before 2. Harrison, a former general who had defeated an Indian confederation at the Battle of Tippecanoe, gave rise to the so-called “Curse of Tecumseh” a. Tecumseh, the defeated Indian leader, is reported to have cursed the American nation so that they would be deprived of their leader every twenty years b. Every president elected in a year ending in “0” died in office until Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980 i. Reagan was shot and nearly killed in 1981, however ii. G. W. Bush, elected in 2000, has just under two years of his presidency remaining ii. Millard Fillmore succeeded Zachary Taylor on July 9, 1850 iii. Andrew Johnson succeeded Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865 iv. Chester A. Arthur succeeded James A. Garfield on September 19, 1881 v. Theodore Roosevelt succeeded William McKinley on September 14, 1901 vi. Calvin Coolidge succeeded Warren G. Harding on August 2, 1923 vii. Harry S Truman succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945 viii. Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 ix. Gerald R. Ford succeeded Richard Nixon on August 9, 1974 c. If the office of Vice President was also vacant, the Congress had the power to appoint another officer to assume the Presidency d. No procedure existed for appointing a replacement Vice President 2. The 25 th Amendment, adopted in 1967, altered the rules slightly a. If the president leaves office before his term expires, the Vice President officially becomes President b. Congress determines the line of succession after the Vice President c. The new president will nominate someone to be the new Vice President i. The candidate must be approved by a majority vote of both houses of Congress ii. This has been accomplished twice 1. Gerald Ford was confirmed to replace Spiro Agnew in December 1973 2. Nelson Rockefeller was confirmed to replace Ford in December 1974 3. The 25 th Amendment also anticipates the problem of a president who is temporarily or permanently disabled
a. If the president knows he will be unable to fulfill the duties of his office for a time, he may communicate this fact to the Speaker and President pro Tempore, passing his powers to the Vice President i. Ronald Reagan transferred his powers to George H. W. Bush for eight hours while he was in surgery in 1985 ii. George W. Bush transferred his powers to Dick Cheney for two hours while he was in surgery in 2002 iii. Although these “Acting Presidents” have full presidential powers, they haven’t exercised them b. When the disability has been resolved, the president may resume his powers by communicating in writing his fitness to the Speaker and President pro Tem c. If the president has become disabled but refuses to relinquish power, the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet (or another body specially appointed by Congress) may
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- Fall '17