Friday, November 28, 2008

David Rice Atchison, President

I've discussed before the arguments for and against the proposition that Senator David Rice Atchison of Missouri served as President of the United States on March 4, 1849. Now the event is the subject of an article on SSRN: Joseph J. Simeone, The First U.S. President from Missouri, March 4, 1849. Here's the abstract:
In these days of an historic presidential election, it may be fitting to recall the election of 1848 when the term of James Knox Polk expired and Zachary Taylor - "Old Rough and Ready" - was elected the President of the United States.

This short article relates the trivia story of one of Missouri Senators - David Rice Atchison, who acted as President of the United States for a very short period of time because President Taylor declined to be sworn in on a Sunday because of his religious scruples. Since Senator Atchison, as President of the Senate, was next in line for the office, Atchison served as President until Taylor took the oath of office.

About the illustration:
The cartoonist is optimistic about the prospects of Whig presidential candidate Zachary Taylor, here shown rowing Democratic oppponent Lewis Cass up the river of political misfortune. Cass, seated in the stern, wears an almost comical frown and Taylor, plying his oars in the bow, a look of determination.


  1. Anonymous2:12 PM

    I love that someone else finally knows about this as i do. Thanks! ;-)

  2. My pleasure. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Lot more important things about Atchison...

    Do you know what Atchison did, and boasted about?

    He boasted about passing Kansas Act, did you know that?

    He boasted then of going to Kansas and killing, and terrorizng, to spread slavery. Do you know about his speech to that effect?

    Do you know who Charles Sumner was talking about, by name, for hours, before he was beaten in the floor of the Senate. He was talking about DAVID RICE ATCHISON.

    And do you know what he said about Atchison?

    He told about Atchison getting KS Act passed -- Atchison himself boasted of that once he got to KS -- and thenAtchison left , to go to Kansas.

    THere, he created a bogus legislature, and they made it illegal to even speak openly, or write openly, against slavery. Did you know that?

    He and his killers -- they were killers -- went around trying to frighten Kansas citizens into so much fear, they would not resist the spread of slavery there.

    And again, Atchison boasted of it.

    Do you know that almost worked? But Kansas citizens finally started fighting back. Do you know the name of one of men who started to give Atchison a taste of his own medicine?

    It was John Brown.

    Do you know who Atchison worked for? Officially? It was Jeff Davis.

    Do you know who wrote to Davis letters boasting the "work will soon be done" -- but because of guys like Brown, Atchison would need more men that he could hire locally from MO.

    Do you know where Atchison got about 800 men? From Texas and South Carolina.

    Do you know what these men did? Then invaded Kansas again, and tried again to terrorize, just with more men.

    It didn't work then, either.

    Do you know what Southern strategy was then, when this brute force, and "bogus legislature" didn't work?

    They got Dred Scott ruling that ordered the fed governerment to protect slavery into KS. Did you know that's what Dred Scott decision ordered? Or don't you know?

    You arent the only one that doesn't know much, if that's all you know about DRA


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