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!


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