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David Rice Atchison. President for a Day

David Rice Atchison



1807-1886

David Rice Atchison was born on August 11, 1807 in a place named Frogtown, Kentucky. Today it is called Kirklevington.

At the young age of 36, Atchison was appointed to the United States Senate to replace a Missouri Senator that had just died. He served 16 terms in this body as President Pro Tem. By right of succession, some biographers claim he was U.S. Vice President from April 18, 1853, until December 4, 1854, by virtue of the death of President Franklin Pierce's vice president, William R. King.

Some Historians claim that David Rice Atchison has the singular honor of having served as U.S. President for one day when General Zachary Taylor refused to be inaugurated on March 4, 1849, because it was a Sunday.  Mr. Atchison, however, never took the oath of office for either Vice President or President. Consequently, despite the clear line of succession and expiration of President Pierce's term, Mr. Atchison never held the constitutional offices of Vice President and President of the United States of America as the oath of office was never administered.

 

Edited 1887 Appletons' Encyclopedia, 
Copyright © 2002 Virtualology

ATCHISON, David R., US senator, born in Frog-town, Kentucky, 11 August 1807. He received a liberal education, studied law, and began practice in Liberty County, Mo. In 1834 and 1838 he sat in the Missouri legislature, in 1841 he was appointed judge of the Platte county circuit court, and in 1843 appointed United States senator in the place of Lewis F. Linn, deceased, and was subsequently elected and reelected, sitting until 1855. He was prominent in the legislation on the organization of the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, and was a leader of the pro-slavery faction in the Kansas troubles of 1856-'7.

 


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