Saturday, November 22, 2008

Simeone on President Atchison

Joseph J. Simeone, Professor Emeritus, Saint Louis University School of Law, has posted The First U.S. President from Missouri, March 4, 1849. The abstract follows:
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.

This article deals with the period prior to the civil war - the era of "manifest destiny" and how Atchison served as a short-term President of the United States.