11.08.

1807: A Little-Known Man who May Have Been U.S. President for One Day

1807: A Little-Known Man who May Have Been U.S. President for One Day
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 11 August 1807
  • David Rice Atchison was, according to some theories, the President of the USA for one day. This was an unusual and controversial situation in U.S. history.

David Rice Atchison, the man who may have been the President of the USA for one day, was born precisely on this day in 1807.

Namely, David Rice Atchison had served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate for six years.

An unusual situation occurred in 1849, when the newly-elected U.S. president Zachary Taylor was supposed to be sworn in.

Namely, the day when the mandate of President James Polk fell on a Sunday, and Taylor refused to be sworn in on that day for religious reasons – he did so on Monday.

For this reason, some believe that, that Sunday, the third person in the hierarchy of the U.S. government (Taylor’s vice president Fillmore also refused to swear his oath on that Sunday) was temporarily the President of the USA.

That person was David Rice Atchison, who was the President pro tempore of the United States Senate.

In later newspaper interviews, Atchison claimed that he spent most of that Sunday sleeping because they had been working very hard in the Senate during the last three or four nights.

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