In 1841, the nation quickly saw three men hold the office of president within a span of just 32 days.
Martin Van Buren’s term of office ended on March 4, 1841.
William Henry Harrison was sworn in as president on March 4, 1841 at the expiration of Van Buren’s term.
Harrison became the first president to die in office. He passed away at 1:30 a.m. on April 4, 1841.
Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution states that
In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President.
Vice-President John Tyler was sworn not sworn in as president until April 6, 1841. However, based on the Constitution, it appears that Tyler automatically became president upon Taylor’s death on April 4, 1841.
Thus, the United States had three presidents within a span of just 32 days.
Of course, many people Tyler challenged Tyler and whether he was really President. It was the first time a Vice-President had ascended to the Presidency upon the death of a President. Tyler thus became known to many as “His Accidency.”
Mike Purdy’s Presidential History Blog
© 2012 by Michael E. Purdy