9780230607668

Accidental Presidents Death, Assassination, Resignation, and Democratic Succession

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780230607668

  • ISBN10:

    0230607667

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-06-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Summary

One of the commonly stated virtues of modern constitutional democracies is their capacity to insure reliable and accepted methods of political succession through election. This book focuses on one particular, though not uncommon, complication in the democratic mode of political succession: American vice-presidents who assume office as a result of the death, assassination or resignation of a president. Three basic strategies by 'accidental presidents' to establish and enhance their legitimacy are identified and evaluated. While none are reliably successful, each provides a lens to study the nature of presidential power and authority as well as to contribute to a democratic theory of succession.

Author Biography

Philip Abbott is Distinguished University Professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Succession and Democratic Theoryp. 1
Independent Strategies
John Tyler: "I can never consent to being dictated to"p. 23
Millard Fillmore: "God save us from Whig Vice Presidents"p. 39
Andrew Johnson: "I care not about my dignity"p. 57
Theodore Roosevelt: "There's only one life between that madman and the presidency"p. 73
Homage Strategies
Chester A. Arthur: "He isn't Chet anymore, he's the president"p. 93
Harry S. Truman: "I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me"p. 109
Lyndon Baines Johnson: "For millions of Americans I was still illegitimate, a naked man with no presidential covering, a pretender to the throne, an illega usurper"p. 131
Minimalist Strategies
Calvin Coolidge: "I thought I could swing it"p. 155
Gerald Ford: "I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President"p. 171
Conclusion: Refounding Successionp. 191
Notesp. 207
Indexp. 227
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