On this Date in History:
From 1843 to 1855, David Rice Atchison served as a United States Senator from Missouri. He was cut from the Jeffersonian mold in that he was for states rights and also supported the expansion westward of the United States. This type of description leads one to believe the he was probably a slavery advocate as well. One might wonder how such a man would behave if he were president. While you won’t see his name on any presidential lists, he did get his chance and it was interesting how he took advantage of his opportunity to be chief executive and Commander in Chief.
Now, the only role of the Vice-President of the United States as spelled out in the Constitution is to serve as the President of the Senate. In his absence, the Senate is tasked with voting for a President Pro-Tem, which means “for the time being.” In 1792, Congress passed an act that called for the President Pro-Tem of the Senate to become acting President of the United States if both the President and Vice-President are unable to carry out the duties of their office. Now, during Atchison’s two terms as Senator, he was elected as President Pro-Tem of the Senate 16 times. One of those 16 times fell on March 2, 1849 just prior to the swearing in of Zachary Taylor as the twelth President of the United States.
Well, at that time, Inauguration Day was March 4 and in 1849 March 4 was on a Sunday. So, Taylor decided it would be the right thing to do to postpone his inauguration until Monday March 5. Well, the Constitution called for the end of President James K. Polk’s term to end at noon on March 4 and Taylor and Vice-President Elect Millard Fillmore would not be sworn in until noon on March 5. That means, on this date in 1849, that President Pro-Tem David Rice Atchison was acting President of the United States for 24 hours.
So what would you do if you were President for a Day? Atchison chose to stay in the rack. He had worked pretty hard the previous week an he was tired so he slept through much of his day as the nation’s chief executive. Some say we’ve had several presidents who slept through their entire term in office so perhaps Atchison was well qualified for the position. Though his tenure is President of the United States is rather obscure and largely forgotten, he showed the people of the Show-Me State and so Missouri honored by naming Atchison County for him. Kansas City is half in Kansas and half in Missouri so I suppose those in the Sunflower State didn’t want to be shown up by the Show-Me State and so Kansas honored the one day president with Atchison, Kansas. If he’d stayed president for a week, who knows to what his name might have been attached.
Weather Bottom Line: Pretty simple. Long wave pattern is changing and should generally remain out of this eastern trof pattern we’ve had almost all winter for the foreseeable future. We go to the 50’s for the next several days. Really a pretty good weekend. Still looks to me like a severe risk in Arklatex early in the week and then Tue or Wednesday along the Gulf Coast…not too concerned about here but rain chance will rise at the same time in the Ohio Valley.