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U.S. Presidential line of succession
The United States Presidential line of succession is the order of who replaces the United States President if he leaves office before his term ends. If the President dies, quits, or is removed from office, the Vice President becomes President for the rest of his term. If the Vice President cannot do it, the next person in the line of succession acts as President. As of 2013, only Vice Presidents have replaced the President.
Prior Lines of Succession
The laws about succession were first created in 1792. The second in line, after the Vice President, was the leader of the Executive Branch. The next in line was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 1868, during the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, Benjamin Wade was the leader of the Senate. He almost became new president but Johnson was found not guilty by one vote. Johnson had been the Vice President for Abraham Lincoln. He became President after the assassination of Lincoln. Because of this, there was no Vice President. The Chief Justice and other members of the Supreme Court were not a part of the line of succession.
In 1886, after death of Vice President Thomas Hendricks, Congress passed a new law which removed the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives from the line of succession. The new person in line behind Vice President was Secretary of State, followed by other Cabinet members.
Current Line of Succession
The most recent law about the line of succession was passed in 1947. This is the current line of succession
- Ask Gleaves: Presidential Succession
- Presidential Succession Act of 1792, 1 Stat. 239
- “Presidential Line of Succession Examined”, September 20 2003
- Presidential line of succession at various times in history
- Continuity of Government Commission