The First U.S. President from Missouri, March 4, 1849

8 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2008 Last revised: 18 Jun 2009

Date Written: June 1, 2008


In these days of an historic presidential election, it may be fitting to recall the election of 1848 when the term of James Knox Polk expired and Zachary Taylor - "Old Rough and Ready" - was elected the President of the United States.

This short article relates the trivia story of one of Missouri Senators - David Rice Atchison, who acted as President of the United States for a very short period of time because President Taylor declined to be sworn in on a Sunday because of his religious scruples. Since Senator Atchison, as President of the Senate, was next in line for the office, Atchison served as President until Taylor took the oath of office.

This article deals with the period prior to the civil war - the era of "manifest destiny" and how Atchison served as a short-term President of the United States.

Keywords: historical presidential election, one day president

Suggested Citation

Simeone, Joseph J., The First U.S. President from Missouri, March 4, 1849 (June 1, 2008). Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-13, Available at SSRN: or

Joseph J. Simeone (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University ( email )

220 North Grand Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63103
United States

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