Would They Have Pro-Rated His Pension?
Some presidents of the United States, haven't stayed around very long. This should surprise no one, given the uncertain temper of the political beast that powers a democracy. But some of them left, not by will, but unfair fate, and one actually got to be president in the same bizarre way.
William Henry Harrison, was touted by supporters as a folksy kind of guy, when he ran for president. In truth, he had been born into Southern aristocracy, but that never kept him in a white glove world. Harrison was one rough and tumble fella, spending several years dealing with the Indian problem in various areas of the United States. He was used to the hardships of life on the trail and in the battlefield. But politics was apparently his undoing. Barely a month after being elected president, he caught a cold that turned to pneumonia, and became the first president to die in office.
James Garfield wasn't much luckier. Elected in 1980, the last of the so-called "log cabin" presidents, projecting a down-to-earth and get back to basics image, he worked hard to regain for his office, a measure of the respect it deserved. He was well on the way to achieving that goal, when on July 2,1841, a lawyer turned down for a consular post, shot him at a Washington, railroad station. Garfield lingered for two months, with the assassin's bullet still inside him, despite even Alexander Graham Bell's attempts to locate it with a specially designed induction-balance electrical device. Garfield died Sept.6.
This type of thing should have made David Rice Atchinson, very wary of the honor forced on him when James Polk left his elected office as President. While he departed on the appointed day, it was a Sunday, and Zachary Taylor was unable to take the oath of office that day. According to law, Rice as the pro tempore leader of the Senate, took office for the whole day, and left without either regret, or a pension, on Monday.