Did you know that Senate President David Rice Atchison was commonly considered President of the United States for a single day in 1849? It’s true!
According to Wikipedia, outgoing President James K. Polk’s term ended at noon on March 4, which was a Sunday. His successor, Zachary Taylor, refused to be sworn into office on Sunday. As President pro tempore, and therefore Acting Vice President, under the presidential succession law in place at the time, Atchison was believed by some to be Acting President.
In an interview with the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Atchison revealed that he slept through most of the day of his alleged presidency: “There had been three or four busy nights finishing up the work of the Senate, and I slept most of that Sunday.”
Despite this, a museum exhibit opened in his honor, in which its owner claims it to be the country’s smallest Presidential Library. Although it is not recognized as such by the U.S Government, it opened in February 2006 as the Atchison County Historical Museum in Atchison, Kansas.
Want to learn more odd and interesting facts about U.S. History? Check out Just the Facts: American History: Fun Facts of American History on Discovery Education Streaming!