U.S. At War: Line of Succession

When President James Garfield lay fatally wounded by an assassin's bullet at the White House in 1881, Vice President Chester Allen Arthur was dangerously ill. Had Arthur also died, there would have, been no immediately available successor to the White House. The next in line was the Senate's President pro tem, but Congress was not in session and had elected no such officer. As a result of this and other crises, Congress in 1886 passed a new Presidential Succession Act, making the Secretary of State next in line after the Vice President.

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