Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

Thomas A. Hendricks

Nineteenth-century vice presidents had an annoying habit of dying in office. The VP spot was vacant for close to a quarter of the 1800's, partly due to presidential succession rules that were tweaked following the death of Hendricks, who was second in command for almost nine months. A congressman, Senator, and Indiana governor, Hendricks was a staunch opponent of African-American rights — he voted in favor of segregation and against the constitutional amendments that abolished slavery and granted suffrage to former slaves. When Hendricks died in office, on Nov. 25, 1885, both the Speaker of the House and Senate president positions were then vacant, leaving no one to replace him. The following year, Congress passed a law placing cabinet members in the line of succession.

Gilbert Cruz