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National Veep Day

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from the Presidency, and Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as President. This was the first time that a Vice President became President because of a resignation. National Veep Day takes place on this anniversary, but instead of celebrating just one Vice President, or the office of Vice President, the day celebrates the succession plan for the President. Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution details how a Vice President assumes the office of the President. This clause was further clarified by the 25th Amendment, which also detailed the procedures for filling a vacancy in the Vice Presidency. It was these procedures that were used when Ford was nominated by Richard Nixon to become Vice President in 1973, following Spiro Agnew's resignation to the office because of tax evasion charges.

As the Constitution gives Congress the ability to delineate the line of succession beyond the Vice President, it has passed laws to do so. The Presidential Act of 1792 said that the president pro tempore followed the Vice President, who in turn was followed by the Speaker of the House. In 1886, the president pro tempore and Speaker of the House were dropped from the Presidential line of succession and were supplanted by the Cabinet. Those in favor of this change argued it was good because Congressional leaders didn't have the executive experience that these officers had. They also argued that because six formers Secretaries of States had subsequently become President, it showed that the elevation to the Presidency was a natural progression for Cabinet members. The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 once again changed the order, making it what is today. The Vice President is followed by the president pro tempore, then by the Speaker of the House, and then by the Cabinet members, in the order of the date that their Cabinet positions were created.

How to Observe National Veep Day

The day could be celebrated by learning the Presidential succession order and trying to memorize it. It is as follows:

  1. Vice President of the United States
  2. Speaker of the House
  3. President pro tempore of the Senate
  4. Secretary of State
  5. Secretary of the Treasury
  6. Secretary of Defense
  7. Attorney General
  8. Secretary of the Interior
  9. Secretary of Agriculture
  10. Secretary of Labor
  11. Secretary of Health and Human Services
  12. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  13. Secretary of Transportation
  14. Secretary of Energy
  15. Secretary of Education
  16. Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  17. Secretary of Homeland Security

There are many other ways the day could be spent. You could read or watch All the President's Men, which details what led up to President Nixon's resignation and Gerald Ford's ascent to the Presidency on National Veep Day. You could also read a biography of Gerald Ford or a book about Vice Presidents. If you are looking for something to watch today, it may be fitting to watch Veep.

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