Anyone who has studied American history knows that NINE Vice Presidents succeeded to the Presidency because of death in eight cases, and resignation in the ninth case, of the President.
What very few people realize is how many times Vice Presidents missed being President by a stroke of luck, and this is not including those who became President later by election.
In the past century, a total of TEN Vice Presidents and ONE Speaker Of the House, came close to succeeding the President in office, but since they did not, they are pretty much forgotten! Here is the list and the circumstances:
1919-1921–Woodrow Wilson suffered a paralytic stroke, but recovered slowly, and his wife Edith held cabinet meetings, and kept Vice President Thomas Marshall in the dark about the medical status of Wilson. This was, by far, the longest period of medical incapacity of a President, 18 months! Had Wilson died, Marshall would have been President.
1933–Franklin D. Roosevelt was subjected to an assassination attempt 17 days before being inaugurated. Had the assassination attempt been successful, John Nance Garner would have been President.
1944-45–Franklin D. Roosevelt was diagnosed secretly with congestive heart failure, and had he died sooner than he did, Henry A. Wallace would have been President.
1950–A distant assassination attempt against President Harry Truman at Blair House, where he was staying while the White House was under renovation, would have led to Alben Barkley being President. Truman was not in the building at the time of the assassination attempt.
1963–The evening of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, past midnight, newly inaugurated President Lyndon Johnson was almost shot by accident by a Secret Service agent at the Vice Presidential home, which would have led to Speaker of the House John W. McCormack being President.
1965-1969–Lyndon Johnson, who had suffered a severe heart attack in 1955, and had bad drinking and smoking habits, and a gall bladder operation while President, would have had Hubert Humphrey succeed him as President, had he died in office.
1975–Twice, President Gerald Ford was subjected to assassination attempts in the month of September. Had either attempt been successful, Nelson Rockefeller would have been President.
1980–A plot against the life of President Jimmy Carter by John Hinckley, who later shot President Ronald Reagan, occurring in the fall campaign, would have led to Vice President Walter Mondale in office before the national election, and might have led to him defeating Reagan, out of tragedy and sympathy over the assassination.
1991–George H. W. Bush had a heart problem, atrial fibrillation, and had it been more serious, leading to his death, Vice President Dan Quayle would have been President.
1998-1999–When Bill Clinton was under investigation in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and faced eventual impeachment and trial, had he resigned or been removed, Vice President Al Gore would have become President.
2001- On September 11, there was theoretical danger by terrorists against President George W. Bush, as he flew to different locations on Air Force One. Had bad fortune occurred, Dick Cheney would have become President.
Just imagine Presidents Thomas Marshall, John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, Alben Barkley, John W. McCormack, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, Walter Mondale, Dan Quayle, Al Gore, and Dick Cheney!
It shows just how important the Vice Presidency is, and who is the occupant of that office!