Conclusion: Refounding Succession
It is possible to offer a number of generalizations about these accidental presidents relevant to political succession. Overall, in their attempts to govern in both capacities of rex and dux, these accidental presidents found themselves characterized either as usurpers or as under the power of regents. These twin threats of usurpation or regency, of course, are dangers that elected successors face as well. This is particularly the case with presidents who promote ambitious agendas. Jackson, Lincoln, FDR, Nixon, and George W. Bush have all been charged with seizing power illegitimately. Others have been perceived as so completely under the thrall of cabinet members (Washington, Eisenhower), Congress (Madison), sectional interests (Pierce), and advisors (McKinley) that they perform only in the role of rex. Some, such as Washington and Bush, have been alternately accused of both. Particular sequences in presidential administrations, such as the last years of a second term seem to naturally suggest regency.
KeywordsVice President Democratic Theory Electoral Victory Constitutional Convention Independent Strategy
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