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Presidents Pro Tempore of the Senate



The line of presidential succession has changed several times over the past 200 years. But, during several occasions, the president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate stood a mere heart-beat-away from the presidency.

Under the Constitution, the Vice President of the United States is charged with the duty of presiding over the Senate as president of the Senate. The Constitution provides that a president pro tempore shall be elected by senators in the vice president's absence. #Footnote 1

The Constitution also states that Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation, or inability, both of the President and Vice-President, declaring what officer shall then act as President... The president pro tempore was often second in the line of presidential succession, immediately after the vice president. #Footnote 2

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) It has been a recent custom that the person elected by senators to serve as president pro tempore be the senior most senator of the majority party. Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska is the current president pro tempore. He has served in the Senate since 1968.

Here is a complete listing #Footnote 3 of Presidents Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate and the year each was first elected to that office. #Footnote 4


No.

Senator

1st Elected
1
2
3
4
5
6
John Langdon (NH)
Richard Henry Lee (VA)
Ralph Izard (SC)
Henry Tazewell (VA)
Samuel Livermore (NH)
William Bingman (PA)
04-06-1789
04-18-1792
05-31-1794
02-20-1795
05-06-1796
02-16-1797

7
8
9
10
11
12
William Bradford (RI)
Jacob Read (SC)
Theodore Sedgwick (MA)
John Lawrence (NY)
James Ross (PA)
Uriah Tracy (CT)
07-06-1797
11-22-1797
06-27-1798
12-06-1798
03-01-1799
05-14-1800

13
14
15
16
17
18
John E. Howard (MD)
James Hillhouse (CT)
Abraham Baldwin (GA)
Stephen R. Bradley (VT)
John Brown (KY)
Jesse Franklin (NC)
11-21-1800
02-28-1801
12-07-1801
12-14-1802
10-17-1803
03-10-1804

19
20
21
22
23
24
John Anderson (TN)
Samuel Smith (MD)
John Milledge (GA)
Andrew Gregg (PA)
John Gaillard (SC)
John Pope (KY)
01-15-1805
12-02-1805
01-30-1809
06-26-1809
02-28-1810
02-23-1811

25
26
27
28
29
30
William H. Crawford (GA)
Joseph B. Varnum (MA)
James Barbour (VA)
Nathaniel Macon (NC)
Littleton Tazewell (VA)
Hugh L. White (TN)
03-24-1812
12-06-1813
02-15-1819
05-20-1826
07-09-1832
12-03-1832

31
32
33
34
35
36
George Poindexter (MS)
John Tyler (VA)
William R. King (AL)
Samuel Southard (NJ)
Willie P. Mangum (NC)
Ambrose H. Sevier (AR)
06-28-1834
03-05-1835
07-01-1836
03-11-1841
05-31-1842
12-27-1845

37
38
39
40
41
42
David R. Atchison (MO)
Lewis Cass (MI)
Jesse D. Bright (IN)
Charles E. Stuart (MI)
James M. Mason (VA)
Thomas J. Rusk (TX)
08-08-1846
12-04-1854
12-05-1854
06-09-1856
01-06-1857
03-14-1857

43
44
45
46
47
48
Benjamin Fitzpatrick (AL)
Solomon Foot (VT)
Daniel Clark (NH)
Lafayette S. Foster (CT)
Benjamin F. Wade (OH)
Henry B. Anthony (RI)
12-07-1857
02-16-1861
04-26-1864
03-07-1865
03-02-1867
03-23-1869

49
50
51
52
53
54
Matthew H. Carpenter (R)
Thomas W. Ferry (MI)
Allen G. Thurman (OH)
Thomas F. Bayard, Sr. (DE)
David Davis (IL)
George F. Edmunds (VT)
03-12-1873
03-09-1875
04-15-1879
10-10-1881
10-13-1881
03-03-1883

55
56
57
58
59
60
John Sherman (OH)
John J. Ingalls (KS)
Charles F. Manderson (NE)
Isham G. Harris (TN)
Matt W. Ransom (NC)
William P. Frye (ME)
12-07-1885
02-25-1887
03-02-1891
03-22-1893
01-07-1895
02-07-1896

61
62
63
64
65
66
Charles Curtis (KS)
Augustus O. Bacon (GA)
Jacob H. Gallinger (NH)
Henry Cabot Lodge (MA)
Frank B. Brandegee (CT)
James P. Clarke (AR)
12-04-1911
01-15-1912
02-12-1912
03-25-1912
05-25-1912
03-13-1913

67
68
69
70
71
72
Willard Saulsbury, Jr. (DE)
Albert B. Cummins (IA)
George H. Moses (NH)
Key Pittman (NV)
William H. King (UT)
Pat Harrison (MS)
12-14-1916
05-19-1919
03-06-1925
03-09-1933
11-19-1940
01-06-1941

73
74
75
76
77
78
Carter Glass (VA)
Kenneth D. McKellar (TN)
Arthur Vandenberg (MI)
Styles Bridges (NH)
Walter F. George (GA)
Carl T. Hayden (AZ)
07-10-1941
01-06-1945
01-04-1947
01-03-1953
01-05-1955
01-03-1957

79
80
81
82
83
84
Richard B. Russell, Jr. (GA)
Allen J. Ellender (LA)
James O. Eastland (MS)
Warren G. Magnuson (WA)
Milton R. Young (ND)
Strom Thurmond (SC)
01-03-1969
01-22-1971
07-28-1972
01-15-1979
12-04-1980
01-05-1981

85
86
87
John C. Stennis (MS)
Robert C. Byrd (WV)
Theodore Stevens (AK)
01-06-1987
01-03-1989
01-03-2003

Footnote 1: In March 1890, the Senate adopted a resolution stating that presidents pro tempore would hold office continuously until the election of another president pro tempore, rather than being elected only for the period in which the vice president was absent. That system has continued to the present. This also helped assure that should Congress not be in session while the offices of both President and Vice President were vacant, there was a clear line of succession. Go back

Footnote 2: The president pro tempore is now third in line to the presidency, behind the Speaker of the House. Go back

Footnote 3: Indicates the number of individuals who have held the post upon a senator's first election to the office. Thus, John Langdon was the first senator to serve as president pro tempore, Richard Henry Lee the second, and, following two more stints by Langdon, Ralph Izard became the third. Go back

Footnote 4: As indicated in footnote 3 above, many senators have been elected to the office of president pro tempore more than once. Go back

Source: U.S., Congress, Senate, Senate Manual, S. Doc. 102-1, 102d Cong., 1st sess., 1992.

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