Presidential Succession Act, 1947
   Under the terms of the law of 1886 providing for the order of succession to the presidency in the event of removal, resignation, death, or incapacity of the president, the next in line after the vice president was the senior cabinet officer, that is, the secretary of state. Harry S. Truman, who had assumed the presidency following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death, did not think this was democratic since cabinet officers are appointed rather than elected. He therefore recommended making the next in line of succession after the vice president the speaker of the House of Representatives, followed by the President pro tempore of the Senate, and then the cabinet officers in order (State, Treasury, Defense, and so forth). The act was passed and the changes went into force on 18 July 1947.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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