House speaker placed second in line to U.S. presidency 70 years ago #OnThisDay #OTD (July 18 1947)

Video: 'Presidential Succession Act of 1947'

(Friday, July 18, 1947) — U.S. President Harry S. Truman today signed the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, which clarified the order of succession in the event of the death of a sitting president by placing the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore next in the line of succession after the vice president.

With the Office of the Vice President vacant at this time, the current speaker, Joseph William Martin Jr. of Massachusetts, a Republican, became today the man legally designated to succeed Truman as Chief Executive, should he be unable to finish his term expiring on Jan. 20, 1949.

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