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U.S. Presidents Who Weren't Elected Into Office

Updated January 2, 2020 170.3k views9 items

Here are all nine of the US presidents who became president without having been elected president. This list features four vice presidents who were sworn in after their commanders in chief were assassinated, four who were inaugurated after their presidents died of illness, and one who became president because of two resignations. If you ever wanted to know which man was never elected president of the United States, this list is for you.  

Can you name all the presidents who weren't elected? This isn't to say that these guys were never elected - in fact, several of them followed up their short terms with full second terms. More commonly, however, vice presidents who assumed the Oval Office (well, the ones after it was built in 1909) were met with contention within their own party, not to mention political opponents. Read these interesting facts and share them with your friends tonight. You will be the life of the party.

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  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    10th President, inaugurated in April 1841 - vice president to William Henry Harrison, who died of complications from pneumonia on his 32nd day in office. The first ever non-elected president, Tyler's opponents regularly called him "His Accidency" and addressed correspondences to him as "Vice President" or "Acting President" (letters which he returned unopened).

    When his term ended in 1845, he did not seek election. 

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    • Photo: Mathew B. Brady / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

      13th President, inaugurated in July 1850 - vice president to Zachary Taylor, who died of an attack of cholera one year and four months into his term.

      Though he wanted to serve as president again, Fillmore lost the Whig Party's nomination to General Winfield Scott - who then lost the 1852 election to democrat Franklin Pierce.

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      • 17th president, inaugurated April 15, 1865 - vice president to Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated one month into his second term.

        In 1868, amidst the high tension of the Radical Reconstruction of the South, Johnson became the first ever US president to be impeached. He was eventually acquitted of all charges and sought and lost the Democratic nomination for the 1868 election.

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        • Photo: Charles Milton Bell / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

          21st president, inaugurated September 19, 1881 - vice president of James Garfield, who was assassinated after 200 days in office.

          Though he considered running for a full term in the 1884 election, Arthur ran only a lackluster campaign due to limited support and his ailing health.

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