David Rice Atchison

United States Senator from Missouri (1807-1886)

David Rice Atchison (August 11, 1807 – January 26, 1886) was an American Democratic[1] politician. He was a United States Senator from Missouri. He was President pro tempore of the United States Senate for six years.[2]

David Rice Atchison
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
December 20, 1852 – December 4, 1854
Preceded byWilliam R. King
Succeeded byLewis Cass
In office
August 8, 1846 – December 2, 1849
Preceded byAmbrose Hundley Sevier
Succeeded byWilliam R. King
United States Senator
from Missouri
In office
October 14, 1843 – March 3, 1855
Preceded byLewis F. Linn
Succeeded byJames S. Green
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
In office
In office
Personal details
Born(1807-08-11)August 11, 1807
Lexington, Kentucky
DiedJanuary 26, 1886(1886-01-26) (aged 78)
Gower, Missouri
Resting placeGreenlawn Cemetery, Plattsburg, Missouri
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materTransylvania University
ProfessionLawyer, politician
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited StatesMissouri Volunteer Militia
Missouri Missouri State Guard
Years of service1838 (MVM)
1861–1862 (MSG)
Rank Major-General (MVM)
Brigadier-General (MSG)
Battles/warsMissouri Mormon War

American Civil War

He is best known for the claim that for 24 hours—Sunday, March 4, 1849 through noon on Monday—he may have been Acting President of the United States. This, however, has been dismissed by nearly all historians, scholars, and biographers.[3][4]


  1. "David Rice Atchison Biography". Who2.com. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  2. "1801: President for a Day -- March 4, 1849". Senate.gov. May 29, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  3. United States Senate, Art and History, History Minute: March 4, 1849-President for A Day, Senate.gov. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  4. Christopher Klein (February 18, 2013). "The 24-Hour President". The History Channel. Retrieved June 18, 2013.