The History Of The 25th Amendment


In 1967, Minnesota and Nevada made the 25th amendment to the constitution a reality. When John F. Kennedy died in 1963, Vice President Lyndon Johnson was falsely thought to be wounded as he was in the same motorcade. This was the beginning of Congress pushing for a key change in the constitution. Johnson took his path two hours later and ensured the nation was aware of the change of office.

The Constitution did not state the way a Vice President would become the President if the President was unable to perform their duty, resigned or died. There was also no way in the constitution to replace a Vice President who was incapacitated or left the office. By 1963, there was a debate in Congress regarding amending the Constitution. The first attempt failed, but after Lyndon Johnson was inaugurated, he again proposed the change to the constitution in 1965 after the death of Kennedy.

Three months later, the Senate and the House came to an agreement on the wording, and this became the 25th Amendment. The proposed amendment was ratified for the first time by Nebraska in 1965. Minnesota became the 37th state, and Nevada the 38th to ratify the amendment. On February 10th of 1967, the 25th amendment became the law.

The first section of the 25th Amendment stated that if the presidency became vacant due to death, removal from the office or resignation, the Vice President would become President. The second section of the 25th Amendment stated if the office of Vice President became vacant, with Congress’s permission, the President was legally able to choose a new Vice President.

The two additional sections in the 25th Amendment provide the details on the Vice President serving as the Acting President if the President becomes unable to fulfill their official duties. The sections also discussed how disputes would be resolved if the President was unable to discharge their official powers.

In 1973, the 25th Amendment received the first official test due to the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. In 1973, Gerald Ford took the role of Vice President, right after he was nominated for congressional approval by President Richard Nixon. After Nixon resigned, the 25th Amendment was invoked by Ford when Nelson Rockefeller was nominated as Vice President.

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