Part II History: Fact and Fiction, 4 Presidential Disability Before Section 4
Brian C. Kalt
The history of the United States is peppered with Presidents who were unable, for various reasons, to fulfil their duties. Despite this, power never transferred until and unless the President died. Although the Constitution permitted transfer of power to the Vice President, it provided no process to make that happen. Some also believed that a disabled President who handed over power would not be able to retake power if he recovered. This dissuaded Vice Presidents from picking up the reins. A brief glance at history, from President Washington, through Presidents Garfield and Wilson, and on to President Eisenhower, shows why it was so important to pass Section 4. Eisenhower’s leadership and the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy set the stage for the Twenty-Fifth Amendment’s passage.