The President pro tempore of the United States Senate (often shortened to president pro tem) is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. Article One, Section Three of the United States Constitution provides that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate (despite not being a Senator), and mandates that the Senate must choose a President pro tempore to act in the Vice President's absence. Unlike the Vice President, the President pro tempore is an elected member of the Senate, able to speak or vote on any issue. Selected by the Senate at large, the President pro tempore has enjoyed many privileges and some limited powers. During the Vice President's absence, the President pro tempore is empowered to preside over Senate sessions. In practice, neither the Vice President nor the President pro tempore usually presides; instead, the duty of presiding officer is rotated among junior U.S. Senators of the majority party to give them experience in parliamentary procedure.
Since 1890, the most senior U.S. Senator in the majority party has generally been chosen to be President pro tempore and holds the office continuously until the election of another. This tradition has been observed without interruption since 1949. Since the enactment of the current Presidential Succession Act in 1947, the president pro tempore is third in the line of succession to the presidency, after the vice president and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and ahead of the Secretary of State.
|President pro tempore of the United States Senate|
Seal of the President pro tempore
since January 3, 2019
|United States Senate|
(within the Senate)
|Seat||Senate chamber, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.|
|Appointer||United States Senate|
|Term length||At the pleasure of the Senate, and until another is elected or their term of office as a Senator expires|
|Constituting instrument||United States Constitution|
|Formation||March 4, 1789|
|First holder||John Langdon|
|Deputy||Any senator, typically a member of the majority party, designated by the President pro tempore|
Although the position is in some ways analogous to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the powers of the president pro tempore are far more limited. In the Senate, most power rests with party leaders and individual senators, but as the chamber's presiding officer, the president pro tempore is authorized to perform certain duties in the absence of the vice president, including ruling on points of order. Additionally, under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, the president pro tempore and the speaker are the two authorities to whom declarations must be transmitted that the president is unable to perform the duties of the office, or is able to resume doing so. The president pro tempore is third in the line of presidential succession, following the vice president and the speaker, and consequently is one of the few members of Congress entitled to a full-time security detail. Additional duties include appointment of various congressional officers, certain commissions, advisory boards, and committees and joint supervision of the congressional page school. The president pro tempore is the designated legal recipient of various reports to the Senate, including War Powers Act reports under which he or she, jointly with the speaker, may have the president call Congress back into session. The officeholder is an ex officio member of various boards and commissions. With the secretary and sergeant at arms, the president pro tempore maintains order in Senate portions of the Capitol and Senate buildings.
The office of president pro tempore was established by the Constitution of the United States in 1789. The first president pro tempore, John Langdon, was elected on April 6 the same year. Between 1792 and 1886, the president pro tempore was second in the line of presidential succession following the vice president and preceding the speaker. Through 1891, the president pro tempore was appointed on an intermittent basis only, when the vice president was not present to preside over the Senate, or at the adjournment of a session of Congress. Langdon served four separate terms from 1789 to 1793. During the 4th Congress (1795 – 1797); in all, more than 12 senators held the office during the Senate’s first decade. When called upon to serve, they would preside, sign legislation, and perform routine administrative tasks.
Whenever the vice presidency was vacant, as it was on 10 occasions between 1812 and 1889, the office garnered heightened importance, for although he did not assume the vice presidency, the president pro tempore was then next in line for the presidency. Before the ratification of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967, a vacancy in the vice presidency could be filled only by a regular election; several who served during these vacancies were referred to informally as "Acting Vice President."
On three occasions during the 19th century, the Senate was without both a president and a president pro tempore:
When President Andrew Johnson, who had no vice president, was impeached and tried in 1868, Senate President pro tempore Benjamin Franklin Wade was next in line to the presidency. Wade's radicalism is thought by many historians to be a major reason why the Senate, which did not want to see Wade in the White House, acquitted Johnson. The President pro tempore and the Speaker of the House were removed from the presidential line of succession in 1886. Both were restored to it in 1947, though this time with the president pro tempore following the speaker.
William P. Frye served as President pro tempore from 1896 to 1911 (54th–62nd Congress), a tenure longer than anyone else. He resigned from the position due to ill health a couple of months before his death. Electing his successor proved difficult, as Senate Republicans, then in the majority, were split between progressive and conservative factions, each promoting its own candidate. Likewise, the Democrats proposed their own candidate. As a result of this three-way split, no individual received a majority vote. It took four months for a compromise solution to emerge: Democrat Augustus Bacon would serve for a single day, August 14, 1911, during the vice president's absence. Thereafter, Bacon and four Republicans—Charles Curtis, Jacob Gallinger, Henry Cabot Lodge, and Frank Brandegee—would alternate as president pro tempore for the remainder of the Congress.
In January 1945, the 79th Congress elected Kenneth McKellar, who at the time was the Senator with the longest continuous service, to be President pro tempore. Since then, it has become customary for the majority party's senior member to hold this position. Arthur Vandenberg (in 1947–1949) was the last president pro tempore not to be the senior member of the majority party, aside from the single day accorded Milton Young (in December 1980), who was the retiring senior member of the Republican Party, which would hold the majority in the incoming 97th Congress.
Three presidents pro tempore subsequently became Vice President: John Tyler, William R. King and Charles Curtis. Tyler is the only one to become president (in April 1841, following the death of William Henry Harrison).
While the president pro tempore does have other official duties, the holders of the office have, like the vice president, over time ceased presiding over the Senate on a daily basis, owing to the mundane and ceremonial nature of the position. Furthermore, as the president pro tempore is now usually the most senior senator of the majority party, he or she most likely also chairs a major Senate committee and has other significant demands on his or her time. Therefore, the president pro tempore has less time now than in the past to preside daily over the Senate. Instead, junior senators from the majority party are designated acting president pro tempore to preside over the Senate. This allows junior senators to learn proper parliamentary procedure. The acting president pro tempore is usually reappointed daily by the president pro tempore.
In June 1963, because of the illness of president pro tempore Carl Hayden, Senator Lee Metcalf was designated permanent acting president pro tempore. No term was imposed on this designation, so Metcalf retained it until he died in office in 1978.
The ceremonial post of deputy president pro tempore was created for Hubert Humphrey, a former vice president, in 1977 following his losing bid to become the Senate majority leader. The Senate resolution creating the position stated that any former president or former vice president serving in the Senate would be entitled to this position, though none has served since Humphrey's death in 1978, and former vice president Walter Mondale, who sought his former Senate seat in Minnesota in 2002, is the only one to have tried. Andrew Johnson is the only former president (1865–1869) to have subsequently served in the Senate (1875).
George J. Mitchell was elected deputy president pro tempore in 1987, because of the illness of president pro tempore John C. Stennis, similar to Metcalf's earlier designation as permanent acting president pro tempore. The office has remained vacant since 1989 and no senator other than Humphrey and Mitchell has held it since its creation. Mitchell is the only person to have served as deputy president pro tempore who was neither a former president nor former vice president of the United States.
The post is largely honorary and ceremonial, but comes with a salary increase. By statute, the compensation granted to the position holder equals the rate of annual compensation paid to the president pro tempore, majority leader, and minority leader. (See 2 U.S.C. § 6112.)
Since 2001, the honorary title of president pro tempore emeritus has been given to a senator of the minority party who has previously served as president pro tempore. The position has been held by Strom Thurmond (R-South Carolina) (2001–2003), Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) (2003–2007), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) (2007–2009) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) (2015–present). From 2009 to 2015, no senator met the requirements for the position.
The position was created for Thurmond when the Democratic Party regained a majority in the Senate in June 2001. With the change in party control, Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia replaced Thurmond as president pro tempore, reclaiming a position he had previously held from 1989 to 1995 and briefly in January 2001. Thurmond's retirement from the Senate on January 3, 2003, coincided with a change from Democratic to Republican control, making Stevens president pro tempore and Byrd the second president pro tempore emeritus. Byrd returned as president pro tempore, and Stevens became the third president pro tempore emeritus, when the Democrats gained control of the Senate in 2007. While a president pro tempore emeritus has no official duties, he is entitled to an increase in staff and advises party leaders on the functions of the Senate.
The office's accompanying budget increase was removed toward the end of the 113th Congress, shortly before Patrick Leahy was to become the first holder of the title in six years. Quoted in CQ Roll Call, Leahy commented, "[The Republicans] didn't keep their commitment. They want to treat us differently than we treated them, and so they've got that right. It seems kind of petty, but it really doesn't matter to me. I've got plenty of funding, plenty of good staff."
The salary of the president pro tempore for 2012 was $193,400, equal to that of the majority leaders and minority leaders of both houses of Congress. If there is a vacancy in the office of vice president, then the salary would be the same as that of the vice president, $230,700.
|U.S. presidential line of succession|
Speaker of the House of Representatives
|3rd in line||Succeeded by|
Secretary of State
Augustus Octavius Bacon (October 20, 1839 – February 14, 1914) was a U.S. politician. He served as a Democratic Party U.S. Senator from Georgia, and rose to the position of president pro tempore of the United States Senate. Controversy arose during the American Civil Rights Movement over a provision in his will that created a racially segregated park in his hometown of Macon, which led to two U.S. Supreme Court decisions.Charles F. Manderson
Charles Frederick Manderson (February 9, 1837 – September 28, 1911) was a United States Senator from Nebraska from 1883 to 1895.David Davis (Supreme Court justice)
David Davis (March 9, 1815 – June 26, 1886) was a United States Senator from Illinois and associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. He also served as Abraham Lincoln's campaign manager at the 1860 Republican National Convention, engineering Lincoln's nomination alongside Ward Hill Lamon and Leonard Swett.
Educated at Kenyon College and Yale University, Davis settled in Bloomington, Illinois in the 1830s, where he practiced law. He served in the Illinois legislature and as a delegate to the state constitutional convention before becoming a state judge in 1848. After Lincoln won the presidency, he appointed Davis to the United States Supreme Court, where he served until 1877. He wrote the majority opinion in Ex parte Milligan, limiting the government's power to try citizens in military courts. He pursued the Liberal Republican Party's nomination in the 1872 presidential election, but was defeated at the convention by Horace Greeley.
Davis was a pivotal figure in Congress's establishment of the Electoral Commission, which was charged with resolving the disputed 1876 presidential election. Davis was widely expected to serve as the key member of the Commission, but he resigned from the Supreme Court to accept election to the Senate and thus did not serve on the commission. Known for his independence, he served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate from 1881 to 1883, placing him first in the line of presidential succession due to a vacancy in the office of the Vice President of the United States. He did not seek re-election in 1882 and retired from public life in 1883.David Rice Atchison
David Rice Atchison (August 11, 1807 – January 26, 1886) was a mid-19th century Democratic United States Senator from Missouri. He served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate for six years. Atchison served as a major general in the Missouri State Militia in 1838 during Missouri's Mormon War and as a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War under Major General Sterling Price in the Missouri Home Guard. He is best known for the claim that for one day (March 4, 1849) he may have been Acting President of the United States. This belief, however, is dismissed by nearly all historians, scholars, and biographers.Atchison, owner of many slaves and a plantation, was a prominent pro-slavery activist and Border Ruffian leader, deeply involved with violence against abolitionists and other free-staters during the "Bleeding Kansas" events.Electoral history of Robert Byrd
Electoral history of Robert Byrd, senior United States Senator from West Virginia (1959–2010), President pro tempore of the United States Senate (1989–1995, 2001, 2001–2003 and 2007–2010), Senate Majority (1977–1981, 1987–1989) and Minority Leader (1981–1987). He was also the longest-serving U.S. Senator in history, as well as the previous longest-serving member of Congress.Electoral history of Strom Thurmond
Electoral history of Strom Thurmond, 103rd Governor of South Carolina (1947-1951), United States Senator from South Carolina (1954-1956, 1956-2003; Democrat until 1964 and Republican after), 1948 State's Rights Democrats presidential nominee and President pro tempore of the United States Senate (1981-1987, 1995-2001 and 2001).
Thurmond's over 70 years electoral career begun from successful election for the county attorney in 1930 and continued until 2003.
Democratic primary for Governor of South Carolina, 1946:
Strom Thurmond - 96,691 (33.43%)
James C. McLeod - 83,464 (28.86%)
Ransome Judson Williams (inc.) - 35,813 (12.38%)
John C. Taylor - 22,447 (7.76%)
Dell O'Neall - 16,574 (5.73%)
John D. Long - 16,503 (5.71%)
Carl B. Epps - 5,189 (1.79%)
Marcus A. Stone - 4,353 (1.51%)
A. L. Wood - 3,040 (1.05%)
A. J. Beattie - 2,889 (1.00%)
Roger W. Scott - 2,251 (0.78%)Democratic primary runoff for Governor of South Carolina, 1946:
Strom Thurmond - 144,420 (56.95%)
James C. McLeod - 109,169 (43.05%)South Carolina gubernatorial election, 1946:
Strom Thurmond (D) - 26,520 (100.00%)United States presidential election, 1948:
Harry S. Truman/Alben W. Barkley (D) - 24,179,347 (49.6%) and 303 electoral votes (57.06%, 28 states carried)
Thomas E. Dewey/Earl Warren (R) - 21,991,292 (45.1%) and 189 electoral votes (35.59%, 16 states carried)
Strom Thurmond/Fielding L. Wright (Dixiecrat) - 1,175,930 (2.4%) and 39 electoral votes (7.35%, 4 states carried)
Henry A. Wallace/Glen H. Taylor (Progressive) - 1,157,328 (2.4%)
Norman Thomas/Tucker P. Smith (Socialist) - 139,569 (0.3%)
Claude Watson/Dale Learn (Prohibition) - 103,708 (0.2%)
Others - 46,361 (0.1%)Democratic primary for the United States Senate from South Carolina, 1950:
Olin D. Johnston (inc.) - 186,180 (53.95%)
Strom Thurmond - 158,904 (46.05%)United States Senate election in South Carolina, 1954:
Strom Thurmond (Independent Democrat) (write-in) - 143,444 (63.13%)
Edgar A. Brown (D) - 83,525 (36.76%)
Marcus A. Stone (write-in) - 240 (0.11%)United States Senate special election in South Carolina, 1956:
Strom Thurmond (D) (inc.) - 245,371 (100.00%)United States Senate election in South Carolina, 1960:
Strom Thurmond (D) (inc.) - 330,167 (99.97%)
Others (write-in) - 102 (0.03%)United States presidential election, 1960:
John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson (D) - 34,220,984 (49.7%) and 303 electoral votes (56.43%, 22 states carried)
Richard Nixon/Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (R) - 34,108,157 (49.6%) and 219 electoral votes (40.78%, 26 states carried)
Harry F. Byrd/Strom Thurmond (I) - 286,359 (0.4%) and 14 electoral votes (2.61%, 2 states carried)
Harry F. Byrd/Barry Goldwater (I) - 1 electoral vote (0.19%, Oklahoma faithless elector)
Orval E. Faubus/John G. Crommelin (State's Rights) - 44,984 (0.1%)
Charles L. Sullivan/Merritt Curtis (Constitution) - 18,162 (0.0%)
Others - 216,982 (0.3%)United States Senate election in South Carolina, 1966:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 271,297 (62.19%)
Bradley Morrah, Jr. (D) - 164,955 (37.81%)United States Senate election in South Carolina, 1972:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 415,806 (63.29%)
Nick Ziegler (D) - 241,056 (36.69%)
Others (write-in) - 172 (0.03%)United States Senate election in South Carolina, 1978:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 351,917 (55.68%)
Charles D. Ravenel (D) - 280,146 (44.32%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1981:
Strom Thurmond (R) - 53 (53.54%)
John C. Stennis (D) - 46 (46.47%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1983:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 54 (54.00%)
John C. Stennis (D) - 46 (46.00%)Republican primary for the United States Senate from South Carolina, 1984:
Strom Thurmond (inc.) - 44,662 (94.31%)
Bob Cunningham - 2,693 (5.69%)United States Senate election in South Carolina, 1984:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 644,815 (66.81%)
Melvin Purvis (D) - 306,982 (31.81%)
Stephen Davis (LBT) - 13,333 (1.38%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1985:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 53 (53.00%)
John C. Stennis (D) - 47 (47.00%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1987:
John C. Stennis (D) - 55 (55.00%)
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 45 (45.00%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1989:
Robert Byrd (D) - 55 (55.00%)
Strom Thurmond (R) - 45 (45.00%)United States Senate election in South Carolina, 1990:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 482,032 (64.21%)
Bob Cunningham (D) - 244,112 (32.52%)
William H. Griffin (LBT) - 13,805 (1.84%)
Marion C. Metts (American) - 10,317 (1.37%)
Write-ins - 450 (0.06%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1991:
Robert Byrd (D) (inc.) - 56 (56.00%)
Strom Thurmond (R) - 44 (44.00%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1993:
Robert Byrd (D) (inc.) - 57 (57.00%)
Strom Thurmond (R) - 43 (43.00%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1995:
Strom Thurmond (R) - 52 (52.00%)
Robert Byrd (D) (inc.) - 48 (48.00%)Republican primary for the United States Senate from South Carolina, 1996:
Strom Thurmond (inc.) - 132,145 (60.62%)
Harold G. Worley - 65,666 (30.12%)
Charlie Thompson - 20,185 (9.26%)United States Senate election in South Carolina, 1996:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 620,326 (53.38%)
Elliott Close (D) - 511,226 (43.99%)
Richard T. Quillian (LBT) - 12,994 (1.12%)
Peter J. Ashy (Reform) - 9,741 (0.84%)
Annette C. Estes (Natural Law) - 7,697 (0.66%)
Others - 141 (0.01%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1997:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 55 (55.00%)
Robert Byrd - 45 (45.00%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, 1999:
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 55 (55.00%)
Robert Byrd - 45 (45.00%)President pro tempore of the United States Senate, January 3, 2001:
Robert Byrd (D) - 51 (50.50%)
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 50 (49.51%)Vice President Al Gore cast tie-breaking vote
President pro tempore of the United States Senate, January 20, 2001:
Strom Thurmond (R) - 51 (50.50%)
Robert Byrd (D) (inc.) - 50 (49.51%)Vice President Dick Cheney cast tie-breaking vote
President pro tempore of the United States Senate, June 6, 2001:
Robert Byrd (D) - 51 (51.00%)
Strom Thurmond (R) (inc.) - 49 (49.00%)President pro tempore emeritus of the United States Senate, June 6, 2001:
Strom Thurmond (R) - 100 (100.00%)Henry Tazewell
Henry Tazewell (November 27, 1753 – January 24, 1799) was an American politician who was instrumental in the early government of the U.S. state of Virginia, and a United States Senator from Virginia.Jesse D. Bright
Jesse David Bright (December 18, 1812 – May 20, 1875) was the ninth Lieutenant Governor of Indiana and U.S. Senator from Indiana who served as President pro tempore of the Senate on three separate occasions. He was the only senator from a Northern state to be expelled for being a Confederate sympathizer. As a leading Copperhead he opposed the Civil War.John Gaillard
John Gaillard (September 5, 1765 – February 26, 1826) was a U.S. Senator from South Carolina.
Gaillard was born in St. Stephen's district, South Carolina, on September 5, 1765. He was of Huguenot descent. He was elected to the United States Senate in place of Pierce Butler, who resigned, and served from December 6, 1804 until his death in Washington, D.C. on February 26, 1826. During his tenure, Gaillard voted for the War of 1812. He served as President pro tempore of the Senate during part of the 11th Congress and at least part of every Congress from the 13th to the 18th. He was also first in the presidential line of succession from November 25, 1814, two days after the death of Vice President Elbridge Gerry, to March 4, 1817.
In his memoir Thirty Years' View, Thomas H. Benton, one of Gaillard's contemporaries, described him thus:
Urbane in his manners, amiable in temper, scrupulously impartial, uniting absolute firmness of purpose with the greatest gentleness of manners—such were the qualifications which commended him to the presidency of the senate. There was probably not an instance of disorder or a disagreeable scene in the chamber during his long-continued presidency. He classed democratically, but was as much the favorite of one side of the house as of the other, and that in the high party times of the war with Great Britain, which so much exasperated party spirit.
Gaillard died in Washington, D.C. on 26 February 1826 and was interred in the Congressional Cemetery.Oath of office of the Vice President of the United States
The oath of office of the Vice President of the United States is the oath or affirmation that the Vice President of the United States takes upon assuming the vice-presidency but before he or she begins the execution of the office. Just before the president-elect takes the oath of office on Inauguration Day, the vice president-elect will step forward on the inaugural platform and repeat the oath of office. Although the United States Constitution—Article II, Section One, Clause 8—specifically sets forth the oath required by incoming presidents, it does not do so for incoming vice presidents. The constitution—Article VI, Clause 3— simply requires that they, along with all other government officers (federal and state; elected and appointed), pledge to support the Constitution. Since 1937, Inauguration Day has been January 20 (was March 4), a change brought about by the 20th amendment to the Constitution, which had been ratified four years earlier. The vice president's swearing-in ceremony also moved that year, from the Senate chamber inside the Capitol, to the presidential inaugural platform outside the building.President Lee
President Lee may refer to:
Harold B. Lee (1899–1973), president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Lee Myung-bak (born 1941), 10th President of South Korea
Richard Henry Lee (1732–1794), president of the Confederation Congress and president pro tempore of the United States Senate
Syngman Lee (1875–1965), 1st President of South Korea
Lee Teng-hui (born 1923), president of the Republic of ChinaPro tempore
Pro tempore (), abbreviated pro tem or p.t., is a Latin phrase which best translates to "for the time being" in English. This phrase is often used to describe a person who acts as a locum tenens (placeholder) in the absence of a superior, such as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate, who acts in place of the President of the United States Senate, the Vice President of the United States.
Legislative bodies can have one or more pro tempore for the presiding officer. These positions ostensibly go to legislators experienced in floor debate who are familiar with the content and application of relevant rules and precedents and who have a reputation for fairness among their colleagues.Ralph Izard
Ralph Izard (January 23, 1741/1742 – May 30, 1804) was a U.S. politician. He served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate in 1794.Samuel Livermore
Samuel Livermore (May 14, 1732 – May 18, 1803) was a U.S. politician. He was a U.S. Senator from New Hampshire from 1793 to 1801 and served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate in 1796 and again in 1799.Second inauguration of Calvin Coolidge
The second inauguration of Calvin Coolidge as President of the United States, was held on Wednesday, March 4, 1925 at the eastern portico of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. The inauguration marked the commencement of the second (only full) term of Calvin Coolidge as President and the only term of Charles G. Dawes as Vice President. The Chief Justice, former president William Howard Taft administered the presidential oath of office. This was the first inauguration in which a former U.S. President administered the oath, and the first to be broadcast nationally on radio.The vice-presidential oath of office was administered by the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, George H. Moses. At the time, vice presidents were sworn into office in the Senate Chamber of the capitol, and would give an inaugural address before everyone headed on to the outside platform where the president would take the oath. Dawes made a fiery, half-hour address denouncing the rules of the Senate, the seniority system and many other things that Senators held dear. Coolidge's address was barely mentioned in the news reports the next day.Solomon Foot
Solomon Foot (November 19, 1802 – March 28, 1866) was a Vermont politician and attorney. He held numerous offices during his career, including Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives, State's Attorney for Rutland County, member of the United States House of Representatives, and United States Senator.
A native of Cornwall, Vermont, Foot began working on local farms at age nine, helping support his family after the death of his father. After graduating from Middlebury College, Foot worked as a teacher, school principal, and college professor while studying law. After attaining admission to the bar in 1831, he opened a practice in Rutland.
Entering politics as a Whig, Foot served in several offices, including member of the Vermont House of Representatives, delegate to the state constitutional conventions of 1833 and 1836, and Rutland County State's Attorney. He was Vermont's Speaker of the House from 1837 to 1839. Foot served in the United States House of Representatives from 1843 to 1847 and was noted for his opposition to the Mexican–American War and the extension of slavery. He did not run for reelection in 1846; returned to the Vermont House, he served as Speaker from 1847 to 1848.
In 1850 Foot was elected to the United States Senate; he became a Republican when the party was founded, and won reelection in 1856 and 1862. Foot served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate during the American Civil War, and was a strong advocate for the Union. He headed the Joint Congressional Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds beginning in 1861, and which included supervising completion of the United States Capitol's construction.
Foot died in Washington, DC in 1866; he was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Rutland.Stephen R. Bradley
Stephen Row Bradley (February 20, 1754 – December 9, 1830) was an American lawyer, judge and politician. He served as a United States Senator from the state of Vermont and as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate during the early 1800s.Thomas Jefferson Rusk
Thomas Jefferson Rusk (December 5, 1803 – July 29, 1857) was an early political and military leader of the Republic of Texas, serving as its first Secretary of War as well as a general at the Battle of San Jacinto. He was later a US politician and served as a Senator from Texas from 1846 until his suicide. He served as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate in 1857.Walter F. George
Walter Franklin George (January 29, 1878 – August 4, 1957) was an American politician from the state of Georgia. He was a long-time Democratic United States Senator and was President pro tempore of the United States Senate from 1955 to 1957.
Born near Preston, Georgia, George practiced law after graduating from Mercer University. He served on the Supreme Court of Georgia from 1917 to 1922, resigning from the bench to successfully run for the Senate. A member of the conservative wing of his party, he opposed the 1932 presidential nomination of Franklin D. Roosevelt and opposed much of Roosevelt's domestic policy. He served as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from 1941 to 1946 and generally supported Roosevelt's handling of World War II.
After the war, George emerged as a leading opponent against efforts to end racial segregation. He signed the Southern Manifesto and helped coordinate Southern resistance to the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education. George retired from the Senate in 1957 and died later that same year.
Presidents pro tempore of the United States Senate
* Ineligible to act as president