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    Harry S. Truman Typed Letter Signed as president. One page, 8" x 10.5", Washington, D.C., December 7, 1948, on White House letterhead. In the letter, the thirty-third president explains to student Helen Hamilton of Lucas, Michigan, why he, as Franklin Roosevelt's vice president, is entitled to be called president. Using the Constitutional crisis that occurred following the death of President William Henry Harrison, President Truman explains:

    "I think you are right, Helen, about my being President. If you will look at the Constitution . . . you will find that when a President dies, the powers and duties of his office 'devolve on the Vice President.' This certainly makes the incoming man the President in fact, since he must assume all the powers and duties of the Presidential office. The question raised by your teacher, as to the title of the new holder of the office, came up in the Congress 107 years ago, and the House of Representatives decided that a Vice President succeeding to the Presidency should be called 'the President.' You will find this recorded in a book called Hinds' Precedents, which is used as a guide by the House of Representatives. President William Henry Harrison had died and Vice President Tyler had taken his place. This was the first time such a thing had happened in our history. When the House of Representatives met on May 31, 1841, Mr. Henry A. Wise, of Virginia, proposed. . . ."

    The president ends his patient explanation by writing, "This established a precedent which has been followed ever since. That is, a Vice President who takes the place of a Chief Executive who has died becomes 'the President.' I hope that this letter will straighten things out for you." The letter, with folds, is accompanied by the transmittal envelope. Both are age-toned.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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