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Today in history: February 10
In 1967, the presidential line of succession was cleared up
Eisenhower's administration began sending aid to what became known as South Vietnam.
Eisenhower's administration began sending aid to what became known as South Vietnam. (CORBIS)

Feb. 10, 1807: President Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Congress, asked for an increase in defense spending. He wanted to buy more gun boats to better protect the long U.S. coastline.

Feb. 10, 1954: President Eisenhower warned against U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Yet the Eisenhower administration that year began sending military aid to what became known as South Vietnam. A 1954 treaty, the Geneva Accords, said that Vietnam, which had been temporarily divided, was to be reunited in a 1956 election. Eisenhower later noted in his memoirs that he knew that if there had been genuine democratic elections in Vietnam in 1956, Ho Chi Minh, the Communist leader in what became known as North Vietnam, would have won around 80 percent of the vote. Thus, in order to avoid a wholly Communist Vietnam, the U.S. ignored the Geneva Accords. Instead of a united Vietnam, the U.S. helped divide it for 20 years — and laid the foundation for the Vietnam War.

Feb. 10, 1967: The 25th amendment was ratified, clearing up long-standing ambiguities about the order of presidential succession. The 25th amendment replaced the prior wording in Article II, which doesn’t explicitly say that the VP automatically becomes president. After President William Henry Harrison’s death in 1841 — the first president to die in office — some thought VP John Tyler would be only "acting president" until an election could be held.

Quote of the Day

"The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed." —William Henry Harrison

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