In 1812, on this day William Harris Crawford of Georgia (pictured) was sworn in as the sixth US President after his predecessor the New Yorker George Clinton died from a heart attack.
President William H. Crawford
Sixth US PresidentClinton was the second President to die in office; he had succeeded the frail figure of James Madison who weighing less than one hundred pounds, had a history of poor health and succumbed to a bilious fever during his first term. Both men had struggled with the House Speaker Henry Clay, a powerful political figure who led the predominant faction of "War Hawks". Having passed the minimum age of thirty-five just a week before Clinton's heart attack, Clay was eligible for the Vice Presidency, and therefore Crawford (himself only forty) took the expedient action of selecting an even younger man to restore vigour to the Executive branch of the Federal Government.
However this correction to the recent problem of continuity in the White House backfired spectacularly because it fuelled the already overwhelming Federal Support for prosecuting war with Great Britain. Without the guiding light of a Founding Father, the Republic appeared to be rushing headlong into an uncertain future. The result was the Hartford Convention which triggered the secession of New England.