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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 4 April 2013

20 star flag - 1818On this day in 1818, Congress enacted the Flag Act of 1818. This act established that after 4 July 1818, the flag would have 13 stripes to represent the original thirteen colonies and the number of stars to match the number of states. For each new state to join the union and thus add a star to the flag, the addition would take effect the following 4 July each year as states joined the union. 1

John TylerIn 1841 on this day, John Tyler became President of the United States after the death of President Harrison, although he wasn’t officially inaugurated for two days. Harrison had been in office exactly one month when he died of pneumonia, making his the shortest ever presidency and making Tyler the first vice president to ascend to the presidency due to the death of a president. “Because no President had ever died in office before, some felt that Tyler was merely an acting or interim President. Tyler firmly asserted that the Constitution gave him full and unqualified powers of office and had himself sworn in immediately as President, setting a critical precedent for an orderly transfer of power following a President’s death.” 2

In 1959 on this day, Maryland ratified the 14th Amendment, and exactly four years later, Nebraska ratified the 24th Amendment. 3

1 “An Act to establish the flag of the United States,” Statues at Large, 1789-1875, Volume 3, List of Public Acts, Library of Congress,

2 “American President: John Tyler,”

3 “Ratification of Constitutional Amendments,”



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