As Americans, we take our Constitution for granted. But, our founding fathers did not include a contingency for every set of circumstances. That is why we need amendments. The 25th amendment was finally ratified on February 10, 1967, by the Nevada Legislature. And just in time.
The process of ratifying and amendment takes time. Congress first proposed the 25th Amendment on July 6, 1965. It begins:
“Section 1—In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.”
The political atmosphere in 1967 America was strained to say the least. Lyndon Johnson was president and Richard Nixon was setting up his run for the office in 1968.
The Vietnam War was raging, policies were being debated, and no one knew that Johnson would decline to run for president in 1968. Nixon ran and won in 1968, and he won again in 1972.
Here is a television clip of Nixon explaining his opposition to Johnson’s ideas in 1966, before the mid-term elections of 1966. At this time, Nixon could not have imagined that the 25th Amendment to our Constitution would be critical to our nation to maintain our rule of law in the face of his resignation in 1974.