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Accidental Presidents

Eight Men Who Changed America

By Jared Cohen
15-minute read
Audio available
Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America by Jared Cohen

Accidental Presidents (2019) explores the role of chance in American history. Whether they were felled by an assassin’s bullet or struck down by illness, eight US heads of state have died while in office. The vice presidents who succeeded them suddenly found themselves with the power to change the nation’s course. From the decision to annex Texas in the 1840s to the passing of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, the policies that have determined the fate of America were often forged by its “accidental presidents.”

  • History buffs
  • Americaphiles
  • Politicos

Jared Cohen is the founder and chief executive officer of Alphabet’s technology incubator Jigsaw and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Cohen worked as an advisor to Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton between 2006 and 2010. Listed in Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, he is the author of four books, including One Hundred Days of Silence (2006) and Children of Jihad (2007).

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