Vice President of the United States

The Vice President of the United States (informally referred to as VPOTUS, VP, or Veep) is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, after the President of the United States, and ranks first in the presidential line of succession. The Vice President is also an officer in the legislative branch, as President of the Senate. In this capacity, the Vice President presides over Senate deliberations (or delegates this task to a member of the Senate), but may not vote except to cast a tie-breaking vote. The Vice President also presides over joint sessions of Congress.[5]

The Vice President is indirectly elected together with the President to a four-year term of office by the people of the United States through the Electoral College.[5] Section 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment, ratified in 1967, created a mechanism for intra-term vice presidential succession, establishing that vice presidential vacancies will be filled by the president and confirmed by both houses of Congress. Previously, whenever a vice president had succeeded to the presidency or had died or resigned from office, the vice presidency remained vacant until the next presidential and vice presidential terms began.[4]

The Vice President is also a statutory member of the National Security Council, and the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution.[5] The Office of the Vice President assists and organises the vice president's official functions. The role of the vice presidency has changed dramatically since the office was created during the 1787 constitutional Convention. Especially over the past 100 years, the vice presidency has evolved into a position of domestic and foreign policy political power, and is now widely seen as an integral part of a president's administration. As the Vice President's role within the executive branch has expanded, his role within the legislative branch has contracted; for example, he presides over the Senate only infrequently.[6]

The Constitution does not expressly assign the vice presidency to any one branch, causing a dispute among scholars about which branch of government the office belongs to: 1) the executive branch; 2) the legislative branch; 3) both; or 4) neither.[6][7] The modern view of the vice president as an officer of the executive branch (isolated almost totally from the legislative branch) is due in large part to the assignment of executive authority to the vice president by either the president or Congress.[6][8]

Mike Pence of Indiana is the 48th and current Vice President of the United States. He assumed office on January 20, 2017.[9]

Vice President of the United States
Seal of the Vice President of the United States
Flag of the Vice President of the United States
Mike Pence official Vice Presidential portrait (cropped)
Incumbent
Mike Pence

since January 20, 2017
United States Senate
Executive branch of the U.S. Government
Office of the Vice President
StyleMr. Vice President
(informal)
The Honorable
(formal)
Mr. President
(within the Senate)
His Excellency
(diplomatic)
Status2nd highest in executive branch
President of the Senate
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
National Space Council
ResidenceNumber One Observatory Circle
SeatWashington, D.C.
NominatorPresident of the United States, Political parties
AppointerElectoral College
Term lengthFour years, no term limit
Constituting instrumentUnited States Constitution
FormationMarch 4, 1789[1][2]
First holderJohn Adams[3]
SuccessionFirst[4]
Salary$230,700 annually
Websitewww.whitehouse.gov

Origin

No mention of an office of vice president was made at the 1787 Constitutional Convention until near the end, when an 11-member committee on "Leftover Business" proposed a method of electing the chief executive (president).[10] Delegates had previously considered the selection of the Senate's presiding officer, deciding that, "The Senate shall choose its own President," and had agreed that this official would be designated the executive's immediate successor. They had also considered the mode of election of the executive but had not reached consensus. This all changed on September 4, when the committee recommended that the nation's chief executive be elected by an Electoral College, with each state having a number of presidential electors equal to the sum of that state's allocation of representatives and senators.[6][11]

The proposed presidential election process called for each state to choose members of the electoral college, who would use their discretion to select the candidates they individually viewed as best qualified.[12] Recognizing that loyalty to one's individual state outweighed loyalty to the new federation, the Constitution's framers assumed that individual electors would be inclined to choose a candidate from their own state (a so-called "favorite son" candidate) over one from another. So they created the office of vice president and required that electors vote for two candidates, requiring that at least one of their votes must be for a candidate from outside the elector's state, believing that this second vote could be cast for a candidate of national character.[11][13] Additionally, to guard against the possibility that some electors might strategically throw away their second vote in order to bolster their favorite son's chance of winning, it was specified that the first runner-up presidential candidate would become vice president. Creating this new office imposed a political cost on strategically discarded electoral votes, incentivizing electors to make their choices for president without resort to electoral gamesmanship and to cast their second ballot accordingly.[11]

The resultant method of electing the president and vice president, spelled out in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, allocated to each state a number of electors equal to the combined total of its Senate and House of Representatives membership. Each elector was allowed to vote for two people for president (rather than for both president and vice president), but could not differentiate between their first and second choice for the presidency. The person receiving the greatest number of votes (provided that it was an absolute majority of the whole number of electors) would be president, while the individual who received the next largest number of votes became vice president. If there were a tie for first or for second place, or if no one won a majority of votes, the president and vice president would be selected by means of contingent elections protocols stated in the clause.[14][15]

The emergence of political parties and nationally coordinated election campaigns during the 1790s (which the Constitution's framers had not contemplated) soon frustrated this original plan. In the election of 1796, Federalist John Adams won the presidency, but his bitter rival, Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson came second and became vice president. Thus, the president and vice president were from opposing parties; and Jefferson used the vice presidency to frustrate the president's policies. Then, four years later, in the election of 1800, Jefferson, and fellow Democratic-Republican Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes. In the contingent election that followed, Jefferson finally won on the 36th ballot, and Burr became vice president. Afterward, the system was overhauled through the Twelfth Amendment in time to be used in the 1804 election.[16]

Roles of the vice president

Although delegates approved establishing the office, with both its executive and senatorial functions, not many understood the office, and so they gave the vice president few duties and little power.[17] Only a few states had an analogous position. Among those that did, New York's constitution provided that, "The lieutenant-governor shall, by virtue of his office, be president of the Senate, and, upon an equal division, have a casting voice in their decisions, but not vote on any other occasion."[18] As a result, the vice presidency originally had authority in only a few areas. The present-day power of the office flows primarily from delegations from the president and Congress, as well as through constitutional amendments.[7]

Preside over the United States Senate

Article I, Section 3, Clause 4 confers upon the vice president the title President of the Senate and authorizes him to preside over Senate meetings. In this capacity, the vice president is charged with maintaining order and decorum, recognizing members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices, and precedent. The first two vice presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom gained the office by virtue of being runners-up in presidential contests, presided regularly over Senate proceedings, and did much to shape the role of Senate president.[17][19] Several 19th century vice presidents—such as George Dallas, Levi Morton, and Garret Hobart—followed their example and led effectively, while others were rarely present.[17]

With this position comes the authority to cast a tie-breaking vote. In practice, the number of times vice presidents have exercised this right has varied greatly. John C. Calhoun holds the record at 31 votes, followed closely by John Adams with 29.[17] During his first year in office (through January 24, 2018), Mike Pence cast eight tie breaking votes; his predecessor, Joe Biden, did not cast any during his eight years in office.[20]

As the framers of the Constitution anticipated that the vice president would not always be available to fulfil this responsibility, the Constitution provides that the Senate may elect a President pro tempore (or "president for a time") in order to maintain the proper ordering of the legislative process. In practice, since the early 20th century, the President of the Senate rarely presides, nor does the President pro tempore. He regularly delegates the task to other Senate members.[21] Rule XIX, which governs debate, does not authorize the vice president to participate in debate, and grants only to members of the Senate (and, upon appropriate notice, former presidents of the United States) the privilege of addressing the Senate, without granting a similar privilege to the sitting vice president. Thus, Time magazine wrote in 1925, during the tenure of Vice President Charles G. Dawes, "once in four years the Vice President can make a little speech, and then he is done. For four years he then has to sit in the seat of the silent, attending to speeches ponderous or otherwise, of deliberation or humor."[22]

Preside over impeachment trials

As President of the Senate he may also preside over most of the impeachment trials of federal officers. However, whenever the President of the United States is on trial, the Constitution requires that the Chief Justice of the United States must preside. This stipulation was designed to avoid the possible conflict of interest in having the vice president preside over the trial for the removal of the one official standing between him and the presidency.[23] Curiously, the framers made no mention of who would preside in the instance where the vice president is the officer impeached; thus leaving a loophole whereby a vice president, as President of the Senate, could preside at their own impeachment trial.[7]

Supervise electoral vote count

The Twelfth Amendment, like the superseded Article II clause, provides that the vice president, in his capacity as President of the Senate, also presides over counting and presentation of the votes of the Electoral College.[14] This process occurs during a joint session of Congress held, as prescribed by federal statute, on January 6 of the year following the presidential election. It will next take place following the 2020 presidential election, on January 6, 2021 (unless Congress sets a different date by law).[15] In this capacity, four vice presidents have been able to announce their own election to the presidency: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, and George H. W. Bush.[17] In January 1961, it fell to Richard Nixon to preside over this process, and to announce the election of his 1960 opponent, John F. Kennedy.[24] John C. Breckinridge, in 1861,[25] and Al Gore, in 2001,[26] have also had to announce their opponent's election. In 1969, Vice President Hubert Humphrey would have done so as well, following his 1968 loss to Richard Nixon; however, on the date of the Congressional joint session, Humphrey was in Norway attending the funeral of Trygve Lie, the first elected Secretary-General of the United Nations. The president pro tempore presided in his absence.[24]

On Feb. 8, 1933, Vice President Charles Curtis announced the election of his successor, House Speaker John Nance Garner, while Garner was seated next to him on the House dais.

Succession to the presidency

Tyler receives news
1888 illustration of John Tyler receiving the news of President Harrison's death from Chief Clerk of the State Department Fletcher Webster

Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 stipulates that the vice president takes over the "powers and duties" of the presidency in the event of a president's removal, death, resignation, or inability.[27] Even so, it does not clearly state whether the vice president became President of the United States or simply acted as president in a case of succession. Debate records from the 1787 Constitutional Convention, along with various participants' later writings on the subject, show that the framers of the Constitution intended that the vice president would temporarily exercise the powers and duties of the office in the event of a president's death, disability or removal, but not actually become President of the United States in their own right.[28][29]

This understanding was first tested in 1841, following the death of President William Henry Harrison, only 31 days into his term. Harrison's vice president, John Tyler, asserted that he had succeeded to the office of president, not just to its powers and duties. He took the presidential oath of office, and declined to acknowledge documents referring to him as "Acting President."[30] Although some in Congress denounced Tyler's claim as a violation of the Constitution,[27] he adhered to his position. Tyler's view ultimately prevailed when the Senate and House voted to acknowledge him as president,[31] setting a momentous precedent for an orderly transfer of presidential power following a president's death,[30] one made explicit by Section 1 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967.[32] In total, nine vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency intra-term. In addition to Tyler, they are Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gerald Ford.[28]

Presidential disabilities

Even after the precedent regarding presidential succession following a president's death was set, there remained ambiguity in the Article II succession clause regarding a disabled president. What constituted an "inability"? Who determined the existence of an inability? Did a vice president become president for the rest of the presidential term in the case of an inability; or was the vice president merely "acting as President"? During the 19th and first half of the 20th century several presidents experienced periods of severe illness, physical disability or injury, some lasting for weeks or months. During these times, even though the nation needed effective presidential leadership, no vice president wanted to seem like a usurper, and so power was never transferred. After President Dwight D. Eisenhower openly addressed his health issues and made it a point to enter into an agreement with Vice President Richard Nixon that provided for Nixon to act on his behalf in the event that Eisenhower became unable to provide effective presidential leadership (Nixon did informally assume some of the president's duties for several weeks on each of three occasions when Eisenhower was ill), discussions began in Congress about clearing-up the Constitution's ambiguity on the subject.[27][33]

Sections 3 and 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment provide for situations where the president is temporarily unable to lead, such as if the president has a surgical procedure, becomes seriously ill or injured, or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers or duties of the presidency. Section 3 deals with self-declared incapacity, and Section 4 addresses incapacity declared by the joint action of the vice president and of a majority of the Cabinet.[33] While Section 4 has never been invoked, Section 3 has been invoked on three occasions by two presidents. President Ronald Reagan did so once, on July 13, 1985, before undergoing surgery – Vice President George H. W. Bush was acting president for approximately eight hours. President George W. Bush did so twice, on June 29, 2002, and July 21, 2007, prior to undergoing medical procedures, which were done under sedation – Vice President Dick Cheney was acting president for approximately two hours on each occasion.[34]

Informal roles

The extent of any informal roles and functions of the vice president depend on the specific relationship between the president and the vice president, but often include tasks such as drafter and spokesperson for the administration's policies, adviser to the president, and being a symbol of American concern or support. The influence of the vice president in this role depends almost entirely on the characteristics of the particular administration. Dick Cheney, for instance, was widely regarded as one of President George W. Bush's closest confidants. Al Gore was an important adviser to President Bill Clinton on matters of foreign policy and the environment.

Under the American system of government the president is both head of state and head of government,[35] and the ceremonial duties of the former position are often delegated to the vice president. The vice president will on occasion represent the president and the U.S. government at state funerals abroad, or at various events in the United States. This often is the most visible role of the vice president. The vice president may also meet with other heads of state at times when the administration wishes to demonstrate concern or support but cannot send the president personally.

Selection process

Eligibility

Johnadamsvp.flipped
John Adams, the first Vice President of the United States

To be Constitutionally eligible to serve as the nation's vice president, a person must, according to the Twelfth Amendment, meet the eligibility requirements to become president (which are stated in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5). Thus, to serve as vice president, an individual must:

A person who meets the above qualifications is still disqualified from holding the office of vice president under the following conditions:

  • Under Article I, Section 3, Clause 7, upon conviction in impeachment cases, the Senate has the option of disqualifying convicted individuals from holding federal office, including that of vice president;
  • Under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, no person who has sworn an oath to support the Constitution, who has later has gone to war against the United States, or given aid and comfort to the nation's enemies can serve in a state or federal office – including as vice president. This disqualification, originally aimed at former supporters of the Confederacy, may be removed by a two-thirds vote of each house of the Congress.[37]

Nominating process

Though the vice president does not need to have any political experience, most major-party vice presidential nominees are current or former United States senators or representatives, with the occasional nominee being a current or former governor, a high-ranking military officer, or a holder of a major post within the Executive Department. The vice presidential candidates of the major national political parties are formally selected by each party's quadrennial nominating convention, following the selection of the party's presidential candidate. The official process is identical to the one by which the presidential candidates are chosen, with delegates placing the names of candidates into nomination, followed by a ballot in which candidates must receive a majority to secure the party's nomination.

In practice, the presidential nominee has considerable influence on the decision, and in the 20th century it became customary for that person to select a preferred running mate, who is then nominated and accepted by the convention. In recent years, with the presidential nomination usually being a foregone conclusion as the result of the primary process, the selection of a vice presidential candidate is often announced prior to the actual balloting for the presidential candidate, and sometimes before the beginning of the convention itself. The first presidential aspirant to announce his selection for vice president before the beginning of the convention was Ronald Reagan who, prior to the 1976 Republican National Convention announced that Richard Schweiker would be his running mate. Reagan's supporters then sought to amend the convention rules so that Gerald R. Ford would be required to name his vice presidential running mate in advance as well. The proposal was defeated, and Reagan did not receive the nomination in 1976. Often, the presidential nominee will name a vice presidential candidate who will bring geographic or ideological balance to the ticket or appeal to a particular constituency.

The vice presidential candidate might also be chosen on the basis of traits the presidential candidate is perceived to lack, or on the basis of name recognition. To foster party unity, popular runners-up in the presidential nomination process are commonly considered. While this selection process may enhance the chances of success for a national ticket, in the past it often insured that the vice presidential nominee represented regions, constituencies, or ideologies at odds with those of the presidential candidate. As a result, vice presidents were often excluded from the policy-making process of the new administration. Many times their relationships with the president and his staff were aloof, non-existent, or even adversarial.

The ultimate goal of vice presidential candidate selection is to help and not hurt the party's chances of getting elected; nonetheless, several vice presidential selections have been controversial. In 1984, Democratic nominee Walter Mondale's groundbreaking choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate (the first woman in U.S. history nominated for vice president by a major political party), became a drag on the ticket due to repeated questions about her husband's finances. A selection whose positive traits make the presidential candidate look less favorable in comparison or which can cause the presidential candidate's judgment to be questioned often backfire, such as in 1988 when Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis chose experienced Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen; Bentsen was considered a more seasoned statesman in federal politics and somewhat overshadowed Dukakis. Questions about Dan Quayle's experience were raised in the 1988 presidential campaign of George H. W. Bush, but the Bush-Quayle ticket still won handily. James Stockdale, the choice of third-party candidate Ross Perot in 1992, was seen as unqualified by many and Stockdale had little preparation for the vice presidential debate, but the Perot-Stockdale ticket still won about 19% of the vote. In 2008, Republican John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate over his primary rivals and/or campaign surrogates such as Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge. This surprise move would, it was hoped, draw women voters disappointed by Hillary Clinton's defeat in the Democratic presidential primaries into the McCain camp. Palin's selection soon came to be seen as a negative for McCain, due to her several controversies during her gubernatorial tenure which were highlighted by the press, and her feuding with McCain campaign chairman Steve Schmidt. This perception continued to grow throughout the campaign, especially after her interviews with Katie Couric led to concerns about her fitness for the presidency.[38]

Historically, vice presidential candidates were chosen to provide geographic and ideological balance to a presidential ticket, widening a presidential candidate's appeal to voters from outside his regional base or wing of the party. Candidates from electoral-vote rich states were usually preferred. However, in 1992, moderate Democrat Bill Clinton (of Arkansas) chose moderate Democrat Al Gore (of Tennessee) as his running mate. Despite the two candidates' near-identical ideological and regional backgrounds, Gore's extensive experience in national affairs enhanced the appeal of a ticket headed by Clinton, whose political career had been spent entirely at the local and state levels of government. In 2000, George W. Bush chose Dick Cheney of Wyoming, a reliably Republican state with only three electoral votes, and in 2008, Barack Obama mirrored Bush's strategy when he chose Joe Biden of Delaware, a reliably Democratic state, likewise one with only three electoral votes. Both Cheney and Biden were chosen for their experience in national politics (experience lacked by both Bush and Obama) rather than the ideological balance or electoral vote advantage they would provide.

Prior to the 2000 election, both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney lived in and voted in Texas. While nothing in the Constitution prohibits a presidential candidate and his or her running mate being from the same state, the "inhabitant clause" of the Twelfth Amendment does mandate that every presidential elector must cast a ballot for at least one candidate who is not from their own state. To avoid creating a potential problem for Texas' electors, Cheney changed his residency back to Wyoming prior to the campaign.[36]

The first presidential candidate to choose his vice presidential candidate was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.[39] The last not to name a vice presidential choice, leaving the matter up to the convention, was Democrat Adlai Stevenson in 1956. The convention chose Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver over Massachusetts Senator (and later president) John F. Kennedy. At the tumultuous 1972 Democratic convention, presidential nominee George McGovern selected Senator Thomas Eagleton as his running mate, but numerous other candidates were either nominated from the floor or received votes during the balloting. Eagleton nevertheless received a majority of the votes and the nomination, though he later resigned from the ticket, resulting in Sargent Shriver becoming McGovern's final running mate; both lost to the Nixon-Agnew ticket by a wide margin, carrying only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

In cases where the presidential nomination is still in doubt as the convention approaches, the campaigns for the two positions may become intertwined. In 1976, Ronald Reagan, who was trailing President Gerald R. Ford in the presidential delegate count, announced prior to the Republican National Convention that, if nominated, he would select Senator Richard Schweiker as his running mate. This move backfired to a degree, as Schweiker's relatively liberal voting record alienated many of the more conservative delegates who were considering a challenge to party delegate selection rules to improve Reagan's chances. In the end, Ford narrowly won the presidential nomination and Reagan's selection of Schweiker became moot.

In the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries which pitted Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama, Clinton suggested a Clinton-Obama ticket with Obama in the vice president slot as it would be "unstoppable" against the presumptive Republican nominee. Obama rejected the offer outright saying "I want everybody to be absolutely clear. I'm not running for vice president. I'm running for president of the United States of America" while noting "With all due respect. I won twice as many states as Sen. Clinton. I've won more of the popular vote than Sen. Clinton. I have more delegates than Sen. Clinton. So, I don't know how somebody who's in second place is offering vice presidency to the person who's in first place". Obama stated that the nomination process would have to be a choice between himself and Clinton, saying "I don't want anybody here thinking that 'Somehow, maybe I can get both'", by nominating Clinton as president and assuming he would be her running mate".[40][41] Some suggested that it was a ploy by the Clinton campaign to denigrate Obama as less qualified for the presidency.[42] Later, when Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee, former president Jimmy Carter cautioned against Clinton being picked for the vice president slot on the ticket, saying "I think it would be the worst mistake that could be made. That would just accumulate the negative aspects of both candidates", citing opinion polls showing 50% of US voters with a negative view of Hillary Clinton.[43]

Election

Electoral map 2012-2020
Map of the United States showing the number of electoral votes allocated following the 2010 census to each state and the District of Columbia for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections; it also notes that Maine and Nebraska distribute electors by way of the Congressional District Method. 270 electoral votes are required for a majority out of 538 votes possible.

The vice president is elected indirectly by the voters of each state and the District of Columbia through the Electoral College, a body of electors formed every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president to concurrent four-year terms. Each state is entitled to a number of electors equal to the size of its total delegation in both houses of Congress. Additionally, the Twenty-third Amendment provides that the District of Columbia is entitled to the number it would have if it were a state, but in no case more than that of the least populous state.[44] Currently, all states and D.C. select their electors based on a popular election held on Election Day.[15] In all but two states, the party whose presidential-vice presidential ticket receives a plurality of popular votes in the state has its entire slate of elector nominees chosen as the state's electors.[45] Maine and Nebraska deviate from this winner-take-all practice, awarding two electors to the statewide winner and one to the winner in each congressional district.[46][47]

On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, about six weeks after the election, the electors convene in their respective states (and in Washington D.C.) to vote for president and, on a separate ballot, for vice president. The certified results are opened and counted during a joint session of Congress, held in the first week of January. A candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes for vice president (currently 270 of 538) is declared the winner. Otherwise, the Senate must meet to elect a vice president using a contingent election procedure in which senators, casting votes individually, choose between the two candidates who received the most electoral votes for vice president. For a candidate to win, he or she must receive votes from an absolute majority of senators (currently 51 of 100).[15][48]

There has been only one vice presidential contingent election since the Twelfth Amendment was ratified. It occurred on February 8, 1837, after no candidate received a majority of the electoral votes cast for vice president in the 1836 election. By a 33–17 vote, Richard M. Johnson (Martin Van Buren's running mate) was elected the nation's ninth vice president over Francis Granger.[49]

Tenure

Inauguration

Johnson, Nixon, Agnew, Humphrey cropped
Four vice presidents: L-R, outgoing President Lyndon B. Johnson (the 37th Vice President), incoming President Richard Nixon (36th), (Everett Dirksen administering oath), incoming Vice President Spiro Agnew (39th), and outgoing Vice President Hubert Humphrey (38th), January 20, 1969

Pursuant to the Twentieth Amendment, the vice president's term of office begins at noon on January 20, as does the president's.[50] The first presidential and vice presidential terms to begin on this date, known as Inauguration Day, were the second terms of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vice President John Nance Garner in 1937.[51] Previously, Inauguration Day was on March 4. As a result of the date change, the first term (1933–37) of both men had been shortened by 43 days.[52]

Also in 1937, the vice president's swearing-in ceremony was held on the Inaugural platform on the Capitol's east front immediately before the president's swearing in. Up until then, most vice presidents took the oath of office in the Senate chamber, prior to the president's swearing-in ceremony.[53] Although the Constitution contains the specific wording of the presidential oath, it only contains a general requirement, in Article VI, that the vice president and other government officers shall take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. The current form, which has been used since 1884 reads:

I, (first name last name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.[54]

Term of office

The term of office for both the vice president and the president is four years. While the Twenty-Second Amendment generally restricts the president to two terms,[55] there is no such limitation on the office of vice president, meaning an eligible person could hold the office as long as voters continued to vote for electors who in turn would reelect the person to the office; one could even serve under different presidents. This has happened twice: George Clinton (1805–1812) served under both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; and John C. Calhoun (1825–1832) served under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.[17] Additionally, neither the Constitution's eligibility provisions nor the Twenty-second Amendment's presidential term limit explicitly disqualify a twice-elected president from serving as vice president. As of the 2016 election cycle however, no former president has tested the amendment's legal restrictions or meaning by running for the vice presidency.[56][57]

Impeachment

Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution allows for the removal of federal officials, including the president, from office for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Article I, Section 2, Clause 5 authorizes the House of Representatives to serve as a "grand jury" with the power to impeach said officials by a majority vote.[58] Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 authorizes the Senate to serve as a court with the power to remove impeached officials from office, by a two-thirds vote to convict.[59] No vice president has ever been impeached.

Salary

The vice president's salary is $230,700.[60] The salary was set by the 1989 Government Salary Reform Act, which also provides an automatic cost of living adjustment for federal employees. The vice president does not automatically receive a pension based on that office, but instead receives the same pension as other members of Congress based on his position as President of the Senate.[61] The vice president must serve a minimum of two years to qualify for a pension.[62]

Residence

The home of the vice president was only designated in 1974, when Congress established Number One Observatory Circle as the official temporary residence of the Vice President of the United States. In 1966 Congress, concerned about safety and security and mindful of the increasing responsibilities of the office, allotted monies ($75,000) to fund construction of a residence for the vice president, but implementation stalled and after eight years the decision was revised, and One Observatory Circle was then designated for the vice president.[63] Up until the change, vice presidents lived in homes, apartments, or hotels, and were compensated more like cabinet members and members of Congress, receiving only a housing allowance.

The three-story Queen Anne style mansion was built in 1893 on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., to serve as residence for the superintendent of the Observatory. In 1923, the residence was reassigned to be the home of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), which it was until it was turned over to the office of the vice president fifty years later.

Office as stepping stone to the presidency

In recent decades, the vice presidency has frequently been used as a platform to launch bids for the presidency. The transition of the office to its modern stature occurred primarily as a result of Franklin Roosevelt's 1940 nomination, when he captured the ability to nominate his running mate instead of leaving the nomination to the convention. Prior to that, party bosses often used the vice presidential nomination as a consolation prize for the party's minority faction. A further factor potentially contributing to the rise in prestige of the office was the adoption of presidential preference primaries in the early 20th century. By adopting primary voting, the field of candidates for vice president was expanded by both the increased quantity and quality of presidential candidates successful in some primaries, yet who ultimately failed to capture the presidential nomination at the convention.

Of the thirteen presidential elections from 1956 to 2004, nine featured the incumbent president; the other four (1960, 1968, 1988, 2000) all featured the incumbent vice president. Former vice presidents also ran in 1984 (Walter Mondale) and in 1968 (Richard Nixon, against the incumbent vice president, Hubert Humphrey). The presidential election of 2008 was the first presidential election since 1928 that saw neither an incumbent president nor an incumbent or former vice president take part in any primary or general election for the presidency on a major party ticket. Nixon is the only vice president to have been elected president while not an incumbent, as well as the only person elected twice to both the presidency and vice presidency.

Vacancies

Mr. and Mrs. Ford and Nixon 13 Oct 1973
(Left to right) President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon with Gerald Ford and Betty Ford after President Nixon nominated Ford to be Vice President, October 13, 1973.

Prior to ratification of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967, no constitutional provision existed for filling an intra-term vacancy in the vice presidency. As a result, when one occurred, the office was left vacant until filled through the next ensuing election and inauguration. Between 1812 and 1967, the vice presidency was vacant on sixteen occasions—as a result of seven deaths, one resignation, and eight cases in which the vice president succeeded to the presidency.[64]

Section 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment established a procedure for filling such a vacancy:

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.[4]

This procedure has been implemented twice since the amendment came into force. The first instance occurred in 1973 following the October 10 resignation of Spiro Agnew, when Gerald Ford was nominated by President Richard Nixon and confirmed by Congress. The second occurred 10 months later following Ford's August 9, 1974 accession to the presidency upon Nixon's resignation, when Nelson Rockefeller was nominated by President Ford and confirmed by Congress.[27][64] Had it not been for this new constitutional mechanism, the vice presidency would have remained vacant after Agnew's resignation and Speaker of the House Carl Albert would have become Acting President when Nixon resigned, under the terms of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.[65]

Vice-presidential vacancies[17][28]
Period of vacancy Cause of vacancy Length How vacancy filled
01 • April 20, 1812 – March 4, 1813 Death of George Clinton 318 days Election of 1812
02 • November 23, 1814 – March 4, 1817 Death of Elbridge Gerry 832 days Election of 1816
03 • December 28, 1832 – March 4, 1833 Resignation of John C. Calhoun 66 days Election of 1832
04 • April 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845 Accession of John Tyler as president 1,430 days Election of 1844
05 • July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853 Accession of Millard Fillmore as president 969 days Election of 1852
06 • April 18, 1853 – March 4, 1857 Death of William R. King 1,416 days Election of 1856
07 • April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869 Accession of Andrew Johnson as president 1,419 days Election of 1868
08 • November 22, 1875 – March 4, 1877 Death of Henry Wilson 468 days Election of 1876
09 • September 19, 1881 – March 4, 1885 Accession of Chester A. Arthur as president 1,262 days Election of 1884
10 • November 25, 1885 – March 4, 1889 Death of Thomas A. Hendricks 1,195 days Election of 1888
11 • November 21, 1899 – March 4, 1901 Death of Garret Hobart 468 days Election of 1900
12 • September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1905 Accession of Theodore Roosevelt as president 1,267 days Election of 1904
13 • October 30, 1912 – March 4, 1913 Death of James S. Sherman 125 days Election of 1912
14 • August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1925 Accession of Calvin Coolidge as president 580 days Election of 1924
15 • April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1949 Accession of Harry S. Truman as president 1,379 days Election of 1948
16 • November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1965 Accession of Lyndon B. Johnson as president 425 days Election of 1964
17 • October 10, 1973 – December 6, 1973 Resignation of Spiro Agnew 57 days Confirmation of successor
18 • August 9, 1974 – December 19, 1974 Accession of Gerald Ford as president 132 days Confirmation of successor

Growth of the office

Harry S. Truman
Though prominent as a Missouri Senator, Harry Truman had been vice president only three months when he became president; he was never informed of Franklin Roosevelt's war or postwar policies while vice president.

For much of its existence, the office of vice president was seen as little more than a minor position. John Adams, the first vice president, was the first of many frustrated by the "complete insignificance" of the office. To his wife Abigail Adams wrote, "My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man ... or his imagination contrived or his imagination conceived; and as I can do neither good nor evil, I must be borne away by others and met the common fate."[66] John Nance Garner, who served as vice president from 1933 to 1941 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, claimed that the vice presidency "isn't worth a pitcher of warm piss."[67] Harry Truman, who also served as vice president under Roosevelt, said that the office was as "useful as a cow's fifth teat."[68]

Thomas R. Marshall, the 28th vice president, lamented: "Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected Vice President of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again."[69] His successor, Calvin Coolidge, was so obscure that Major League Baseball sent him free passes that misspelled his name, and a fire marshal failed to recognize him when Coolidge's Washington residence was evacuated.[70]

When the Whig Party asked Daniel Webster to run for the vice presidency on Zachary Taylor's ticket, he replied "I do not propose to be buried until I am really dead and in my coffin."[71] This was the second time Webster declined the office, which William Henry Harrison had first offered to him. Ironically, both of the presidents making the offer to Webster died in office, meaning the three-time presidential candidate could have become president if he had accepted either. Since presidents rarely died in office, however, the better preparation for the presidency was considered to be the office of Secretary of State, in which Webster served under Harrison, Tyler, and later, Taylor's successor, Fillmore.

In the first 100 years of the United States no fewer than seven proposals to amend the constitution to abolish the office of vice president were advanced in the United States Congress.[72] The first such amendment was presented by Samuel W. Dana in 1800 and was defeated by a vote of 27 to 85 in the United States House of Representatives.[72] A second proposed amendment, introduced by United States Senator James Hillhouse in 1808 was also defeated.[72] During the late-1860s and 1870s, five additional amendments were proposed.[72] One supporter of the proposals, James Mitchell Ashley, opined that the office of vice president was "superfluous" and dangerous.[72]

Garret Hobart, the first vice president under William McKinley, was one of the very few vice presidents at this time who played an important role in the administration. A close confidant and adviser of the president, Hobart was called "Assistant President."[73] However, until 1919, vice presidents were not included in meetings of the President's Cabinet. This precedent was broken by President Woodrow Wilson when he asked Thomas R. Marshall to preside over Cabinet meetings while Wilson was in France negotiating the Treaty of Versailles.[74] President Warren G. Harding also invited his vice president, Calvin Coolidge, to meetings. The next vice president, Charles G. Dawes, did not seek to attend Cabinet meetings under President Coolidge, declaring that "the precedent might prove injurious to the country."[75] Vice President Charles Curtis was also precluded from attending by President Herbert Hoover.

In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt raised the stature of the office by renewing the practice of inviting the vice president to cabinet meetings, which every president since has maintained. Roosevelt's first vice president, John Nance Garner, broke with him over the "court-packing" issue, early in his second term, and became Roosevelt's leading critic. At the start of that term, on January 20, 1937, Garner had been the first vice president to be sworn into office on the Capitol steps in the same ceremony with the president; a tradition that continues. Prior to that time, vice presidents were traditionally inaugurated at a separate ceremony in the Senate chamber. Gerald R. Ford and Nelson A. Rockefeller, who were both appointed to the office under the terms of the 25th amendment, were inaugurated in the House and Senate chambers, respectively.

Henry Wallace, Roosevelt's vice president during his third term (1941–1945), was given major responsibilities during World War II. However, after numerous policy disputes between Wallace and other Roosevelt Administration and Democratic Party officials, he was denied renomination to office at the 1944 Democratic National Convention. Harry Truman was selected instead. During his 82 day vice presidency, Truman was not informed about any war or post-war plans, including the Manhattan Project, leading Truman to remark, wryly, that the job of the vice president was to "go to weddings and funerals." As a result of this experience, Truman, after succeeding to the presidency upon Roosevelt's death, recognized the need to keep the vice president informed on national security issues. Congress made the vice president one of four statutory members of the National Security Council in 1949.

The stature of the vice presidency grew again while Richard Nixon was in office (1953–1961). He attracted the attention of the media and the Republican party, when Dwight Eisenhower authorized him to preside at Cabinet meetings in his absence. Nixon was also the first vice president to formally assume temporary control of the executive branch, which he did after Eisenhower suffered a heart attack on September 24, 1955, ileitis in June 1956, and a stroke in November 1957.

Until 1961, vice presidents had their offices on Capitol Hill, a formal office in the Capitol itself and a working office in the Russell Senate Office Building. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first vice president to be given an office in the White House complex, in the Old Executive Office Building. The former Navy Secretary's office in the OEOB has since been designated the "Ceremonial Office of the Vice President" and is today used for formal events and press interviews. President Jimmy Carter was the first president to give his vice president, Walter Mondale, an office in the West Wing of the White House, which all vice presidents have since retained. Because of their function as Presidents of the Senate, vice presidents still maintain offices and staff members on Capitol Hill.

Though Walter Mondale's tenure was the beginning of the modern day power of the vice presidency, the tenure of Dick Cheney saw a rapid growth in the office of the vice president. Vice President Cheney held a tremendous amount of power and frequently made policy decisions on his own, without the knowledge of the president.[76] During the 2008 presidential campaign, both vice presidential candidates, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, stated the office had expanded too much under Cheney's tenure and both claimed they would reduce the role to simply being an adviser to the president.[77] This rapid growth has led to calls for abolition of the vice presidency from various constitutional scholars and political commentators such as: Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Matthew Yglesias, and Bruce Ackerman.[78][79][80]

Post-vice presidency

There are currently (since November 30, 2018) five living former vice presidents.[81] In order of service they are:

Walter Mondale 2014
Walter Mondale (age 91)
(1977–1981)
Quayle2k11
Dan Quayle (age 72)
(1989–1993)
Web Summit 2017 - Centre Stage Day 3 DF2 7600 (38288479191) (cropped)
Al Gore (age 70)
(1993–2001)
Cheney
Dick Cheney (age 78)
(2001–2009)
LBJ Foundation DIG14140-191 (36777774094)
Joe Biden (age 76)
(2009–2017)

Since 1977, former presidents and vice presidents who are elected or re-elected to the Senate are entitled to the largely honorific position of Deputy President pro tempore. To date, the only former vice president to have held this title is Hubert Humphrey following his return to the Senate. Also, under the terms of an 1886 Senate resolution, all former vice presidents are entitled to a portrait bust in the Senate wing of the United States Capitol, commemorating their service as presidents of the Senate. Dick Cheney is the most recent former vice president to be so honored.[82]

Unlike former presidents, whose pension is fixed at the same rate, regardless of their time in office, former vice presidents receive their retirement income based on their role as President of the Senate.[83] Additionally, since 2008, each former vice president and his immediate family is entitled (under the "Former Vice President Protection Act of 2008") to Secret Service protection for up to six months after leaving office, and again temporarily at any time thereafter if warranted.[84]

Timeline of vice presidents

This is a graphical timeline listing of the Vice Presidents of the United States.

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Further reading

  • Goldstein, Joel K. (1982). The Modern American Vice Presidency. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02208-9.
  • Tally, Steve (1992). Bland Ambition: From Adams to Quayle—The Cranks, Criminals, Tax Cheats, and Golfers Who Made It to Vice President. Harcourt. ISBN 0-15-613140-4.

External links

U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
None
1st in line Succeeded by
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Nancy Pelosi
Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician and lawyer. He was the third vice president of the United States (1801–1805), serving during President Thomas Jefferson's first term.

Burr served as a Continental Army officer in the American Revolutionary War, after which he became a successful lawyer and politician. He was elected twice to the New York State Assembly (1784–1785, 1798–1799), was appointed New York State Attorney General (1789–1791), was chosen as a U.S. senator (1791–1797) from the State of New York, and reached the apex of his career as vice president. In the waning months of his tenure as president of the Senate, he oversaw the 1805 impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.

Burr shot his political rival Alexander Hamilton in a famous duel in 1804, the last full year of his single term as vice president. He was never tried for the illegal duel and all charges against him were eventually dropped, but Hamilton's death ended Burr's political career.

Burr left Washington, D.C., and traveled west seeking new opportunities, both economic and political. His activities eventually led to his arrest on charges of treason in 1807. The subsequent trial resulted in acquittal, but Burr's western schemes left him with large debts and few influential friends. In a final quest for grand opportunities, he left the United States for Europe. He remained overseas until 1812, when he returned to the United States to practice law in New York City, where he spent the rest of his life in relative obscurity.

Adlai Stevenson I

Adlai Ewing Stevenson (; October 23, 1835 – June 14, 1914) served as the 23rd vice president of the United States from 1893 to 1897. Previously, he served as a representative from Illinois in the late 1870s and early 1880s. After his subsequent appointment as assistant postmaster general of the United States during Grover Cleveland's first administration (1885–89), he fired many Republican postal workers and replaced them with Southern Democrats. This earned him the enmity of the Republican-controlled Congress, but made him a favorite as Grover Cleveland's running mate in 1892, and he duly became vice president of the United States.

In office, he supported the free-silver lobby against the gold-standard men like Cleveland, but was praised for ruling in a dignified, non-partisan manner.

In 1900, he ran for vice president with William Jennings Bryan. In doing so, he became the fourth vice president or former vice president to run for that post with two different presidential candidates (after George Clinton, John C. Calhoun and Thomas A. Hendricks). Stevenson was the grandfather of Adlai Stevenson II, a Governor of Illinois and the unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate in both 1952 and 1956.

Charles Curtis

Charles Curtis (January 25, 1860 – February 8, 1936) was an American attorney and politician, who served as the 31st vice president of the United States from 1929 to 1933.

After serving as a United States representative and being repeatedly re-elected as United States senator from Kansas, Curtis was chosen as Senate Majority Leader by his Republican colleagues. A member of the Kaw Nation born in the Kansas Territory, Curtis was the first person with significant Native American ancestry and the first person with acknowledged non-European ancestry to reach either of the highest offices in the Federal Executive Branch, and is still the highest-ranking enrolled Native American ever to serve in the federal government. He also was the last Executive Branch officer born in a territory rather than a state. His mother was Native American of mixed Kaw, Osage and French ancestry. His father was of British origins, being half-English, a quarter Scottish and half-Welsh.

As an attorney, Curtis entered political life at the age of 32. He won multiple terms from his district in Topeka, Kansas, beginning in 1892 as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected to the US Senate first by the Kansas Legislature in 1906, and then by popular vote in 1914, 1920 and 1926. Curtis served one six-year term from 1907 to 1913, and then most of three terms from 1915 to 1929 (after his election as vice president). His long popularity and connections in Kansas and national politics helped make Curtis a strong leader in the Senate; he marshaled support to be elected as Senate Minority Whip from 1915 to 1925 and then as Senate Majority Leader from 1925 to 1929. In these positions, he was instrumental in managing legislation and accomplishing Republican national goals.

Curtis ran for vice president with Herbert Hoover as President in 1928. They won a landslide victory. When they ran together again in 1932, because Hoover had failed to alleviate the Great Depression, the public elected Democrats Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner in a subsequent landslide.

Charles W. Fairbanks

Charles Warren Fairbanks (May 11, 1852 – June 4, 1918) was an American politician who served as the 26th vice president of the United States from 1905 to 1909 and a senator from Indiana from 1897 to 1905. He was also the Republican vice presidential nominee in the 1916 presidential election.

Born in Unionville Center, Ohio, Fairbanks moved to Indianapolis after graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University. He became an attorney and railroad financier, working under railroad magnate Jay Gould. Fairbanks delivered the keynote address at the 1896 Republican National Convention and won election to the Senate the following year. In the Senate, he became an advisor to President William McKinley and served on a commission that helped settle the Alaska boundary dispute.

The 1904 Republican National Convention selected Fairbanks as the running mate for President Theodore Roosevelt. As vice president, Fairbanks worked against Roosevelt's progressive policies. Fairbanks unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination at the 1908 Republican National Convention and backed William Howard Taft in 1912 against Roosevelt. Fairbanks sought the presidential nomination at the 1916 Republican National Convention, but was instead selected as the vice presidential nominee, serving on a ticket with Charles Evans Hughes. In the 1916 election, the Republican ticket lost to the Democratic ticket of President Woodrow Wilson and Vice President Thomas R. Marshall.

Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States

The Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States is the Chief of Staff position within the Office of the Vice President, part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Chief of Staff has been responsible for overseeing the actions of the Vice President's staff, managing the Vice President's schedule, and deciding who is allowed to meet with the Vice President.

Dan Quayle

James Danforth Quayle (born February 4, 1947) is an American politician and lawyer who served as the 44th vice president of the United States from 1989 to 1993. Quayle was also a U.S. representative from 1977 to 1981 and was a U.S. senator from 1981 to 1989 for the state of Indiana.

A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Quayle spent most of his childhood living in Paradise Valley, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. He married Marilyn Tucker in 1972 and obtained his J.D. degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1974. Quayle practiced law in Huntington, Indiana with his wife before his election to the United States House of Representatives in 1976. In 1980, Quayle won election to the U.S. Senate.

In 1988, Vice President and Republican presidential nominee George H. W. Bush chose Quayle as his running mate. The Bush/Quayle ticket won the 1988 election over the Democratic ticket of Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen, and Quayle became Vice President in January 1989. As Vice President, Quayle made official visits to 47 countries and was appointed chairman of the National Space Council. He secured re-nomination for Vice President in 1992, but Democrat Bill Clinton and his vice presidential running mate, Al Gore, defeated the Bush/Quayle ticket.

In 1994, Quayle published his memoir entitled Standing Firm. He declined to run for President in 1996 because he was suffering from phlebitis. Quayle sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, but later withdrew from the campaign and supported the eventual winner, George W. Bush.

Quayle joined Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm, in 1999. He currently serves as Chairman of Global Investments at Cerberus.

Daniel D. Tompkins

Daniel D. Tompkins (June 21, 1774 – June 11, 1825) was an American politician. He was the fourth governor of New York from 1807 to 1817, and the sixth vice president of the United States from 1817 to 1825.

Born in Scarsdale, New York, Tompkins practiced law in New York City after graduating from Columbia College. He was a delegate to the 1801 New York constitutional convention and served on the New York Supreme Court from 1804 to 1807. In 1807, he defeated incumbent Morgan Lewis to become the Governor of New York. He held that office from 1807 to 1817, serving for the duration of the War of 1812. During the war, he often spent his own money to equip and pay the militia when the legislature wasn't in session, or would not approve the necessary funds.

Tompkins was the Democratic-Republican Party's vice presidential nominee in the 1816 presidential election. The ticket of James Monroe and Tompkins easily prevailed over limited Federalist opposition. He served as vice president from 1817 to 1825, and was the only 19th century vice president to serve two full terms. In 1820, he sought another term as Governor of New York, but was defeated by DeWitt Clinton. After the War of 1812, Tompkins was in poor physical and financial health, the latter condition stemming largely from his spending for the military effort during the War of 1812. He fell into alcoholism and was unable to re-establish fiscal solvency despite winning partial reimbursement from the federal government in 1823. He died in June 1825, soon after leaving office.

George Clinton (vice president)

George Clinton (July 26, 1739 – April 20, 1812) was an American soldier and statesman, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A prominent Democratic-Republican, Clinton served as the fourth vice president of the United States from 1805 until his death in 1812. He also served as governor of New York from 1777 to 1795 and from 1801 to 1804. Along with John C. Calhoun, he is one of two vice presidents to hold office under two presidents.

Clinton served in the French and Indian War, rising to the rank of lieutenant in the colonial militia. He began a legal practice after the war and served as a district attorney for New York City. He became Governor of New York in 1777 and remained in that office until 1795. Clinton supported the cause of independence during the American Revolutionary War and served in the Continental Army despite his gubernatorial position. During and after the war, Clinton was a major opponent of Vermont's entrance into the union due to disputes over land claims.

Opposed to the ratification of the United States Constitution, Clinton became a prominent Anti-Federalist and advocated for the addition of the United States Bill of Rights. In the early 1790s, he emerged as a leader of the incipient Democratic-Republican Party, and Clinton served as the party's vice presidential candidate in the 1792 presidential election. Clinton received the third most electoral votes in the election, as President George Washington and Vice President John Adams both won re-election. Clinton did not seek re-election in 1795, but served as governor again from 1801 to 1804. He was the longest-serving governor in U.S. history until Terry Branstad surpassed his record in 2015.

Clinton was again tapped as the Democratic-Republican vice presidential nominee in the 1804 election, as President Thomas Jefferson dumped Aaron Burr from the ticket. Clinton sought his party's presidential nomination in the 1808 election, but the party's congressional nominating caucus instead nominated James Madison. Despite his opposition to Madison, Clinton was re-elected as vice president. Clinton died in 1812, leaving the office of vice president vacant for the first time in U.S history. Clinton's nephew, DeWitt Clinton, continued the Clinton New York political dynasty after his uncle's death.

George M. Dallas

George Mifflin Dallas (July 10, 1792 – December 31, 1864) was an American politician and diplomat who served as mayor of Philadelphia from 1828 to 1829 and as the 11th vice president of the United States from 1845 to 1849.

The son of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander J. Dallas, George Dallas attended elite preparatory schools before embarking on a legal career. He served as the private secretary to Albert Gallatin and worked for the Treasury Department and the Second Bank of the United States. He emerged as a leader of the "Family party" faction of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and Dallas developed a rivalry with James Buchanan, the leader of the "Amalgamator" faction. Between 1828 and 1835, he served as the mayor of Philadelphia, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General. He also represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate from 1831 to 1833 but declined to seek re-election. President Martin Van Buren appointed Dallas to the post of Minister to Russia, and Dallas held that position from 1837 to 1839.

Dallas supported Van Buren's bid for another term in the 1844 presidential election, but James K. Polk won the party's presidential nomination. The 1844 Democratic National Convention nominated Dallas as Polk's running mate, and Polk and Dallas defeated the Whig ticket in the general election. A supporter of expansion and popular sovereignty, Dallas called for the annexation of all of Mexico during the Mexican–American War. He sought to position himself for contention in the 1848 presidential election, but his vote to lower the tariff destroyed his base of support in his home state. Dallas served as the ambassador to Britain from 1856 to 1861 before retiring from public office.

Hannibal Hamlin

Hannibal Hamlin (August 27, 1809 – July 4, 1891) was an American attorney and politician from the state of Maine. In a public service career that spanned over 50 years, he is most notable for having served as the 15th vice president of the United States. The first Republican to hold the office, Hamlin served from 1861 to 1865. He is considered among the most influential politicians to have come from Maine.

A native of Paris, Maine (part of Massachusetts until 1820), Hamlin managed his father's farm before becoming a newspaper editor. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1833, and began to practice in Hampden, Maine. Originally a Democrat, Hamlin began his political career with election to the Maine House of Representatives in 1835 and an appointment to the military staff of the Governor of Maine. As an officer in the militia, he took part in the 1839 negotiations that helped end the Aroostook War. In the 1840s Hamlin was elected and served in the United States House of Representatives. In 1848 the state house elected him to the United States Senate, where he served until January 1857. He served temporarily as governor for six weeks in the beginning of 1857, after which he returned to the Senate. Hamlin was an active opponent of slavery; he supported the Wilmot Proviso and opposed the Compromise Measures of 1850. In 1854, he strongly opposed passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. Hamlin's increasingly anti-slavery views caused him to leave the Democratic Party for the newly formed Republican Party in 1856.

In 1860, Hamlin was the Republican nominee for Vice President; selected to run with Abraham Lincoln, who was from Illinois, Hamlin was chosen in part to bring geographic balance to the ticket and in part because as a former Democrat, he could work to convince other anti-slavery Democrats that their future lay with the Republican Party. The Lincoln and Hamlin ticket was successful, and Hamlin served as Vice President from 1861 to 1865, which included all but the last month of the American Civil War. The first Republican Vice President, Hamlin held the office in an era when the office was considered more a part of the legislative branch than the executive; he was not personally close to Lincoln and did not play a major role in his administration. Even so, Hamlin supported the administration's legislative program in his role as presiding officer of the Senate, and he looked for other ways to demonstrate his support for the Union, including a term of service in a Maine militia unit during the war.

For the 1864 election, Hamlin was replaced as Vice Presidential nominee by Andrew Johnson, a Southern Democrat chosen for his appeal to Southern Unionists. After leaving the vice presidency, Hamlin served as Collector of the Port of Boston, a lucrative post to which he was appointed by Johnson after the latter succeeded to the presidency following Lincoln's assassination. However, Hamlin later resigned as Collector because of his disagreement with Johnson over Reconstruction of the former Confederacy.

In 1869, Hamlin was elected again to the U.S. Senate, and he served two terms. After leaving the Senate in 1881, he served briefly as United States Ambassador to Spain before returning to Maine in late 1882. In retirement, Hamlin was a resident of Bangor, Maine, where he died in 1891. He was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor.

James S. Sherman

James Schoolcraft Sherman (October 24, 1855 – October 30, 1912) was an American politician who was a United States representative from New York from 1887 to 1891 and 1893 to 1909, and the 27th vice president of the United States from 1909 until his death. He was a member of the interrelated Baldwin, Hoar, and Sherman families, prominent lawyers and politicians of New England and New York.

Although not a high-powered administrator, he made a natural congressional committee chairman, and his genial personality eased the workings of the House, so that he was known as 'Sunny Jim'. He was the first Vice President to fly in a plane (1911), and also the first to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game.

Sherman is the most recent vice president to have died in office.

John Nance Garner

John Nance Garner III (November 22, 1868 – November 7, 1967), known among his contemporaries as "Cactus Jack", was an American Democratic politician and lawyer from Texas. He was the 32nd vice president of the United States, serving from 1933 to 1941. He was also the 39th speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1931 to 1933. Along with Schuyler Colfax, Garner is one of only two individuals to serve as Vice President of the United States and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

Garner began his political career as the county judge of Uvalde County, Texas. He served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1898 to 1902 and won election to represent Texas in the United States House of Representatives in 1902. He represented Texas's 15th congressional district from 1903 to 1933. Garner served as House Minority Leader from 1929 to 1931, and was elevated to Speaker of the House when Democrats won control of the House following the 1930 elections.

Garner sought the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1932 presidential election, but he agreed to serve as Franklin D. Roosevelt's running mate at the 1932 Democratic National Convention. Roosevelt and Garner won the 1932 election and were re-elected in 1936. A conservative Southerner, Garner opposed the sit-down strikes of the labor unions and the New Deal's deficit spending. He broke with Roosevelt in early 1937 over the issue of enlarging the Supreme Court, and helped defeat it on the grounds that it centralized too much power in the President's hands. Garner again sought the presidency in the 1940 presidential election, but Roosevelt won the party's presidential nomination at the 1940 Democratic National Convention. Garner was replaced as Vice President by Henry A. Wallace and retired from public office in 1941.

Levi P. Morton

Levi Parsons Morton (May 16, 1824 – May 16, 1920) was the 22nd vice president of the United States from 1889 to 1893. He also served as United States Ambassador to France, as a representative from New York, and as the 31st governor of New York.

The son of a Congregational minister, Morton was born and educated in Vermont, and trained for a business career by clerking in stores and working in mercantile establishments in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. After relocating to New York City, Morton became a successful merchant, cotton broker, and investment banker.

Active in politics as a Republican, Morton was an ally of Roscoe Conkling. He was twice elected to the United States House of Representatives, and he served one full term, and one partial one (March 4, 1879 – March 21, 1881). In 1880, Republican presidential nominee James A. Garfield offered Morton the vice presidential nomination in an effort to win over Conkling loyalists who were disappointed that their choice for president, Ulysses S. Grant, had lost to Garfield. Conkling advised Morton to decline, which he did. Garfield then offered the nomination to another Conkling ally, Chester A. Arthur, who accepted.

After Garfield and Arthur were elected, Garfield nominated Morton to be Minister Plenipotentiary to France, and Morton served in Paris until 1885. In 1888, Morton was nominated for vice president on the Republican ticket with presidential nominee Benjamin Harrison; they were elected, and Morton served as Vice President from 1889 to 1893. In 1894, Morton was the successful Republican nominee for Governor of New York, and he served one term, 1895 to 1896.

In retirement, Morton resided in New York City and Rhinebeck, New York. He died in 1920, and was buried at Rhinebeck Cemetery.

Mike Pence

Michael Richard Pence (born June 7, 1959) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 48th and current vice president of the United States. He previously was the 50th governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017 and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. He is the younger brother of U.S. Representative Greg Pence.

Born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, Pence graduated from Hanover College and earned a law degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law before entering private practice. After losing two bids for a U.S. congressional seat in 1988 and 1990, he became a conservative radio and television talk show host from 1994 to 1999. Pence was elected to the United States Congress in 2000 and represented Indiana's 2nd congressional district and Indiana's 6th congressional district in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. He served as the chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2009 to 2011. Pence described himself as a "principled conservative" and supporter of the Tea Party movement, stating that he was "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order."Upon becoming governor of Indiana in January 2013, Pence initiated the largest tax cut in Indiana's history and pushed for more funding for education initiatives. Pence signed bills intended to restrict abortions, including one that prohibited abortions if the reason for the procedure was the fetus's race, gender, or disability. After Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he encountered fierce resistance from moderate members of his party, the business community, and LGBT advocates. The backlash against the RFRA led Pence to amend the bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other criteria.

Pence was inaugurated as Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2017. He had withdrawn his gubernatorial reelection campaign in July to become the running mate of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who went on to win the presidential election on November 8, 2016.

Office of the Vice President of the United States

The Office of the Vice President includes personnel who directly support or advise the Vice President of the United States. The Office is headed by the Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, currently Nick Ayers. The Office also provides staffing and support to the Second Lady of the United States. It is primarily housed in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (containing the Vice President's ceremonial office), with offices for the Vice President also in the West Wing, the U.S. Capitol and in the Vice President's official residence.

President pro tempore of the United States Senate

The President pro tempore of the United States Senate (often shortened to president pro tem) is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. Article One, Section Three of the United States Constitution provides that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate (despite not being a Senator), and mandates that the Senate must choose a President pro tempore to act in the Vice President's absence. Unlike the Vice President, the President pro tempore is an elected member of the Senate, able to speak or vote on any issue. Selected by the Senate at large, the President pro tempore has enjoyed many privileges and some limited powers. During the Vice President's absence, the President pro tempore is empowered to preside over Senate sessions. In practice, neither the Vice President nor the President pro tempore usually presides; instead, the duty of presiding officer is rotated among junior U.S. Senators of the majority party to give them experience in parliamentary procedure.Since 1890, the most senior U.S. Senator in the majority party has generally been chosen to be President pro tempore and holds the office continuously until the election of another. This tradition has been observed without interruption since 1949. Since the enactment of the current Presidential Succession Act in 1947, the president pro tempore is third in the line of succession to the presidency, after the vice president and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and ahead of the Secretary of State.The current President pro tempore of the Senate is Iowa Republican Charles Grassley. Elected on January 3, 2019, he is the 91st person to serve in this office.

Second Lady of the United States

The Second Lady of the United States (SLOTUS) is the informal title held by the wife of the Vice President of the United States, concurrent with the vice president's term of office. This title is less commonly used than the title First Lady of the United States.

The term "Second Lady", coined in contrast to the First Lady (who is almost always the wife of the President), may have been first used by Jennie Tuttle Hobart (whose husband, Garret Hobart was Vice President from 1897 to 1899) to refer to herself.

The title later fell out of favor, but was revived in the 1980s. During the 1990s the title was again abandoned, in favor of "wife of the Vice President", but was later resurrected during the presidency of Barack Obama. Its use was continued by the administration of Donald Trump,, although Donald Trump himself said, during his presidency, that he had never heard the term.Fourteen Second Ladies have gone on to become First Lady of the United States during their husband's terms as President. The first to do this was Abigail Adams, who was married to John Adams, who was the first Vice President from 1789 to 1797 and then second President from 1797 to 1801. The last to do this was Barbara Bush, who was married to George H. W. Bush, who was the 43rd Vice President from 1981 to 1989 and then 41st President from 1989 to 1993.

The current Second Lady is Karen Pence, who is married to Mike Pence, who has been the 48th Vice President in Donald Trump's administration since January 20, 2017.

There are four living former second ladies: Marilyn Quayle, wife of Dan Quayle; Tipper Gore, now separated wife of Al Gore; Lynne Cheney, wife of Dick Cheney; and Jill Biden, wife of Joe Biden.

Walter Mondale

Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale (born January 5, 1928) is an American politician, diplomat and lawyer who served as the 42nd vice president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A United States senator from Minnesota (1964–1976), he was the Democratic Party's nominee in the United States presidential election of 1984, but lost to Ronald Reagan in an Electoral College landslide. Reagan won 49 states while Mondale carried his home state of Minnesota and District of Columbia. He became the oldest-living former U.S. vice president after the death of George H. W. Bush in 2018.

Mondale was born in Ceylon, Minnesota, and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1951 after attending Macalester College. He then served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War before earning a law degree in 1956. He married Joan Adams in 1955. Working as a lawyer in Minneapolis, Mondale was appointed to the position of attorney general in 1960 by Governor Orville Freeman and was elected to a full term as attorney general in 1962 with 60 percent of votes cast. He was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor Karl Rolvaag upon the resignation of Senator Hubert Humphrey following Humphrey's election as vice president in 1964. Mondale was subsequently elected to a full Senate term in 1966 and again in 1972, resigning that post in 1976 as he prepared to succeed to the vice presidency in 1977. While in the Senate, he supported consumer protection, fair housing, tax reform, and the desegregation of schools. Importantly, he served as a member of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities ("Church Committee").In 1976, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic presidential nominee, chose Mondale as his vice presidential running mate. The Carter/Mondale ticket defeated incumbent president Gerald Ford and his vice presidential running mate, Bob Dole. Carter and Mondale's time in office was marred by a worsening economy and, although both were renominated by the Democratic Party, they lost the 1980 election to Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. In 1984, Mondale won the Democratic presidential nomination and campaigned for a nuclear freeze, the Equal Rights Amendment, an increase in taxes, and a reduction of U.S. public debt.

After his defeat by Reagan, Mondale joined the Minnesota-based law firm of Dorsey & Whitney and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (1986–93). President Bill Clinton appointed Mondale United States Ambassador to Japan in 1993; he retired in 1996. In 2002, Mondale ran for his old Senate seat, agreeing to be the last-minute replacement for Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, who had been killed in a plane crash during the final two weeks of his re-election campaign. However, Mondale narrowly lost that race to Saint Paul mayor Norm Coleman. He then returned to working at Dorsey & Whitney and remained active in the Democratic Party. Mondale later took up a part-time teaching position at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

William R. King

William Rufus DeVane King (April 7, 1786 – April 18, 1853) was an American politician and diplomat. He was the 13th vice president of the United States for six weeks in 1853 before his death. Earlier he had been elected as a U.S. representative from North Carolina and a senator from Alabama. He also served as minister to France during the reign of King Louis Philippe I.

A Democrat, he was a Unionist and his contemporaries considered him to be a moderate on the issues of sectionalism, slavery and westward expansion, which contributed to the American Civil War. He helped draft the Compromise of 1850. He is the only United States executive official to take the oath of office on foreign soil; he was inaugurated in Havana, Cuba due to poor health. King died of tuberculosis after 45 days in office. With the exceptions of John Tyler and Andrew Johnson—both of whom succeeded to the presidency—he is the shortest-serving vice president.

King was the only U.S. vice president from the State of Alabama and held the highest political office of any Alabamian in American history. He was the third vice president to die in office.

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