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Vice Presidents

Updated on July 5, 2014

U.S. Vice Presidents: Facts and Trivia

This lens is dedicated to exploring interesting facts about all the Vice Presidents of the United States ...

U.S. Vice Presidents don't receive as much attention as their bosses (Presidents of the United States), but many of the country's vice presidents have been noble statesmen and significant contributors to American history.

Join us as we delve into the office of the vice president, how the role has changed over the years, and a sample of vice presidential facts and trivia!

The photo depicts John Adams, America's first vice president. As you probably know, he was also the 2nd president, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and instrumental in developing the U.S. Constitution ...

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

History of the U.S. Vice President Office

It Truly Started Out As #2 ...

When America's founding fathers convened to elect a president after drafting the Constitution, George Washington was an obvious choice. In short, he was widely respected and admired, having demonstrated impeccable leadership to help gain independence from England ...

But what of the office of vice president?

At the time, it was almost an afterthought. It was decided (but not drafted as a law until many years later) that the #2 electoral vote recipient would be named vice president. And that's how John Adams, a notable historical figure in his own right (and future president) became the first Vice President of the United States.

This procedure changed with the election of Thomas Jefferson as president in 1800. By then, it was decided the vice presidential choice would offer some political benefit in the election. Or, to be more precise, be a "payoff" or "favor" to a group or groups helping win the election ...

The photo is, of course, Thomas Jefferson, most known as a founding father and our 3rd President. He was also America's 2nd Vice President, serving in the John Adams administration for four years.

Jefferson and Adams had a unique bond over most of their lifetimes. They were both signers of the Declaration of Independence, and worked closely together on many large scope issues which helped shape the country's future.

For many years, Adams and Jefferson served abroad, as ambassadors to England and France, respectively. There they developed a deep mutual respect. During the four years when Adams was president, the relationship soured and the two men grew distant for many years.

In the waning years of their lives, they resumed a cordial relationship and avidly corresponded with one another, sharing political views.

Interestingly, both Adams and Jefferson died on the same day ... July 4th, 1826. It was 50 years to the day after ratification of the Declaration of Independence. Adams was 90 years of age, Jefferson 83. In fact, Adams' last words were "Jefferson still survives", even though Jefferson had passed away a few hours earlier in Virginia.

The National Historic Sites of both men are among the most visited of any former presidents (and in their case, former vice presidents as well!) ...

Now, vice presidents are chosen by their respective political party, typically on the basis of what they can add to the ticket in terms of experience or demographics.

From Woodrow Wilson's VP:

"Once there were two brothers. One went off to sea, the other became vice president. Nothing was heard from either of them again."

~ Thomas Marshall

Alben Barkley
Alben Barkley

List of U.S. Vice Presidents

From Adams to Biden ...

Here's a complete list of U.S. Vice Presidents, from John Adams to Joe Biden ...

Included are the years they served as VP, and the president they served ...

John Adams: 1789 - 1797 (George Washington)

Thomas Jefferson: 1797 - 1801 (John Adams)

Aaron Burr: 1801 - 1805 (Thomas Jefferson)

George Clinton: 1805 - 1812 (Thomas Jefferson and James Madison)

Elbridge Gerry: 1813 - 1814 (James Madison)

Daniel Tompkins: 1817 - 1825 (James Monroe)

John Calhoun: 1825 - 1832 (John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson)

Martin Van Buren: 1833 - 1837 (Andrew Jackson)

Richard Johnson: 1837 - 1841 (Martin Van Buren)

John Tyler: 1841 (William Henry Harrison)

George Dallas: 1845 - 1849 (James Polk)

Millard Fillmore: 1849 - 1850 (Zachary Taylor)

William Rufus King: 1853 (Franklin Pierce)

John Breckinridge: 1857 - 1861 (James Buchanan)

Hannibal Hamlin: 1861 - 1865 (Abraham Lincoln)

Andrew Johnson: 1865 (Abraham Lincoln)

Schuyler Colfax: 1869 - 1873 (Ulysses Grant)

Henry Wilson: 1873 - 1875 (Ulysses Grant)

William Wheeler: 1877 - 1881 (Rutherford Hayes)

Chester Arthur: 1881 (James Garfield)

Thomas Hendricks: 1885 (Grover Cleveland)

Levi Morton: 1889 - 1893 (Benjamin Harrison)

Adlai Stevenson: 1893 - 1897 (Grover Cleveland)

Garret Hobart: 1897 - 1899 (William McKinley)

Theodore Roosevelt: 1901 (William McKinley)

Charles Fairbanks: 1905 - 1909 (Theodore Roosevelt)

James Sherman: 1909 - 1913 (William Howard Taft)

Thomas Marshall: 1913 - 1921 (Woodrow Wilson)

Calvin Coolidge: 1921 - 1923 (Warren Harding)

Charles Dawes: 1925 - 1929 (Calvin Coolidge)

Charles Curtis: 1929 - 1933 (Herbert Hoover)

John Garner: 1933 - 1941 (Franklin Roosevelt)

Henry Wallace: 1941 - 1945 (Franklin Roosevelt)

Harry Truman: 1945 (Franklin Roosevelt)

Alben Barkley: 1949 - 1953 (Harry Truman)

Richard Nixon: 1953 - 1961 (Dwight Eisenhower)

Lyndon Johnson: 1961 - 1963 (John Kennedy)

Hubert Humphrey: 1965 - 1969 (Lyndon Johnson)

Spiro Agnew: 1969 - 1973 (Richard Nixon)

Gerald Ford: 1973 - 1974 (Richard Nixon)

Nelson Rockefeller: 1974 - 1977 (Gerald Ford)

Walter Mondale: 1977 - 1981 (Jimmy Carter)

George Bush: 1981 - 1989 (Ronald Reagan)

Dan Quayle: 1989 - 1993 (George Bush)

Al Gore: 1993 - 2001 (Bill Clinton)

Dick Cheney: 2001 - 2009 (George W. Bush)

Joe Biden: 2009 - Present (Barack Obama)

The photo shown is Vice President Alben Barkley, who served as VP under President Harry Truman from 1949 to 1953. When Barkley teamed up with Truman for the 1948 presidential election, he was a long time popular figure in the U.S. Senate.

His popularity continued as vice president and earned him the nickname "Veep", which was coined by his grandson. Barkley liked the nickname, it stuck, and is still associated with Barkley to this day ...

Barkley was also the first vice president to have a T.V. show! It was called "Meet The Veep" and aired for one season in the early 50's ...

The former vice president is buried in Paducah, Kentucky. Paducah is a thriving river town in extreme western Kentucky, across the Ohio River from southern Illinois ...

"U.S. Vice Presidents: Facts and Trivia"

Brand New E-Book Now Available!

We're very pleased to announce the release of our brand new e-book about the vice presidents!

It's called "U.S. Vice Presidents: Facts and Trivia" and it's the most thorough, fun to read resource you'll find specifically dedicated to the Vice Presidents of the United States ...

When we started this lens, it was so much fun to create ... so we thought, wouldn't it be great to find a comprehensive resource on the vice presidents that's not only informative, but enjoyable to read too?

Well, we couldn't find one. So we researched and wrote it ourselves! And the end result is something we're very proud of ... "U.S. Vice Presidents: Facts and Trivia" ...

Download Your Very Own Copy For Just $14.95 Here

Here's What You'll Discover In Your Copy Of "U.S. Vice Presidents: Facts and Trivia" ...

- How the office of vice president was created by America's Founding Fathers ...

- 50 unique, little known vice presidential factoids and trivia ...

- "Essential Facts" biographies of every VP since 1789, from John Adams to Joe Biden ...

- Pictures of every vice president ...

- Photos of historical sites dedicated to vice presidents, including visitor information ...

- 50 famous vice presidential quotes ...

- "The Ultimate Vice Presidential Quiz" (test your knowledge!)

- Why each vice president was chosen as the presidential running mate ...

- Photos of the final resting places of the vice presidents ...

- And much more!

This e-book is everything you'll ever want to know about the vice presidents! It's 180+ pages of vice presidential facts, trivia, and a bit of fun mixed in!

"U.S. Vice Presidents: Facts and Trivia" is perfect for students, scholars, historians, or anyone who just wants to learn more about the vice presidents and the vice presidency ...

You can instantly download a copy and be enjoying it in seconds ... click on the "Add To Cart" button:

Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford

VP's Who Became President

For One Reason Or Another ...

Fourteen men who held the office of vice president later went on to become President of the United States ... some who won the presidential election in their own right, and some who ascended to the presidency due to the death of a president.

The 14 Vice Presidents Who Later Became President ...

John Adams

Thomas Jefferson

Martin Van Buren

John Tyler

Millard Fillmore

Andrew Johnson

Chester Arthur

Theodore Roosevelt

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Richard Nixon

Lyndon Johnson

Gerald Ford

George Bush

Vice Presidents Who Became President Due To Death

Eight of the fourteen men listed above became president due to the death of the incumbent president. The president who died is in parentheses. The eight were:

John Tyler (William Henry Harrison)

Millard Fillmore (Zachary Taylor)

Andrew Johnson (Abraham Lincoln)

Chester Arthur (James Garfield)

Theodore Roosevelt (William McKinley)

Calvin Coolidge (Warren G. Harding)

Harry Truman (Franklin Roosevelt)

Lyndon Johnson (John F. Kennedy)

Vice Presidents Who Later Won A Presidential Election

Nine vice presidents went on to win election to the presidency. Those who won a presidential election were:

John Adams

Thomas Jefferson

Martin Van Buren

Theodore Roosevelt

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Richard Nixon

Lyndon Johnson

George Bush

One vice president who later became president was not elected to either office. Gerald Ford (pictured above) was appointed vice president under President Nixon when Spiro Agnew resigned from office. Ford then assumed the presidency when Nixon resigned in 1974. Ford later ran for president in 1976 but was defeated in the election by Jimmy Carter ...

Looking for facts and trivia about the presidents? Visit our companion site at:

Presidents Facts and Trivia .

Memorable VP Quote

"The vice presidency isn't worth a warm bucket of piss!"

~ John Garner

Note: This quote from Garner is frequently repeated that he used the words "warm bucket of spit" to describe the vice presidency. With nods and all due respect to a Rated G lens, the above are his actual words!

Vice Presidential Seal
Vice Presidential Seal

Vice Presidential Trivia

Did You Know?

*** Thomas Jefferson is to date the only vice president who was later elected and served two full terms as president ...

*** Did you know that Dallas, Texas is named after a former vice president? The city was named after George Dallas, vice president under President Polk . He was an advocate of annexation of Texas into the Union. Tyler, Texas is also named after a former vice president and president ... John Tyler.

*** Another city named after a vice president is Fairbanks, Alaska. It's namesake is Charles Fairbanks, who was instrumental in determining the Alaska-Canadian border ...

*** Presidential historians know William Howard Taft was the first president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the baseball season. He did it in 1910. Do you know who was the first vice president who performed the honor? It was Taft's vice president, James Sherman, in 1912 ...

*** The president flies on Air Force One, so what is the name of the vice president's plane? Appropriately enough, it's dubbed Air Force Two.

*** Two vice presidents resigned from office. The first was John Calhoun, who resigned in 1832 due to ongoing disputes with President Andrew Jackson and the opportunity to run for a Senate seat.

The second vice president to resign was Spiro Agnew in 1973. His position became untenable after numerous criminal charges were brought against him by the U.S. Department of Justice ...

*** Only eight vice presidents completed two full terms in office. They were John Adams, Daniel Tompkins, Thomas Marshall, John Garner, Richard Nixon, George Bush, Al Gore, and Dick Cheney. Joe Biden would be the ninth ...

*** The official residence of the vice president is the U.S. Naval Observatory, an historic home located in northwest Washington, D.C. Built in 1893, the home was renovated as the office residence of the vice president in the mid 1970's. It's first official resident thereafter was Vice President Walter Mondale ...

Martin Van Buren Becomes Famous! - Former President and Vice President

We love this clever video for a Google search app ... it features former president and vice president Martin Van Buren:

John Tyler
John Tyler

Presidents Without A Vice President

There Were A Few ...

Four presidents never had a vice president. Why?

Well, until ratification of the 25th Amendment in 1967, it was only assumed the vice president would assume duties of the president in case of a presidential death or incapacity. Early in our history, several presidents died while in office, and their immediate successors never named a vice president, nor was one appointed.

Part of this situation probably stems from the nature of the vice president's role back then ... the word "minimal" comes to mind. In fact, it was fairly common at presidential elections that presidents and vice presidents were completely unacquainted with one another.

One such example is the 13th President, Millard Fillmore. Fillmore assumed the presidency in July, 1850 upon the death of President Zachary Taylor. Taylor and Fillmore only met after Taylor was elected president, and then only 2-3 times during Taylor's brief 16 month presidency.

Another example is that of William Wheeler, who was vice president in the Rutherford Hayes administration. A short time before the 1876 presidential election, party leaders suggested Wheeler's name to Hayes as a potential running mate. Hayes had no idea who Wheeler was, and in fact asked his campaign manager, "Who is Wheeler?" ...

Times are different now, and the vice president plays a much more integral role in the administration. But in the mid to late 1800's, the vice presidency was practically a ceremonial position, not at all critical to the president.

Presidents Who Never Had A Vice President ...

These are the four:

John Tyler

Millard Fillmore

Andrew Johnson

Chester Arthur

The picture depicts John Tyler, the 10th President and the first president to not have a vice president. Tyler assumed the presidency under difficult circumstances ... President William Henry Harrison died after just one month in office in April, 1841.

Many in government (and the general public) considered Tyler an acting president, and even addressed him as such. Tyler, though, insisted he was not an intermediary or an acting president, and even refused mail addressing him as such. He gradually gained the respect of the populace while serving almost four full years as president ...

As a Virginian, Tyler joined the Confederacy when the Civil War broke out in 1861, accepting a position with the Confederate government. When Tyler died in 1862, it was in the midst of the war, and no official announcement of his death was issued by the government in Washington.

It was not until 1915 that Congress allocated funds for a memorial statue to the former president and vice president. The statue of Tyler still stands in Virginia's capital city, Richmond ...

Vice President Quote

"The president has 190 million bosses. The vice president has 190 million and one."

~ Hubert Humphrey

Vice President's Residence
Vice President's Residence

The Official Vice Presidential Residence

Where The Vice President Lives ...

The White House is well known around the world as the home of the President of the United States, but where does the Vice President of the United States live?

Well ... it's at the relatively obscure address of One Naval Observatory Circle, located in the northwest section of Washington, D.C. ...

The home (pictured) was actually built in 1893 and was property of the United States Navy for many years. In 1974, Congress authorized remodeling the home and designating it the official resident of the vice president.

Up until then, the vice presidents arranged their own accomodations in Washington, D.C. Providing ample security around a private residence proved to be difficult (and expensive), so Congress thought it best to provide one permanent residence for the vice presidents, just as The White House is for American presidents ...

The first permanent resident of the home was Vice President Walter Mondale, who occupied the home along with his family in early 1977. Since then, every vice president has lived there.

Put A Little Veep In Your Life! - Vice Presidential Stuff ...

Here's some of our favorite vice presidential items, some educational and some just plain fun!

Vice Presidents
Vice Presidents

The Ultimate Resource about U.S. Vice Presidents. A comprehensive study of the vice presidency and all the men who've held the office ...

 
Vice Presidents: Biographies of the 45 Men Who Have Held the Second Highest Office in the United States
Vice Presidents: Biographies of the 45 Men Who Have Held the Second Highest Office in the United States

An excellent book ... Concise but thorough biographies of each of the U.S. Vice Presidents ... an easy read and you'll learn a lot!

 
Skymarks Air Force II Vice President's Plane B757-200 Model Airplane
Skymarks Air Force II Vice President's Plane B757-200 Model Airplane

Own Your Very Own Air Force II ,,, the Vice President's plane !!

 
VP William King
VP William King

Briefly A Vice President ...

Shortest Vice Presidential Terms

Three U.S. Vice Presidents served extremely brief terms in office. In each case, death interceded. In the case of Vice Presidents John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, the death of their president ended their term and elevated them to President of the United States ...

John Tyler, at one month, served the shortest vice presidential term in history. Only slightly longer was Andrew Johnson's term as VP. He served 5 1/2 weeks as vice president until President Lincoln's assassination in April, 1865 ...

Finally, there is the story of William Rufus King, who was briefly Franklin Pierce's vice president in 1853. King has a long history in Congress and was added to Pierce's ticket for the 1852 election.

Shortly thereafter, King became quite ill with tuberculosis.

Due to his illness, it was thought spending time in a warmer climate would improve his condition. King traveled to Cuba in early 1853 in attempt to regain his health ...

Here's where the story gets interesting. King, unable to travel to Washington, took the oath of office as vice president in Cuba. Congress passed a special law to make this possible, as a gesture of respect for King's long governmental service. While King was officially vice president for six weeks (third shortest VP term in history), he never set foot in Washington, D.C. during his brief term ... he died April 18, 1853 after 45 days in office.

He remains the only vice president who took the oath of office on foreign soil.

William Rufus King is pictured above, photo courtesy of bio.congress.gov . His remains were buried in Selma, Alabama ... a town he is credited with naming.

VP Dan Quayle
VP Dan Quayle

Did You Know There Is A Museum Dedicated To The Vice Presidents?

Dan Quayle's Hometown - Huntington, Indiana

There is indeed a museum dedicated exclusively to America's vice presidents!

It's located in Huntington, indiana ... where former Vice President Dan Quayle lived during his high school years. The museum is part of the Dan Quayle Vice Presidential Learning Center and offers exhibits about all the vice presidents and a section exclusively dedicated to Vice President Quayle.

The museum offers numerous educational programs for school children, emphasizing U.S. history as well as the political process and the office of the vice president. The museum's staff not only conducts on site educational sessions, but also conducts traveling programs at school locations. Over 10,000 school children have taken part in one of the center's educational offerings ...

Learn more about the museum at: www.quaylemuseum.org . Huntington is a central Indiana town about equidistant from Fort Wayne and Indianapolis ...

Mt, Rushmore
Mt, Rushmore

Mt. Rushmore VP's

Which Were Vice Presidents?

The famous sculpture on South Dakota's Mt. Rushmore, as shown here, was a spectacular project that took over 15 years to complete ...

Do you know which former vice presidents are depicted in the sculpture? (Answer at the bottom).

Located in the Black Hills area of South Dakota near the town of Keystone, Mt. Rushmore was the crowning achievement of famed sculptor Gutzon Borglum and later, his son Lincoln Borglum.

After a period of several years to secure funding from private and governmental sources, work began in 1927. It continued in fits and starts through the 1930's, and by 1939, most of the sculpture was completed.

The initial concept was intended to carve the four huge granite presidential busts down to the waist, but funding ran out and worked stopped in late 1941.

Mt. Rushmore is administered by the National Park Service and receives more than 3 million annual visitors ...

The four U.S. Presidents carved on Mt. Rushmore are, from left to right in the picture: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

In answer to the question above, the two who served as Vice President of the United States were Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt.

If you've never visited Mt. Rushmore, put it on your travel agenda! South Dakota is a beautiful state and the monument is spectacular.

I first visited in the late 1960's on a family vacation with my parents. Helicopter rides were offered to get "up close and personal" to the monument. My mom went on the chopper ride with me and the pilot steered us within 30 feet or so of the gigantic sculptures. What a thrill for a 7 year old!

Who Is The Most Memorable Vice President? - Pick the VP most memorable to you ...

VP Hubert Humphrey
VP Hubert Humphrey

Which vice president do you remember most? The one who you feel had the most impact? Tell us your choice!

Who in your mind is the most memorable vice president?

See results

Thanks for stopping by! - Did you learn something about the Vice Presidents?

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    • JimHofman profile image
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      JimHofman 4 years ago

      @ForEverProud: Thanks for your comment! Silas Wright Jr. was a long time U.S. Senator from New York as well as governor. I understand the St. Lawrence County Historical Society is housed in his former home ...

    • ForEverProud profile image

      Jeanne Rene 4 years ago from Northern California

      I really enjoyed reading your Vice Presidents lens. I had no idea that the cities of Dallas and Fairbanks were named after Vice Presidents. Just a bit of family trivia ... my family tree includes Silas Wright, Jr who was offered the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1844 under Van Buren, but declined and ran for Governor of N.Y which he won.

      I learned a lot about our Vice Presidents!