Vice President of the United States

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Vice President of the
United States of America
US Vice President Seal.svg
Official seal
Joe Biden official portrait crop.jpg
Incumbent
Joe Biden

since January 20, 2009
Style The Honorable
Residence Number One Observatory Circle
Term length Four years
Inaugural holder John Adams
April 21, 1789
Formation U.S. Constitution
March 4, 1789
Succession First
Website Vice President Joe Biden

The Vice President of the United States of America is the second-in-command to the President. The President is the commander in chief. The Vice President's responsibilities include filling in for the President, and acting as president of the U.S. Senate. Like the President, the Vice President serves a term of four years and can be re-elected once. The Vice President must meet the same requirements as the President, being born a U.S. citizen, at least 35 years old, and must have lived in the United States for 14 years. The current Vice President is Joe Biden.

List of Vice Presidents[change | edit source]

Selection and election[change | edit source]

See also: U.S. Electoral College

Originally, the Vice President was the person who got the second most electoral votes in the presidential election. This worked well until Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in election of 1800. After that the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution said that the President and Vice President are elected separately, and if nobody clearly won, he would be chosen by the Senate.

Soon after that, political parties began running the President and Vice President on one platform. As such, the Vice Presidential candidates are usually chosen by the leadership of a political party, with a strong influence by that party's presidential candidate. The Vice President and President are usually from the same political party (for example, Barack Obama and Joe Biden are both Democrats, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were both Republicans).

Duties[change | edit source]

The Vice President only has one official duty. That is to preside over the Senate and to cast a vote in the Senate if there is a tie. However, recently the duties have been seen to include being a member of the President's Cabinet, or a top advisor to the President (Dick Cheney was the Vice President to take this duty the most seriously). The Vice President is a member of the National Security Council and serves on the board of the Smithsonian. Also, the 25th Amendment says that the Vice President can act as President if the President is incapacitated (can not do the job of President). For example, Vice President George H.W. Bush acted as President when Ronald Reagan was having an operation.

If the Vice President dies or becomes President[change | edit source]

Prior to 1967, if the President died, it was unclear whether the Vice President was President or merely Acting President (though John Tyler and others who took over the office said they were not merely Acting President). Also, if the Vice President died, nobody was Vice President until a new one was elected. This was changed after the assassination of John F. Kennedy with the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution. If the President died, the Vice President was clearly the President. Also, if the Vice President dies, resigns, or becomes President, the President can appoint a Vice President if he is confirmed by a majority vote of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. This has happened twice, first after Gerald Ford became Vice President after the resignation of Spiro Agnew, and second after Nelson Rockefeller became Vice President after Gerald Ford became President when Richard Nixon resigned.

Vice Presidents who became President[change | edit source]

The following Vice Presidents either became President after the death or resignation of the President, or were elected in their own right: