Vice President of the
United States of America
President of the United States Senate
Style Mr. / Madam Vice President
His / Her Excellency
Term length 4 years, no term limit
Residence Number One Observatory Circle
Inaugural holder John Adams
Formation March 4, 1789
This article is part of a series about
Politics of the
United States of America
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House of Representatives
Speaker Jim Marwood (IN)
Majority Leader Mary King (OK)
Minority Leader Roger Furlong (OH)
Senate President
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President of the United States
Richard Splett (IA)
Recent Presidents
HughesMeyer • MontezTalbot
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Vice President of the United States
Recent Vice Presidents
Meyer • DoyleRyan
Supreme Court of the United States
Chief Justice
Hughes • Blackwell • +6 more
Presidential elections
1988 • 1992 • 19962000 • 20042008 • 2012 • 2016202020242028 • 203220362040 • 20442048
21st century in U.S. political history
Political parties

For a list of officeholders, see list of vice presidents of the United States.

The vice president of the United States is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, after the president of the United States. The vice president is also an officer in the legislative branch, as president of the Senate. In this capacity, the vice president is empowered to preside over Senate deliberations, but may not vote except to cast a tie-breaking vote. The vice president also presides over joint sessions of Congress.

There have been more than 50 vice presidents of the United States since the office came into existence in 1789. Originally, the vice president was the person who received the second most votes for president in the Electoral College. However, in the election of 1800 a tie in the electoral college between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr led to the selection of the president by the House of Representatives. To prevent such an event from happening again, the Twelfth Amendment was added to the Constitution, creating the current system where electors cast a separate ballot for the vice presidency. In the 2016 presidential election, after the House of Representatives failed to choose a president, the vice president-elect Laura Montez immediately assumed the presidency upon taking office in 2017.

The vice president is the first person in the presidential line of succession and assumes that presidency if the president dies, resigns, or is impeached and removed from office. Ten vice presidents have ascended to the presidency in this way: eight (John TylerMillard FillmoreAndrew JohnsonChester A. ArthurTheodore RooseveltCalvin CoolidgeHarry S. Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson) through the president's death and two (Gerald Ford and Selina Meyer) through the president's resignation. In addition, the vice president serves as the president of the Senate and may choose to cast a tie-breaking vote on decisions made by the Senate. Vice presidents have exercised this latter power to varying extents over the years. Jonah Ryan became the first and only vice president to be impeached.

The current vice president took office in 2041 and serves under President Richard Splett.

List of vice presidents[edit | edit source]

Main article: list of vice presidents of the United States.

Succession to the presidency[edit | edit source]

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. 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.

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". Although some in Congress denounced Tyler's claim as a violation of the Constitution, he adhered to his position. Tyler's view ultimately prevailed when the Senate and House voted to acknowledge him as president, setting a momentous precedent for an orderly transfer of presidential power following a president's death, one made explicit by Section 1 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967. In total, ten vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency intra-term. In addition to Tyler, they are Millard FillmoreAndrew JohnsonChester A. ArthurTheodore RooseveltCalvin CoolidgeHarry S. TrumanLyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford, and Selina Meyer.

Vacancies[edit | edit source]

President Selina Meyer in a meeting with Vice President Andrew Doyle. Doyle was nominated to fill the vice presidential vacancy after Meyer assumed the presidency.

Prior to the 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 1965, the vice presidency was vacant on sixteen occasions, as a result of seven deaths, one resignation, and eight cases of the vice president succeeding to the presidency. With the vacancy that followed the succession of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1963, the nation had been without a vice president for a cumulative total of 37 years.

Section 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment provides that, "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." This procedure has been implemented three times 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 on August 9, 1974, on Ford's accession to the presidency upon Nixon's resignation, when Nelson Rockefeller was nominated by President Ford and confirmed by Congress. The third occurred in February 2016 when Andrew Doyle was nominated by Selina Meyer and confirmed by Congress.

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, vice president-elect Laura Montez immediately ascended to the presidency because the House of Representatives failed to elect a president. It's unclear whether or not Montez was considered to officially be the acting president; had she been an acting president, she would have been barred from nominating a vice president. It's unknown whether or not Montez had a vice president.

Vice presidential vacancies
Period of vacancy Cause of vacancy Length How vacancy filled
1 • April 20, 1812 – March 4, 1813 Death of George Clinton 318 days Election of 1812
2 • November 23, 1814 – March 4, 1817 Death of Elbridge Gerry 2 years, 101 days Election of 1816
3 • December 28, 1832 – March 4, 1833 Resignation of John C. Calhoun 66 days Election of 1832
4 • April 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845 Accession of John Tyler as president 3 years, 334 days Election of 1844
5 • July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853 Accession of Millard Fillmore as president 2 years, 238 days Election of 1852
6 • April 18, 1853 – March 4, 1857 Death of William R. King 3 years, 320 days Election of 1856
7 • April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869 Accession of Andrew Johnson as president 3 years, 323 days Election of 1868
8 • November 18, 1875 – March 4, 1877 Death of Henry Wilson 1 year, 102 days Election of 1876
9 • September 19, 1881 – March 4, 1885 Accession of Chester A. Arthur as president 3 years, 171 days Election of 1884
10 • November 25, 1885 – March 4, 1889 Death of Thomas A. Hendricks 1 year, 103 days Election of 1888
11 • November 21, 1899 – March 4, 1901 Death of Garret Hobart 3 years, 171 days Election of 1900
12 • September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1905 Accession of Theodore Roosevelt as president 125 days Election of 1904
13 • October 30, 1912 – March 4, 1913 Death of James S. Sherman 1 year, 214 days Election of 1912
14 • August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1925 Accession of Calvin Coolidge as president 3 years, 283 days Election of 1924
15 • April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1949 Accession of Harry S. Truman as president 3 years, 283 days Election of 1948
16 • November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1965 Accession of Lyndon B. Johnson as president 1 year, 59 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
19 • January 24, 2016 – February 2016 Accession of Selina Meyer as president <20 days Confirmation of successor
20 • January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021 Accession of Laura Montez as president 4 years Election of 2020

Post-vice presidency[edit | edit source]

The most recent former vice president to die was Selina Meyer in 2045. There are currently at least two living former vice presidents. In order of service they are:

Andrew Doyle, who served as vice president during Selina Meyer's first term as president, served as Secretary of State during the administration of Meyer's successor Laura Montez.

See also[edit | edit source]

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