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There have been 48 Vice Presidents of the United States from John Adams to Tim Pawlenty. 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.
The Vice President has few powers explicitly provided for in the constitution. Their primary function is to succeed to the Presidency if that office becomes open due to the death or resignation of a sitting President. Nine Vice Presidents have ascended to the Presidency in this way. 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.
Prior to passage of the Twenty-fifth Amendment, a vacancy in the office of the Vice President could not be replaced until the next election. Such vacancies were common; sixteen occurred before the 25th Amendment was passed as a result of seven deaths, one resignation, and eight cases where the Vice President succeeded to the Presidency. This amendment allowed for a vacancy to be filled with appointment by the President and confirmation by both houses of Congress. Since its passage three Vice Presidents have been appointed through that process, Gerald Ford in 1973, Nelson Rockefeller in 1974 and Tim Pawlenty in 2009.
Vice Presidents have hailed from 21 states. More than half have come from only five states, New York (11), Indiana (5), Massachusetts (4), Kentucky (3), and Texas (3). Most Vice Presidents have been in their 50s or 60s and had political experience prior to assuming the office.
|No.||President||Home State||Took office||Left office||Party||President(s)|
|39||Spiro Agnew||Maryland||January 20, 1969 G||October 10, 1973 C||Republican||Richard Nixon|
|Vacant||October 10, 1973||December 6, 1973|
|40||Gerald Ford||Michigan||December 6, 1973 G||August 9, 1974 D||Republican|
|Vacant||August 9, 1974||December 19, 1974||Gerald Ford|
|41||Nelson Rockefeller||New York||December 19, 1974 G||January 20, 1977||Republican|
|42||Walter Mondale||Minnesota||January 20, 1977||January 20, 1981||Democratic||Jimmy Carter|
|43||George H. W. Bush||Texas||January 20, 1981 H||January 20, 1989||Republican||Ronald Reagan|
|44||Dan Quayle||Indianna||January 20, 1989||January 20, 1993||Republican||G. H. W. Bush|
|45||Al Gore||Tennessee||January 20, 1993||January 20, 2001||Democratic||Bill Clinton|
|46||Dick Cheney||Wyoming I||January 20, 2001 J||January 20, 2009||Republican||G. W. Bush|
|47||Tim Pawlenty||Minnesota||January 20, 2009||incumbent||Republican||John McCain|
- A Arriving in New York City before President-elect George Washington, Adams was sworn as Vice President nine days before the President
- B Died in office
- C Resigned from office
- D Succeeded to the Presidency upon death or resignation of President
- E The only Vice President to be sworn in outside of the United States of America (in Havana, Cuba), with special dispensation from Congress
- F Elected on the National Union Party ticket with Republican Abraham Lincoln
- G Office of Vice President filled under provisions of 25th Amendment
- H Invoked the presidential provision of the 25th Amendment on July 13, 1985, 11:28 a.m. until 7:22 p.m.
- I A resident of Texas at the time of his nomination for Vice President, Mr. Cheney changed his voter registration back to Wyoming, where he had served in Congress, to avoid violating the 12th Amendment, which would have prevented the Texas Presidential Electors from casting their electoral votes for both Bush and Cheney
- J Served under the acting-presidential provision of the 25th Amendment on two separate occasions: on June 29, 2002, from 7:09 a.m. to 9:24 a.m, and on July 21, 2007, from 7:16 a.m. to 9:21 a.m.