Roles and Responsibilities

  • Representing the President in the US Senate.
  • Attending cabinet meetings, and chairing them if the president is unavailable.
  • Serving as acting president if the president is ill and assuming the office as president if the president is deceased.

Growth of Office

The office of vice president remained relatively small and obscure during the first 30 years of its existance, it was not until John C. Calhoun became vice president under Andrew Jackson that the office grew considerably.

The Vice President's position as president of the senate was terminated, and replaced with an elected senate president, chosen by the president. Calhoun's role was greatly enlarged, with him attending meetings and touring the country. However the two disagreed over policy and Calhoun resigned after Jackson tried to push through an amendment that allows presidents to sack vice president's, if their move is supported by congress.

The presidential role further grew under Abraham Lincoln, who allowed vice president Hamlin to visit troops and represent the president at the front.

During the final weeks of president Andrew Johnson's life in 1875, Winfield S. Hancock took over many presidential duties.

By 1940 the vice presidential role had become similar to what it is now, serving as chairman of the cabinet under the president, and enacting his orders to the cabinet.

List of Presidents

For a full list of vice presidents see here:

Vice Presidents of the United States

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