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Vice President, A history

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In our history we have had forty-six Vice Presidents. Two have resigned, seven died in office, and nine ascended to office following a death or resignation of the President. Thirteen have become Presidents through election or by ascending to office.

In the beginning, the Vice President was the loser of the election. The framers of the Constitution intended for the second most voted for man to become the Vice President. In 1800, the parties started to run two men for President and, in 1804, the Constitution was amended to allow the current system we have now. A side effect of this amendment was to lessen the power of the office. The only power left to the Vice President was that of chairing the senate in case of tie votes. During the next 163 years, the office was vacant sixteen times for a total of thirty-seven years. In 1967 that was changed by the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which allowed the President to nominate someone to fill the office and Congress to approve the nomination. Over the last twenty-five years or so, the office has become much more important as the duties of the President became more substantial. Thus, the Vice President has more duties, especially those dealing with foreign governments.

The office of Vice President is not a stepping stone to the presidency. However, only five men have become President by being elected on their own. Only two have done it since 1900; one was Richard Nixon and the other was George Bush Sr. 

Also, being President the first term does not mean that you will get the position again. In recent elections, the President winning a second term does not mean automatic nominations. When Mr. Clinton was re-elected in 1996, there was talk that he not nominate Mr. Gore again. In the recent campaign there has been talk that Mr. Bush should think about Mr. Cheney because of his heart. President Roosevelt had four Vice Presidents.

The nomination of a Vice President is usually a person to complement the presidential candidate. This means that if a northern democrat runs as President, then a southern should be on his ticket. The decision of who will be Vice President comes down to politics and not the best man or woman for the job. We should take a look at this practice and see if it serves our country and the world. Remember, this man or woman is only one heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the world.



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