On January 20, Kamala Harris will follow Biden’s presidential oath ceremony and become the first female vice president in American history. Although the role of the vice president is not clearly defined in the constitution, its role is becoming more and more important. The previous vice presidents since World War II are mostly the right-hand man of the president. Even so, there are still very few vice presidents who have become presidents.
Of the 62 vice presidents in the history of the United States, 14 have become presidents of the United States, nine of which took over as president after the death of the president, and among the nine, only Truman and Lyndon Johnson were re-elected as president. There are only 5 people who really run for the upper president after the term of the vice president expires: 2 people (Adams and Jefferson) in the early days of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and 3 people (Nixon, Bush Sr., and Biden) in the contemporary era.
As the Speaker of the Senate, Vice President Jefferson has repeatedly vetoed policy proposals put forward by the President.
Truman, the 34th Vice President of the United States. He succeeded as the 33rd President of the United States after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt due to illness
Laws related to the succession of the Vice President
The American constitution maker’s definition of the position of vice president not only followed the colonial era of the unwritten tradition of “deputy officials cannot be replaced by deputy officials” during the colonial period, but at the same time they were ignorant of their election methods and specific job responsibilities. Later constitutional amendments adjusted this gray area, and the amendments were mainly carried out around the succession of the Vice President and the occurrence of electoral deadlock.
Most of the constitution-makers had experience in colonial construction and made great contributions during the War of Independence. In the Constituent Assembly, they weighed the presidential election repeatedly and designed the electoral college system. In the early elections, the vice president did not need to be from the same party as the president, so it frequently happened that the vice president and the president came from two political parties.
The resistance of the presidents and vice presidents from different political parties in the chambers is not the crux of the problem. The nascent United States soon encountered the predicament that the president and vice president could not be elected. In the 1800 elections, Jefferson and Alan Burr received the same number of electoral votes, and the House of Representatives conducted 35 votes, all of which failed to decide the outcome. In the end, Hamilton did his job to break the deadlock and let Jefferson be elected president and Burr was elected vice president. The deadlock in the election and the tragedy of Burr’s death of Hamilton in a duel on July 12, 1804 gave birth to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution.
The Twelfth Amendment stipulates that when electors vote in each state, they must vote for the presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate. The candidate needs to obtain more than half of the electoral votes to be elected (this avoids the previous “getting the most votes” If the presidential candidate fails to obtain the statutory number of votes, the power to elect the president is transferred to the House of Representatives, and the House of Representatives will vote on no more than three candidates with the highest number of votes. , At this time each state has one vote. When the power to elect the president is handed over to the House of Representatives, if the president has not been elected by March 4 of the following year, the vice president will act as the president.
More than a century later, the third paragraph of the Twentieth Amendment passed in 1933 replaced the clause in the Twelfth Amendment regarding the succession of the Vice President. The third paragraph stipulates that if the president-elect has died before the prescribed time for the beginning of the term, the vice president-elect shall become the president; if the president has not been elected before the prescribed presidential term begins, or the president-elect is not eligible, the vice-president-elect shall be elected. The president shall act as the president until a president is qualified.
The arrangement for the vice president to succeed the president who cannot be regarded as a matter of fact comes mainly from the experience of the colonial period. Before the War of Independence, the lieutenant governor could attend the governors’ meeting of the Royal North American colonies. At that time, the Council of Governors exercised legislative functions, acting as the House of Lords of the states. John Adams is familiar with this arrangement. In his state of Massachusetts, the Lieutenant Governor presides over the House of Lords. This tradition is also applied to the succession of the vice president.
Lyndon Johnson, the 36th President of the United States (middle). He took over as president after Kennedy was assassinated in 1963
If the president cannot perform his duties when the vice president is absent, who should be the president? U.S. law initially stipulated the priority of the Speaker of the Senate interim, and later it was changed to the priority of the Secretary of State. It was changed to the priority of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1947.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. After Lyndon Johnson took over, the problem of the absence of the vice president was once again highlighted. Four years later, the 25th amendment was passed. The second paragraph stipulates that when the vice president is vacant, the replacement shall be nominated by the president and shall take office after approval by each of the two houses of Congress by a majority vote.
This rule was quickly used twice, the first time in 1973, President Nixon appointed Gerald Ford to replace the resigned Agnew as Vice President. In 1974, Nixon resigned because of the Watergate Incident facing impeachment. Vice President Ford took over as President and appointed Nelson Rockefeller as the new Vice President. Ford and his vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, are the only two to take over as president and vice president without a presidential election.
The 25th Amendment also gives the vice president the power to check and balance the president at special moments. The fourth paragraph stipulates that when a majority of the vice president and the chief executives or the majority of members of an institution prescribed by law in Congress submits a written statement to the president pro tempore of the Senate or the speaker of the House of Representatives, the vice president shall become Acting President. If the president also submits a written statement stating that he can perform his duties, he should resume the presidency; if the vice president and the majority of executive members submit a written statement of the president’s incompetence again, the Congress shall decide the issue-if the public Both houses have more than two-thirds of the votes that the president cannot perform his duties, and the vice president continues to act as the president, otherwise the president will continue to perform his duties.
However, the later vice presidents no longer came from different political parties in the early days. During the campaign and in power, the cooperation between the president and the vice president outweighed the differences, so there has been no case in which the vice president invokes the fourth paragraph to remove the president.
The peculiarities of the vice president’s “registration”
Most of the early vice presidents made great contributions to the North American War of Independence, the drafting of the constitution, and the handling of internal affairs and foreign affairs. During their tenure, they accumulated capital to aspire to the presidency; when the term of the president with whom they worked together expires, the vice president has a chance to run for the president. . In the modern era of the United States, the vice president was mostly an important adviser, ruling partner and representative of the president. In the modern era, he was still a legal member of the National Security Council, and there was no shortage of opportunities to exercise.
In 1901, then US President William McKinley was assassinated to death by anarchists
For some influential politicians, the vice presidential position is not attractive. There is no shortage of senior politicians in history who rejected the position of vice president, such as Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. Adams, the first Vice President, regarded this position as an honorary position, while his boss, Washington, believed that the Vice President was a position closely related to Congress, so Adams became the most active Vice President in Congress in the history of the United States.
Since the Second World War, the five people who have served as the vice president of the United States for four years have not been able to become regulars.
The United States was not rich in the early days. Many presidents were already overworked when they took office. In modern times before the security system was strengthened, the president was also a high-risk profession. All these circumstances gave the vice president the opportunity to passively become positive. In 1841, Harrison, the 9th President of the United States, died one month after taking office. Vice President Taylor took over as President and became the first Vice President to be appointed President in accordance with Article 2 of the Constitution. Later, Vice President Fillmore succeeded the president who died of illness. In 1865, Lincoln was assassinated, and Vice President Andrew Johnson took over as President. After President Garfield was assassinated in 1881, Vice President Chester Allen Arthur took over. In 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated by anarchists. Theodore Roosevelt, who was only 42 years old, took over and became the youngest president in American history. In 1923, President Warren Harding died of illness and Vice President Coolidge took over. In 1945, Franklin Roosevelt died in the fourth presidency, and Vice President Truman took over. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and Vice President Lyndon Johnson took over as President.
The strengthening of the security system has reduced the probability of the president being assassinated to a certain extent. Moreover, in the modern and contemporary campaign system, the president needs to go to various states to make speeches and sweep votes to gain support. Those in poor health can neither cope with the heavy campaign schedule nor obtain voters. Trust. As a result, the president who ultimately wins through a long campaign has greatly reduced the probability of death and assassination, and the vice president has less chance of passively succeeding the president. However, many people accept the position of vice president without intending to compete for the presidency. Therefore, such a lowly ambitious vice president is unlikely to become president by participating in general elections in the future.
After the death of the previous president, the 42-year-old Theodore Roosevelt became the youngest president in American history.
Looking back on history, there have been some vice presidents in the United States with rich character and life. For example, three people won the Nobel Peace Prize; there are also people who have made great contributions, such as Adams, as the founding father of the country, was invited to serve as the vice president by Washington. Arrived in the capital earlier than Washington, and Adams became vice president on April 21, 1789, nine days before Washington was sworn in as president.
In 1796, after two terms in Washington had expired and they were unwilling to run for the third term, the Federal Party launched Vice President Adams to run for president. In the election campaign, Adams defeated Jefferson, who was launched by the “Democratic Republican Party,” with a narrow majority of 71 to 68 votes and became president. Jefferson was in the position of vice president.
Adams was a Federalist and Jefferson was a Democratic Republican. In the early days of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the policies of the two parties were tit-for-tat. As a result, the president-led government and the vice-president’s Senate chamber resisted. As the Speaker of the Senate, Vice President Jefferson has repeatedly vetoed policy proposals put forward by the President. In modern times, as the vice president’s role in the executive branch continues to expand, his role in the legislative branch has shrunk, and he has only served as the president of the Senate on very few occasions.
The aforementioned Alan Burr, in his last year as Vice President (1804), had a duel with former Treasury Secretary Hamilton because of long-term political disagreement. Hamilton was seriously injured and died at home early the next morning. Burr was charged with murder. Although the charges were finally dropped, Burr’s political career was over—he wanted to run for governor of New York after the end of his term as vice president.
In addition to the murder charges, Burr resigned as vice president in 1805 and traveled to the western territories newly acquired by the United States as a result of the “Louisiana Land Purchase”. Some of his behavior during this period was suspected, so he was charged with treason. The accused crimes include: trying to take the newly acquired land of the United States as his own; trying to illegally declare war on Spain. In 1808, Burr was acquitted by the court, but he had no hope of running for president again, so he had to temporarily take refuge in Europe.
In general, the probability of the vice president of the United States turning positive is not as high as imagined. Especially since the Second World War, the five people who have been the vice president of the United States for four years have not been able to become regular. Nixon, Bush Sr., and Biden, who were promoted through election campaigns, happened to be vice presidents for eight years; however, Gore and Cheney, who also served as vice presidents for eight years, did not have such good luck.