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The Vice Presidency and How It Has Changed

The vice presidency today is very different from the early days of the Republic.

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“I am Vice President. In this I am nothing, but I may be everything.” – John Adams

The vice president of the United States is the second-highest job in the country, second only to the president. If the president can’t do his job, it’s up to the vice president to take over. The main reason we have a vice president is to make sure the country has a leader if something happens to the president. Vice presidents are also the president of the Senate, and can vote if there is a tie that needs to be broken. Otherwise, vice presidents didn’t really do anything. They were just there in case something bad happened. Because of this, many vice presidents ended up hating the job.

John Adams was the first vice president of the United States of America. He is known for his hatred of the vice presidency. He called it the “most insignificant office” invented. But the role of the vice president has changed a lot over the years.

For one thing, most presidential candidates pick their running mates to help them win the election. President Obama was a young politician who might not have won a lot of votes from Democratic Party voters. So he picked Joe Biden, an older Democrat, to help him win votes. Obama’s opponent John McCain hoped to win over women by choosing Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

More recently, President Trump picked Mike Pence, governor of Indiana to attract Christian voters. Many people think Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris because she’s different from him in lots of ways – she’s younger and female.

Vice presidents have become in presidential campaigns, but their duties do not end there.

Both Joe Biden and Mike Pence led projects rather than just waiting to fill in if something bad happened. Pence was made the head of the Coronavirus response team.

George W. Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, might have been the most powerful vice president in American history. He had the power to control lots of information that might influence the president, and he could make decisions on his own. Now that’s a job John Adams might have wanted!

Jose Backer, General Assignment Reporter, is a graduate of St. Michael's College and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Political Science. Born and raised in Southern California, he currently resides in the Pasadena area.

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