Vice President of the United States

Vice President of the
United States of America
Official seal
Mike Pence

since January 20, 2017
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceNumber One Observatory Circle
Term lengthFour years
Inaugural holderJohn Adams
April 21, 1789
FormationU.S. Constitution
March 4, 1789
WebsiteVice President Mike Pence

The Vice President of the United States of America is the second-in-command to the President. The President is the commander in chief. The Vice President's responsibilities include filling in for the President, and acting as president of the U.S. Senate. Like the President, the Vice President serves a term of four years and can be re-elected. The Vice President must meet the same requirements as the President, being born a U.S. citizen, at least 35 years old, and must have lived in the United States for 14 years. The current Vice President is Mike Pence.

List of Vice Presidents

Selection and election

Originally, the Vice President was the person who got the second most electoral votes in the presidential election. This worked well until Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in election of 1800. After that the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution said that the President and Vice President are elected separately, and if they tie he would be chosen by the Senate.

Soon after that, political parties began running the President and Vice President on one platform. As such, the Vice Presidential candidates are usually chosen by the leadership of a political party, with a strong influence by that party's presidential candidate. The Vice President and President are usually from the same political party (for example, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were both Democrats, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were both Republicans).


The Vice President only has one official duty. That is to preside over the Senate and to cast a vote in the Senate if there is a tie. However, recently the duties have been seen to include being a member of the President's Cabinet, or a top advisor to the President (Dick Cheney was the Vice President to take this duty the most seriously). The Vice President is a member of the National Security Council and serves on the board of the Smithsonian. Also, the 25th Amendment says that the Vice President can act as President if the President is incapacitated (can not do the job of President). For example, Vice President George H.W. Bush acted as President when Ronald Reagan was having an operation.

If the Vice President dies or becomes President

Prior to 1967, if the President died, it was unclear whether the Vice President was President or merely Acting President (though John Tyler and others who took over the office said they were not merely Acting President). Also, if the Vice President died, nobody was Vice President until a new one was elected. This was changed after the assassination of John F. Kennedy with the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution. If the President died, the Vice President was clearly the President. Also, if the Vice President dies, resigns, or becomes President, the President can appoint a Vice President if he is confirmed by a majority vote of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. This has happened twice: first, when Gerald Ford became Vice President after the resignation of Spiro Agnew, and second, when Nelson Rockefeller became Vice President after Gerald Ford became President when Richard Nixon resigned.

Vice Presidents who became President

The following Vice Presidents either became President after the death or resignation of the President, or were elected in their own right:

Living former Vice Presidents

Living Vice Presidents (from oldest to youngest)
President Date of birth Vice Presidency
Walter Mondale (1928-01-05) January 5, 1928 (age 92) 42 1977–1981
Dick Cheney (1941-01-30) January 30, 1941 (age 79) 46 2001–2009
Joe Biden (1942-11-20) November 20, 1942 (age 77) 47 2009–2017
Dan Quayle (1947-02-04) February 4, 1947 (age 73) 44 1989–1993
Al Gore (1948-03-31) March 31, 1948 (age 72) 45 1993–2001
Mike Pence (1959-06-07) June 7, 1959 (age 60) 48 2017–