Author & Speaker

Oh, Those Vice Presidents, Part 3

For my last visit (for a while) to this remarkably rich vein of unknown historical fact, I share information about our vice presidents with which you can dazzle, delight, and delectify. Well, dazzle and delight, anyway.

Q. How many vice presidents have died in office?

Seven!
Q. Come one, seven? I can’t name one!
If you can, you’re one well-informed buckaroo. They are, in (I think) chronological order:
George Clinton — Died in 1812, while serving as James Madison’s vice president.
Elbridge Gerry — Died in 1814, while serving as James Madison’s vice president. Being Madison’s number two was not a very good gig.
William King — Suffering from terminal tuberculosis when he was elected vice president with President Franklin Pierce, King took his oath of office in Cuba, where he had gone for his health. It took an act of Congress to authorize him to take his oath in a foreign nation. He returned to his home in Alabama but died within 45 days of taking office, in 1853. Who vetted this guy?
Henry Wilson — second vice president for U.S. Grant, because his first vice president (Schulyer Colfax) was bounced from the ticket after being implicated in a scandal. Wilson died in 1875.
Thomas Hendricks — vice president to Grover Cleveland during Cleveland’s first term, died in 1885.
Garrett Hobart — elected on a ticket led by William McKinley in 1896, Hobart died after almost three years in office. He was close to McKinley, but had passed from the scene when McKinley ran for re-election. He was replaced by Theodore Roosevelt for McKinley’s second term, which was probably good for the country.
450px-24_Garret_Hobart_3x4.jpg
Vice President Garret Hobart, 1897-1899
James Sherman — vice president to William Howard Taft, Sherman died a few days before the 1912 election, so the office was not vacant for very long.
Q. How many have been vice presidents for more than one president?
Two. George Clinton was Jefferson’s vice president from 1805-09, then continued in the post when Madison was elected president. John C. Calhoun was vice president for John Quincy Adams in 1824, and stayed in the position during Andrew Jackson’s first term, which began in 1828. Calhoun resigned from the job in 1832 to take a seat in the Senate.
I promise. No more vice president stuff for a while. But it’s been interesting. If you hunger for more, you can check out http://www.vicepresidents.com/

1 Comment

  1. klkatz on March 19, 2008 at 1:28 am

    great information. can’t wait to pull these out in everyday conversation…

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