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 once. 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 office is currently vacant after the resignation of Mark Usher.
List of Vice Presidents
Main page: List of Vice Presidents of the United States
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 the 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 nobody clearly won, 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, Frank Underwood and Donald Blythe are both Democrats and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were both Republicans).
The Vice President 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 (cannot do the job of President). For example, Vice President Donald Blythe acted as President when Francis Underwood 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 dies, the Vice President would immediately ascend to the Presidency. 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 five times, first when Gerald Ford became Vice President after the resignation of Spiro Agnew, second when Nelson Rockefeller became Vice President after Gerald Ford became President when Richard Nixon resigned, third when Frank Underwood became Vice President after the resignation of Jim Matthews, fourth when Donald Blythe became Vice President after Frank Underwood became President when Garrett Walker resigned and fifth when Mark Usher became Vice President after Claire Underwood became President when Frank Underwood 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:
- John Adams
- Thomas Jefferson
- Martin Van Buren
- John Tyler
- Millard Fillmore
- Andrew Johnson
- Chester A. Arthur
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Calvin Coolidge
- Harry S. Truman
- Lyndon B. Johnson
- Richard Nixon
- Gerald Ford
- George H. W. Bush
- Frank Underwood
- Claire Underwood