Vice Presidency

November 11, 1970

Report Outline
Politics and the Vice Presidency
Evolution of Vice President's Office
New Awareness of Vice Presidency
Special Focus

Politics and the Vice Presidency

When calvin coolidge won the Republican vice-presidential nomination in 1920, he received a telegram from the incumbent Vice President, Thomas R. Marshall. “Please accept my sincere sympathy.” it read. Marshall's wry message could have been written by almost any of the 39 men who have been Vice President of the United States. Virtually all of them have found the office to be frustrating, devoid of real authority and, on occasion, demeaning.

Vice President Spiro T. Agnew appears to be an exception to the rule. By speaking out boldly on controversial issues, Agnew has established his own reputation in much the way Richard M. Nixon achieved nationwide prominence as Vice President in the Eisenhower administration. Thus, the comment of Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy (D Minn.) about Agnew—that he is “Nixon's Nixon”—may be more apt than perhaps the senator intended. Like Nixon during his vice presidency, Agnew himself has become an object of controversy.

Because he carried the main burden of the Republican campaign in 1970, Agnew is being both credited and blamed for the outcome of certain key races. For example, the Vice President is believed to have helped the GOP ticket in New York and to have hurt it in neighboring New Jersey. The Wall Street Journal stated on Nov. 5 that Agnew, “having failed to purge most of his ‘radical liberal’ targets from the Senate, could be confronted with a campaign by GOP liberals and moderates to dump him from the 1972 ticket.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Executive Powers and the Presidency
Feb. 24, 2006  Presidential Power
Nov. 15, 2002  Presidential Power
Feb. 02, 2001  The Bush Presidency
Jun. 20, 1997  Line-Item Veto
Jun. 14, 1996  First Ladies
Oct. 21, 1988  Dangers in Presidential Transitions
Jun. 10, 1988  The Quandary of Being Vice President
Jan. 06, 1984  Presidential Advisory Commissions
Jul. 28, 1978  Presidential Popularity
Feb. 13, 1976  Evaluating Presidential Performance
Dec. 12, 1975  Presidential Protection
Jul. 11, 1973  Presidential Reorganization
Mar. 07, 1973  Presidential Accountability
Sep. 24, 1971  Presidential Diplomacy
Nov. 11, 1970  Vice Presidency
Oct. 02, 1968  Presidential Power
Mar. 14, 1966  War Powers of the President
Nov. 23, 1960  Transfer of Executive Power
Apr. 04, 1956  Vice Presidency
Oct. 15, 1952  Change of Presidents
Jun. 09, 1950  President and Mid-Term Elections
Oct. 20, 1948  Federal Patronage
Mar. 24, 1948  The South and the Presidency
Dec. 05, 1947  Military Leaders and the Presidency
Apr. 16, 1947  Veto Power of the President
Sep. 20, 1945  Succession to the Presidency
Sep. 12, 1940  The War Powers of the President
Feb. 11, 1938  Emergency Powers of the President
Jan. 06, 1938  The Power to Declare War
Dec. 28, 1937  Extension of the Veto Power
Dec. 28, 1936  Limitation of the President's Tenure
Mar. 12, 1935  The President and the Congress
Dec. 16, 1932  The Veto Power of the President
May 28, 1931  Presidential Commissions
Oct. 23, 1928  Presidential Appointments and the Senate
Mar. 21, 1928  Business Conditions in Presidential Years
Jan. 20, 1927  The Monroe Doctrine
Mar. 18, 1925  The President's Power of Appointment
Sep. 10, 1923  The President's Position on Patronage
Powers and History of the Presidency
U.S. Constitution