Vice Presidents: From Afterthought to Indispensable

With vice presidential picks in the news, you might be asking yourself: what, exactly, does the vice president do? For much of American history, the answer was “not much.” But since the end of World War II, the vice president’s job has evolved from constitutional afterthought to indispensable part of the executive branch. 

Trace the history of America’s vice presidents with this collection of articles about the country’s second banana. Whether or not Kamala Harris is sworn in as the 49th Vice President of the United States and the first woman to ever hold the office, or Mike Pence gets to keep living at the U.S. Naval Observatory (more on that below), being No. 2 has never been more important.

Why the Vice Presidency Matters

Nicole Hemmer • The Atlantic

Choosing a running mate used to be more about campaigning than governing. But after Richard Nixon’s ruinous relationship with Spiro Agnew, the job has changed. Introducing the executive vice presidency.

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