Spiro Agnew

vice president of the United States from 1969 to 1973

Spiro Theodore Agnew (November 9, 1918 – September 17, 1996) was the 39th vice president of the United States. He served under President Richard Nixon. He was also the 55th governor of the state of Maryland and the first Greek American governor and vice president in United States history.

Spiro Agnew
Official Portrait, 1972
39th Vice President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1969 – October 10, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byHubert Humphrey
Succeeded byGerald Ford
55th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 25, 1967 – January 7, 1969
Preceded byJ. Millard Tawes
Succeeded byMarvin Mandel
3rd Baltimore County Executive
In office
Preceded byChristian H. Kahl
Succeeded byDale Anderson
Personal details
Born(1918-11-09)November 9, 1918
Baltimore, Maryland
DiedSeptember 17, 1996(1996-09-17) (aged 77)
Berlin, Maryland
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Judy Agnew
ChildrenPamela Agnew
James Rand Agnew
Susan Agnew
Kimberly Agnew
Alma materJohns Hopkins University
University of Baltimore School of Law
AwardsBronze Star Medal
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Battles/warsWorld War II

He is most famous for his resignation in the fall of 1973. He was under investigation for the crimes of extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy. In October he was charged for taking bribes of more than $100,000 during his vice presidential term.

Agnew is the only U.S. vice president in history to leave office because of criminal charges. Ten years later, in January 1983, he paid the state of Maryland almost $270,000 as a result of a civil suit that came from the bribery allegations. He was only the second vice president to resign the office (John C. Calhoun was the first).[1]

He wrote two memoirs later in his life. He defended his corrupt actions in both memoirs.

Early life


Spiro Agnew was born in Baltimore, in the state of Maryland. His father was Theodore Spiros Agnew, a Greek immigrant. He shortened his name from Anagnostopoulos when he moved to the USA (which was between 1897 and 1902).[2][3] He married Margaret Akers, a native of Virginia. He joined the US Army and served in both World War II and the Korean War.


Results of the 1966 Maryland gubernatorial election
Agnew as Maryland's Governor

After holding a number of political offices in Baltimore, he ran for Baltimore County Executive in 1962. In a race that was thought to go to the Democratic Party Agnew surprisingly won. While executive he was known for outlawing racial segregation. He ran for Governor in 1966. His opponent was George Mahoney, who ran on a racist and pro segregationist platform. Agnew won after many Democrats voted for him. While governor he passed tax reform, justice reform, anti pollution laws, and civil rights laws. He also took a tough stand against the black power movement. This angered many civil rights leaders who had supported him.

Agnew was chosen as Richard Nixon's running mate in 1968. Nixon wanted to do better in the Southern States. Agnew, a moderate, could get Democrats to vote for him. He was chosen as vice presidential candidate at the convention over George Romney. Agnew supported "law and order" a policy of enforcing the law strictly. Agnew took a hard stand against the anti-war movement. His sometimes dirty attacks led him to be called Nixon's "hatchet man". However he did speak out against the Kent State Shooting, where national guard troops shot protestors to death in Ohio.

Agnew enjoyed the privileges of being vice president. He was well liked by Nixon supporters, and made it onto the Republican national ticket again in 1972. In 1973, it became clear that Agnew had been very corrupt in his career as governor and was facing several felony charges. He cut a plea deal and narrowly got out of having to serve a long time in prison.

Resignation, disgrace, and death


He resigned in disgrace in October 1973, and never spoke to Richard Nixon again (Nixon would himself resign in 1974 over a similar scandal). Agnew became a disgraced figure and never was very much involved in politics after that. His portrait was taken down in the Maryland Governor's Mansion and his bust was not put up as a former vice president. When both were put on display, many criticized the decision to display them. He died in 1996 of leukaemia. He was not given a state funeral of any kind and had a small funeral service. He was buried at a cemetery in Maryland.

Electoral history

Vice President Agnew with Former President Lyndon Johnson during the takeoff of Apollo 11

Baltimore County Executive, 1962[4]

  • Spiro Agnew (R) - elected unopposed

Governor of Maryland, 1966[5]

1968 Republican National Convention (Vice Presidential tally)[6]

United States presidential election, 1968

1972 Republican National Convention (Vice Presidential tally)[7]

  • Spiro Agnew (inc.) - 1,345 (99.78%)
  • Abstaining - 2 (0.15%)
  • David Brinkley - 1 (0.07%)

United States presidential election, 1972

Gravesite of Agnew

Agnew died of leukemia in Berlin, Maryland.


  1. "U.S. Senate: Spiro T. Agnew, 39th Vice President (1969-1973)". www.senate.gov.
  2. "U.S. Senate - Art & History - Spiro T Agnew, 39th Vice President".
  3. Spiro T. Agnew - Encyclopedia Britannica (accessed 2007-10-13)
  4. "Our Campaigns - Baltimore County, MD Executive Race - Nov 06, 1962". www.ourcampaigns.com.
  5. "Our Campaigns - MD Governor Race - Nov 08, 1966". www.ourcampaigns.com.
  6. "Our Campaigns - US Vice President - R Convention Race - Aug 05, 1968". www.ourcampaigns.com.
  7. "Our Campaigns - US Vice President - R Convention Race - Aug 21, 1972". www.ourcampaigns.com.

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