Vice President of the United States

second-highest constitutional office in the United States

The vice president of the United States (often referred to as VP or VPOTUS) is the second highest executive officer of the federal government of the United States, after the president. The vice president ranks first in the presidential line of succession and is also the officer of the legislative branch and the president of the Senate and the presiding officer of the Senate.

Vice President of the
United States of America
Seal of the Vice President of the United States.svg
Seal of the Vice President of the United States
Flag of the Vice President of the United States.svg
Flag of the Vice President of the United States
Kamala Harris Vice Presidential Portrait (cropped).jpg
Kamala Harris

since January 20, 2021
  • The Honorable
  • Her Excellency
  • Madam Vice President
AbbreviationVPOTUS, VP, Veep
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
National Economic Council
ResidenceNumber One Observatory Circle
SeatWashington, D.C.
AppointerElectoral College
Term lengthFour years, No term limit
Constituting instrumentConstitution of the United States
Inaugural holderJohn Adams
FormationMarch 4, 1789; 233 years ago (1789-03-04)
Salary$235,000 (annually)

List of vice presidentsEdit

Selection and electionEdit

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 they tie they 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 that party's presidential candidate. The vice president and president are usually from the same political party (for example, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were both Democrats, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were both Republicans).


The vice president only 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 first 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 (can not do the job of president). For example, Vice President George H.W. Bush acted as president when Ronald Reagan was having an operation.

If the vice president dies or becomes presidentEdit

Before 1967, if the president died, it was unclear whether the vice president was president or merely acting president. However, 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 uncertainty was corrected after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Under the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution, if the president dies, the vice president automatically becomes the president. If the vice president dies, resigns, or becomes president, the president can appoint a new vice president. The appointment needs to be confirmed by a majority vote of both the United States House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. This has happened twice. Gerald Ford became vice president after the resignation of Spiro Agnew, and Nelson Rockefeller became vice president when Gerald Ford became president after Richard Nixon resigned.

Vice presidents who became presidentEdit

The following vice presidents either became president after the death or resignation of the president, or were elected in their own right:

Living former vice presidentsEdit