Thirteen US Presidents originally served as Vice President. They got promotion due to assassination, death by other means, resignation or simply by getting elected in their own right.
But who was the last to make the famous switch?
Who is the last person to go directly from Vice President to President?
12 other Presidents who made the switch
A Massachusetts lawyer and then a delegate of the Continental Congress formed during the American Revolution (1775-1783) by background, Adams went on to become the first Vice President of the United States under George Washington (1789-1797). He then became President and served one term (1797-1801). Adams lost the 1800 election due to his support for the Alien and Sedition Act that allowed the government to deport ‘enemy aliens.’
Jefferson had a distinguished background in numerous professions, which included law, architecture and science. He served as a governor and member of the House of Delegates and the House of Burgesses in Virginia. In government, he served as a Secretary of State, Congressman and Diplomatic Minister. He was the Democrat-Republican candidate for the 1796 election and became Vice President to Adams after losing the presidency to him by three votes. Jefferson went on to defeat Adams in 1800 and became President. He purchased Louisiana from the French in 1803.
Martin van Buren
Van Buren became Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of State and then his Vice President when the latter ran for a second term in 1833. After defeating William Henry Harrison in the 1836 election, van Buren served for one term as President. He was succeeded by Harrison in 1841.
Harrison died about thirty days after taking office, which resulted in John Tyler becoming President of the United States. He served until 1845. Tyler was the first Vice President to become president without getting elected.
As Vice President, Fillmore presided over the debates in the Senate that led to the Compromise of 1850, which admitted California as a free state. Following the death of President Taylor, Fillmore was then became President. He saw the final vote for the Compromise through Congress, which allowed California to join the Union at the expense of Texas. Because he supported a bill that placed federal officers at the disposal of fugitive slaveholders, militant Whigs conspired to deprive Fillmore of the 1852 presidential nomination.
Johnson, a Democrat, served as Abraham Lincoln’s Vice President during his second term. Following Lincoln’s assassination on 15th April 1865, Johnson became President. He was impeached for violating the Tenure of Office Act. Johnson was unsuccessful for President in 1868.
Chester A. Arthur
Republican Chester A. Arthur served as Vice President under President Garfield. He later succeeded his old boss as President following Garfield’s assassination. Under his tenure, Congress passed the Pendleton Act, which established a Civil Service Commission that made government positions obtainable through written examination. Arthur cut tariffs and reformed the immigration system by excluding lunatics, criminals and paupers from entering the country. He died from kidney disease in 1886, even though he ran for the Presidential nomination in 1884 and was defeated.
Roosevelt was President McKinley’s Vice President until the latter’s assassination on September 6th 1901. Roosevelt then became the youngest President in US history. He was re-elected in 1904 and served until 1909. Roosevelt later ran under a Progressive Party ticket after losing the Republican nomination in 1912, but was defeated by Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
Coolidge became President after Warren Harding’s heart attack in 1923. He previously served as Harding’s Vice President. Coolidge was re-elected in 1924 and became known as ‘Silent Cal’ for his quiet nature.
Harry S. Truman
Truman, a Democrat, served as President Roosevelt’s Vice President. He then became President following Roosevelt’s death in April 1945. Truman made critical decisions in foreign policy which involved providing aid to Greece and Turkey when they were under threat from Communism. This programme became known as the Truman Doctrine. He also assisted Berlin during the Soviet air blockade of 1948 and took the US to war with Korea following North Korea’s decision to invade the South in 1950.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Johnson was Kennedy’s Vice President following the 1960 campaign and then became President following JFK’s assassination in November 1963. Kohnson attempted to create a Great Society aimed at eradicating poverty and controlling crime. Millions of elderly people received proper medical care through the 1965 Medicaid Amendment to the Social Security Act. He also passed Civil Rights legislation. Johnson shocked the Democrats when he announced his withdrawal from the 1968 race to become their presidential nominee due to protests at the way he was handling the war in Vietnam.
Gerald R. Ford
Ford became President following Nixon’s resignation in 1974, having served as his Vice President for eight months following the resignation of Spiro Agnew, Nixon’s original VP. Ford would later go on to pardon Nixon for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. He ran for election in 1976, but lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter.