Last Updated 09 Apr 2020

How Has the Position of Vice President Changed

Category President
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How has the position of the vice president changed? (30 MARKS) The position of the vice president has drastically changed in many areas such as the way in which they are voted in, but it is still unchanged in areas like the powers given to the vice president in the constitution. As the role of the federal government and the presidents responsibilities grew presidents began to see the vice-presidency as a source of help in running the executive branch of government.

Beginning with the Eisenhower- Nixon administration 1953-61, vice presidents were given more high profile tasks and became in some cases significant presidential advisors in 1977 vice-president Mondale was shown the presidential daily briefing and was given an office in the west wing, Mondale was the first vice-president to receive this but after Mondale this was the normal thing for the vice-presidents.

The improved position of the vice-presidency has attracted more significant people to seek the office, over the past 50 years the list of vice-presidents has been a distinguished one, including names such as Lyndon Johnson and Al Gore, of the eleven vice-presidents who held office between 1953 and 2008 four went on to become president, while a further three were selected to run. The election of vice-president Dick Chaney was seen as a bit of a joke not because he was not qualified enough but because he was more qualified than the president George W. Bush, it was said 'if Dick Chaney were assassinated, Bush would have to become president'.

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Dick Chaney did not take the roles of a normal vice-president he had lots more power Bush gave Cheney access to 'every table and every meeting' making his voice heard in whatever area the vice-president feels he wants to be active in. The first two decades of the nations history, the vice-president was the person who came second in the balloting of the electoral college, until the 1804 the 12th amendment changed the vice presidential system, from then on it was elected on a joint ticket with the president so the choice for the potential president Is the choice of the people.

Modern day vice-presidents have take on new roles, many have played a role in legislation in congress, this is the role that Dick Chaney who was former member of the house of representatives took for George W. Bush and this is the role that Joe Biden a senator for 36 years plays for president Obama. The vice-president often becomes the party worker, electioneer and fund raiser, Cheney played this role in the run up to the 2002 mid term elections, according to the times Cheney was "drawing packed crowds and raking in millions of dollars for Republican candidates".

The vice-president may become a major spokesman for the administration, Gore became a regular face at the podium on environmental issues as well as over government efficiency drives. However vice-presidents have always had four powers in the constitution which are still in place today, the vice-president is the presiding officer of the senate, even though this function is rarely performed by the vice-president is usually assigned to junior members of senates chambers, the vice president can also break a tied vote in the senate, which can be very helpful for the president as when there was a tie breaking vote in 2001 on President Bushes $1. trillion tax cut Dick Chaney voted in favour of President Bush, between 1981 and January 2009 vice presidents were called upon to break tied votes on 19 occasions eight of these by Dick Chaney. The vice-president is given the task of counting and then announcing the electoral college results, so in 2001 vice president Al Gore had to announce his defeat in the previous November election.

The previous three powers are either of little importance or occur rarely or both, it is the final power that gives the office of vice-president its potential importance. The vice-president becomes president upon death, resignation or removal of the president from office, this has occurred on nine occasions, four times following the assassination of the president, four times following the natural death of the president, and once following the resignation of the president, president Nixon resigned in 1974 after the Watergate scandal.

The insignificant powers of the office, coupled with this potential importance led the first vice-president, John Adams to remark of the post 'in this I am nothing but I may be everything'. More recently the vice president has acquired a fifth power 'to become acting president if the president is declared, or declares himself disabled, this has been used three times but only for a short time, Dick Chaney was acting president twice but for just over two hours.

So there has been some drastic changes in the position of the vice-president, they have taken on a lot more responsibility than they have previously had, gradually getting more and more power, but it depends on the vice president such as Dick Chaney he was a very powerful vice-president which could be due to his expertise and the lack of experience of Bush in comparison, but some parts of the vice-presidency are still the same as they are still written in the constitution.

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