The Death Of Vice Presidents In Office, And Vice Presidential Resignations

America has seen 47 Vice Presidents, all a heartbeat away from the Presidency, and nine of them—John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Alan Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gerald Ford—have succeeded to the Presidency during their term, and the fifth through eighth of these nine being, subsequently, elected to the Presidency.

What has not been investigated, studied, or thought about much, is the record of Vice Presidents dying in office, since most Vice Presidents have been in the shadows, relatively unknown and forgotten.

But when one investigates the issue of the death of Vice Presidents in office, one discovers that a total of seven Vice Presidents have died in office, beginning in 1812 and finishing precisely one century later in 1912. So no Vice President has died in office for the past hundred years.

The list of Vice Presidents who died in office, and the President they served under follows:

1812—George Clinton under James Madison
1814—Elbridge Gerry under James Madison
1853—William King under Franklin Pierce
1875—Henry Wilson under Ulysses S. Grant
1885—Thomas Hendricks under Grover Cleveland
1899—Garret Hobart under William McKinley
1912—James Sherman under William Howard Taft

The most interesting case is Hobart, who, if he had not died, likely would have run with McKinley in 1900, and succeeded him in the Presidency in 1901, instead of the very famous and influential Theodore Roosevelt!

Also notable is that both King and Hendricks died in the first year of the Presidential term, leaving no Vice President to succeed for the remainder of the term, with Gerry dying in the second year of the Presidential term, and and Wilson and Hobart in the third year of the Presidential term. Only Clinton and Sherman died in the last full year of the Presidential term, with Sherman dying just weeks before the election defeat of Taft, and his name being replaced on the Electoral College ballot by Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler, for the measly eight electoral votes of Utah and Vermont, which Taft won, as the worst defeated President running for another term in American history!

Also of interest is that only Madison lost both of his Vice Presidents in office!

So this is the record of Vice Presidents who died in office, with also mention to be made that John C. Calhoun and Spiro Agnew are the only Vice Presidents to resign from the Vice Presidency, in 1832 and 1973, during the administrations of Andrew Jackson and Richard Nixon!