This week’s Vice-President is: Dan Quayle!
Born: February 4, 1947
Vice-President #: 44
Under: George H. W. Bush
Dates: January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
Fun Facts: In 1980, Quayle, at age 33, became the youngest person from Indiana ever elected to the US Senate, and in 1986, he was re-elected with the largest margin to date of any candidate in a state-wide Indiana election.
As Vice-President, as opposed to his successors Gore and Cheney, Quayle had a somewhat limited policy-making role: he led the newly created National Space Council, for example (even though his friends warned him of the dangers of being known as “Mr. Space”), and Bush appointed him head of the newly-formed, Council on Competitiveness in 1989, charged to maintain America’s competitive edge in international commerce. Still, the biography on his website states: “Dan Quayle is widely considered to have been one of the most active Vice Presidents in history,” so you can be the judge.
Quayle is the only Vice-President (who did not also become President) that has his own museum, The Dan Quayle Center and Museum in Huntington, Indiana, which not only details Quayle’s vice-presidency, but includes information about all Vice-Presidents (field trip?).
This week’s Vice-President is: Thomas Marshall!
Born: March 14, 1854
Died: June 1, 1925
Vice-President #: 28
Under: Woodrow Wilson
Dates: March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921
Fun Facts: Thomas Riley Marshall was a progressive Governor from Indiana from 1909-1913 and Indiana delegates nominated him for President in 1912 but eventually William Jennings Bryan endorsed Woodrow Wilson instead. Initially Marshall turned down the Vice-Presidency, thinking it would be boring, but he gave in and served the post for 8 years, the last Governor to do so (Wilson and Marshall were the first President/Vice President team re-elected since Monroe and Tompkins in 1820).
After Wilson suffered a severe stroke a year before his term was up, Marshall could have become the first “Acting President of the United States,” but since the protocol for this was unclear, he did not make this claim.
Marshall is best known perhaps, believe it or not, for a phrase he introduced during a Senate debate in 1917. As the legend goes, a rather long-winded senator began spouting off rhetoric: “What this country needs is so and so…” “What this country needs is blah blah blah,” etc, and Marshall turns to his clerk and quips, “What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar.” Where would we be today, truly, without that phrase?
This week’s Vice-President is: Henry Wilson!
Born: February 16, 1812
Died: November 22, 1875
Vice-President #: 18
Under: Ulysses S. Grant
Dates: March 4, 1873 – November 22, 1875
Fun Facts: Wilson was born Jeremiah Jones Colbath but had his name legally changed at the age of 21 (he was adopted by the Wilson family at a young age when the Colbath family could no longer support 12 children). Allegedly, remembering his father’s drinking problem, “Jeremiah,” at the age of 19, swore he would never consume alcohol. In 1833, Wilson moved to Natick, Massachusetts and worked as a shoemaker (his Senate nickname was the “Natick cobbler”)
Wilson was implicated in the Credit Mobilier scandal but not as badly as Schuyler Colfax, who Wilson replaced in Grant’s second-term. In 1873, Wilson suffered a stroke and became paralyzed. Bed ridden, he wrote the three-volume, “History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America in 1877.” In 1875, Wilson died in his office in the Capitol Building. The office remained vacant for the last two years of Grant’s term.
This week’s Vice-President is: Alben Barkley!
Born: November 24, 1877
Died: April 30, 1956
Vice-President #: 35
Under: Harry Truman
Dates: January 20, 1949 – January 20, 1953
Fun Facts: Barkley, a Kentuckian, was 71 when he became Vice-President, the oldest to date. He also is the only Vice-President to ever marry while in office. Yep, at age 71, he married a widow (Jane Hadley) who was 38, which caused quite a stir. He was also the last VP born in a log cabin.
According to the Truman Library website: “Because of his legislative experience, Truman insisted on his inclusion in all cabinet-level meetings and on the National Security Council, which made him the first working Vice-President in United States History.”
His 10-year old grandson once called him “Veep” which is when the term was coined. He died of a heart-attack while giving a speech at a “mock convention” at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. Reportedly, he had just said: “I would rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty” before keeling over.
This week’s Vice-President is: Garret Hobart!
Born: June 3, 1844
Died: November 21, 1899
Vice-President #: 24
Under: William McKinley
Dates: March 4, 1897 – November 21, 1899
Fun Facts: Like Levi P. Morton, James Garfield also asked Garret Augustus Hobart to be his Vice-President, but Hobart turned him down (if he had said yes, he would have been the 22nd President).
The Republican machine recruited Hobart to give McKinley’s ticket a pro-business edge (as Hobart was a very successful and wealthy businessman). He was a strong supporter of the Spanish-American War, so strong that President McKinley reportedly used Hobart’s pen to sign the declaration of war after the “sinking” of the Maine.
In early 1899 he started having fainting spells, then died of heart failure. He was the sixth Vice-President to die in office. If he had lived into McKinley’s second term, he would have been the 26th President of the United States, instead of Big Stick Man.
This week’s Vice-President is: John Tyler!
Born: March 29, 1790
Died: January 18, 1862
Vice-President #: 10
Under: William Henry Harrison
Dates: March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
Party: Democratic, Whig
Fun Facts:Tyler was the first Vice-President ever to accede to the presidency after the death of a sitting President (and our first Vice-President of the week that was also a president!). Article II of the Constitution is vague as to whether Tyler’s title should have been “President of the United States” or merely “Acting President of the United States” yet both houses of Congress in 1841 voted that he should be given the title of President (this vagary was cleared up by the 25th Amendment).
Harrison was a Whig (the only other Whig President was Zachary Taylor) yet Tyler vetoed almost every bill submitted by the Whig-controlled Congress. He was officially thrown out of the party in 1841 and thereafter became known as “the man without a party.” John Quincy Adams, former President and later a Congressman, proposed the first impeachment resolution against a President in 1843, arguing that Tyler misused his power of veto. The resolution did not pass.
The final year of his presidency was marred by a freak accident: 2 cabinet members (the Secretaries of State and Navy) were exploded when the main gun aboard the USS Princeton fired during a demonstration.
This week’s Vice-President is: Thomas Hendricks!
Born: September 7, 1819
Died: November 25, 1885
Vice-President #: 21
Under: Grover Cleveland
Dates: March 4, 1885 – November 25, 1885
Fun Facts:Hendricks was running mate to Samuel J. Tilden in the famous presidential election of 1876, where Tilden received 250,000 more popular votes than Rutherford B. Hayes, but neither had the necessary electoral votes for victory. Congress established the “Electoral Commission” which consisted of 15 members: five from the House, five from the Senate and five from the Supreme Court. An 8 to 7 vote made Hayes the 19th president, yet democrats still referred to him as Rutherfraud B. Hayes throughout his term.
Also, Hendricks is the only vice-president to appear on US currency without also being President; he appears on the “Tombstone” $10 bill of 1886, (named for the shape surrounding Hendricks’ head in the center of the bill).