Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award

5-1-2010

Department

Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

Mark Henkels

Honors Program Director

Gavin Keulks

Abstract

The Office of the Vice Presidency has always been a strange position. It is the only position in the U.S. government that is part of two different branches, the executive and the legislative. Traditionally, the Vice President's role has been to do nothing except wait for the President to die. John Adams, who was the nation's first Vice President, once said of the office of the Vice Presidency, "M y country has contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived". In fact, the office has been so unimportant historically that it has been vacant 15 times (Bauman p.1). Over time, the office of the Vice Presidency has evolved and developed into the position it is today. The Modern Vice President not only serves as an advisor to the President on domestic and foreign policy, but also acts as the presidential liaison to Congress. The Vice President also serves on, and in some instances chairs, many key committees in the U. S. Government. The office has gone through three distinct eras that fundamentally changed the position from the role that the founding fathers envisioned to the modern Vice Presidency. The entity that is the modern Vice Presidency has created a problem that would have been unheard of 100 years ago. Since the Office of the Vice President has gained so much power in the last few decades with Vice Presidents such as Richard Nixon, Walter Mondale, and Dick Cheney, there is now the possibility of actually having executive officers that are so powerful they become a co-president; something that the founders of our country never intended.

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