politics Vice Presidents Who Became President  

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14 Vice Presidents of the United States eventually became President. Nine ascended to the presidency due to the death of the president, either by assassination or illness. Five others were elected president after finishing their terms. In these 14 commanders in chief, you'll find some of the most heralded names in American history, including several Founding Fathers. You'll also find several presidents whose terms were distinguished only by how undistinguished they were. Many had replaced presidents who, likewise, accomplished almost nothing in their short terms in office.

One fascinating element of the list of vice presidents who became president is that most of them, themselves, didn't have vice presidents. As it was written, the Constitution didn't allow for vice-presidents to be selected during a presidential term. So the eight vice presidents who became president before the passage of the 25th Amendment in 1967 had no vice president. Fortunately, none of these presidents died in office - which would have likely led to an unprecedented Constitutional crisis.

Here are the 14 vice presidents who later became President of the United States, with information on how they moved into the POTUS position and other biographical details.
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Vice Presidents Who Became President
Photo: Asher Brown Durand/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Adams was vice president for both of George Washington's terms, then was elected himself and served one term.

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Age: Died at 91 (1735-1826)

Birthplace: Eastern United States, Braintree, New England, Norfolk County, United States of America, + more

Date Born: 1735

Presidency: 2

V.P.: Thomas Jefferson

Also Ranked

#6 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#6 on The Best American Founding Fathers

#11 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#11 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

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Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Vice Presidents Who Became President
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Jefferson served as Adams's vice president, then was elected to two terms as president in 1796 and 1800.

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Age: Died at 83 (1743-1826)

Birthplace: Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States, with Territories, Albemarle County, + more

Date Born: 1743

Presidency: 3

V.P.: Aaron Burr, George Clinton

Also Ranked

#43 on The Greatest American Writers of All Time

#6 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#2 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#66 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

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Martin Van Buren is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Vice Presidents Who Became President
Photo: Freebase/Public domain

Van Buren was Andrew Jackson's second term vice president, from 1833 to 1837, replacing John C. Calhoun, who resigned to protest what he felt was an abrogation of South Carolina's rights. Van Buren was subsequently elected to one term as president.

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Age: Died at 80 (1782-1862)

Birthplace: Kinderhook, Columbia County, Contiguous United States, New York, United States of America, + more

Date Born: 1782

Presidency: 8

V.P.: Richard Mentor Johnson

Also Ranked

#62 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

#9 on The Best One-Term U.S. Presidents

#26 on The Best Former US Secretaries of State of All Time

#35 on The Greatest U.S. Presidents of All Time

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John Tyler is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Vice Presidents Who Became President
Photo: NPGpics/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Tyler had served only one month as vice president before William Henry Harrison's death in April 1841, from an illness contracted at his inauguration. Despite the US having existed for over 60 years, he became the first vice president to ascend to the presidency after a death in office. Though there were questions about his legitimacy in the office (some believed he was merely a temporary president), he served out Harrison's term, and was not nominated for a second.

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Age: Died at 72 (1790-1862)

Birthplace: Charles City County, Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States, with Territories, + more

Date Born: 1790

Presidency: 10

Also Ranked

#38 on The Greatest U.S. Presidents of All Time

#25 on The Best Political Nicknames

#14 on The Greatest U.S. Vice Presidents of All Time

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