The American Vice Presidency

From the Shadow to the Spotlight

by Jody C. Baumgartner,

It is quite possible that no elected office has been more historically maligned than the vice presidency of the United States. From the beginning of American politics the office has been the object of ridicule by scholars, pundits, humorists, citizens, and even vice presidents themselves. The perception among many is that institution and its occupants are at best irrelevant. Recent history would suggest otherwise, but as it stands no book exists that takes a detailed look at the new, impactful vice presidency that’s been forged since Clinton/Gore took office. The American Vice Presidency fills an important hole in the literature available to those interested in the modern vice presidency. Concise yet comprehensive, this book is the fullest and most accurate examination of the office to date, covering the origins and constitutional roots of the institution, its history, and the slow transformation of the office starting in the mid-twentieth century. Jody C Baumgartner and Thomas F. Crumblin highlight major changes in vice presidential selection as well as the new and various roles that vice presidents are being asked to play in their administrations. The book emphasizes the increasingly substantive Vice Presidencies of Gore, Cheney, and Biden and both informs and spurs the debate surrounding what form and role the Vice Presidency will take on moving forward.
  • Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; April 2015
  • ISBN: 9781442228900
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure EPUB format
  • Title: The American Vice Presidency
  • Author: Jody C. Baumgartner; Thomas F. Crumblin (other)
  • Imprint: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

In The Press

Baumgartner and Crumblin provide a detailed account of the history and development of the American vice presidents. The authors do a good job of surveying the early period from the Constitutional Convention to the late 19th century, and also provide an assessment of the transition of the position into the modern era. The particular benefit of the book, however, is the authors coverage of the most recent vice presidents: Al Gore, Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden. Their assessment of Cheneyeasily one of the most controversial vice presidentscovers his influence over national security policy to his role in George W. Bushs 2004 reelection campaign, and is thorough and fair. A similar treatment is given of Biden, who, like Cheney and Gore before him, is a key presidential adviser. Baumgartner and Crumblin do well in showing that the office of the vice president is no longer a resting place for mediocrities as Arthur Schlesinger once opined. Instead, it is an important position that attracts strong and forceful politicians. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and undergraduate students all levels.

About The Author

Jody C Baumgartner is associate professor of political science at Eastern Carolina University and the author of Conventional Wisdom and American Elections: Exploding Myths, Exploring Misconceptions.

Thomas F. Crumblin is an independent researcher and author who received a bachelor's degree in political science from Syracuse University. His interests include American and British politics along with media and politics.