Mike Pence and Tim Kaine may not be America’s most exciting politicians, and they’re running for a position that’s often been considered an afterthought.
However, the office of Vice President hasn’t just been a breeding ground for future presidents — although none since George H.W. Bush — it’s also had plenty of big personalities and hijinks during its 227-year history. In honor of the soon-to-be-departing, avuncular Joe Biden, here are 11 other vice presidents whose lives — and tenures — were not boring.
Burr became the first sitting vice president to shoot someone, killing political rival and future Broadway inspiration Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel in New Jersey. After he left office, Burr embarked on an ill-fated — and financially ruinous — venture in the Western frontier.
John C. Calhoun
Calhoun served under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, strongly advocating for slavery and a limited federal government. He resigned while a lame duck at the end of 1832 — Martin Van Buren was set to assume the role — in order to become a senator representing South Carolina.
Martin Van Buren
Van Buren became Jackson’s VP after winning a political struggle with Calhoun, who initially sought to block him from a ministerial position, thus ending his political career, only to have it backfire and make Van Buren appear more sympathetic. Van Buren proved his talents as a wheeler and dealer during his vice presidency, famously defusing a contentious argument with lion of the Senate Henry Clay by asking for a pinch from Clay’s snuff box.
Tyler had one of the shortest VP reigns in history — he became president when William Henry Harrison died as a result of pneumonia he contracted while delivering a two-hour inaugural address in freezing weather.
Breckinridge became the youngest-ever vice president, assuming the office at just 36 years of age. He became a senator after the election of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first-ever member of that body to be convicted of treason, after he joined the Confederate Army.
Johnson also had a short VP run, acceding to the office when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theater. Johnson was a Democrat who ran with Republican Lincoln on a unity ticket, and he proved to be one of the worst presidents ever; he fought against rights newly won by African Americans and was impeached — but not removed from office — in 1868.
John Nance Garner
One of America’s most colorfully nicknamed elected officials, conservative Democrat “Cactus Jack” cut a deal with Franklin D. Roosevelt that delivered FDR the Democratic nomination. However, Garner had little use for the VP spot he assumed, calling it “not worth a bucket of warm piss.” Garner ran against FDR in 1940, getting only 61 votes at the convention, and retired from public life the next year.
Henry A. Wallace
Wallace, a firebrand New Dealer, replaced Garner and served as FDR’s running mate for his third term. The delegates at the party convention initially booed his nomination, but Roosevelt rolled to the presidency in an electoral college rout. However, his outspoken liberal advocacy and feuds with other Cabinet members made Wallace a one-term VP; he was replaced by Harry Truman in 1945. FDR gave Wallace a consolation prize, naming him Commerce Secretary and making Wallace the last former VP to serve in the Cabinet.
Nixon’s first VP was famous for his alliterative insults, such as “nattering nabobs of negativism.” However, he quickly lost the respect of his chief executive and became the first vice president since Calhoun to resign the office, subsequently pleading no contest to tax evasion, part of a resolution to bribery allegations. Agnew and Nixon did not speak from the time he resigned until Nixon’s death.
George H.W. Bush’s running mate was not the most articulate VP — he remained a fixture of cable news and tabloids for his malapropisms and once (incorrectly) fixed a student’s spelling of “potato” to say “potatoe.” Quayle also used TV character Murphy Brown — a single mother — as an example of the degradation of values he felt was perpetrated by pop culture.
The man who many believe was the shadow operator behind the presidency of George W. Bush joined Aaron Burr as sitting vice presidents who shot someone else while in office. Cheney shot attorney Harry Whittington in the face during a 2006 quail hunt, which both men deemed an accident. He was also instrumental in providing justification for the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq.
Read original story 11 Actually Not Boring Vice Presidents, From Aaron Burr to Dan Quayle (Photos) At TheWrap