Can A Former President Be Vice President? The US Constitution

Can A Former President Be Vice President

So, can a former president be vice President? What does the United States Constitution say about this? 

Most politicians would prefer to remain in office for life. Most past presidents would like to remain in power if they have the chance, while some may even return to other positions if permitted. 

However, the reasons we haven’t seen a president return as a vice might have little to do with their reputation. Rather, it might have a lot to do with the Constitution. Here, we will discuss why former presidents aren’t returning as vice presidents. Keep reading to learn more!

Can A Former President Be Vice President?

The answer to this question is no! A former president cannot become a vice president to another president.

Two laws work against any president’s hope of returning as vice president. The first is the 22nd Amendment. It states that the president can only serve for two terms. In other words, the president can only remain in office for eight years. 

The second is the 12th Amendment. It states that a person ineligible or cannot run for the president’s office cannot run for vice president. The reason is simple. If the president dies, the vice president automatically becomes the president. 

According to the Constitution, a former sitting president can only serve two terms (8 years). Thus, a former president now serving as vice president cannot become president if the person occupying the position dies or becomes incapacitated. 

Can A One-Term President Be Vice President?

Yes, a president that only served a term can become a vice president to another president. He or she isn’t breaking the law by doing so. 

The Constitution is clear on this one. It states that a president can only serve for two terms. In other words, a president who has served for two terms has completed his or her tenure. He or she cannot contest in a presidential or vice presidential election because the Constitution forbids it. 

A one-term former president can be a vice president because he or she hasn’t completed the term in office. If the president dies, a one-term president serving as his or her vice president can take over. In other words, he or she will become the next president. 

Let’s use Donald Trump as an example. Trump served as a one-term president. Thus, he can become vice president under another individual running for president because he only served a term. 

If the president dies, Donald Trump will emerge as the new president. He has only served one term. Thus, Trump will be doing a second term automatically. But after that, he won’t be eligible to contest for the office of vice president or president. That’s how it works. 

Can A Former Vice President Become The President Of The United States?

A former vice president can become the president. In addition, he or she won’t be breaking the law by this act. Joe Biden’s case is a good example. He served two terms as Barack Obama’s vice president and is now the United States of America president. 

The founding fathers of the United States of America had high regard for the office of the vice president. Anyone that became vice president was seen as a potential president. 

Vice presidents were viewed as presidents-in-waiting. In other words, they were viewed as people learning the ropes of what it takes to be president, so they could be effective if given a chance. 

Being a vice president boasts one’s chances of becoming president. It will make one’s name popular and build people’s trust in you. 

Several vice presidents have gone on to become the presidents of the United States of America. Here are some of the names below. 

  • John Adams – Served as vice president under George Washington. He served as the president of the United States of America from 1797 to 1801.
  • Thomas Jefferson – Served as John Adams’s vice and contested against him. Despotism accusations from Jeffersonians and Federalist opposition contributed to John Adams’s loss. He lost his second term election to his vice, Thomas Jefferson, who served from 1801 to 1809.   
  • Martin Van Buren – Buren served as the eighth vice president and tenth secretary of state to President Andrew Jackson. Buren later became president from 1837 to 1841. 
  • John Tyler – Tyler became the president from 1841 to 1845. He was vice president to William Henry Harrison. He was only vice president for 31 days before becoming the president upon Harrison’s demise. William Henry Harrison was the shortest-term president of the United States of America. He died 31 days after his inauguration into office as the president.
  • Millard Fillmore – Fillmore was vice president to Zachary Taylor and became president upon his death. Fillmore only served as president for 3 years. Signing the Fugitive Slave Act ruined his chances of clinching a presidential nomination in 1852. He served as president from 1850 to 1853. 
  • Andrew Johnson – Johnson served as Abraham Lincoln’s vice. Upon Lincoln’s assassination, he became the president. He served from 1865 to 1869. He had been the country’s vice president for only 6 weeks before becoming president.  
  • Chester A. Arthur – Chester Alan Arthur was the 21st president of the United States of America. He served from 1829 to 1886. He served as vice president of James A. Garfield before becoming president. 
  • Theodore Roosevelt – Roosevelt served as president of the United States of America from 1901 to 1909. He became the president upon President William McKinley’s assassination. 
  • Calvin Coolidge – Coolidge was the 30th president of the United States of America. He served from 1923 to 1929. Coolidge became president upon Warren G Harding’s demise.    
  • Harry S. Truman – Truman was the 33rd president of the United States of America. He served from 1945 to 1953. He became president following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death and led the country through the final stages of the Second World War.  
  • Lyndon B. Johnson – Johnson served as the 36th president of the United States of America. He served from 1963 to 1969. He became president following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. 
  • Richard Nixon – Nixon was the 37th president and served from 1969 to 1974. He served as vice president under Dwight D Eisenhower before contesting and winning the presidential election. In a landslide, he won his second term election, winning 49 out of 50 states.  
  • Gerald R. Ford – Ford served as president from 1974 to 1977. He became the president following Nixon’s resignation. He’s the only person that has become vice president and president without winning an election. He served as vice president under Richard Nixon following Spiro Agnew’s resignation. 
  • George H.W. Bush – Herbert Walker Bush was president from 1989 to 1993. He served as vice president under Ronald Regan. 
  • Joe Biden – Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is the 46th president of the United States of America. He took over the office in 2021. Before becoming president, Joe Biden served as vice president under Barack Obama.      

Can A Former President Become A Senator?

Yes, a former president can become a senator. There is no law against such. Andrew John’s case is a typical example. He became the president of the United States of America following Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

After his first tenure, Andrew John tried to seek re-election but failed. He then returned to his home in Tennessee and stayed active in local and national politics. 

He became a senator in 1875 after serving as a one-term president. Andrew Johnson confessed that he enjoyed senator work more than being the president. 

A Handy Tip: For several reasons, many former presidents are not vying for political offices or running for senate. The first one is age. Most former presidents are older and may not function effectively as senators. 

Another reason is security. Former presidents are targets for international crime organizations and terrorists. That’s why they have the secret service guiding them for a few years. 

It isn’t easy to do a senator’s job when the secret service follows you everywhere. 

The final reason most former presidents don’t run for senate is the effect it would have on their party’s chance of emerging victorious. The chances would be slim if the people didn’t like the president. They may vote for someone else. 


Can a former president be vice president? The answer is no. You cannot be a vice president once you have entered the president’s office and served for two terms. 

The Constitution states that an individual can only serve as president for two terms. This means you cannot return as president or vice once you complete eight years in office. 

The Constitution stipulates that an individual ineligible for president cannot be vice president. That’s because the president dies, and the vice has to take over. 

However, you can become vice president even as a former president when you only served a single term. If the president dies and you take over, you will be considered to have completed your second term in office.  

Linda Foster

Linda Foster is a news blogger with an insatiable appetite for current events. She is constantly digging for the latest scoop, and her readers can always rely on her to get the story first. Linda has a sharp eye for detail, and she isn't afraid to ask the tough questions. When she's not blogging, Linda enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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