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Vice President
How can the Vice Presidency be a path to the presidency?

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Vice President
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Chester A. Arthur
Vice president to
James Garfield
March-September 1881

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Richard M. Nixon
Vice president to
Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Chester A. Arthur, during his six-month tenure as vice president, Chester A. Arthur did not play a significant role in James Garfield's administration, but did fulfill the vice president's role as tiebreaker in a Senate that was evenly divided between the two parties. Moreover, Arthur purportedly worked behind the President's back with Roscoe Conkling, a party boss and aspiring presidential candidate, to distribute "spoils" to their favored party loyalists. Arthur was with Conkling when Garfield was shot and mortally wounded in 1881. 






Richard M. Nixon served for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. Can a vice president effectively counterbalance the strengths and weaknesses of a president? That may have been the function Nixon, a young, conservative Californian, offered a contrast to the older, more moderate Eisenhower. Through Nixon, Eisenhower, as president, hoped to maintain his amicable, "grandfatherly" image. Afterall, Nixon could fight the political battles necessary to building an effective partisan team. Eventually, during Nixon's own presidency, Spiro Agnew would come to play a similarly aggressive role for Nixon.

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