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vice president

Article 2 of the Constitution provides for a vice president to be elected for the same term as a president. The vice president is the second-highest public office created by the Constitution and also serves as the president of the Senate. The 25th Amendment of the Constitution was passed in 1967 to give the vice president the authority to become president and develop a process that outlines a way to decide if a president is disabled.

The original idea was that a senator would be president of the senate.  However, this led to a couple of problems.  First, if the president could vote only during a tie, the state would be under-represented.  Second, if the president could vote at all times, the state would be over-represented as the senator would have two voting seats. 

To solve these problems, the Brearly Committee decided that the vice president would be president of the Senate. 
Annotated by bacraig on November 17, 2014

John Dickinson asked a crucial question, but the delegates postponed the matter, never to return fully to it.  We are unsure what the Framers had in mind on this matter.

So, it is a question that has haunted lawmakers ever since.  Disability was left undefined and there was no process or criteria to determine whether a president was disabled and how to transfer duties if a president was considered disabled.

 Eight presidents have died in office where the transfer to the vice-president was possible.  However, Presidents James Garfield and Woodrow Wilson suffered from long illnesses in which they did little work.   Even William McKinley suffered for eight days before succumbing to an assassin's bullet before Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered from a heart attack and a stroke while in office, as well.

With John F. Kennedy’s assassination and President Lyndon Johnson’s heart trouble, there was growing concern about the idea of disability and transfer of power.  The 25th Amendment of the Constitution was passed in 1967 to give the vice president the authority to become president and develop a process that outlines a way to decide if a president is disabled.

Annotated by bacraig on July 30, 2014