Joe Biden officially announced that he will be running for president in the 2020 election, perhaps eventually facing off against Donald Trump. If Biden wins, he will become the 15th former vice president to be elevated to the highest office in the land.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Biden has made his presidential ambitions official, putting months of speculation about whether or not he would enter the race to bed. In his announcement video, Biden said that he believes four more years of Trump would “fundamentally alter the character of this nation.”
“We are in a battle for the soul of this nation,” he said.
If Biden is successful in his bid for president, he would join a reputable list of historical figures who have gone from vice president to president.
So far, fourteen VP’s have held both offices, starting with John Adams, who served as the first vice president of the United States starting in 1789. He held office under President George Washington. Adams was famously critical of the role, saying it was “…the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived,” according to the White House.
After Washington stepped down, Adams successfully bid for the office, and became the nation’s second president in 1796. His vice president, Thomas Jefferson, would also go on to run and win the office of president in 1801. Jefferson is often credited with more firmly establishing the role of VP, according to the official Senate website. Martin Van Buren also ran — and won — the presidency after having served as VP.
But not every vice president who has become president did it by running in an election. Of the fourteen, nine VPs became president after their predecessor died or left office.
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of this is Gerald Ford, who took the office in 1974 after former President Richard Nixon resigned, according to the White House.
“I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances… This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts,” Ford told the nation at the time.
George H.W. Bush also served as VP, and then ran for — and won — the presidency.
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the role of president after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. In a similar fashion, VP Andrew Johnson became president after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and Theodore Roosevelt became president after William McKinley was killed. Chester A. Arthur also took office after his predecessor, James Garfield, was assassinated.
Several VP’s became president after their predecessors died. John Tyler took over after William Henry Harrison became the first president to die in office — after having served for just 32 days. This tipped off a constitutional crisis over determining the line of succession, setting the current precedent.
Millard Filmore became president after Zachary Taylor died in 1850, and Calvin Coolidge took the top office when William G. Harding died in 1923. Harry Truman took over the office after Franklin D. Roosevelt died, in 1945.
Nixon was the only president to be elected years after serving as VP — all others came to the office directly after serving. Joe Biden would follow in Nixon’s footsteps, in this regard, if he wins.