How Well Do You Know Your Vice Presidents?

Test yourself on our quiz of the famous, infamous and not-so-famous least powerful men in the country

Charles_Curtis-portrait.jpg
Library of Congress

Alben Barkley, 35th Vice President of the United States (1949–1953)

Alben Barkley
(Library of Congress)


Sworn in at age 71, Barkley was the oldest Vice President to date. He served under President Harry S. Truman as a member of the Democratic Party, but he’s not widely known for his political accomplishments. Rather, Barkley’s legacy is in a nickname. What was it?

Aaron Burr, 3rd Vice President of the United States (1801-5)

Aaron Burr
(Library of Congress)


In 1804, Burr was challenged to a duel by his political rival. Though Burr killed his opponent, he was never tried in court and in fact, all charges against him were dropped. But Burr’s dueling choices ended his political career; he never held office again. Who did Aaron Burr kill?

Charles Curtis, 31st Vice President of the United States (1929-1933)

Charles Curtis
(Library of Congress)


As Vice President under Herbert Hoover, he was the first and only person with Native American ancestry to serve as VP. In 1919 as a senate majority leader under President Woodrow Wilson before his Vice Presidency, Curtis spoke out in favor of what cause?

John Tyler, 10th Vice President of the United States (1841)

John Tyler
(Library of Congress)


This Virginia native was the first to succeed to the Presidency because of the death of the Chief Executive (William Henry Harrison famously died just 31 days after his inauguration). During Tyler’s short-lived term, his support of states’ rights and opposition to nationalism welcomed opposition from both parties. But a tragic event in 1844 on cruise down the Potomac River squandered any hope of his reelection. What is the name of the boat on which he was traveling?

Elbridge Thomas Gerry, 5th Vice President of the United States (1813–1814)

Elbridge Thomas Gerry
(Library of Congress)


At the United States Constitutional Convention in 1787, Gerry and two others—Edmund Randolph and George Mason—refused to sign the Constitution because it did not then include a Bill of Rights. Prior to his service as vice president to James Madison, Gerry was governor of Massachusetts and lost reelection in 1812 over his support for a redistricting bill that benefited his Democratic-Republican Party. Out of that debate, the term “gerrymander” was born. What animal inspired this term?

Hannibal Hamlin, 15th Vice President of the United States (1861-1865)

Hannibal Hamlin
(Library of Congress)


In 1860, Hamlin was elected Vice President before he even met his boss, Abraham Lincoln. Hamlin, a Northerner, was considered by the Republican Party leaders to be a strong regional balance to Lincoln, the Westerner. But before the presidential race of 1864, Hamlin was replaced on the Lincoln re-election ticket for which Southern gentleman?

Calvin Coolidge, 29th Vice President (1920-1923)

Calvin Coolidge
(Library of Congress)


When Coolidge was elected to the Warren G. Harding ticket in 1921, he wasn’t all that excited. In fact, Silent Cal, as he came to be known, probably would’ve rather been sleeping. How many hours a day did he average of sleep?

William R. King, 13th Vice President of the United States (March 4-April 18, 1853)

William R. King
(Library of Congress)


King served the shortest term as vice president in history: he died six weeks after he was sworn in. The only unmarried VP, he lived as President James Buchanan’s roommate for many years. For this reason, Andrew Jackson gave them each a nickname; what were they?

Spiro Theodore Agnew, 39th Vice President of the United States (1969–73)

Spiro Theodore Agnew
(Library of Congress)


Serving under President Nixon, Agnew was the first Greek American to hold the office of vice president. He had another first in Veep history involving bribes totaling more than $100,000: What was it?

Schuyler Colfax Jr. 17th Vice President of the United States (1869-73)

Schuyler Colfax Jr.
(Library of Congress)


In which scandal in 1872 involving the Union Pacific Railroad was this VP connected?