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Friday, April 26, 2013

John Adams as Vice President

On April 21, 1789, John Adams, the first vice president of the United States, began his duties as president of the Senate. Adams' role in the administration of George Washington was sharply constrained by the constitutional limits on the vice-presidency and his own reluctance to encroach upon executive prerogative. He enjoyed a cordial but distant relationship with President Washington, who sought his advice on occasion but relied primarily on the cabinet. Adams played a more active role in the Senate, however, particularly during his first term.

As president of the Senate, Adams cast twenty-nine tie-breaking votes — a record that no successor has ever threatened.1 His votes protected the president's sole authority over the removal of appointees, influenced the location of the national capital, and prevented war with Great Britain. On at least one occasion he persuaded senators to vote against legislation that he opposed, and he frequently lectured the Senate on procedural and policy matters. Adams' political views and his active role in the Senate made him a natural target for critics of the Washington administration. Toward the end of his first term, he began to exercise more restraint in the hope of realizing the goal shared by many of his successors: election in his own right as president of the United States.

Date of Report: April 26, 2013
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: G1365
Price: $5.95

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