Should We Celebrate Vice Presidents' Day?
- By Steve Plantz
- Feb 20, 2018
One U.S. vice president killed a political rival. Another died in office. Yet another is still living. And all were born in February. Since we celebrate the February birthdays of two of our most famous presidents with sales and such, Sleep Outfitters thought we’d show the “veeps” a little love. Find out more about Aaron Burr (served under President Thomas Jefferson), Henry Wilson (Ulysses S. Grant) and Dan Qualye (George H.W. Bush)
Aaron Burr, born February 6, 1756, served as vice president to President Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic- Republican party from March 4, 1801 to March 4, 1805. He was the country’s third vice president, and is perhaps best known for the duel in which he killed Alexander Hamilton, the former US Treasury Secretary and member of the Federalist party, who was also the subject of a recent hit Broadway musical. The two men had long-running political differences and personal animosity toward one another. The duel took place in Weehawken, New Jersey on July 11, 1804. Hamilton fired first and missed. Burr then wounded Hamilton, who died the next day. This at a time when dueling was being outlawed in the northern U.S. Burr was indicted for murder, but the charges were eventually dropped and he was acquitted. Burr ended Hamilton’s life, but he also effectively ended his own political career, spending his remaining days in relative obscurity practicing law in New York City. He died September 14, 1836.
Henry Wilson, born February 16, 1812, was the 18th U.S. vice president and served in that capacity during President Ulysses S. Grant’s second term, replacing Vice President Schuyler Colfax, who decided not to run. Wilson, a former Massachusetts senator, was a strong opponent of slavery, and helped found the Republican party in the mid-1850s. Wilson began his term as vice president on March 4, 1873. Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke in May 1873, which limited his ability to carry out his vice-presidential duties. He died of a fatal stroke on November 22, 1875 while working in the U.S. Capitol.
Dan Quayle, born February 4, 1947, served as the country’s 44th vice president (January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993) under Republican President George H.W. Bush. The former Indiana senator and congressman was considered by some a liability on the campaign trail due to his sometimes evasive and uncertain answers regarding his lack of military service and experience. When, during an October 1988 vice presidential debate with the Democratic candidate, Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, the subject of Quayle’s inexperience came up, Quayle said his 12 years of congressional service were nearly as long as that of John F. Kennedy before he became president. Bentsen responded that the late President Kennedy was a friend of his, saying, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy,” a phrase that soon entered the political lexicon. Still, Bush/Quayle went on to defeat Bentsen and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in the 1988 election. One of six living former vice presidents, Quayle lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona and serves as Chairman of Global Investments at Cerberus Capital Management.