American presidents can be elected to two, four-year terms in office (or a maximum of 10 years in a case of a president who ascended to the position as vice president), thanks to the 22nd Amendment, which was ratified in 1951. However, vice presidents, like members of the U.S. Congress, face no such restrictions on how long they can hold their jobs. To date, though, no one who’s ever been a heartbeat away from the presidency has served more than two full terms. In fact, only nine VPs have served for eight years: John Adams, Daniel Tompkins, John C. Calhoun, Thomas Marshall, John Nance Garner, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden.
Since 1789, there have been 47 veeps, including Joseph Biden, and 14 of them have gone on to become commander-in-chief. Eight ascended to the top spot after their boss died in office, while five others (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush) were elected to the role. In 1841, when President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia a month after his inauguration, John Tyler made the nation’s speediest leap from VP to chief executive.
Seven vice presidents have died in office (all from natural causes, compared with four presidential assassinations), and two have resigned. In 1832, Vice President John Calhoun ditched the job in order to fill a vacated U.S. Senate seat, and in 1973 Spiro Agnew resigned in the midst of a bribery scandal. (Gerald Ford, who was appointed VP after Agnew vacated the post, went on to the White House a year later, when President Nixon resigned. Ford is the only person to have held both jobs without being elected.) The record for most vice presidents goes to Franklin Roosevelt, who had three–John Nance Garner, Henry Wallace, Harry Truman–over the course of his four terms in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, there have been two veeps, George Clinton and John Calhoun, who each served two different chief executives.
Every president since John Adams has resided in the White House, but VPs lived in private homes until the 1970s. In 1974, Congress agreed to renovate a house on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory for use by the vice president and his family. Three years later, Walter Mondale became the first veep to call the place home. Since then, the Naval Observatory has been the official residence of the vice president.