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Aaron Burr. Engraving on paper, c. 1793 - 1814, by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon.

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Burr, Aaron (06 February 1756–14 September 1836), revolutionary soldier, U.S. senator, and vice president of the United States, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Aaron Burr, a theologian and the second president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), and ...

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John C. Calhoun. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102297).

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Calhoun, John C. (18 March 1782–31 March 1850), vice president, U.S. senator, and secretary of state, was born John Caldwell Calhoun at what was then known as the District of Ninety-six, later known as Abbeville, on the frontier of southwestern South Carolina, the son of Patrick Calhoun, a prosperous Scotch-Irish farmer and one of the largest slave owners in the backcountry, and Martha Caldwell, also of Scotch-Irish descent. John Calhoun was the couple’s third son, and though like his older brothers and sister he did his share of farm work, the family considered him to have such promise that he deserved a better education than the local field schools afforded. Calhoun attended ...

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Charles Curtis. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-106922).

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Curtis, Charles (25 January 1860–08 February 1936), congressman, senator, and vice president of the United States, was born in North Topeka, Kansas, the son of Orren Arms Curtis, a soldier, and Ellen Gonville Pappan, a quarter-blood member of the Kansa (Kaw) Indian tribe. The only person of Indian blood to be elected to the second highest office in the land, Curtis traced his ancestry on the maternal side to Kansa chief White Plume, who married a daughter of the renowned Osage chief ...

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George Mifflin Dallas. Hand-colored lithograph on paper, 1844, by Nathaniel Currier. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Dallas, George Mifflin (10 July 1792–31 December 1864), vice president of the United States, senator, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Alexander James Dallas, a prominent lawyer and Democratic Republican politician, and Arabella Maria Smith. He graduated with highest honors from Princeton in 1810 and studied law with his father before his admission to the bar in 1813....

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Hannibal Hamlin. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109919).

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Hannibal Hamlin. Photograph from the Brady National Photographic Art Gallery. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1429).

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Hamlin, Hannibal (27 August 1809–04 July 1891), fifteenth vice president of the United States, was born in Paris, Maine, the son of Cyrus Hamlin (1769–1829), a physician, sheriff of Oxford County, and farmer, and Anna Livermore. Hannibal was schooled locally and attended Hebron Academy for a year (1826–1827), worked as a clerk, learned surveying, and taught school briefly before returning home to run the family farm after his father died unexpectedly in 1829. Drawn into politics, he became co-owner of the local Democratic newspaper but soon left the concern....

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Hubert H. Humphrey Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105626 ).

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Humphrey, Hubert Horatio (27 May 1911–13 January 1978), thirty-eighth vice president of the United States and U.S. senator from Minnesota, was born in Wallace, South Dakota, the son of Hubert H. Humphrey, Sr., a druggist, and Christine Sannes. He left college in 1931 to help in his father’s store in Huron, South Dakota, where he became a registered pharmacist in 1933 and later met and married Muriel Buck in 1936; they had four children. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in June 1939 and earned a master’s degree from Louisiana State University in 1940. He returned to Minnesota for a doctoral program but soon left to work in a federal workers’ education program....

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Lyndon B. Johnson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-13036 DLC).

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Johnson, Lyndon Baines (27 August 1908–22 January 1973), thirty-sixth president of the United States, was born near Stonewall, Texas, the son of Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr., a farmer and politician, and Rebekah Baines, a sometime teacher. Sam Ealy eked out a modest living and served as a state legislator for several years. Lyndon was the couple’s first child and by all accounts the favorite of Rebekah, who was determined that her son should have a proper education. From grade school on, Lyndon demonstrated a keen interest in politics, particularly his father’s Populist orientation, passing out campaign literature and eagerly listening to political discussions when Sam Ealy’s cronies visited the Johnson household....

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William R. King. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109926).

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King, William Rufus Devane (07 April 1786–18 April 1853), U.S. senator and vice president, was born in Sampson County, North Carolina, the son of William King, a well-to-do planter and North Carolina state legislator, and Margaret Devane. After attending the University of North Carolina (1801–1804), William R. King left school to read law. Admitted to the bar at the end of 1805, he commenced practice in Clinton, the county seat of Sampson County. He was elected to the lower house of the North Carolina legislature in 1808, was chosen a circuit solicitor in 1809, and was elected to Congress in 1810. There he allied himself with the young nationalists later known as the War Hawks. King’s first speech supported using tariffs to encourage domestic manufactures and proposed a protective duty on salt. He voted for the declaration of the War of 1812 and supported its vigorous prosecution....

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Adlai E. Stevenson Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-108489).

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Stevenson, Adlai Ewing (23 October 1835–14 June 1914), vice president of the United States, was born in Christian County, Kentucky, the son of John Turner Stevenson, a tobacco farmer, and Eliza Ann Ewing. In 1852 he moved with his family to Bloomington, Illinois, where he worked in his father’s sawmill and taught school to earn money to attend Illinois Wesleyan and then Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. His father’s death in 1857 compelled Stevenson to return home to care for his mother and younger brothers. He read law under Robert E. Williams and opened an office in Metamora, Illinois, in 1858....

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Henry Wilson, c. 1860–1875. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-96499).