Presidents Who Despised Their Vice Presidents

When you think of a presidential pair, you tend to think of the close allyship of presidents like Obama and VP Joe Biden, or George Bush’s close VP, Dick Cheney.

However, history has shown us that presidents and vice presidents aren’t always buddy-buddy. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest beefs ever seen in the White House.

The White House
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Jefferson and Burr

Our first president and VP pair was suggested by Alicia Butler, host of the podcast Ladies Talking About Ladies. For more from her, check out the show’s website here. We’ll let her take it away.

“The president/vice president duo who come to mind for me were Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

Back in the 1800s, the president/vice president didn’t run on the same ballot. It was kind of a freak accident that the two ended up working together anyway (they were tied for votes in a presidential race, so they had essentially run against each other).

Even George Washington despised Aaron Burr. He was considered kind of an unethical guy (Hamilton, anyone?). Burr was later tried for treason by Jefferson (he tried to create his own country and deem himself president) and was banished to Europe.

He was only allowed to return to the U.S. years later because his beloved daughter, Theodosia, was lost at sea (true story) and many believed her ship was shanghaied by pirates.”

Jackson and Calhoun

Andrew Jackson is known for many things, but his diplomacy is not one of them. “Old Hickory,” as he was known, was famously hard to get along with. John Calhoun, Jackson’s VP, clashed frequently with the president over his tariff policies. Calhoun felt that Jackson’s tariffs unfairly targeted the Southern states and benefited the Northern states, which led to animosity between the two politicians.

Their relationship predicted the Civil War in some interesting ways, as Calhoun threatened that the tariffs could drive the South to secede from the Union. This led to Jackson’s passing of the Force Bill, which gave the federal government the power to enforce federal laws at gunpoint if the states failed to cooperate. In fact, one of Jackson’s most famous quotes comes from their dispute:

“John Calhoun, if you secede from my nation I will secede your head from the rest of your body.”