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Spiro Agnew

Spiro Agnew

Overview
Spiro Theodore Agnew (ˈspɪroʊ ˈæɡnuː; November 9, 1918September 17, 1996) was the 39th Vice President of the United States (1969–1973), serving under President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, and the 55th Governor of Maryland
Governor of Maryland
The Governor of Maryland heads the executive branch of the government of Maryland, and he is the commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard units. The Governor is the highest-ranking official in the state, and he has a broad range of appointive powers in both the State and local governments,...

 (1967–1969). He was also the first Greek American
Greek American
Greek Americans are Americans of Greek descent also described as Hellenic descent. According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimation, there were 1,380,088 people of Greek ancestry in the United States, while the State Department mentions that around 3,000,000 Americans claim to be of Greek descent...

 to hold these offices.

During his fifth year as Vice President, in the late summer of 1973, Agnew was under investigation by the United States Attorney
United States Attorney
United States Attorneys represent the United States federal government in United States district court and United States court of appeals. There are 93 U.S. Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands...

's office in Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Maryland, on charges of extortion
Extortion
Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime...

, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy
Conspiracy (crime)
In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement...

.
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Quotations

A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.

Denouncing Moratorium Day protest against Vietnam War; in NY "Times," 20 Oct 69

In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism.

Speech, San Diego, 11 Sept 1970.

Sing a song of Spiro Agnew and all the things he has done. (No other lyrics)

John Denver

Boy! They're (MAD Magazine) really sockin' it to that Spiro Agnew guy again, he must work there or something.

Bart Simpson
Encyclopedia
Spiro Theodore Agnew (ˈspɪroʊ ˈæɡnuː; November 9, 1918September 17, 1996) was the 39th Vice President of the United States (1969–1973), serving under President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, and the 55th Governor of Maryland
Governor of Maryland
The Governor of Maryland heads the executive branch of the government of Maryland, and he is the commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard units. The Governor is the highest-ranking official in the state, and he has a broad range of appointive powers in both the State and local governments,...

 (1967–1969). He was also the first Greek American
Greek American
Greek Americans are Americans of Greek descent also described as Hellenic descent. According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimation, there were 1,380,088 people of Greek ancestry in the United States, while the State Department mentions that around 3,000,000 Americans claim to be of Greek descent...

 to hold these offices.

During his fifth year as Vice President, in the late summer of 1973, Agnew was under investigation by the United States Attorney
United States Attorney
United States Attorneys represent the United States federal government in United States district court and United States court of appeals. There are 93 U.S. Attorneys stationed throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands...

's office in Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Maryland, on charges of extortion
Extortion
Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime...

, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy
Conspiracy (crime)
In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future, and, in some cases, with at least one overt act in furtherance of that agreement...

. In October, he was formally charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000, while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and Vice President of the United States. On October 10, 1973, Agnew was allowed to plead no contest
Nolo contendere
is a legal term that comes from the Latin for "I do not wish to contend." It is also referred to as a plea of no contest.In criminal trials, and in some common law jurisdictions, it is a plea where the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge, serving as an alternative to a pleading of...

 to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967, with the condition that he resign the office of Vice President.

Agnew is the only Vice President in United States history to resign because of criminal charges. Ten years after leaving office, in January 1983, Agnew paid the state of Maryland nearly $270,000 as a result of a civil suit that stemmed from the bribery allegations.

Early life


Spiro Agnew was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His parents were Theodore Spiros Agnew, a Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 immigrant who shortened his name from Anagnostopoulos (Αναγνωστόπουλος) when he moved to the United States, and Margaret (Carter) Akers, a native of Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. Mrs. Akers was a widow, with two children from her first marriage, when she married Mr. Agnew.

Agnew attended Forest Park Senior High School
Forest Park High School (Maryland)
Forest Park Senior High School is a four year, public high school in Baltimore, Maryland. Forest Park was established in 1924 as the Forest Park Junior-Senior High School. In 1932, the Forest Park Junior High School was moved and renamed the Garrison Junior High School.-Notable alumni: *Billy...

 in Baltimore, before enrolling in the Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 in 1937. He studied chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 at Hopkins for three years.

Agnew was drafted into the U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 in 1941 and was commissioned an officer on May 25, 1942 upon graduation from Army Officer Candidate School
Officer Candidate School (U.S. Army)
The United States Army's Officer Candidate School , located at Fort Benning, Georgia, provides training to become a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army...

. He served with the 10th Armored Division  in Europe during World War II. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

 for his service in France and Germany.

Before leaving for Europe, Agnew worked at an insurance company where he met Elinor Judefind
Judy Agnew
Elinor Isabel Judefind "Judy" Agnew is the widow of the 39th Vice President of the United States, Spiro Agnew, who also served as Governor of Maryland....

, known as Judy. Agnew married her on May 27, 1942. They had four children: Pamela, James Rand, Susan and Kimberly.

Upon his return from the war, Agnew transferred to the evening program at the University of Baltimore School of Law
University of Baltimore School of Law
University of Baltimore School of Law, or UB Law, is one of the three colleges that make up the University of Baltimore, which is part of the University System of Maryland. UB Law is one of only two law schools in the state of Maryland, the other law school being the University of Maryland School...

. He studied law at night, while working as a grocer and as an insurance salesman. In 1947, Agnew received his LL.B.
Bachelor of Laws
The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law countries as the primary law degree...

 (later amended to Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

) and moved to the suburbs to begin practicing law. He passed the Maryland bar exam in June 1949.

During the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, he was recalled to service with the Army for one year.

Early political career


Agnew, a Democrat from early youth, switched parties and became a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

. During the 1950s, he aided U.S. Congressman James Devereux
James Devereux
James Patrick Sinnott Devereux was a United States Marine Corps general, Navy Cross recipient, and Republican congressman. He was the Commanding Officer of the 1st Defense Battalion during the defense of Wake Island in December 1941. He was captured on Wake Island as a prisoner of war, along with...

 in four successive winning election bids. In 1957, he was appointed to the Baltimore County Board of Zoning Appeals by Democratic Baltimore County Executive
Baltimore County Executive
The Baltimore County Executive is the highest elected official representing the government of Baltimore County, Maryland. The post was established with the implementation of the Home Rule Charter for Baltimore County on December 6, 1956...

 Michael J. Birmingham. In 1960, he made his first elective run for office as a candidate for Judge of the Circuit court
Circuit court
Circuit court is the name of court systems in several common law jurisdictions.-History:King Henry II instituted the custom of having judges ride around the countryside each year to hear appeals, rather than forcing everyone to bring their appeals to London...

, finishing last in a five-person contest. The following year, the new Democratic Baltimore County Executive, Christian H. Kahl, dropped him from the Zoning Board, with Agnew loudly protesting, thereby gaining name recognition.

Agnew ran for election as Baltimore County Executive
Baltimore County Executive
The Baltimore County Executive is the highest elected official representing the government of Baltimore County, Maryland. The post was established with the implementation of the Home Rule Charter for Baltimore County on December 6, 1956...

 in 1962, seeking office in a predominantly Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 county that had seen no Republican elected to that position in the twentieth century, with only one (Roger B. Hayden
Roger B. Hayden
Roger B. Hayden was the County Executive of Baltimore County, Maryland from 1990-1994.During Hayden's single term as county executive, he was controversial for various decisions made within the county, including the closing of nine of the then 24 branches of Baltimore County Public Library.-...

) earning victory after he left. Running as a reformer and Republican outsider, he took advantage of a bitter split in the Democratic Party and was elected. Agnew backed and signed an ordinance outlawing discrimination in some public accommodations, among the first laws of this kind in the United States.

Governor of Maryland


Agnew ran for the position of Governor of Maryland
Governor of Maryland
The Governor of Maryland heads the executive branch of the government of Maryland, and he is the commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard units. The Governor is the highest-ranking official in the state, and he has a broad range of appointive powers in both the State and local governments,...

 in 1966. In this overwhelmingly Democratic state, he was elected after the Democratic nominee, George P. Mahoney
George P. Mahoney
George Perry Mahoney - was an Irish American Catholic politician from the state of Maryland, mostly famous as the Democratic Party nominee for Governor in 1966 by his campaign slogan, "Your Home Is Your Castle; Protect It".He was born in Baltimore as son of William D. Mahoney and Matilda "Cook"...

, a Baltimore paving contractor and perennial candidate running on an anti-integration
Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation . In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely...

 platform, narrowly won the Democratic gubernatorial primary out of a crowded slate of eight candidates, trumping early favorite Carlton R. Sickles
Carlton R. Sickles
Carlton Ralph Sickles was an American lawyer and a Congressman from .Sickles was born in Hamden, Connecticut. After graduating from Georgetown in 1943, Sickles entered the U.S. Army and served until the end of World War II. He returned home to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1948...

. Coming on the heels of the recently passed federal Fair Housing Act of 1965, Mahoney's campaign embraced the slogan "your home is your castle". Many Democrats opposed to segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 then crossed party lines to give Agnew the governorship by 82,000 votes.

As governor, Agnew worked with the Democratic legislature to pass tax and judicial reforms, as well as tough anti-pollution laws. Projecting an image of racial moderation, Agnew signed the state's first open-housing laws and succeeded in getting the repeal of an anti-miscegenation
Miscegenation
Miscegenation is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, and procreation....

 law. However, during the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in the spring of 1968, Agnew angered many African American leaders when he stated in reference to their constituents, "I call on you to publicly repudiate all black racists. This, so far, you have been unwilling to do."

Vice Presidency


Agnew's moderate image, immigrant background, and success in a traditionally Democratic state made him an attractive running mate for the 1968 Republican presidential nominee, former Vice President Richard Nixon. In line with what would later be called Nixon's "Southern Strategy
Southern strategy
In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to the Republican Party strategy of winning elections in Southern states by exploiting anti-African American racism and fears of lawlessness among Southern white voters and appealing to fears of growing federal power in social and economic matters...

", Agnew was selected as a candidate because he was sufficiently from the South to attract Southern moderate voters, yet was not identified with the Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

, which might have turned off Northern centrists come election time.

As late as early 1968, Agnew was a strong supporter of Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States , serving under President Gerald Ford, and the 49th Governor of New York , as well as serving the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations in a variety of positions...

, one of Nixon's opponents, but by June had switched to supporting Nixon. At the 1968 Republican National Convention
1968 Republican National Convention
The 1968 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Dade County, Florida, from August 5 to August 8, 1968....

, Agnew's nomination was supported by many conservatives within the Republican Party, and by Nixon himself. However, a small band of delegates started shouting "Spiro Who?" and tried to place George W. Romney
George W. Romney
George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

's name in nomination. In the end, Nixon's wishes prevailed, with Agnew receiving 1119 out of the 1317 votes cast.

During the ensuing general election campaign
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

 against Vice President Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

—which took place against a backdrop of urban riots and anti-Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 demonstrations, culminating in the violent confrontations at the Democratic convention in Chicago
1968 Democratic National Convention
The 1968 Democratic National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois, from August 26 to August 29, 1968. Because Democratic President Lyndon Johnson had announced he would not seek a second term, the purpose of the convention was to...

—Agnew repeatedly hammered the Democrats on the issue of "law and order
Law and order (politics)
In politics, law and order refers to demands for a strict criminal justice system, especially in relation to violent and property crime, through harsher criminal penalties...

". Although considered something of a political joke at first—one Democratic television commercial featured hearty laughter as the camera panned to a TV with the words "Vice President Spiro Agnew?" on the screen—Agnew had the last laugh, as the Republican ticket carried 32 of the 50 states.

Agnew went from his first election as County Executive to Vice President in six years—one of the fastest rises in U.S. political history, comparable with that of Nixon himself who became Vice President after four years in the House of Representatives and two years in the Senate. Agnew's Vice Presidency was also the highest-ranking United States political office ever reached by either a Greek American
Greek American
Greek Americans are Americans of Greek descent also described as Hellenic descent. According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimation, there were 1,380,088 people of Greek ancestry in the United States, while the State Department mentions that around 3,000,000 Americans claim to be of Greek descent...

 citizen or a Marylander.

Agnew soon found his role as the voice of the so-called "silent majority
Silent majority
The silent majority is an unspecified large majority of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly. The term was popularized by U.S...

", and by late 1969 he was ranking high on national "Most Admired Men" polls. He also inspired a fashion craze when one entrepreneur introduced Spiro Agnew watches (a take off on the popular Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse is a cartoon character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at The Walt Disney Studio. Mickey is an anthropomorphic black mouse and typically wears red shorts, large yellow shoes, and white gloves...

 watch); conservatives wore them to show their support for Agnew, while many liberals wore them to signify their contempt.

Agnew was known for his scathing criticisms of political opponents, especially journalists and anti-war activists. He attacked his adversaries with relish, hurling unusual, often alliterative
Alliteration
In language, alliteration refers to the repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of Three or more words or phrases. Alliteration has historically developed largely through poetry, in which it more narrowly refers to the repetition of a consonant in any syllables that, according to...

 epithets—some of which were coined by White House speechwriter
Speechwriter
A speechwriter is a person who is hired to prepare and write speeches that will be delivered by another person. Speechwriters are used by many senior-level elected officials and executives in the government and private sectors.-Skills and training:...

s William Safire
William Safire
William Lewis Safire was an American author, columnist, journalist and presidential speechwriter....

 and Pat Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
Patrick Joseph "Pat" Buchanan is an American paleoconservative political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician and broadcaster. Buchanan was a senior adviser to American Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, and was an original host on CNN's Crossfire. He sought...

—including "pusillanimous pussyfooters", "nattering nabobs of negativism" (written by Safire), and "hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history". He once described a group of opponents as "an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."

Agnew was often characterized as Nixon's "hatchet man
Hatchet man
A hatchet man was originally a pioneer or axeman serving in a US military unit. Towards the end of the 19th century, the phrase was used to describe a Chinese assassin who carried a handleless hatchet, which originated from New York's Doyers Street....

" when defending the administration on the Vietnam War. Agnew was chosen to make several powerful speeches in which he spoke out against anti-war protesters and media portrayal of the Vietnam War, labeling them "Un-American". He did however speak out publicly against the actions of the Ohio Army National Guard
Ohio Army National Guard
The Ohio Army National Guard is a part of the United States National Guard and a reserve component of the United States Army. It is also a component of the organized militia of the state of Ohio, which also includes the Ohio Naval Militia, the Ohio Military Reserve and the Ohio Air National Guard...

 that led to the Kent State shootings
Kent State shootings
The Kent State shootings—also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre—occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970...

 in 1970, even describing their action as "murder". Agnew toned down his rhetoric and dropped most of the alliterations after the 1972 election, with a view to running for president himself in 1976.

However, despite his continued loyalty to the Administration, relations between Nixon and Agnew deteriorated, almost from the start of their professional relationship. Although Nixon initially liked and respected Agnew, as time went on he felt his vice president lacked the intelligence or vision, particularly in foreign affairs, to sit in the Oval Office, and he began freezing Agnew out of the White House decision-making process. By some accounts, the notoriously thin-skinned President was also resentful that the self-confident Agnew was so popular with many Americans. By 1970, Agnew was limited to seeing the president only during cabinet meetings or in the occasional and brief one-on-one, with Agnew given no opportunity to discuss much of anything of substance.

Oval Office
Oval Office
The Oval Office, located in the West Wing of the White House, is the official office of the President of the United States.The room features three large south-facing windows behind the president's desk, and a fireplace at the north end...

 tapes reveal that in 1971, Nixon and his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman
H. R. Haldeman
Harry Robbins "Bob" Haldeman was an American political aide and businessman, best known for his service as White House Chief of Staff to President Richard Nixon and for his role in events leading to the Watergate burglaries and the Watergate scandal – for which he was found guilty of conspiracy...

, discussed their desire to have Agnew resign from office prior to the following year's campaign season. One plan to achieve this was to try to persuade conservative investors to purchase one of the television networks, and then invite Agnew to run it. Another was to see if Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

 would be willing to take Agnew on as his partner in his cable television investments. These and other plans never went beyond the talking stages.

Nixon would have liked to replace Agnew on the Republican ticket in 1972 with John Connally
John Connally
John Bowden Connally, Jr. , was an influential American politician, serving as the 39th governor of Texas, Secretary of the Navy under President John F. Kennedy, and as Secretary of the Treasury under President Richard M. Nixon. While he was Governor in 1963, Connally was a passenger in the car in...

, his chosen successor for '76, but he realized that Agnew's large conservative base of supporters would be in an uproar, so he reluctantly kept him as his running mate. When John Ehrlichman
John Ehrlichman
John Daniel Ehrlichman was counsel and Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under President Richard Nixon. He was a key figure in events leading to the Watergate first break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal, for which he was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury...

, the President's counsel and assistant, asked Nixon why he kept Agnew on the ticket in the 1972 election, Nixon replied that "No assassin in his right mind would kill me" because they would get Agnew (as President). The eventual Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate, Sargent Shriver
Sargent Shriver
Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., known as Sargent Shriver, R. Sargent Shriver, or, from childhood, Sarge, was an American statesman and activist. As the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was part of the Kennedy family, serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations...

, was also a Marylander.

Agnew came to enjoy the privileges that being vice president brought to him, particularly access to the rich and famous. He became close friends with Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Billy Graham
Billy Graham
William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. is an American evangelical Christian evangelist. As of April 25, 2010, when he met with Barack Obama, Graham has spent personal time with twelve United States Presidents dating back to Harry S. Truman, and is number seven on Gallup's list of admired people for...

 and Bob Hope, and consorted with leaders around the globe. He also took in stride his own newfound fame, as his utterances often made newspaper front pages and were major stories on the evening network news broadcasts. Invitations for Agnew to give speeches across the country flooded into his office, and he became a top fundraiser for the Republican Party.
In April 1973, when relevations about Watergate began to surface, Agnew was the choice of 35 percent of Republican voters to be the next Republican nominee for President, while then-California Governor Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 was second on the Gallup Poll.

Resignation


On October 10, 1973, Spiro Agnew became the second Vice President to resign the office. Unlike John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

, who resigned to take a seat in the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, Agnew resigned and then pleaded no contest
Nolo contendere
is a legal term that comes from the Latin for "I do not wish to contend." It is also referred to as a plea of no contest.In criminal trials, and in some common law jurisdictions, it is a plea where the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge, serving as an alternative to a pleading of...

 to criminal charges of tax evasion
Tax avoidance and tax evasion
Tax noncompliance describes a range of activities that are unfavorable to a state's tax system. These include tax avoidance, which refers to reducing taxes by legal means, and tax evasion which refers to the criminal non-payment of tax liabilities....

, part of a negotiated resolution to a scheme wherein he was accused of accepting more than $100,000 in bribes during his tenure as governor of Maryland. Agnew was fined $10,000 and put on three years' probation. The $10,000 fine only covered the taxes and interest due on what was "unreported income" from 1967. The plea bargain was later mocked by former Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs
Stephen H. Sachs
Stephen H. Sachs is a former Maryland politician and former Attorney General of Maryland.- Background :Sachs was born in Baltimore City, the son of Shirley and Leon Sachs. He is Jewish. Sachs was educated at Haverford College and Yale Law School...

 as "the greatest deal since the Lord spared Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

 on the mountaintop". Students of Professor John F. Banzhaf III
John F. Banzhaf III
John Francis Banzhaf III is an American legal activist and a law professor at George Washington University Law School. He is the founder of the smoking pressure group Action on Smoking and Health....

 from the George Washington University Law School, collectively known as Banzhaf's Bandits, found four residents of the state of Maryland willing to put their names on a case and sought to have Agnew repay the state $268,482—the amount it was said he had taken in bribes. After two appeals by Agnew, he finally resigned himself to the matter and a check for $268,482 was turned over to Maryland State Treasurer William S. James
William S. James
William S. James , called Bill or Billy James by contemporaries, was a politician from the U.S. state of Maryland. James was first elected to office as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing Harford County in 1946, and after serving two terms was elected to the Maryland Senate in...

 in early 1983.

As a result of his no contest plea, the State of Maryland later disbarred
Disbarment
Disbarment is the removal of a lawyer from a bar association or the practice of law, thus revoking his or her law license or admission to practice law...

 Agnew, calling him "morally obtuse". As in most jurisdictions, Maryland lawyers are automatically disbarred after being convicted of a felony, and a no contest plea exposes the defendant to the same penalties as a guilty plea.

His resignation triggered the first use of the 25th Amendment
Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities...

, as the vacancy prompted the appointment and confirmation of Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

, the House Minority Leader
Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives
Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives are elected by their respective parties in a closed-door caucus by secret ballot and are also known as floor leaders. The U.S. House of Representatives does not officially use the term "Minority Leader", although the media frequently does...

, as his successor. It remains one of only two times that the amendment has been employed to fill a Vice Presidential vacancy. The second time was when Ford, after becoming President upon Nixon's resignation, chose Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States , serving under President Gerald Ford, and the 49th Governor of New York , as well as serving the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations in a variety of positions...

 (originally Agnew's mentor in the moderate wing of the Republican Party) to succeed him as Vice President. Had Agnew remained as Vice President when Nixon resigned just 10 months later, Agnew himself would have become the 38th President, as well as a strong candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976, both of which instead went to Ford.

Agnew's official portrait was removed damnatione memoriae
Damnatio memoriae
Damnatio memoriae is the Latin phrase literally meaning "condemnation of memory" in the sense of a judgment that a person must not be remembered. It was a form of dishonor that could be passed by the Roman Senate upon traitors or others who brought discredit to the Roman State...

from the Maryland State House
Maryland State House
The Maryland State House is located in Annapolis and is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use, dating to 1772. It houses the Maryland General Assembly and offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. The capitol has the distinction of being topped by the largest wooden dome in...

 Governor's Reception Room from 1979 until 1995. Then-Governor Parris Glendening
Parris Glendening
Parris Nelson Glendening , a member of the United States Democratic Party, was the 59th Governor of Maryland from January 18, 1995 to January 15, 2003...

 stated that in re-including Agnew's portrait that it was not up to anyone to alter history, whether for good or bad, citing Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

.

Later life


After leaving politics, Agnew became an international trade executive with homes in Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage is a resort city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 17,218 at the 2010 census, up from 13,249 at the 2000 census, but the seasonal population can exceed 20,000. In between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the eight cities of the Coachella...

; Arnold, Maryland
Arnold, Maryland
Arnold is a census-designated place in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States. The population was 23,422 at the 2000 census. Neighborhoods straddle College Parkway and Ritchie Highway. Arnold is located on the scenic Broadneck peninsula...

; Bowie, Maryland
Bowie, Maryland
Bowie is a city in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 54,727 at the 2010 census. Bowie has grown from a small railroad stop to the largest municipality in Prince George's County, and the fifth most populous city and third largest city by area in the state of...

; and near Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City, sometimes known as OC, or OCMD, is an Atlantic Ocean resort town in Worcester County, Maryland, United States. Ocean City is widely known in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and is a frequent destination for vacationers in that area...

. In 1976, he briefly reentered the public spotlight and engendered controversy with anti-Zionist
Anti-Zionism
Anti-Zionism is opposition to Zionistic views or opposition to the state of Israel. The term is used to describe various religious, moral and political points of view in opposition to these, but their diversity of motivation and expression is sufficiently different that "anti-Zionism" cannot be...

 statements that called for the United States to withdraw its support for the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, citing Israel's allegedly bad treatment of Christians, as well as what Gerald Ford publicly criticized as "unsavory remarks about Jews."

In 1980, Agnew published a memoir
Memoir
A memoir , is a literary genre, forming a subclass of autobiography – although the terms 'memoir' and 'autobiography' are almost interchangeable. Memoir is autobiographical writing, but not all autobiographical writing follows the criteria for memoir set out below...

 in which he implied that Nixon and his Chief of Staff, Alexander Haig
Alexander Haig
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. was a United States Army general who served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

, had planned to assassinate him if he refused to resign the Vice Presidency, and that Haig told him to "go quietly…or else", the memoir's title. Agnew also wrote a novel, The Canfield Decision, about a Vice President who was "destroyed by his own ambition."

Agnew always maintained that the tax evasion and bribery charges was an attempt by Nixon to divert attention away from the growing Watergate scandal. For the rest of their lives, Agnew and Nixon never spoke to each other again. As a gesture of reconciliation, Nixon's daughters invited Agnew to attend Nixon's funeral in 1994, and Agnew complied. In 1996, when Agnew died, Nixon's daughters returned the favor and attended Agnew's funeral.

Agnew died suddenly on September 17, 1996, aged 77 at Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital
- Atlantic General Hospital Timeline :Atlantic General Hospital, a 62-bed not-for-profit acute care hospital located in Berlin, Maryland, has been providing quality healthcare for more than 15 years...

, in Berlin, Maryland
Berlin, Maryland
Berlin is a town in Worcester County, Maryland, United States. The population was 3,491 at the 2000 census.-History:The town of Berlin had its start around the 1790s, part of the Burley Plantation, a land grant dating back to 1677...

, in Worcester County (near his Ocean City home), only a few hours after being hospitalized and diagnosed with an advanced, yet to that point undetected, form of leukemia
Leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

. Agnew is buried at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens
Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens
Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum is a cemetery and mausoleum in Timonium, Maryland, a fashionable Baltimore County suburban community. It is located at 200 E. Padonia Rd, about two miles from the intersection of Interstate 83 and Padonia Road...

, a cemetery in Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland
Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland
Lutherville-Timonium is a census-designated place in Baltimore County, Maryland made up of the unincorporated communities of Lutherville and Timonium. The population was 15,814 as of the 2000 census. Within its borders lies the Lutherville Historic District...

, in Baltimore County
Baltimore County, Maryland
Baltimore County is a county located in the northern part of the US state of Maryland. In 2010, its population was 805,029. It is part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Its county seat is Towson. The name of the county was derived from the barony of the Proprietor of the Maryland...

 in the Garden of the Last Supper section of the cemetery, north of Padonia Road, and to the west side of the main entrance to the cemetery property. His marker makes no reference to his attaining of elective office, a rarity among those who have held the office of Vice President.

Electoral history


Baltimore County Executive
Baltimore County Executive
The Baltimore County Executive is the highest elected official representing the government of Baltimore County, Maryland. The post was established with the implementation of the Home Rule Charter for Baltimore County on December 6, 1956...

, 1962
  • Spiro Agnew (R)—elected unopposed


Governor of Maryland
Governor of Maryland
The Governor of Maryland heads the executive branch of the government of Maryland, and he is the commander-in-chief of the state's National Guard units. The Governor is the highest-ranking official in the state, and he has a broad range of appointive powers in both the State and local governments,...

, 1966
  • Spiro Agnew (R)—455,318 (49.50%)
  • George P. Mahoney
    George P. Mahoney
    George Perry Mahoney - was an Irish American Catholic politician from the state of Maryland, mostly famous as the Democratic Party nominee for Governor in 1966 by his campaign slogan, "Your Home Is Your Castle; Protect It".He was born in Baltimore as son of William D. Mahoney and Matilda "Cook"...

     (D)—373,543 (40.61%)
  • Hyman A. Pressman
    Hyman A. Pressman
    Hyman A. Pressman served as the Comptroller of Baltimore City, Maryland, from 1963 - 1991. He ran for Governor of Maryland in 1966 as an Independent after the Democratic Party nominated conservative Democrat George P...

     (I)—90,899 (9.88%)


1968 Republican National Convention
1968 Republican National Convention
The 1968 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Dade County, Florida, from August 5 to August 8, 1968....

 (Vice Presidential tally)
  • Spiro Agnew—1,119 (83.95%)
  • George Romney
    George W. Romney
    George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

    —186 (13.95%)
  • Abstaining—16 (1.20%)
  • John Lindsay
    John Lindsay
    John Vliet Lindsay was an American politician, lawyer and broadcaster who was a U.S. Congressman, Mayor of New York City, candidate for U.S...

    —10 (0.75%)
  • Edward Brooke
    Edward Brooke
    Edward William Brooke, III is an American politician and was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican from Massachusetts in 1966, defeating his Democratic opponent, Endicott Peabody, 60.7%–38.7%...

    —1 (0.08%)
  • James A. Rhodes
    Jim Rhodes
    James Allen Rhodes was an American Republican politician from Ohio, and one of only five US state governors to serve four four-year terms in office. As governor in 1970, he decided to send National Guard troops onto the Kent State University campus, resulting in the shooting of students on May 4...

    —1 (0.08%)


United States presidential election, 1968
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

  • Richard Nixon
    Richard Nixon
    Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

    /Spiro Agnew (R)—31,783,783 (43.4%) and 301 electoral votes (32 states carried)
  • Hubert Humphrey
    Hubert Humphrey
    Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

    /Edmund Muskie
    Edmund Muskie
    Edmund Sixtus "Ed" Muskie was an American politician from Rumford, Maine. He served as Governor of Maine from 1955 to 1959, as a member of the United States Senate from 1959 to 1980, and as Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter from 1980 to 1981...

     (D)—31,271,839 (42.7%) and 191 electoral votes (13 states and D.C. carried)
  • George Wallace
    George Wallace
    George Corley Wallace, Jr. was the 45th Governor of Alabama, serving four terms: 1963–1967, 1971–1979 and 1983–1987. "The most influential loser" in 20th-century U.S. politics, according to biographers Dan T. Carter and Stephan Lesher, he ran for U.S...

    /Curtis LeMay
    Curtis LeMay
    Curtis Emerson LeMay was a general in the United States Air Force and the vice presidential running mate of American Independent Party candidate George Wallace in 1968....

     (American Independent
    American Independent Party
    The American Independent Party is a right-wing political party of the United States that was established in 1967 by Bill and Eileen Shearer. In 1968, the American Independent Party nominated George C. Wallace as its presidential candidate and retired Air Force General Curtis E. LeMay as the vice...

    )—9,901,118 (13.5%) and 46 electoral votes (5 states carried)


1972 Republican National Convention
1972 Republican National Convention
The 1972 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held from August 21 to August 23, 1972 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida. It nominated the incumbents Richard M. Nixon of California for President and Spiro T. Agnew of Maryland for Vice...

 (Vice Presidential tally)
  • Spiro Agnew (inc.)—1,345 (99.78%)
  • Abstaining—2 (0.15%)
  • David Brinkley
    David Brinkley
    David McClure Brinkley was an American newscaster for NBC and ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997....

    —1 (0.07%)


United States presidential election, 1972
United States presidential election, 1972
The United States presidential election of 1972 was the 47th quadrennial United States presidential election. It was held on November 7, 1972. The Democratic Party's nomination was eventually won by Senator George McGovern, who ran an anti-war campaign against incumbent Republican President Richard...

  • Richard Nixon
    Richard Nixon
    Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

    /Spiro Agnew (R) (inc.)—47,168,710 (60.7%) and 520 electoral votes (49 states carried)
  • George McGovern
    George McGovern
    George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

    /Sargent Shriver
    Sargent Shriver
    Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., known as Sargent Shriver, R. Sargent Shriver, or, from childhood, Sarge, was an American statesman and activist. As the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was part of the Kennedy family, serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations...

     (D)—29,173,222 (37.5) and 17 electoral votes (1 state and D.C. carried)
  • John Hospers
    John Hospers
    John Hospers was an American philosopher. In 1972 he was the first presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, and the only minor party candidate to receive an electoral vote in the 1972 U.S. Presidential election....

    /Theodora Nathalia Nathan
    Theodora Nathalia Nathan
    Theodora Nathalia "Tonie" Nathan is the first woman to have received an electoral vote in a United States presidential election...

     (Libertarian)—,674 (0.00%) and 1 electoral vote (Republican faithless elector
    Faithless elector
    In United States presidential elections, a faithless elector is a member of the Electoral College who does not vote for the candidate they have pledged to vote for...

    )
  • John G. Schmitz
    John G. Schmitz
    John George Schmitz was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives and California State Senate from Orange County, California. He was also a member of the John Birch Society...

    /Thomas J. Anderson
    Thomas J. Anderson
    Thomas Jefferson Anderson was an American conservative author, farmer, and candidate for the U.S. presidency.-Early life:...

     (AI)—1,100,868 (1.4%) and 0 electoral votes
  • Linda Jenness
    Linda Jenness
    Linda Jenness was a Socialist Workers Party candidate for president of the United States in the 1972 election. She received 83,380 votes .In Arizona, Pima and Yavapai counties had a ballot malfunction that counted many votes for both a major party candidate and Linda Jenness. A court ordered that...

    /Andrew Pulley
    Andrew Pulley
    Andrew Pulley is an American politician who ran as Socialist Workers Party candidate for Vice President of the United States in 1972; at the time he was twenty years old, making him ineligible under the United States Constitution. Along with Presidential candidate Linda Jenness he received 52,799...

     (Socialist Workers)—83,380 (0.1%)
  • Benjamin Spock
    Benjamin Spock
    Benjamin McLane Spock was an American pediatrician whose book Baby and Child Care, published in 1946, is one of the biggest best-sellers of all time. Its message to mothers is that "you know more than you think you do."Spock was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand...

    /Julius Hobson
    Julius Hobson
    Julius W. Hobson was the People's Party Vice Presidential candidate in 1972. Benjamin Spock was the People's Party Presidential candidate. They polled 0.1014% of the popular vote and no electoral votes....

     (People's)—78,759 (0.1%)

External links



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