Politics, Elections, & the Presidency: a Video Conversation with Thomas Jefferson
In 1797, when you served as vice president, you used such words about that office as “honorable and easy,” yet you wrote that the presidency was a “splendid misery.” Why did you think the presidency was, shall we say, such a glorious affliction?

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Well the vice president can easily hide behind the office of the presidency; he is there in case of an emergency to assume the office of the presidency. As our Constitution says, the duties of the presidency devolve upon the vice president. Rather the president of the United States is in the first and foremost office. He is the chief magistrate of the nation and therefore much is expected of him. He must answer continuously to the concerns of the citizen body – let alone the government – and therefore he must recognize that not a moment may be his own. He is truly a public servant, and he may understand that many people will expect much of him and that indeed nearly everyone will want something of him.