Spiro Agnew’s Ghost: The Political Legacy of a Controversial Figure

spiro agnew's ghost

Spiro Agnew’s Ghost was the 39th Vice President of the United States, serving under President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973. He resigned from office in October 1973 after being charged with bribery and tax evasion, but his political legacy has continued to haunt American politics ever since.

In this article, we will explore the life and career of Spiro Agnew, examine his controversial legacy, and analyze the impact he has had on American politics today.

Who was Spiro Agnew?

Spiro Theodore Agnew was born on November 9, 1918, in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1940 and then went on to practice law before serving in World War II as an officer in the Army.

Agnew began his political career in 1957 when he was elected to the Baltimore County Board of Zoning Appeals. He then served as Baltimore County Executive from 1962 to 1966 before being elected Governor of Maryland in 1966.

In 1968, Agnew was selected by Richard Nixon to be his running mate in the presidential election, and they won by a landslide. However, Agnew’s time as Vice President was short-lived, as he resigned in 1973 after being charged with accepting bribes and evading taxes while serving as Governor of Maryland.

What were Spiro Agnew’s political views?

Agnew was known for his staunch conservative views, particularly on issues of law and order and opposition to anti-war protests. He was also critical of the media and what he called “liberal bias” in journalism.

During his time as Vice President, Agnew gave a number of controversial speeches attacking opponents of the Vietnam War and the media. These speeches were often characterized by their incendiary language and attacks on opponents, which earned him both praise and criticism.

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When did Spiro Agnew resign from office?

Spiro Agnew’s ghost resigned from office on October 10, 1973, after being charged with accepting bribes and evading taxes. He pleaded no contest to a single charge of tax evasion and was sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $10,000.

Agnew’s resignation came just over a year before Richard Nixon would also resign from office due to the Watergate scandal.

How to evaluate Spiro Agnew’s legacy?

The legacy of spiro Agnew’s ghost is a complex and controversial one. On the one hand, he was a popular Vice President who played a key role in Nixon’s landslide victory in 1968. He was known for his strong leadership skills and his ability to connect with voters.

However, Agnew’s later years were marred by scandal and controversy, and many have criticized him for his divisive rhetoric and attacks on opponents. Some have even suggested that his speeches helped pave the way for the rise of conservative media figures like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Pros and cons of Spiro Agnew’s political views


  • Agnew was known for his strong leadership skills and his ability to connect with voters.
  • He was a staunch conservative who supported law and order and opposed anti-war protests.
  • Agnew’s speeches were often praised for their fiery language and attacks on liberal opponents.


  • Agnew’s later years were marred by scandal and controversy, and he ultimately resigned from office in disgrace.
  • His attacks on the media and opponents have been criticized as divisive and counterproductive to productive political discourse.
  • Some have argued that his speeches paved the way for the rise of conservative media figures who prioritize sensationalism over factual reporting.

Alternatives to Spiro Agnew’s political views

There are a variety of alternative political views that exist to those espoused by Spiro Agnew. Some of these include:

  • Liberalism: a political philosophy that emphasizes individual freedom and social equality.
  • Progressivism: a political ideology that favors social reforms and government intervention in the economy.
  • Libertarianism: a political ideology that emphasizes individual freedom and limited government intervention.

Step-by-step guide to evaluating political legacies

  1. Learn about the politician’s life and career, including their major accomplishments and controversies.
  2. Examine the politician’s political views and how they have impacted public policy.
  3. Analyze the politician’s impact on their party and the broader political landscape.
  4. Consider the lasting legacy of the politician and how it has influenced modern politics.
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Tips for analyzing political legacies

  • Be objective and try to evaluate politicians based on their actions rather than personal biases.
  • Consider multiple perspectives and sources when evaluating a politician’s legacy.
  • Look beyond surface-level accomplishments and consider the long-term impact of a politician’s policies and actions.

The best books about Spiro Agnew

  1. “The Rise and Fall of Spiro Agnew” by Jules Witcover
  2. “SpiroAgnew and the Selling of the Vice Presidency” by John Gizzi
  3. “Spiro Agnew: A Life in Brief” by Joel K. Goldstein
  4. “The Spiro Agnew Vice Presidency” edited by David L. Anderson and John F. Bibby

These books offer in-depth analyses of Agnew’s life and career, including his time as Vice President and the controversies that led to his resignation.

Compare Spiro Agnew’s legacy to other controversial political figures

Spiro Agnew’s ghost is not the only controversial political figure in American history. Here are some comparisons with other figures:

  • Richard Nixon: Like Agnew, Nixon was a Republican who resigned from office in disgrace due to the Watergate scandal. However, Nixon’s political legacy has been more complex than Agnew’s, with some praising his foreign policy accomplishments while others condemn his abuses of power.
  • Donald Trump: Trump, like Agnew, was known for his divisive rhetoric and attacks on opponents. However, Trump’s political legacy is still unfolding, with some supporters hailing him as a champion of conservative values while critics accuse him of undermining democratic norms.
  • Andrew Johnson: Johnson was a Democratic president who faced impeachment for his attempts to obstruct Reconstruction after the Civil War. While he avoided removal from office, Johnson’s legacy has been overshadowed by his racist views and his opposition to civil rights.


Spiro Agnew was a complicated figure whose legacy continues to be debated to this day. While he was a popular Vice President who played a key role in Nixon’s election, he was also infamous for his divisive rhetoric and ultimately resigned from office in disgrace. Despite this, Agnew’s impact on American politics can still be felt today, particularly in the realm of conservative media.

As we continue to evaluate the political legacies of past politicians, it is important to remain objective and consider multiple perspectives. By doing so, we can gain a deeper understanding of the complex forces that shape American politics. Back Continue WriteNext 

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