"There is no escape, it seems to me, from the conclusion that the vice presidency is not only a meaningless but a hopeless office." So wrote Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in the May Atlantic. He wrote against a backdrop of historic drama, at a time when the Congress was preparing impeachment proceedings against President Nixon, and Gerald Ford (our first "instant Vice President," as he describes himself here) stood on the threshold of the White House. The Atlantic asked the Vice President, all living former Vice Presidents and former candidates for the office, plus some interested observers, including a descendant of a Vice President (and two Presidents), to respond to Professor Schlesinger's argument. Gerald Ford's comments lead off the responses.