Spiro Theodore Agnew

Agnew, Spiro Theodore (spērˈō) [key], 1918–96, 39th Vice President of the United States (1969–73), b. Baltimore. Admitted to the bar in 1949, he entered politics as a Republican and was elected (1961) chief executive of Baltimore co. He later became (1967) governor of Maryland, where he won passage of an open housing law and expanded the state's antipoverty programs. Nominated (1968) for the vice presidency on the Republican ticket with Richard M. Nixon, Agnew campaigned on a law-and-order platform. As Vice President, he attacked opponents of the Vietnam War as disloyal, criticized intellectuals and college students for questioning traditional values, and frequently accused the media of biased news coverage. In the 1970 congressional campaigns, he campaigned against liberals and antiwar candidates in both parties. Reelected with Nixon in 1972, Agnew was forced to resign on Oct. 10, 1973, after a Justice Dept. investigation uncovered evidence of corruption during his years in Maryland politics; he was said to have continued to accept bribes while Vice President. He pleaded no contest to a charge of federal income tax evasion, was sentenced to three years' probation and fined $10,000, and was disbarred (1974) in Maryland.

See biographies by J. Alright (1972), T. Lipmann (1972), and J. Witcover (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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