Related Entries

Albert Arnold Gore Jr.

Former Vice President of the United States Albert Gore, Jr.

Albert A. Gore, Jr., environmental activist, forty-fifth vice-president of the United States, was born on March 31, 1948, to former congressman and U.S. senator Albert A. Gore and Pauline LaFon Gore. He attended St. Albans Episcopal School for Boys in Washington, D.C., and graduated with honors from Harvard University in 1969. Gore subsequently volunteered for service in the U.S. Army and saw duty in Vietnam.

As a young person, Gore seemed destined for and was apparently preparing for a career in public service. He was, however, greatly disillusioned by Tennessee voters' rejection of his father's attempt for a fourth Senate term in 1970. Following his discharge from the army, Gore took employment in Nashville as a newspaper reporter at the Tennessean and enrolled in law and divinity classes at Vanderbilt University.

At the Tennessean, Gore demonstrated characteristics that many have identified with his subsequent career in elected office. John Seigenthaler, then editor of the newspaper, recalled that Gore was equally thorough and serious in his approach to assignments whether on the police beat, covering country music, or exposing major corruption in local government. During his years as a reporter, Gore’s appreciation for public service slowly revived as he covered public policy issues that frequently brought him into contact with public officials at all levels of government. Although he passed up an opportunity to run for Congress from the Sixth District in 1972, by 1976, following the announcement that Congressman Joe L. Evins would not seek reelection, Gore enthusiastically jumped into a crowded field and emerged with the Democratic nomination. In November he was elected by a comfortable margin. Following four terms in the House of Representatives, Gore challenged for, and was elected to, the United States Senate.

In the House and Senate, Gore became particularly well versed on scientific and technological issues, ranging from genetic engineering to nuclear arms control. He strongly identified with environmental issues and in 1992 chaired the U.S. delegation to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He also outlined a plan for an international approach to dealing with environmental issues in his best-selling book, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit.

In 1988 Gore unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party nomination for United States president. Two years later, Tennessee voters awarded him a second term in the U.S. Senate, shattering modern precedent by giving him winning margins in all ninety-five counties.

On July 9, 1992, Democratic Party presidential nominee Bill Clinton chose Gore to be his running mate. Successful in the November elections, they were inaugurated as president and vice-president of the United States in January 1993 and were reelected in 1996. Gore's influence and responsibilities as vice-president were broad and significant. During the second term many members of his staff were assigned primary responsibility for promotion and administration of Clinton administration programs.

As vice-president, Gore continued to emphasize public policies pertaining to enhancement of society through appropriate utilization of science and technology. He had introduced the concept of the "information superhighway" into the public debate many years earlier and, as a senator, had been the prime force behind the High Performance Computing Act. Vice-President Gore led in the development of the National Information Infrastructure, the Global Information Infrastructure, and other initiatives to enhance electronic communication. He continued his commitment to environmental issues, particularly in the areas of greenhouse gas emissions, national wetlands policy, and development of fuel-efficient vehicles.

Consistent with the traditions of Albert Gore Sr. and Cordell Hull, Gore staunchly supported free trade, especially the North American Free Trade Alliance (NAFTA). He also was responsible for developing procedures to reduce the size of the national bureaucracy. In 2000 Gore launched another campaign for the presidency; he easily won the Democratic nomination. But in one of the closest presidential elections in American history, Gore won the popular vote but lost the presidency in the Electoral College to George W. Bush of Texas.

In the years after his defeat at the hands of the younger Bush, Gore has become a world-renowned environmental activist, thanks to his book and documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which warn of the dangers of climate change. Both the book and the documentary claimed several awards, one of the most notable being the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In 2007, Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. Notwithstanding the awards, he has received criticism for his environmental work, with opponents from the right criticizing him as a fear monger, and more radical environmentalists characterizing him as a hypocrite for his use of private jets and his ownership of multiple homes.

Gore is married to Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Aitcheson, whom he met while still enrolled at St. Albans; however, they have been separated since 2010. They have four children: Karenna, Kristin, Sarah, and Albert III. Gore splits his time between his home in Nashville and an apartment in San Francisco.

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » March 21, 2017