Spiro Agnew (originally Anagnostopoulos), the son of a Greek immigrant, was born in Baltimore on November 9th, 1918.
Spiro Agnew’s father was born Theophrastos Anagnostopoulos in about 1877, in the Greek town of Gargalianoi. The family may have been involved in olive growing and been impoverished during a crisis in the industry in the 1890s. Anagnostopoulos emigrated to the United States in 1897 (some accounts say 1902) and settled in Schenectady, New York, where he changed his name to Theodore Agnew and opened a diner. A passionate self-educator, Agnew maintained a lifelong interest in philosophy; one family member recalled that “if he wasn’t reading something to improve his mind, he wouldn’t read.”
Around 1908, he moved to Baltimore, where he purchased a restaurant. Here he met William Pollard, who was the city’s federal meat inspector. The two became friends; Pollard and his wife Margaret were regular customers of the restaurant. After Pollard died in April 1917, Agnew and Margaret Pollard began a courtship which led to their marriage on December 12, 1917. Spiro Agnew was born 11 months later, on November 9, 1918.
Spiro Agnew attended John Hopkins University before serving in the United States Army during the Second World War. With the end of WW II Agnew returned to the US and graduated with a law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1947. Agnew was the county executive of Baltimore County for the Republican Party before he was elected governor of Maryland in 1967. Agnew introduced a graduated income-tax, and an effective anti-pollution law while in office as governor of Maryland.
In the 1968 election Nixon selected Agnew as his vice presidential candidate. During this time Agnew developed a reputation as a hard-liner against anti-Vietnam War protesters.
Freedom of speech is useless
without freedom of thought.
In 1972 Agnew was re-elected as vice-president but the following year it was announced he was being investigated for extortion, bribery, and income-tax violations while governor of Maryland.
Agnew maintained his innocence for month, but eventually forced to plead no contest to a single felony charge of tax evasion and then resigned from office. Nixon replaced him with House Republican leader Gerald Ford.
Agnew spent the remainder of his life quietly, rarely making public appearances. He became a business consultant and in 1980 published his autobiography, Go Quietly or Else.
Spiro Agnew died in Berlin, Maryland, on September 17th, 1996.