• Early political career

    Early political career
    Joe Biden, carries both of his sons, Joseph, left, and Robert, right, during an appearance at the 1972 Democratic state convention with his wife Neilia Biden. Standing with the Bidens are Gov. Sherman W. Tribbitt and his wife, Jeanne. Biden, born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, moved to Delaware as a young teen. After graduating law school, he started a family there and made a run for the Senate in 1972. He won an upset victory, becoming the fifth youngest senator in U.S. history.
  • Taking office following tragedy

    Taking office following tragedy
    Joe Biden takes the oath of office on Jan. 5, 1973, next to the hospital bed of his 4-year-old son Beau Biden, right. Joe Biden was sworn in as the U.S. senator from Delaware, by Senate Secretary Frank Valeo, left, in a Wilmington hospital following a car accident that killed his wife, Neilia, daughter Naomi and injured his two sons.
  • Opposition to the apartheid

    Opposition to the apartheid
    Sen. Joe Biden tells the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Secretary of State George Shultz that U.S. policy toward South Africa amounted to a shameful lack of backbone, July 23, 1986, on Capitol Hill. "Our loyalty is not to South Africa, it's to South Africans. And the South Africans are majority black. And they are being excoriated," said Biden, pounding his fist. He praised Black South Africans for rising up in opposition to the racist apartheid policy.
    J. Scott Applewhite/AP
  • Run for presidency

    Run for presidency
    Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination at the train station in Wilmington, Del. on June 9, 1987. Standing with him is his family: wife, Jill (whom he married in 1977) and his sons Hunter and Beau, holding their sister, Ashley.
    Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images
  • Withdraws from race

    Withdraws from race
    Sen. Joe Biden holds a press conference to announce his withdrawal from the presidential race, following accounts of plagiarism, in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 1987. Standing at his side is his wife, teacher Jill Biden.
    Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images
  • Tough questioning of Robert Bork

    Tough questioning of Robert Bork
    Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, center, speaks during a confirmation hearing for Judge Robert Bork as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on Sept. 15, 1987, in Washington, D.C. Seated on either side of him are fellow senators Strom Thurmond, left, and Edward "Ted" Kennedy, right. Biden's opposition and tough questioning of Bork is credited with thwarting Bork's nomination.
    Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images
  • Returning after brain surgery

    Returning after brain surgery
    Sen. Joe Biden sits in his office with a "Welcome Back" sign following surgery for two brain aneurysms in 1988. He also suffered a pulmonary embolism while recuperating and did not return to the Senate for several months.
    The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images
  • Confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas

    Confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas
    Judge Clarence Thomas shakes hands with Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Joe Biden prior to his confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court on Sept. 10, 1991, in Washington, D.C. (Senators John Danforth and Strom Thurmond stand at left.) Biden was criticized for his questioning style and for not allowing witnesses to testify on behalf of Anita Hill who had accused Thomas of sexual harassment. In 2019, Biden called Hill to express his regret for the way he treated her.
    Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images
  • Violence Against Women Act

    Violence Against Women Act
    Sen. Joe Biden, flanked by Attorney General Janet Reno, left, and Rep. Patricia Schroeder, talks to reporters about the Violence Against Women Act, designed to protect victims of domestic crimes and reduce the stigma associated with domestic abuse, on July 19, 1994. Sponsored by Biden and signed by President Bill Clinton later that year, the law contributed to a dramatic decrease in domestic violence.
    John Duricka/AP
  • Second bid for presidency

    Second bid for presidency
    Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton talk prior to the first debate of the 2008 presidential campaign on April 26, 2007, in Orangeburg, S.C. Biden made his second run for the White House declaring his candidacy on Jan. 31, 2007 on the TV show "Meet the Press," but two other candidates overtook him, and after placing fifth in the Iowa caucuses, he again withdrew.
    Win Mcnamee/Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Joins Obama on the ticket

    Joins Obama on the ticket
    Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama takes to the stage with his vice presidential pick, Sen. Joe Biden, at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Aug. 23, 2008.
    Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Victory night celebration

    Victory night celebration
    President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden wave to their supporters after Obama's victory speech during an election night gathering in Chicago's Grant Park on Nov. 4, 2008.
    Anthony Jacobs/Getty Images
  • Losing his son Beau

    Losing his son Beau
    Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his family, holds his hand over his heart as he watches an honor guard carry a casket containing the body of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, into St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., June 6, 2015. Beau Biden died of brain cancer on May 30, 2015 at the age of 46.
    Patrick Semansky/AP
  • Awarded the Medal of Freedom

    Awarded the Medal of Freedom
    Vice President Joe Biden wipes his eyes as President Barack Obama surprises him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the State Dining Room of the White House on Jan. 12, 2017, for his lifetime of public service.
    Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images
  • Celebrating the Democratic nomination

    Celebrating the Democratic nomination
    Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden celebrates with his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, as fireworks explode at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 20, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del. Standing with them are their spouses, Dr. Jill Biden, left, and Doug Emhoff, right. Biden accepted the party's nomination without a crowd and celebrated with supporters afterward in a parking lot as the convention was held mostly virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.
    Andrew Harnik/AP
  • Presidential Inauguration

    Presidential Inauguration
    Joe Biden was declared the apparent winner by multiple news organizations on Nov. 7, 2020, after a protracted vote count in several states following the Nov. 3 presidential election. On Jan. 20, 2021, Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States during the 59th Presidential Inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, just two weeks after a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters laid siege to the building as Congress met to certify the results of the election.
    Andrew Harnik/Pool via AFP/Getty Images