Morton was elected as a Republican to the 46th and 47th Congresses, serving from March 4, 1879, until his resignation, effective March 21, 1881. Presidential candidate James A. Garfield asked him to be his vice presidential candidate in 1880, but Morton turned down the offer. If he had accepted and history held true, this would have meant Morton would have become the twenty-first President after Garfield's assassination and not Chester A. Arthur. He asked to be Minister to Britain or France instead. He was United States Minister to France from 1881 to 1885 (a deluded Charles J. Guiteau reportedly decided to murder Garfield after he was "passed over" as minister to France).
Morton was very popular in France, helping commercial relations run smoothly between the two countries during his term and he hammered the first rivet in the construction of the Statue of Liberty in Paris on October 24, 1881 (it was driven into the big toe of Lady Liberty’s left foot). Morton was elected Vice President of the United States on the Republican ticket with Benjamin Harrison, serving from March 4, 1889 to March 4, 1893.
Levi Morton was Governor of New York from 1895 to 1896. He was considered for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1896 which went to William McKinley. Following his public career, he became a real estate investor. He died in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York, on his 96th birthday, the only U.S. President or Vice President to have died on his birthday. He is interred in the Rhinebeck Cemetery.
The Village of Morton Grove, Illinois is named after Morton. He provided the funding necessary to allow Miller's Mill (now Lincoln Avenue) to pass through the upstart neighborhood, and provide goods to trade and sell. Morton Grove was incorporated in December 1895.
Morton owned property in Newport, Rhode Island and lived on tony Bellevue Avenue in "Fairlawn," currently owned by Salve Regina University and housing the Pell Center of International Relations and Public Policy. He left a parcel of nearby property to the city of Newport for use as a park. At the corners of Coggeshall and Morton Avenues (formerly Brenton Road) this land today bears his name, "Morton Park." Morton sold or donated property he owned in Hanover, N.H. to Dartmouth College, and the college built Webster Hall on the land. Morton was considered an honorary alumnus at alumni gatherings in New York.
Morton was the second longest-lived Vice President, living to be exactly 96 years old, beaten only by John Nance Garner. Morton also survived five of his successors in the vice presidency, Adlai E. Stevenson, Garret A. Hobart, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles W. Fairbanks, and James S. Sherman.