U.S. Presidents
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George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
W H Harrison
John Tyler
James K Polk
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan

 

U.S. Presidents
Most Information on this page is taken from the history area of the site whitehouse.gov.

Click on a picture to get more information on that President.
 

                                                          
 1st US President
 1789-1797

George Washington:  the only American president to be unanimously elected and the only president who did not represent a political party.
Known as the Father of our Country.
 


 2nd President 1797-1801

John Adams was the first president to reside in the White House, He moved in November 1800 while the paint was still wet.


 

3rd President 1801-1809

Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence, was the first president to be inaugurated in Washington D.C.  He Founded  the Democrat-Republican Party.


 


 4th President  1809-1817 

James Madison was the shortest president and at 100 pounds, the lightest. He also was the first president to wear trousers rather than knee breeches.

 


 5th President  1817-1825

James Monroe was the first president to ride a steamboat, and his daughter Maria Hester, was the first to be a bride in the White House.


 


 6th President 1825-1829

John Quincy Adams was the son of a former president and was the first president to be photographed.


 

 7th President 1829-1837

Andrew Jackson was the first president born in a log cabin and the first to ride in a train. He also was the first to experience and survive an assassination attempt. He fought in War of 1812.
 

 8th President 1837-1841

Martin Van Buren was the first US president born in the United States.
Raised in Kinderhook, NY, he was credited with the term OK. He was known as Old Kinderhook or OK from which the word okay is derived.
 


9th President 1841

William Henry Harrison, the only president who studied to be a doctor, served the shortest presidency. He died of pneumonia one month after delivering his 105 minute outdoor inaugural speech without wearing an overcoat or hat.
 


10th President 1841-1845

John Tyler was the first vice president to ascend to the presidency upon the death of a president. He was also the president with the most children - 15.

 



11the President 1845-1849

James K Polk was the first president to have his inauguration reported by telegraph and the first to fulfill all of his campaign promises.


 


12th President (1849-1850)

Zachary Taylor did not vote until the age of 62 because he had moved so many times as a soldier and had not established an official place of residence. He was the second president to die in office. He died after a July celebration at the White House.

Born in Virginia, he was taken as an infant to Kentucky and raised on a plantation.  He was a career officer in the Army. His home was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and he owned a plantation in Mississippi.
Taylor did not defend slavery or Southern sectionalism. Forty years in the Army had made him a strong nationalist.
"Old Rough and Ready's" homespun ways were political assets. His long military record appealed to Northerners, his ownership of 100 slaved would lure Southern votes.  The Whigs nominated to run against Democrat Lewis Cass, who favored letting the territories decide for themselves whether they would have slavery.
Although Taylor had subscribed to Whig principles of legislature leadership, he was not inclined to be a puppet of the Whig Congress.

Taylor tried to run his administration in the same rule-of-thumb fashion with which he had fought with the Indians.
In February 1850 President Taylor held a stormy conference
with Southern leaders who threatened secession. He told them "persons taken in rebellion against the union, he would hang ... with less reluctance than he had hanged deserters and spies in Mexico."
He never waivered.
After participating in ceremonies at the Washington Monument on July 4th, Taylor fell ill and died five days later.
The war Taylor had been willing to face came eleven years later. his only son, Richard, served as a General in the Confederate Army.

Born: Nov 24, 1784 Virginia
Died: Jul 9, 1850 Washington DC
Married: Margaret Mackall Smith
Occupation: Career officer in the Army
Political Party: Whig
Height: 5' 8"
VP: Millard Fillmore (1849-1850)
US Population 1849: 23,191,876
Stars in the Flag 1850: 30
Stars added: none
 


13th President 1850-1853

Millard Fillmore refused an honorary degree from Oxford University because he felt he had "neither literary nor scientific attainment."

He was raised in a log cabin on a New York farm.
In 1823 he was admitted to the bar; seven years later he moved his law practice to Buffalo. As an associate of the Whig politician Thurlow Weed, Fillmore held state office and for eight years was a member of the House of Representatives. In 1848, while Comptroller of New York, he was elected Vice President.
Fillmore presided over the Senate during the months of
nerve-wracking debates over the Compromise of 1850. He made
no public comment on the merits of the compromise proposals, but a
few days before President Taylor's death, he intimated to him that if there should be a tie vote on Henry Clay's bill, he would vote in favor of it.
Thus the sudden accession of Fillmore to the Presidency in July 1850
brought an abrupt political shift in the administration. Taylor's Cabinet
resigned and President Fillmore at once appointed Daniel Webster to
be Secretary of State, thus proclaiming his alliance with the moderate
Whigs who favored the Compromise.
A bill to admit California still aroused all the violent arguments for and
against the extension of slavery, without any progress toward settling
the major issues.

Clay, exhausted, left Washington to recuperate, throwing leadership
upon Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois. At this critical juncture,
President Fillmore announced in favor of the Compromise. On August 6, 1850, he sent a message to Congress recommending that Texas be paid to abandon her claims to part of New Mexico.

This helped influence a critical number of northern Whigs in Congress away from their insistence upon the Wilmot Proviso--the stipulation that all land gained by the Mexican War must be closed to slavery.

Douglas's effective strategy in Congress combined with Fillmore's pressure from the White House to give impetus to the Compromise movement. Breaking up Clay's single legislative package, Douglas presented five separate bills to the Senate:

Admit California as a free state.
Settle the Texas boundary and compensate her.
Grant territorial status to New Mexico.
Place Federal officers at the disposal of slaveholders seeking fugitives.
Abolish the slave trade in the District of Columbia.

Each measure obtained a majority, and by September 20, President Fillmore had signed them into law. Webster wrote, "I can now sleep of nights."
Some of the more militant northern Whigs remained irreconcilable, refusing to forgive Fillmore for having signed the Fugitive Slave Act. They helped deprive him of the Presidential nomination in 1852.

Within a few years it was apparent that although the Compromise had been intended to settle the slavery controversy, it served rather as an uneasy sectional truce.
As the Whig Party disintegrated in the 1850's, Fillmore refused to join the Republican Party; but, instead, in 1856 accepted the nomination for President of the Know Nothing, or American, Party. Throughout the Civil War he opposed President Lincoln and during Reconstruction supported President Johnson.

Born: Jan 1, 1800 New York
Died: Mar 3, 1874
Married: Abigail Powers
Occupation: Farmer
Political Party: Whig
Height: 5' 9"
VP: none (1850-1853)
US Population 1850: 23.191.876
Stars in the Flag 1853: 31
Stars added: CA

 

14tth President 1853-1857

Franklin Pierce was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House.

 Pierce attended Bowdoin College. After graduation he studied law, then entered politics. At 24 he was elected to the New Hampshire legislature; two years later he became its Speaker. During the 1830's he went to Washington, first as a Representative, then as a Senator.

Pierce, after serving in the Mexican War, was proposed by New Hampshire friends for the Presidential nomination in 1852 At the Democratic Convention, after 48 ballots, Pierce was nominated  a true "dark horse."

Two months before he took office, he and his wife saw their eleven-year-old son killed when their train was wrecked. Grief-stricken, Pierce entered the Presidency nervously exhausted.
As President, Pierce had only to make gestures toward expansion to excite the wrath of northerners, who accused him of acting as a cat's-paw of Southerners eager to extend slavery into other areas.
Therefore he aroused apprehension when he pressured Great Britain
to relinquish its special interests along part of the Central American coast, and even more when he tried to persuade Spain to sell Cuba.

But the most violent renewal of the storm stemmed from the
Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and
reopened the question of slavery in the West. This measure, the handiwork of Senator Stephen A. Douglas, grew in part out of his desire to promote a railroad from Chicago to California through Nebraska. Already Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, advocate of a southern transcontinental route, had persuaded Pierce to send James Gadsden to Mexico to buy land for a southern railroad. He purchased the area now comprising southern Arizona and part of southern New Mexico for $10,000,000.

Douglas's proposal, to organize western territories through which a
railroad might run, caused extreme trouble. Douglas provided in his bills that the residents of the new territories could decide the slavery question for themselves. The result was a rush into Kansas, as southerners and northerners vied for control of the territory. Shooting broke out, and "bleeding Kansas" became a prelude to the Civil War.

By the end of his administration, Pierce could claim "a peaceful condition of things in Kansas." But, to his disappointment, the Democrats refused to renominate him, turning to the less controversial Buchanan.
Pierce returned to New Hampshire, leaving his successor to face
the rising fury of the sectional whirlwind. He died in 1869.

Born: Nov 23, 1804 New Hampshire
Died: October 8, 1869  New Hampshire
Married: Jane Means Appleton
Occupation: Lawyer - General in Mexican War
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 5' 10"
VP: William King (1853)
VP: none (1853-1857)
US Population 1853: 23,191,876
Stars in the Flag 1857: 31
Stars added: none

 

15th President 1857-1861

James Buchanan was the only president that never married.

Born into a well-to-do Pennsylvania family in 1791,
Buchanan, a graduate of Dickinson College, was gifted
as a debater and learned in the law.

He was elected five times to the House of Representatives;
then, after an interlude as Minister to Russia, served for a
decade in the Senate. He became Polk's Secretary of State
and Pierce's Minister to Great Britain. Service abroad helped
to bring him the Democratic nomination in 1856 because it
had exempted him from involvement in bitter domestic
controversies.
As President-elect, Buchanan thought the crisis would disappear if he maintained a sectional balance in his appointments and could persuade the people to accept constitutional law as the Supreme Court interpreted it.
The Court was considering the legality of restricting slavery in the territories, and two justices hinted toBuchanan what the decision would be. Thus, in his Inaugural the President referred to the territorial question as "happily, a matter of but little practical importance" since the Supreme Court was about to settle it "speedily and finally."
Presiding over a rapidly dividing Nation, Buchanan grasped inadequately the political realities of the time. Relying on constitutional doctrines to close the widening rift over slavery, he failed to understand that the North would not accept constitutional arguments which favored the South.  Nor could he realize how sectionalism had realigned political parties: the Democrats split; the Whigs were destroyed, giving rise to the Republicans
Two days after Buchanan's Inaugural Address Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the Dred Scott decision, asserting that Congress had
no constitutional power to deprive persons of their property rights in slaves in the territories. Southerners were delighted, but the decision created a furor in the North.
Buchanan decided to end the troubles in Kansas by urging the admission of the territory as a slave state. Although he directed his Presidential authority to this goal, he further angered the Republicans and alienated members of his own party. Kansas remained a territory.
When Republicans won a plurality in the House in 1858, every significant bill they passed fell before southern votes in the Senate or a Presidential veto. The Federal Government reached a stalemate.
Sectional strife rose to such a pitch in 1860 that the Democratic
Party split into northern and southern wings, each nominating its own candidate for the Presidency. Consequently, when the Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln, it was a foregone conclusion that he would be elected even though his name appeared on no southern ballot. Rather than accept a Republican administration, the southern "fire-eaters" advocated secession.
President Buchanan, dismayed and hesitant, denied the legal right of states to secede but held that the Federal Government legally could not prevent them. He hoped for compromise, but secessionist leaders did not want compromise.
Then Buchanan took a more militant tack. As several Cabinet members resigned, he appointed northerners, and sent the Star of the West to carry reinforcements to Fort Sumter. On January 9, 1861, the vessel was far away.
Buchanan reverted to a policy of inactivity that continued until he left office. In March 1861 he retired to his Pennsylvania home Wheatland--where he died seven years later--leaving his successor to resolve the frightful issue facing the Nation.

Born: Apr 23, 1791 Pennsylvania
Died: Jun 6, 1688 Pennsylvania
Married: None
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 6'
VP: John C. Breckinridge (1857-1861)
US Population 1857:  31,443,321
Stars in the Flag 1861: 34
Stars added: MN, OR, KS
 

16th President 1861-1865

Abraham Lincoln was the first president to wear a beard and was the tallest.
The son of a Kentucky frontiersman, Lincoln had to struggle for a
living and for learning. Five months before receiving his party's
nomination for President, he sketched his life:
"I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families--second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks.... My father ... removed from Kentucky to ... Indiana, in my eighth year.... It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up.... Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher ... but that was all."

Lincoln made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm, splitting rails for fences, and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois. He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and rode the circuit of courts for many years. His law partner said of him, "His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest."
He married Mary Todd, and they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity. In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election, but in debating with Douglas he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860.
Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you.... You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it."

Lincoln thought secession illegal, and was willing to use force to defend Federal law and the Union. When Confederate batteries fired on Fort Sumter and forced its surrender, he called on the states for 75,000 volunteers. Four more slave states joined the Confederacy but four remained within the Union. The Civil War had begun.

As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy.
Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an even larger issue. This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Lincoln won re-election in 1864, as Union military triumphs heralded an end to the war. In his planning for peace, the President was flexible and generous, encouraging Southerners to lay down their arms and join speedily in reunion.
The spirit that guided him was clearly that of his Second Inaugural Address, now inscribed on one wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C.: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds.... "

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who somehow thought he was helping the South. The opposite was the result, for with Lincoln's death, the possibility of peace with magnanimity died.

Born: Feb 12, 1809 Kentucky
Died: Apr 15, 1865 Washington DC
Married: Mary Todd
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Republican
Height: 6' 4"
VP: Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865)
VP: Andrew Johnson (1865)
US Population 1861: 31,443,321
Stars in the Flag 1865: 36
Stars added: WV, NV
 

17th President 1865-1869

Andrew Johnson was impeached for removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton during the turbulent Reconstruction period, but was acquitted by one vote in the Senate.


Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Johnson grew up in poverty. He was apprenticed to a tailor as a boy,
but ran away. He opened a tailor shop in Greeneville, Tennessee,  and participated in debates at the local academy.
Entering politics, he became an adept stump speaker, championing the common man and vilifying the plantation aristocracy. As a Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the 1840's and '50's, he advocated a homestead bill to provide a free farm for the poor man.
During the secession crisis, Johnson remained in the Senate even when Tennessee seceded, which made him a hero in the North and a traitor in the eyes of most Southerners.
In 1862 President Lincoln appointed him Military Governor of
Tennessee, and Johnson used the state as a laboratory for reconstruction. In 1864 the Republicans, contending that their National Union Party was for all loyal men, nominated Johnson, a Southerner and a Democrat, for Vice President.

After Lincoln's death, President Johnson proceeded to reconstruct
the former Confederate States while Congress was not in session in 1865. He pardoned all who would take an oath of allegiance, but required leaders and men of wealth to obtain special Presidential pardons.
By the time Congress met in December 1865, most southern states were
reconstructed, slavery was being abolished, but "black codes" to regulate the freedmen were beginning to appear.
Radical Republicans in Congress moved vigorously to change Johnson's program. They gained the support of northerners who were dismayed to see Southerners keeping many prewar leaders and imposing many prewar restrictions upon Negroes.
The Radicals' first step was to refuse to seat any Senator or Representative from the old Confederacy. Next they passed measures dealing with the former slaves. Johnson vetoed the legislation. The Radicals mustered enough votes in Congress to pass legislation over his veto--the first time that Congress had overridden a President on an important bill. They passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which established Negroes as American citizens and forbade discrimination
against them.
A few months later Congress submitted to the states the Fourteenth Amendment, which specified that no state should "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
All the former Confederate States except Tennessee refused to ratify the amendment; further, there were two bloody race riots in the South. Speaking in the Middle West, Johnson faced hostile audiences. The Radical Republicans won an overwhelming victory in Congressional elections that fall.
In March 1867, the Radicals effected their own plan of Reconstruction, again placing southern states under military rule. They passed laws placing restrictions upon the President. When Johnson allegedly violated one of these, the Tenure of Office Act, by dismissing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, the House voted eleven articles of impeachment against him. He was tried by the Senate in the
spring of 1868 and acquitted by one vote.

In 1875, Tennessee returned Johnson to the Senate. He died a few months later.

Born: Dec 29, 1808 North Carolina
Died: Jul 31, 1875 Tennessee
Married: Eliza McCardle
Occupation: Tailor
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 5' 10"
VP: none (1865-1869)
US Population 1865: 39,818,449
Stars in the Flag 1869: 37
Stars added: NB

 

18th President 1869-1877

Ulysses S. Grant was a Union commander during the Civil War and established Yellowstone as the first national park in 1872. 

Born in 1822, Grant was the son of an Ohio tanner. He went to
West Point rather against his will and graduated in the middle of his class. In the Mexican War he fought under Gen. Zachary Taylor.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Grant was working in his father's
leather store in Galena, Illinois. He was appointed by the Governor to command an unruly volunteer regiment. Grant whipped it into shape
and by September 1861 he had risen to the rank of brigadier general
of volunteers.
He sought to win control of the Mississippi Valley. In February 1862 he took Fort Henry and attacked Fort Donelson. When the Confederate
commander asked for terms, Grant replied, "No terms except an
unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." The Confederates surrendered, and President Lincoln promoted Grant to major general of volunteers.
At Shiloh in April, Grant fought one of the bloodiest battles in the West
and came out less well. President Lincoln fended off demands for his
removal by saying, "I can't spare this man--he fights."
For his next major objective, Grant maneuvered and fought skillfully to win Vicksburg, the key city on the Mississippi, and thus cut the
Confederacy in two. Then he broke the Confederate hold on Chattanooga.
Lincoln appointed him General-in-Chief in March 1864. Grant directed
Sherman to drive through the South while he himself, with the Army
of the Potomac, pinned down Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
Finally, on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Lee surrendered. Grant wrote out magnanimous terms of surrender that would prevent treason trials.
When he was elected President, the American people hoped for an end to turmoil. Grant provided neither vigor nor reform. Looking to Congress for direction, he seemed bewildered. One visitor to the White House noted "a puzzled pathos, as of a man with a problem before him of which he does not understand the terms."
As President, he presided over the Government much as he had run
the Army. Indeed he brought part of his Army staff to the White House.
Although a man of scrupulous honesty, Grant as President accepted handsome presents from admirers. Worse, he allowed himself to be seen with two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk. When Grant realized their scheme to corner the market in gold, he authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to sell enough gold to wreck their plans, but the speculation had already wrought havoc with business.

During his campaign for re-election in 1872, Grant was attacked by Liberal Republican reformers. He called them "narrow-headed men," their eyes so close together that "they can look out of the same gimlet hole without winking." The General's friends in the Republican Party came to be known proudly as "the Old Guard."

Grant allowed Radical Reconstruction to run its course in the South,
bolstering it at times with military force.
After retiring from the Presidency, Grant became a partner in a financial firm, which went bankrupt. About that time he learned that he had cancer of the throat. He started writing his recollections to pay off his debts and provide for his family, racing against death to produce a memoir that ultimately earned nearly $450,000.
Soon after completing the last page, in 1885, he died.

Born: Apr 27, 1822 Mount Pleasant, Ohio
Died: Jul 23, 1885 New York
Married: Julia Dent
Occupation: Army Officer
Political Party: 'Radical' Republican
Height: 5' 8"
VP: Schyler Colfax (1869-1873)
VP: Henry Wilson (1873-1875)
VP: none (1875-1877)
US Population 1869: 39,818,449
Stars in the Flag 1877: 38
Stars added: CO

 

19th President 1877-1881

Rutherford B Hayes banished liquor and wine from the White House and held the first Easter egg roll on the White House lawn.


Born in Ohio in 1822, Hayes was educated at Kenyon College and
Harvard Law School. After five years of law practice in Lower Sandusky, he moved to Cincinnati, where he flourished as a young Whig lawyer.
He fought in the Civil War, was wounded in action, and rose to the rank of brevet major general. While he was still in the Army, Cincinnati Republicans ran him for the House of Representatives. He accepted the nomination, but would not campaign, explaining, "an officer fit for duty who at this crisis would abandon his post to electioneer... ought to be scalped."
Elected by a heavy majority, Hayes entered Congress in December 1865, troubled by the "Rebel influences ... ruling the White House." Between 1867 and 1876 he served three terms as Governor of Ohio.

Safe liberalism, party loyalty, and a good war record made Hayes an
acceptable Republican candidate in 1876. He opposed Governor Samuel J. Tilden of New York.
Although a galaxy of famous Republican speakers, and even Mark Twain, stumped for Hayes, he expected the Democrats to win. When the first returns seemed to confirm this, Hayes went to bed, believing he had lost. But in New York, Republican National Chairman Zachariah Chandler, aware of a loophole, wired leaders to stand firm: "Hayes has 185 votes and is elected." The popular vote apparently was 4,300,000
for Tilden to 4,036,000 for Hayes. Hayes's election depended upon contested electoral votes in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida. If all the disputed electoral votes went to Hayes, he would win; a single one would elect Tilden.
Months of uncertainty followed. In January 1877 Congress established an Electoral Commission to decide the dispute. The commission, made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats, determined all the contests in favor of Hayes by eight to seven. The final electoral vote: 185 to 184.
Northern Republicans had been promising southern Democrats at least one Cabinet post, Federal patronage, subsidies for internal improvements, and withdrawal of troops from Louisiana and South Carolina.
Hayes insisted that his appointments must be made on merit, not political considerations. For his Cabinet he chose men of high caliber, but outraged many Republicans because one member was an ex-Confederate and another had bolted the party as a Liberal Republican in 1872.
Hayes pledged protection of the rights of Negroes in the South, but at the same time advocated the restoration of "wise, honest, and peaceful local self-government."
This meant the withdrawal of troops. Hayes hoped such conciliatory policies would lead to the building of a "new Republican party" in the South, to which white businessmen and conservatives would rally.

Many of the leaders of the new South did indeed favor Republican economic policies and approved of Hayes's financial conservatism, but they faced annihilation at the polls if they were to join the party of Reconstruction. Hayes and his Republican successors were persistent in their efforts but could not win over the "solid South."
Hayes had announced in advance that he would serve only one term, and retired to Spiegel Grove, his home in Fremont, Ohio, in 1881. He died in 1893.

Born: Oct 4, 1822 Delaware, Ohio
Died: Jan 17, 1893 Fremont, Ohio
Married: Lucy Ware Webb
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Republican
Height: 5' 8"
VP: William Wheeler (1877-1881)
US Population 1887: 50,155,783
Stars in the Flag 1881: 38
 


20th President 1881

James Garfield was the last of seven presidents born in a log cabin and the second president to die by assassination, two months after being sworn into office

As the last of the log cabin Presidents, James A. Garfield attacked political corruption and won back for the Presidency a measure of prestige it had lost during the Reconstruction period.

He was born in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1831. Fatherless at two,
he later drove canal boat teams, somehow earning enough money
for an education. He was graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1856, and he returned to the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College) in Ohio as a classics professor. Within a year he was made its president.
Garfield was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1859 as a Republican.
During the secession crisis, he advocated coercing the seceding
states back into the Union.
In 1862, when Union military victories had been few, he successfully
led a brigade at Middle Creek, Kentucky, against Confederate troops.
At 31, Garfield became a brigadier general, two years later a major
general of volunteers.
Meanwhile, in 1862, Ohioans elected him to Congress. President Lincoln persuaded him to resign his commission: It was easier to find major generals than to obtain effective Republicans for Congress. Garfield repeatedly won re-election for 18 years, and became the leading Republican in the House.
At the 1880 Republican Convention, Garfield failed to win the Presidential nomination for his friend John Sherman. Finally, on the 36th ballot, Garfield himself became the "dark horse" nominee.
By a margin of only 10,000 popular votes, Garfield defeated the Democratic nominee, Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock.

As President, Garfield strengthened Federal authority over the New York Customs House, stronghold of Senator Roscoe Conkling, who was leader of the Stalwart Republicans and dispenser of patronage in New York. When Garfield submitted to the Senate a list of appointments including many of Conkling's friends, he named Conkling's arch-rival William H. Robertson to run the Customs House. Conkling contested the nomination, tried to persuade the Senate to block it, and appealed to the Republican caucus to compel its withdrawal.
But Garfield would not submit: "This...will settle the question whether the President is registering clerk of the Senate or the Executive of the United States.... shall the principal port of entry ... be under the control of the administration or under the local control of a factional senator."
Conkling maneuvered to have the Senate confirm Garfield's uncontested nominations and adjourn without acting on Robertson. Garfield countered  by withdrawing all nominations except Robertson's; the Senators would have to confirm him or sacrifice all the appointments of Conkling's friends.
In a final desperate move, Conkling and his fellow-Senator from New York resigned, confident that their legislature would vindicate their stand and re-elect them. Instead, the legislature elected two other men; the Senate confirmed Robertson. Garfield's victory was complete.

In foreign affairs, Garfield's Secretary of State invited all American republics to a conference to meet in Washington in 1882. But the conference never took place. On July 2, 1881, in a Washington railroad station, an embittered attorney who had sought a consular post shot the President.
Mortally wounded, Garfield lay in the White House for weeks.
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, tried unsuccessfully
to find the bullet with an induction-balance electrical device which he had designed. On September 6, Garfield was taken to the New Jersey seaside.For a few days he seemed to be recuperating, but on September 19, 1881, he died from an infection and internal hemorrhage.

Born: Nov 19, 1831 Orange, Ohio
Died: Sep 19, 1881 New Jersey
Married: Lucretia Rudolph
Occupation: Teacher, Preacher
Political Party: Republican
Height: 6'
VP: Chester Arthur (1818)
US Population 1881: 50,155,783
Stars in the Flag 1881: 38
 

 
21st President 1881-1885

Chester A. Arthur was nicknamed "Elegant Arthur" for his fashion sense.

The son of a Baptist preacher who had emigrated from northern
Ireland, Arthur was born in Fairfield, Vermont, in 1829. He was
graduated from Union College in 1848, taught school, was
admitted to the bar, and practiced law in New York City. Early in the Civil War he served as Quartermaster General of the State of New York.
President Grant in 1871 appointed him Collector of the Port of New York. Arthur effectively marshalled the thousand Customs House employees under his supervision on behalf of Roscoe Conkling's Stalwart Republican machine.
Honorable in his personal life and his public career, Arthur nevertheless was a firm believer in the spoils system when it was coming under vehement attack from reformers. He insisted upon honest administration of the Customs House, but staffed it with more employees than it needed, retaining them for their merit as party
workers rather than as Government officials.
In 1878 President Hayes, attempting to reform the Customs House, ousted Arthur . Conkling and his followers tried to win redress by fighting for the renomination of Grant at the 1880 Republican Convention. Failing, they reluctantly accepted the nomination of Arthur for the Vice Presidency.
During his brief tenure as Vice President, Arthur stood firmly beside Conkling in his patronage struggle against President Garfield. But when Arthur succeeded to the Presidency, he was eager to prove himself above machine politics.

Avoiding old political friends, he became a man of fashion in his garb and associates, and often was seen with the elite of Washington, New York, and Newport. To the indignation of the Stalwart Republicans, the onetimeCollector of the Port of New York became, as President, a champion of civil service reform. Public pressure, heightened by the assassination of Garfield, forced an unwieldy Congress to heed the President.
In 1883 Congress passed the Pendleton Act, which established a bipartisan Civil Service Commission, forbade levying political assessments against officeholders, and provided for a "classified system" that made certain Government positions obtainable only through competitive written examinations. The system protected employees against removal for political reasons.
Acting independently of party dogma, Arthur also tried to lower tariff rates so the Government would not be embarrassed by annual surpluses of revenue. Congress raised about as many rates as it trimmed, but Arthur signed the Tariff Act of 1883. Aggrieved Westerners and Southerners looked to the Democratic Party for redress, and the tariff began to emerge as a major political issue between the two parties.
The Arthur Administration enacted the first general Federal immigration law. Arthur approved a measure in 1882 excluding paupers, criminals, and lunatics. Congress suspended Chinese immigration for ten years, later making the restriction permanent.

Arthur demonstrated as President that he was above factions within the Republican Party, if indeed not above the party itself. Perhaps in part his reason was the well-kept secret he had known since a year after he succeeded to the Presidency, that he was suffering from a fatal kidney disease. He kept himself in the running for the Presidential nomination in 1884 in order not to appear that he feared defeat, but was not renominated, and died in 1886.
Publisher Alexander K. McClure recalled, "No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted, and no one ever retired ... more generally respected."

Born: Oct 5, 1829 Fairfield, Vermont
Died: Nov 18, 1888 New York, New York
Married: Ellen Lewis Herndon
Occupation: Teacher, Lawyer, Inspector General
Political Party: Republican
Height: 6' 2"
VP: none (1881-1885)
US Population 1881: 50,155,783
Stars in the Flag 1885: 38
 

22nd President 1885-1889

 Grover Cleveland personally answered the White House phone and was the only president married in a ceremony at the White House on June 2, 1886 He was the first Democrat elected after the Civil War.
Grover Cleveland was the only president to leave the White House and return for a second term four years later.

One of nine children of a Presbyterian minister, Cleveland was born in New Jersey in 1837. He was raised in upstate New York. As a lawyer in Buffalo, he became notable for his single-minded concentration upon whatever task faced him.
At 44, he emerged into a political prominence that carried him to the White House in three years. Running as a reformer, he was elected Mayor of Buffalo in 1881, and later, Governor of New York.

Cleveland won the Presidency with the combined support of Democrats and reform Republicans, the "Mugwumps," who disliked
the record of his opponent James G. Blaine of Maine.
A bachelor, Cleveland was ill at ease at first with all the comforts of the White House. "I must go to dinner," he wrote a friend, "but I wish it was to eat a pickled herring a Swiss cheese and a chop at Louis' instead of the French stuff I shall find." In June 1886 Cleveland married 21-year-old Frances Folsom; he was the only President married in the White House.
Cleveland vigorously pursued a policy barring special favors to any
economic group. Vetoing a bill to appropriate $10,000 to distribute
seed grain among drought-stricken farmers in Texas, he wrote:
"Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character. . . . "
He also vetoed many private pension bills to Civil War veterans whose
claims were fraudulent. When Congress, pressured by the Grand Army of the Republic, passed a bill granting pensions for disabilities not caused by military service, Cleveland vetoed it, too.
He angered the railroads by ordering an investigation of western lands
they held by Government grant. He forced them to return 81,000,000
acres. He also signed the Interstate Commerce Act, the first law attempting Federal regulation of the railroads.

In December 1887 he called on Congress to reduce high protective tariffs. Told that he had given Republicans an effective issue for the campaign of 1888, he retorted, "What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something?" But Cleveland was defeated in 1888; although he won a larger popular majority than the Republican candidate Benjamin Harrison, he received fewer electoral votes.
Elected again in 1892, Cleveland faced an acute depression.
He dealt directly with the Treasury crisis rather than with business
failures, farm mortgage foreclosures, and unemployment. He obtained
repeal of the mildly inflationary Sherman Silver Purchase Act and, with
the aid of Wall Street, maintained the Treasury's gold reserve.

When railroad strikers in Chicago violated an injunction, Cleveland sent Federal troops to enforce it. "If it takes the entire army and navy of the United States to deliver a post card in Chicago," he thundered,
"that card will be delivered."

Cleveland's blunt treatment of the railroad strikers stirred the pride of
many Americans. So did the vigorous way in which he forced Great Britain to accept arbitration of a disputed boundary in Venezuela. But his policies during the depression were generally unpopular. His party deserted him and nominated William Jennings Bryan in 1896.
After leaving the White House, Cleveland lived in retirement in Princeton, New Jersey. He died in 1908.

Born: Mar 18, 1837 Caldwell, NJ
Died: Jun 24, 1908 Princeton, NJ
Married: Frances Folsom
Occupation: Lawyer, State Attorney General
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 5' 11"
VP: Thomas Hendricks (2885)
VP: none (1885-1889)
US Population 1885: 62,947,714
Stars in the Flag 1889: 42
New stars: ND, SD, MT, WA


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Vice Pres:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


23rd President 1889-1893

Benjamin Harrison was the only president to be a grandson of a president (William Henry Harrison) and the first president to use electricity in the White House..

Born in 1833 on a farm by the Ohio River below Cincinnati, Harrison
attended Miami University in Ohio and read law in Cincinnati.
He moved to Indianapolis, where he practiced law and campaigned for the Republican Party. After the Civil War--he was Colonel of the 70th Volunteer Infantry--Harrison became a pillar of Indianapolis, enhancing his reputation as a brilliant lawyer.
The Democrats defeated him for Governor of Indiana in 1876 by unfairly stigmatizing him as "Kid Gloves" Harrison. In the 1880's he served in the United States Senate, where he championed Indians. homesteaders, and Civil War veterans.

In the Presidential election, Harrison received 100,000 fewer popular votes than Cleveland, but carried the Electoral College 233 to 168. Although Harrison had made no political bargains, his supporters had given innumerable pledges upon his behalf.

When Boss Matt Quay of Pennsylvania heard that Harrison ascribed his narrow victory to Providence, Quay exclaimed that Harrison would never know "how close a number of men were compelled to approach... the penitentiary to make him President."

Harrison was proud of the vigorous foreign policy which he helped shape. The first Pan American Congress met in Washington in 1889, establishing an information center
which later became the Pan American Union. At the end of his administration Harrison submitted to the Senate a treaty to annex Hawaii; to his disappointment, President Cleveland later withdrew it.

Substantial appropriation bills were signed by Harrison for internal improvements, naval expansion, and subsidies for steamship lines. For the first time except in war,
Congress appropriated a billion dollars. When critics attacked "the billion-dollar Congress," Speaker Thomas B. Reed replied, "This is a billion-dollar country."
President Harrison also signed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act "to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies," the first Federal act attempting to regulate trusts.

The most perplexing domestic problem Harrison faced was the tariff issue. The high tariff rates in effect had created a surplus of money in the Treasury. Low-tariff advocates argued that the surplus was hurting business. Republican leaders in Congress successfully met the challenge. Representative
William McKinley and Senator Nelson W. Aldrich framed a still higher tariff bill; some rates were intentionally prohibitive.

Harrison tried to make the tariff more acceptable by writing in reciprocity provisions. To cope with the Treasury surplus, the tariff was removed from imported raw sugar; sugar growers within the United States were given two cents a pound bounty on their production.

Long before the end of the Harrison Administration, the Treasury surplus had evaporated, and prosperity seemed about to disappear as well. Congressional elections in 1890 went stingingly against the Republicans, and party leaders decided to abandon President Harrison although he had
cooperated with Congress on party legislation. Nevertheless, his party renominated him in 1892, but he was defeated by Cleveland.

After he left office, Harrison returned to Indianapolis, and married the widowed Mrs. Mary Dimmick in 1896. A dignified elder statesman, he died in 1901.

Born: Aug 20, 1833 North Bend, Ohio
Died: Mar 13, 1901 Indianapolis, Indiana
Married: Caroline Lavina Scott
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Republican
Height: 5' 6"
VP: Levi P Morton (1889-1893)
US Population 1889: 62,947,714
Stars in the Flag 1893: 44
Stars added: ID, WY
 

24th President (1893-1897)

Grover Cleveland was the only president to be elected to non -consecutive terms and the first to have a child born in the White House - his daughter Esther in 1895.
The First Democrat elected after the Civil War, Grover Cleveland was the only President to leave the White House and return for a second term four years later.    Vice President Adlai Stevenson ( 1893-1897)
(See bio 22nd President)


After leaving the White House, Cleveland lived in retirement in Princeton, New Jersey. He died in 1908.

Born: Mar 18, 1837 Caldwell, NJ
Died: Jun 24, 1908 Princeton, NJ
Married: Frances Folsom
Occupation: Lawyer, State Attorney General
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 5' 11"
VP: Adlai E Stevenson (1893-1897)
US Population 1885: 62,947,714
Stars in the Flag 1889: 45
New stars: UT
 

25th President 1897-1901

William McKinley was the first president to ride in an automobile, the first to campaign by telephone and the third to die by an assassin's wound.

At the 1896 Republican Convention, in time of depression, the wealthy Cleveland businessman Marcus Alonzo Hanna ensured the nomination of his friend William McKinley as "the advance agent of prosperity." The Democrats, advocating the "free and unlimited coinage of both silver and gold"--which would have mildly inflated the currency--nominated William Jennings Bryan.
While Hanna used large contributions from eastern Republicans
frightened by Bryan's views on silver, McKinley met delegations
on his front porch in Canton, Ohio. He won by the largest majority of popular votes since 1872.

Born in Niles, Ohio, in 1843, McKinley briefly attended Allegheny College, and was teaching in a country school when the Civil War broke out. Enlisting as a private in the Union Army, he was mustered out at the end of the war as a brevet major of volunteers. He studied law, opened an office in Canton, Ohio, and married Ida Saxton, daughter of a local banker.
At 34, McKinley won a seat in Congress. His attractive personality, exemplary character, and quick intelligence enabled him to rise rapidly. He was appointed to the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Robert M. La Follette, Sr., who served with him, recalled that he generally "represented the newer view," and "on the great new questions .. was generally on the side of the public and against private interests."

During his 14 years in the House, he became the leading Republican tariff expert, giving his name to the measure enacted in 1890. The next year he was elected Governor of Ohio, serving two terms.
When McKinley became President, the depression of 1893 had
almost run its course and with it the extreme agitation over silver. Deferring action on the money question, he called Congress into special session to enact the highest tariff in history.
In the friendly atmosphere of the McKinley Administration,
industrial combinations developed at an unprecedented pace.
Newspapers caricatured McKinley as a little boy led around
by "Nursie" Hanna, the representative of the trusts. However, McKinley was not dominated by Hanna; he condemned the trusts as "dangerous conspiracies against the public good."

Not prosperity, but foreign policy, dominated McKinley's
Administration. Reporting the stalemate between Spanish forces and revolutionaries in Cuba, newspapers screamed that a quarter of the population was dead and the rest suffering acutely. Public indignation brought pressure upon the President for war. Unable to restrain Congress or the American people, McKinley delivered his message of neutral intervention in April 1898. Congress thereupon voted three resolutions tantamount to a declaration of war for the liberation and independence of Cuba.
In the 100-day war, the United States destroyed the Spanish
fleet outside Santiago harbor in Cuba, seized Manila in the
Philippines, and occupied Puerto Rico.

"Uncle Joe" Cannon, later Speaker of the House, once said that
McKinley kept his ear so close to the ground that it was full of
grasshoppers. When McKinley was undecided what to do about Spanish possessions other than Cuba, he toured the country and detected an imperialist sentiment. Thus the United States annexed the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

In 1900, McKinley again campaigned against Bryan. While Bryan inveighed against imperialism, McKinley quietly stood for
"the full dinner pail."

His second term, which had begun auspiciously, came to a tragic end in September 1901. He was standing in a receiving line at the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition when a deranged anarchist shot him twice. He died eight days later.

Born: Jan 29, 1843 Niles, Ohio
Died: Sep 14, 1901 Buffalo, New York
Married: Ida Saxton
Occupation: Army officer, Lawyer
Political Party: Republican
Height: 5' 7"
VP: Garrett Hobart (1897-1901)
VP: Theodore Roosevelt (1901)
US Population 1897:75.994,575
Stars in the Flag1901: 45
 

26th President (1901-1909)

Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to call his residence in Washington D.C. the "White House."
He was the first president to ride in a car while president.

With the assassination of President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt,
not quite 43, became the youngest President in the Nation's history. He brought new excitement and power to the Presidency, as he vigorously led Congress and the American public toward progressive reforms and a strong foreign policy.
He took the view that the President as a "steward of the people" should take whatever action necessary for the public good unless expressly forbidden by law or the Constitution." I did not usurp power," he wrote, "but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power."

Roosevelt's youth differed sharply from that of the log cabin Presidents. He was born in New York City in 1858 into a wealthy family, but he too struggled--against ill health--and in his triumph became an advocate of the strenuous life.
In 1884 his first wife, Alice Lee Roosevelt, and his mother died on the same day. Roosevelt spent much of the next two years on his ranch in the Badlands of Dakota Territory. There he mastered his sorrow as he lived in the saddle, driving cattle, hunting big game--he even captured an outlaw. On a visit to
London, he married Edith Carow in December 1886.

During the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt was lieutenant colonel of the Rough Rider Regiment, which he led on a charge at the battle of San Juan. He was one of the most conspicuous heroes of the war.
Boss Tom Platt, needing a hero to draw attention away from scandals in New York State, accepted Roosevelt as the Republican candidate for Governor in 1898. Roosevelt won and served with distinction.

As President, Roosevelt held the ideal that the Government should be the great arbiter of the conflicting economic forces in the Nation, especially between capital and labor, guaranteeing justice to each and dispensing favors to none.
Roosevelt emerged spectacularly as a "trust buster" by forcing the dissolution of a great railroad combination in the Northwest. Other antitrust suits under the Sherman Act followed.
Roosevelt steered the United States more actively into world politics. He liked to quote a favorite proverb, "Speak softly and carry a big stick. . . . "

Aware of the strategic need for a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific, Roosevelt ensured the construction of the Panama Canal. His corollary to the Monroe Doctrine prevented the establishment of foreign bases in the Caribbean and arrogated the sole right of intervention in Latin America to the United States.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese War, reached a Gentleman's Agreement on immigration with Japan, and sent the Great White Fleet on a goodwill tour of the world.

Some of Theodore Roosevelt's most effective achievements were in conservation. He added enormously to the national forests in the West, reserved lands for public use, and fostered great irrigation projects.
He crusaded endlessly on matters big and small, exciting audiences with his high-pitched voice, jutting jaw, and pounding fist. "The life of strenuous endeavor" was a must for those around him, as he romped with his five younger children and led ambassadors on hikes through Rock Creek Park
in Washington, D.C.
Leaving the Presidency in 1909, Roosevelt went on an African safari, then jumped back into politics. In 1912 he ran for President on a Progressive ticket. To reporters he once remarked that he felt as fit as a bull moose, the name of his new party.
While campaigning in Milwaukee, he was shot in the chest by a fanatic. Roosevelt soon recovered, but his words at that time would have been applicable at the time of his death in 1919: "No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way."

Born: Oct 27, 1858 New York, New York
Died: Jan 6, 1919 Oyster Bay, New York
Married: (2nd wife) Edith Kermit Carow
Occupation: Officer in National Guard, NY Police
Political Party: Republican
Height: 5' 10"
VP: none (1901-1905)
VP: Charles Fairbanks (1905-1909)
US Population 1901: 75,994.575
Stars in the Flag 1909: 46
Star added: OK
 

27th President 1909-1913

William Howard Taft was the first president to own a car and the only president to serve as chief justice of the United States (1921-1930)

Distinguished jurist, effective administrator, but poor politician,
William Howard Taft spent four uncomfortable years in the White House. Large, jovial, conscientious, he was caught in the intense battles between Progressives and conservatives, and got scant credit for the achievements of his administration.

Born in 1857, the son of a distinguished judge, he graduated from Yale, and returned to Cincinnati to study and practice law. He rose in politics through Republican judiciary appointments, through his own competence and availability, and because, as he once wrote facetiously, he always had his "plate the right side up when offices were falling."
But Taft much preferred law to politics. He was appointed a
Federal circuit judge at 34. He aspired to be a member of the
Supreme Court, but his wife, Helen Herron Taft, held other
ambitions for him.

His route to the White House was via administrative posts.
President McKinley sent him to the Philippines in 1900 as chief
civil administrator. Sympathetic toward the Filipinos, he improved the economy, built roads and schools, and gave the people at least some participation in government.
President Roosevelt made him Secretary of War, and by 1907
had decided that Taft should be his successor. The Republican
Convention nominated him the next year.

Taft disliked the campaign--"one of the most uncomfortable
four months of my life." But he pledged his loyalty to the
Roosevelt program, popular in the West, while his brother
Charles reassured eastern Republicans. William Jennings Bryan, running on the Democratic ticket for a third time, complained that he was having to oppose two candidates, a western progressive Taft and an eastern conservative Taft. Progressives were pleased with Taft's election. "Roosevelt has cut enough hay," they said; "Taft is the man to put it into the barn." Conservatives were delighted to be rid of Roosevelt--the "mad messiah."
Taft recognized that his techniques would differ from those of his predecessor. Unlike Roosevelt, Taft did not believe in the stretching of Presidential powers. He once commented that Roosevelt "ought more often to have admitted the legal way of reaching the same ends."
Taft alienated many liberal Republicans who later formed the
Progressive Party, by defending the Payne-Aldrich Act which
unexpectedly continued high tariff rates. A trade agreement
with Canada, which Taft pushed through Congress, would have pleased eastern advocates of a low tariff, but the Canadians rejected it. He further antagonized Progressives by upholding his Secretary of the Interior, accused of failing to carry out Roosevelt's conservation policies.

In the angry Progressive onslaught against him, little attention
was paid to the fact that his administration initiated 80 antitrust
suits and that Congress submitted to the states amendments for
a Federal income tax and the direct election of Senators. A postal savings system was established, and the Interstate Commerce Commission was directed to set railroad rates.
In 1912, when the Republicans renominated Taft, Roosevelt bolted the party to lead the Progressives, thus guaranteeing the election of Woodrow Wilson.

Taft, free of the Presidency, served as Professor of Law at Yale
until President Harding made him Chief Justice of the United States, a position he held until just before his death in 1930. To Taft, the appointment was his greatest honor; he wrote: "I don't remember that I ever was President."

Born: Sep 15, 1857  Cincinnati, Ohio
Died: mar 8, 1939  Washington D.C.
Married: Helen Herron
Occupation: lawyer, Federal circuit judge, Secretary of War
Political Party: Republican
Height: 6'
VP: James S. Sherman (1909-1912)
VP: none (1912-1913)
US Population 1909: 95,972,266
Stars in the Flag 1913: 48
Stars added: NM, AZ
 

28th President 1913-1921

Woodrow Wilson is the only president buried in Washington National Cemetery.

Like Roosevelt before him, Woodrow Wilson regarded himself as the personal representative of the people. "No one but the President," he said, "seems to be expected ... to look out for the general interests of the country." He developed a program of progressive reform and asserted international leadership in building a new world order. In 1917 he proclaimed American entrance into World War I a crusade to make the world "safe for democracy."
Wilson had seen the frightfulness of war. He was born in Virginia in 1856, the son of a Presbyterian minister who during the Civil War was a pastor in Augusta, Georgia, and during Reconstruction a professor in the charred city of Columbia, South Carolina.
After graduation from Princeton (then the College of New Jersey) and the University of Virginia Law School, Wilson earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University and entered upon an academic career. In 1885 he married Ellen Louise Axson.
Wilson advanced rapidly as a conservative young professor of political science and became president of Princeton in 1902.

His growing national reputation led some conservative Democrats to consider him Presidential timber. First they persuaded him to run for Governor of New Jersey in 1910. In the campaign he asserted his independence of the conservatives and of the machine that had nominated him, endorsing a progressive platform, which he pursued as governor.
He was nominated for President at the 1912 Democratic Convention and campaigned on a program called the New Freedom, which stressed individualism and states' rights. In the three-way election he received only 42 percent of the popular vote but an overwhelming electoral vote.
Wilson maneuvered through Congress three major pieces of legislation. The first was a lower tariff, the Underwood Act; attached to the measure was a graduated Federal income tax. The passage of the Federal Reserve Act provided the Nation with the more elastic money supply it badly needed. In 1914 antitrust legislation established a Federal Trade Commission to prohibit unfair business practices.

Another burst of legislation followed in 1916. One new law prohibited child labor; another limited railroad workers to an eight-hour day. By virtue of this legislation and the slogan "he kept us out of war," Wilson narrowly won re-election.
But after the election Wilson concluded that America could not remain neutral in the World War. On April 2,1917, he asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.
Massive American effort slowly tipped the balance in favor of the Allies. Wilson went before Congress in January 1918, to enunciate American war aims--the Fourteen Points, the last of which would establish "A general association of nations...affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike."

After the Germans signed the Armistice in November 1918, Wilson went to Paris to try to build an enduring peace. He later presented to the Senate the Versailles Treaty, containing the Covenant of the League of Nations, and asked, "Dare we reject it and break the heart of the world?"
But the election of 1918 had shifted the balance in Congress to the Republicans. By seven votes the Versailles Treaty failed in the Senate.   The President, against the warnings of his doctors, had made a national tour to mobilize public sentiment for the treaty. Exhausted, he suffered a stroke and nearly died. Tenderly nursed by his second wife, Edith Bolling Galt, he lived until 1924.

Born: Dec 28, 1856 Staunton, Virginia
Died: Feb 3, 1924 Washington DC
Married: Ellen Louise Axton and 2nd Edith Boling Galt
Occupation: College professor, historian, President of Princeton
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 5'11"
VP: Thomas R. Marshall ((1913-1921)
US Population 1913: 91,972,266
Stars in the Flag 1921: 48
 

29th President 1921-1923

Warren G. Harding was the first president to speak over the radio.
He served in the Ohio State Senate and as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio.
In 1914 he was elected to the US Senate and in 1920 won the Presidency of the US by 60% of the votes.

Legislature during his Presidency: eliminated wartime controls and slashed taxes; established a Federal budget system; restored the high protective tariff and imposed limitations upon immigration.
When Harding learned that some of his friends were using their official positions for their own enrichment, he became very depressed.  He journey westward  in the summer of 1923, taking along his Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover. He was worried about a scandal he knew about and asked Hoover if he thought that for the good of the country and the party, if he should expose or bury it. Hoover advised exposure.  However, in  Aug 1923, Harding died in San Francisco of a heart attack.

Born: Nov 2, 1865 Marion, Ohio
Died: Aug 2, 1923  San Francisco, California
Married: Florence Kling DeWolfe
Occupation: Insurance Salesman, Reporter, Newspaper Publisher
Political Party: Republican
Height: 6'
VP: Calvin Coolidge ((1921-1923)
US Population 1921: 105,710,620
Stars in the Flag 1923: 48
 

30th President 1923-1929

Calvin Coolidge lighted the first Christmas tree on the White House lawn and refused to use the telephone while he was in office.
He was State Representative of Massachusetts and later Governor of Massachusetts.
Alfred E. Smith said of Coolidge, "his great task was to restore dignity and prestige to the Presidency when it had reached the lowest ebb in history - in a time of extravagance and waste,,,,," His first message to the Congress in December 1923, called for isolation in foreign policy, and for tax cuts, economy and limited aid to farmers. Later he was to veto two farm relief bills, and killed a plan to produce cheap Federal electric power on the Tennessee River.
The political genius of Coolidge, Walter Lippmann pointed out in 1926, was his talent for effectively doing nothing. He often sat silent during an interview. it was said that a young woman sitting next to him at a dinner party bet him she could get three words of conversation from him. Without looking at her, hr retorted, "You lose," He did not run for a second term.

Born: Jul 4, 1872 Plymouth, Vermont
Died: Jan 5, 1933 Northampton, Massachusetts
Married: Grace Anna Goodhue
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Republican
Height: 5'10"
VP: none (1923-1925)
VP: Charles Dawes (1925-1929)
US Population 1923: 105.755.046
Stars in the Flag 1929: 48
 

31st President 1929-1933

Herbert Clark Hoover approved "The Star Spangled Banner" as the national anthem and was the first president born west of the Mississippi River, in West Branch, Iowa.

Son of a Quaker blacksmith, Hoover brought to the Presidency an unparalleled reputation for public service as an engineer, administrator and a humanitarian.
After graduating from Stanford University as a mining engineer, Hoover and his wife Lou went to China where he worked for a private company as China's leading engineer. In June 1900, the Boxer Rebellion caught the Hoovers in Tientsin. For almost a month the settlement was under heavy fire. Lou worked in the hospitals and he directed building barricades.

The Hoovers were in London when Germany declared was on France. the American Consul General asked Hoover's help getting stranded tourists home. In six weeks, his committee helped 12,000 Americans return to the US.
His next task was to try to feed  Belgium, which had been overrun by the German army.
After the Armistice Hoover, a member of the Supreme Economic Council and head of the American Relief Administration, organized shipments of food to the starving millions in Europe. When he extended aid to stricken Soviet Russia in 1921, a critic asked if he was not thus aiding the Bolshevism. Hoover retorted, "Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!"
After serving capably as Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Harding and Coolidge, Hoover became the 1928 Republican Presidential nominee. His election seemed to ensure prosperity, however, within months the stock market crashed and the nation spiraled into depression.
In 1931, repercussions from Europe deepened the crisis, even though the President presented to Congress a program asking for creation if the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to aid business, additional help for farmers facing mortgage foreclosures, banking reform, a loan to the states for feeding the unemployed, expansion of public works and drastic governmental economy.
His opponents in Congress, who he felt were sabotaging his program for their own political gain, unfairly painted him as a callous and cruel President and Hoover became the scapegoat for the depression and was badly defeated in 1932.
In 1947, President Truman appointed him to a commission to reorganize the Executive Department. he was appointed  chairman of a similar commission by President Eisenhower. many economics resulted from both commissions. Hoover died at age 90 in New York in 1964.

Born: Aug 10, 1874 West Branch, Iowa
Died: Oct 20, 1964 New York, New York
Married: Lou Henry
Occupation: Engineer, Administrator, Secretary of Commerce
Political Party: Republican
Height: 5' 11"
VP: Charles Curtis (1929-1933)
US Population 1929: 122,775,046
Stars in the Flag 1933: 48
 

32nd President 1933-1945

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the only president to serve four terms.

Assuming the Presidency at the depth of the Great Depression, Roosevelt helped the American people regain faith in themselves. He brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
As a young man, he attended Harvard University and Columbia Law School. In 1905 he married Eleanor Roosevelt. He was the fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, whom he had greatly admired.
He was elected to the New York Senate in 1910.  President Wilson appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy and in 1920, he was the Democrat nominee for Vice President.  In the summer of 1921, at age 39, he was stricken with poliomyelitis.  He fought to regain control of his legs.
In 1928, Roosevelt became Governor of New York. He was elected President in 1932. By March, there were 13,000,000 unemployed, and almost every bank was closed. In his first 100 days, he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and those in danger of losing their farms and homes, and reform, especially through the Tennessee Valley Authority.
By 1935, the Nation achieved some measure of recovery, but businessmen and bankers were turning more and more against Roosevelt's New Deal Program. They feared his experiments, were appalled because he had taken the Nation off the gold standard and allowed deficits in the budget, and disliked the concessions to labor.
Roosevelt responded with a new reform. Social Security, heavier taxes on the wealthy, new controls over banks and public utilities, and an enormous work relief program for the unemployed.
In 1936, he was re-elected by a large margin. He sought legislation to enlarge the Supreme Court, which had been invalidating key New Deal measures. Roosevelt lost the Supreme Court battle, but revolution in constitutional law took place. Thereafter the government could legally regulate the economy.
Roosevelt transformed the Monroe Doctrine from a unilateral American manifesto into arrangements for mutual action against aggressors.  He sought to keep the US out of the war in Europe yet at the same time to strengthen nations threatened or attacked. When France fell and England came under siege in 1940, he began to send Great Britain all possible aid short of actual military involvement.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941, Roosevelt directed organization of the Nation's manpower and resources for global was,
Feeling that future peace of the world would depend upon relations between the US and Russia, he devoted much thought and planning toward the United Nations, in which, he hoped, international difficulties could be settled.
Apr 12, 1945 he died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Born: Jan 30, 1883 Hyde Park, New York
Died: Apr 21, 1945  Warm Springs, Georgia
Married: Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Occupation: lawyer
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 6'2"
VP: John Nance Garner (1933-1941)
VP: Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945)
VP: Harry Truman (1945)
US Population1933: 122,775,046
Stars in the Flag 1941: 48
 

33rd President 1945-1953

Harry S. Truman was the first president to give a speech on television and the first president to travel underwater in a submarine.

During his few weeks as Vice President, Truman scarcely saw President Roosevelt and received no briefings on the development of the atomic bomb or the unfolding difficulties with Soviet Russia. Suddenly these and a host of the wartime problems became Truman's to solve when on Apr 12, 1945 he suddenly became President.

 Active in the Democrat Party, Truman was elected judge of Jackson County Court in 1922. He became a Senator in 1934, During World War II he headed the Senate war investigating committee, checking into waste and corruption and saved as much as 15 billion dollars.
As President, Truman made some of the most critical decisions in history. Soon after V-E Day, the war against Japan had reached its final stages. An urgent plea to Japan to surrender was rejected. Truman, after consultations with his advisors, ordered atomic bombs dropped on cities devoted to war work. Two were Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan's  surrender quickly followed.
In June 1945, Truman witnessed the signing of the charter of the United Nations, hopefully established to preserve peace.
He presented to Congress a 21-point program, proposing the expansion of Social Security, a full-employment program, a permanent Fair Employment Practice Act and public housing and slum clearance, It had become known as the Fair Deal.

Dangers and crises marked the foreign scene as Truman successfully campaigned in 1948. In 1947, as the Soviet Union pressured Turkey and threatened to take over Greece, Truman asked Congress to aid the two countries, enunciating the Truman Doctrine. The Marshall Plan, named for the Secretary of State, stimulated spectacular economic recovery in war-torn western Europe.
While Russia blockaded the western sectors of Berlin in 1948, Truman created a massive air lift to supply Berliners until the Russians backed down. Meanwhile, Truman was negotiating NATO, a military alliance to protect western nations, which was established in 1949.

In June 1950, when the communist government of North Korea attacked South Korea, Truman conferred with his military advisors. It was accepted that whatever needed to be done to meet the aggression would be done. A long discouraging struggle ensued as UN forces held the line above the old boundary of South Korea. Truman kept the war a limited one, rather than risk a major conflict with China and perhaps Russia.
Deciding not to run for President again, Truman returned to Independence. At age 88, he died Dec 26, 1972,

Born: May 8, 1884 Lamar, Missouri
Died: Dec 26, 1972 Independence, Missouri
Married: Elizabeth "Bess" Virginia Wallace
Occupation: Soldier, bank clerk, farmer
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 5'9"
VP: none (1945-1949)
VP: Alben Barkley (1949-1953)
US Population 1945: 151,326,796
Stars in the Flag 1953: 48
 


34th President 1953-1961

Dwight David Eisenhower was the first president who commanded Allied troops during the D-Day invasion of France in 1944. He was the only president to serve in both  World War I and World War II. He was also the first president to ride in a helicopter.

Eisenhower "Ike" was a graduate of West Point. During his early Army career, he served under Generals John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur, and Walter Krueger. After Pearl Harbor, General George C. Marshall called him to Washington for a war plans assignment. Ike commanded the Allied Forces landing in North Africa in Nov 1942, On D-Day, 1944, he was Supreme Commander of the troops invading France.
He was a five-star General during World War II.  After the war, he became president of Columbia University, then took leave to assume supreme command over the new NATO forces being assembled in 1951.  Republican emissaries near Paris persuaded him to run for President in 1952. "I like Ike" was an irresistible slogan - Eisenhower won a sweeping victory.
Negotiating from military strength, he tried to reduce the strains of the Cold War. In 1953, the signing of the truce brought an armed peace along the border of South Korea.  The death of Stalin the same year caused shifts in relations with Russia.
The new Russian leaders consented to a peace treaty neutralizing Austria. Meanwhile, both the US and Russia had developed  hydrogen bombs. With such destruction hanging over the world, Eisenhower, with the leaders of the British, French and Russian  governments, met at Geneva in 1955. The President proposed that the US and Russia exchange blueprints of each other's military establishments and "provide within our countries facilities for aerial photography to the other countries."
In Sep 1955, Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in Denver, CO and in Feb 1956 doctors reported his recovery. In November he was elected for a second term.
In domestic policy, the President continued most of the New Deal and the Fair Deal programs, emphasizing a balanced budget.
Desegregation of schools began, he also ordered desegregation of the Armed Forces. "There must be no second class citizens in this country." he said.
Eisenhower concentrated on maintaining world peace. Before he left office in 1961, he urged the necessity of maintaining an adequate military strength, but cautioned that vast long-continued military expenditures could breed potential dangers to our way of life.

Born: Oct 14, 1890 Dennison, Texas
Died: Mar 28, 1969 Washington DC
Married: Mamie Geneva Dowd
Occupation: Army Officer
Political Party: Republican
Height: 5' 10.5"
VP: Richard Nixon ((1953-1961)
US Population 1953: 151,325,793
Stars in the Flag 1961: 50
Stars added: AK ,HI
 


35th President 1961-1963

John F. "Jack" Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president, the first president born in the 20th century and the first president to hold a press conference on television. At age 43, he was also the youngest American elected president, and at 46, the youngest to die in office.

Of Irish descent, Jack was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917. Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety.
Back from the war, he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area, advancing in 1953 to the Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history.

In 1956 Kennedy almost gained the Democratic nomination for Vice President, and four years later was a first-ballot nominee for President. Millions watched his television debates with the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote, Kennedy became the first Roman Catholic President.
His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country." As President, he set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II; before his death, he laid plans for a massive assault on persisting pockets of privation and poverty.

Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society.
He wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights. With the Alliance for Progress and the Peace Corps, he brought American idealism to the aid of developing nations. But the hard reality of the Communist challenge remained.
Shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy permitted a band of Cuban exiles, already armed and trained, to invade their homeland. The attempt to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro was a failure. Soon thereafter, the Soviet Union renewed its campaign against West Berlin. Kennedy replied by reinforcing the Berlin garrison and increasing the Nation's military strength, including new efforts in outer space. Confronted by this reaction, Moscow, after the erection of the Berlin Wall, relaxed its pressure in central Europe.

Instead, the Russians now sought to install nuclear missiles in Cuba. When this was discovered by air reconnaissance in October 1962, Kennedy imposed a quarantine on all offensive weapons bound for Cuba. While the world trembled on the brink of nuclear war, the Russians backed down and agreed to take the missiles away. The American response to the Cuban crisis evidently persuaded Moscow of the futility of nuclear blackmail.
Kennedy now contended that both sides had a vital interest in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and slowing the arms race--a contention which led to the test ban treaty of 1963. The months after the Cuban crisis showed significant progress toward his goal of "a world of law and free choice, banishing the world of war and coercion." His administration thus saw the beginning of new hope for both the equal rights of Americans and the peace of the world.

And then John F Kennedy went to Dallas --------
Around the world there was a stunned reaction to the assassination  of JFK. Men and women wept openly. People gathered together to watch the television coverage. The event left a lasting impression on many. Camelot was gone.  There has never been a satisfactory and wholly believable  explanation on who killed Kennedy and why.

More on John F Kennedy -
The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

Born: May 29, 1917  Brookline, Massachusetts
Died: Nov 23, 1963  Dallas, Texas
Married: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier
Occupation: Journalist, author
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 6'
VP: Lyndon B Johnson
US Population 1961: 179,323,031
Stars in the Flag 1963: 50

 

36th President 1963-1969

Before becoming president, Lyndon Baines Johnson was a high school teacher in Texas.
Johnson was the first President born in the 20th Century.
Johnson was born in central Texas, not far from Johnson City, which his family had helped settle. He felt the pinch of rural poverty as he grew up, working his way through Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now known as Texas State University-San Marcos); he learned compassion for the poverty of others when he taught students of Mexican descent.
In 1937 he campaigned successfully for the House of Representatives on a New Deal platform, effectively aided by his wife, the former Claudia "Lady Bird" Taylor.

During World War II he served briefly in the Navy as a lieutenant commander, winning a Silver Star in the South Pacific. After six terms in the House, Johnson was elected to the Senate in 1948. In 1953, he became the youngest Minority Leader in Senate history, and the following year, when the Democrats won control, Majority Leader. With rare skill he obtained passage of a number of key Eisenhower measures.

In the 1960 campaign, Johnson, as John F. Kennedy's running mate, was elected Vice President. On November 22, 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated, Johnson was sworn in as President.
First he obtained enactment of the measures President Kennedy
had been urging at the time of his death--a new civil rights bill
and a tax cut. Next he urged the Nation "to build a great society, a place where the meaning of man's life matches the marvels of man's labor."
In 1964, Johnson won the Presidency with 61 percent of the vote and had the widest popular margin in American history--
more than 15,000,000 votes.

The Great Society program became Johnson's agenda for Congress in January 1965: aid to education, attack on disease, Medicare, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions, a wide-scale fight against poverty, control and prevention of crime and delinquency, removal of obstacles to the right to vote. Congress,
at times augmenting or amending, rapidly enacted Johnson's
recommendations. Millions of elderly people found succor through the 1965 Medicare amendment to the Social Security Act.

Under Johnson, the country made spectacular explorations of space in a program he had championed since its start. In December 1968, a dream of John Kennedy's came true when three astronauts orbited the moon. Johnson said to them,  "You've taken .. all of us, all over the world, into a new era.  . "

Nevertheless, two overriding crises had been gaining momentum since 1965. Despite the beginning of new  antipoverty and anti-discrimination programs, unrest and rioting in black ghettos troubled the Nation. President Johnson steadily exerted his influence against segregation and on behalf of law and order, but there was no early solution.
The other crisis arose from Viet Nam. Despite Johnson's efforts to end Communist aggression and achieve a settlement, fighting continued. Controversy over the war had become acute by the end of March 1968, when he limited the bombing of North Viet Nam in order to initiate negotiations. At the same time, he startled the world by withdrawing as a candidate for re-election so that he might devote his full efforts, unimpeded by politics, to the quest for peace.
When he left office, peace talks were under way; he did not live to see them successful, but died suddenly of a heart attack at his Texas ranch on January 22, 1973.

Born: Aug 27, 1908 Stonewall, TX
Died: Jan 22, 1973 Johnson City, TX
Married: Claudia "Lady Bird" Taylor
Occupation: Teacher, rancher
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 6'3"
VP: none (1963-1965)
VP: Hubert Humphrey (1965-1969)
US Population: 179,323,031
Stars in the Flag: 50
 

37th President 1969-1974

Richard Nixon was the first President to visit all 50 States, the first President to visit China, and the only US President to resign.

Reconciliation was the first goal set by President Richard M. Nixon. The Nation was painfully divided, with turbulence in the cities and war overseas. During his Presidency, Nixon succeeded in ending American fighting in Viet Nam and improving relations with the U.S.S.R. and China. But the Watergate scandal brought fresh divisions to the country and ultimately led to his resignation.

His election in 1968 had climaxed a career unusual on two counts: his early success and his comeback after being defeated for President in 1960 and for Governor of California in 1962.
Nixon had a brilliant record at Whittier College and Duke University Law School before beginning the practice of law. In 1940, he married Patricia Ryan; they had two daughters, Patricia (Tricia) and Julie. During World War II, Nixon served as a Navy lieutenant commander in the Pacific.  On leaving the service, he was elected to Congress from his California district. In 1950, he won a Senate seat. Two years later, General Eisenhower selected Nixon, age 39, to be his running mate.
As Vice President, Nixon took on major duties in the Eisenhower Administration.    Nominated for President by acclamation in 1960, he lost by a narrow margin to John F. Kennedy. In 1968, he again won his party's nomination, and went on to defeat Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and third-party candidate George C. Wallace.

His accomplishments while in office included revenue sharing, the end of the draft, new anticrime laws, and a broad environmental program. As he had promised, he appointed Justices of conservative philosophy to the Supreme Court. One of the most dramatic events of his first term occurred in 1969, when American astronauts made the first moon landing.
Some of his most acclaimed achievements came in his quest for world stability. During visits in 1972 to Beijing and Moscow, he reduced tensions with China and the U.S.S.R. His summit meetings with Russian leader Leonid I. Brezhnev produced a treaty to limit strategic nuclear weapons. In January 1973, he announced an accord with North Viet Nam to end American involvement in Indochina. In 1974, his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, negotiated disengagement agreements between Israel and its opponents, Egypt and Syria.

In his 1972 bid for office, Nixon defeated Democratic candidate George McGovern by one of the widest margins on record.
Within a few months, his administration was embattled over the so-called "Watergate" scandal, stemming from a break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee during the 1972 campaign. The break-in was traced to officials of the Committee to Re-elect the President. A number of administration officials resigned; some were later convicted of offenses connected with efforts to cover up the affair. Nixon denied any personal involvement, but the courts forced him to yield tape recordings which indicated that he had, in fact, tried to divert the investigation.

As a result of unrelated scandals in Maryland, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in 1973. Nixon nominated, and Congress approved, House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford as Vice President. Faced with what seemed almost certain impeachment, Nixon announced on August 8, 1974, that he would resign the next day to begin "that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America."

Born: Jan 9, 1913 Yoruba Linda, California
Died: Apr 22, 1994 New York, New York
Married: Patricia Ryan
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Republican
Height: 5' 11"
VP: Spiro Agnew (1969-1973)
VP: Gerald Ford (1973-1974)
US Population: 203,302,031
Stars in the Flag: 50
 

38th President (1974-1977)

Gerald Ford, who once worked as a fashion model, became Vice President and President without being elected to either office.

When Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office on August 9, 1974, he declared, "I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances.... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts."

It was indeed an unprecedented time. He had been the first Vice President chosen under the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment and, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, was succeeding the first President ever to resign.

Ford was confronted with almost insuperable tasks. There were the challenges of mastering inflation, reviving a depressed economy, solving chronic energy shortages, and trying to ensure world peace.

The President acted to curb the trend toward Government intervention and spending as a means of solving the problems of American society and the economy. In the long run, he believed, this shift would bring a better life for all Americans.

Ford's reputation for integrity and openness had made him popular during his 25 years in Congress. From 1965 to 1973, he was House Minority Leader. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, he grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He starred on the University of Michigan football team, then went to Yale, where he served as assistant coach while earning his law degree. During World War II he attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy. After the war he returned to Grand Rapids, where he began the practice of law, and entered Republican politics. A few weeks before his election to Congress in 1948, he married Elizabeth Bloomer. They have four children: Michael, John, Steven, and Susan.

As President, Ford tried to calm earlier controversies by granting former President Nixon a full pardon. His nominee for Vice President, former Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, was the second person to fill that office by appointment. Gradually, Ford selected a cabinet of his own.

Ford established his policies during his first year in office, despite opposition from a heavily Democratic Congress. His first goal was to curb inflation. Then, when recession became the Nation's most serious domestic problem, he shifted to measures aimed at stimulating the economy. But, still fearing inflation, Ford vetoed a number of non-military appropriations bills that would have further increased the already heavy budgetary deficit. During his first 14 months as President he vetoed 39 measures. His vetoes were usually sustained.

Ford continued as he had in his Congressional days to view himself as "a moderate in domestic affairs, a conservative in fiscal affairs, and a dyed-in-the-wool internationalist in foreign affairs." A major goal was to help business operate more freely by reducing taxes upon it and easing the controls exercised by regulatory agencies. "We...declared our independence 200 years ago, and we are not about to lose it now to paper shufflers and computers," he said.

In foreign affairs Ford acted vigorously to maintain U. S. power and prestige after the collapse of Cambodia and South Viet Nam. Preventing a new war in the Middle East remained a major objective; by providing aid to both Israel and Egypt, the Ford Administration helped persuade the two countries to accept an interim truce agreement. Detente with the Soviet Union continued. President Ford and Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev set new limitations upon nuclear weapons.

President Ford won the Republican nomination for the Presidency in 1976, but lost the election to his Democratic opponent, former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia.

Born: Jul 14, 1913 Omaha, Nebraska
Died: Dec 26, 2006 Rancho Mirage, California
Married: Betty Ford
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Republican
Height: 6'
VP: none (1974)
VP: Nelson Rockefeller (1974-1977)
US Population: 203,302,031
Stars in the Flag: 50
 


39th President 1977-1961

Jimmy Carter was the first President born in a hospital.

Jimmy Carter aspired to make Government "competent and compassionate," responsive to the American people and their expectations. His achievements were notable, but in an era of rising energy costs, mounting inflation, and continuing tensions, it was impossible for his administration to meet these high expectations.

Carter, who has rarely used his full name--James Earl Carter, Jr.--was born October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia. Peanut farming, talk of politics, and devotion to the Baptist faith were mainstays of his upbringing. Upon graduation in 1946 from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Carter married Rosalynn Smith. The Carters have three sons, John William (Jack), James Earl III (Chip), Donnel Jeffrey (Jeff), and a daughter, Amy Lynn.

After seven years' service as a naval officer, Carter returned to Plains. In 1962 he entered state politics, and eight years later he was elected Governor of Georgia. Among the new young southern governors, he attracted attention by emphasizing ecology, efficiency in government, and the removal of racial barriers.

Carter announced his candidacy for President in December 1974 and began a two-year campaign that gradually gained momentum. At the Democratic Convention, he was nominated on the first ballot. He chose Senator Walter F. Mondale of Minnesota as his running mate. Carter campaigned hard against President Gerald R. Ford, debating with him three times. Carter won by 297 electoral votes to 241 for Ford.

Carter worked hard to combat the continuing economic woes of inflation and unemployment. By the end of his administration, he could claim an increase of nearly eight million jobs and a decrease in the budget deficit, measured in percentage of the gross national product. Unfortunately, inflation and interest rates were at near record highs, and efforts to reduce them caused a short recession.

Carter could point to a number of achievements in domestic affairs. He dealt with the energy shortage by establishing a national energy policy and by decontrolling domestic petroleum prices to stimulate production. He prompted Government efficiency through civil service reform and proceeded with deregulation of the trucking and airline industries. He sought to improve the environment. His expansion of the national park system included protection of 103 million acres of Alaskan lands. To increase human and social services, he created the Department of Education, bolstered the Social Security system, and appointed record numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics to Government jobs.

In foreign affairs, Carter set his own style. His championing of human rights was coldly received by the Soviet Union and some other nations. In the Middle East, through the Camp David agreement of 1978, he helped bring amity between Egypt and Israel. He succeeded in obtaining ratification of the Panama Canal treaties. Building upon the work of predecessors, he established full diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and completed negotiation of the SALT II nuclear limitation treaty with the Soviet Union.

There were serious setbacks, however. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan caused the suspension of plans for ratification of the SALT II pact. The seizure as hostages of the U. S. embassy staff in Iran dominated the news during the last 14 months of the administration. The consequences of Iran's holding Americans captive, together with continuing inflation at home, contributed to Carter's defeat in 1980. Even then, he continued the difficult negotiations over the hostages. Iran finally released the 52 Americans the same day Carter left office.

Born: Oct 1, 1924 Plains, Georgia
Died:
Married: Rosalyn Smith
Occupation: Peanut farmer and Broker
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 5' 9.5"
VP: Walter Mondale (1977-1981)
US Population: 226,542.199
Stars in the Flag: 50

More about Jimmy Carter
The Jimmy Carter Library 
or
The Carter Center
 


40th President 1981-1989

At age 89, Ronald Reagan became the oldest person ever elected US President.
 


On February 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois. He attended high school in nearby Dixon and then worked his way through Eureka College. There, he studied economics and sociology, played on the football team, and acted in school plays. Upon graduation, he became a radio sports announcer. A screen test in 1937 won him a contract in Hollywood. During the next two decades he appeared in 53 films.

From his first marriage to actress Jane Wyman, he had two children, Maureen and Michael. Maureen passed away in 2001. In 1952 he married Nancy Davis, who was also an actress, and they had two children, Patricia Ann and Ronald Prescott.
As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan became embroiled in disputes over the issue of Communism in the film industry; his political views shifted from liberal to conservative. He toured the country as a television host, becoming a spokesman for conservatism. In 1966 he was elected Governor of California by a margin of a million votes; he was re-elected in 1970.

Ronald Reagan won the Republican Presidential nomination in 1980 and chose as his running mate former Texas Congressman and United Nations Ambassador George Bush. Voters troubled by inflation and by the year-long confinement of Americans in Iran swept the Republican ticket into office. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to 49 for President Jimmy Carter.
On January 20, 1981, Reagan took office. Only 69 days later he was shot by a would-be assassin, but quickly recovered and returned to duty. His grace and wit during the dangerous incident caused his popularity to soar.

Dealing skillfully with Congress, Reagan obtained legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen national defense. He embarked upon a course of cutting taxes and Government expenditures, refusing to deviate from it when the strengthening of defense forces led to a large deficit.
A renewal of national self-confidence by 1984 helped Reagan and Bush win a second term with an unprecedented number of electoral votes. Their victory turned away Democratic challengers Walter F. Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro.

In 1986 Reagan obtained an overhaul of the income tax code, which eliminated many deductions and exempted millions of people with low incomes. At the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression.
In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve "peace through strength." During his two terms he increased defense spending 35 percent, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. In dramatic meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan declared war against international terrorism, sending American bombers against Libya after evidence came out that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub.

By ordering naval escorts in the Persian Gulf, he maintained the free flow of oil during the Iran-Iraq war. In keeping with the Reagan Doctrine, he gave support to anti-Communist insurgencies in Central America, Asia, and Africa.

More about Ronald Reagan
The Ronald Reagan Library

Born: Feb 6, 1911 Tampico, Illinois
Died: Jun 6, 2004 Bel- Air, California
Married: Jane Wyman (who divorced him)
Married: Nancy Davis
Occupation: Actor and public speaker
Political Party: Republican
Height: 6'1"
VP: George HW Bush (1981-1989)
US Population: 226.542,199
Stars in the Flag: 50
 


41st President 1989-1993

George HW Bush was the first vice  president elected president since Van Buren and the first vice president to lose an election since Van Buren.

 Born in Milton, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1924, he became a student leader at Phillips Academy in Andover. On his 18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. The youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.

Bush next turned his energies toward completing his education and raising a family. In January 1945 he married Barbara Pierce. They had six children-- George, Robin (who died as a child), John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy.
At Yale University he excelled both in sports and in his studies; he was captain of the baseball team and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation Bush embarked on a career in the oil industry of West Texas.

Like his father, Prescott Bush, who was elected a Senator from Connecticut in 1952, George became interested in public service and politics. He served two terms as a Representative to Congress from Texas. Twice he ran unsuccessfully for the Senate. Then he was appointed to a series of high-level positions: Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
In 1980 Bush campaigned for the Republican nomination for President. He lost, but was chosen as a running mate by Ronald Reagan. As Vice President, Bush had responsibility in several domestic areas, including Federal deregulation and anti-drug programs, and visited scores of foreign countries. In 1988 Bush won the Republican nomination for President and, with Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana as his running mate, he defeated Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in the general election.

Bush faced a dramatically changing world, as the Cold War ended after 40 bitter years, the Communist empire broke up, and the Berlin Wall fell. The Soviet Union ceased to exist; and reformist President Mikhail Gorbachev, whom Bush had supported, resigned. While Bush hailed the march of democracy, he insisted on restraint in U. S. policy toward the group of new nations.
In other areas of foreign policy, President Bush sent American troops into Panama to overthrow the corrupt regime of General Manuel Noriega, who was threatening the security of the canal and the Americans living there. Noriega was brought to the United States for trial as a drug trafficker.

Bush's greatest test came when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, then threatened to move into Saudi Arabia. Vowing to free Kuwait, Bush rallied the United Nations, the U. S. people, and Congress and sent 425,000 American troops. They were joined by 118,000 troops from allied nations. After weeks of air and missile bombardment, the 100-hour land battle dubbed Desert Storm routed Iraq's million-man army.

Despite unprecedented popularity from this military and diplomatic triumph, Bush was unable to withstand discontent at home from a faltering economy, rising violence in inner cities, and continued high deficit spending. In 1992 he lost his bid for reelection to Democrat William Clinton.

More about GHW Bush
The George Bush Library and Museum   or George Bush Presidential Library Foundation

Born: Jun 12, 1924 Milton, Massachusetts
Died:
Married: Barbara Pierce
Occupation: Navy pilot & businessman
Political Party: Republican
Height: 6' 2"
VP: Dan Quayle (1989-1993)
US Population: 248,718,301
Stars in the Flag: 50
 


42nd President
   1993-2001

William Jefferson Clinton was the first president to be a Rhodes Scholar.

During the administration of William Jefferson Clinton, the U.S. enjoyed more peace and economic well being than at any time in its history. He was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second term.
He could point to the lowest unemployment rate in modern times, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the highest home ownership in the country's history, dropping crime rates in many places, and reduced welfare rolls. He proposed
the first balanced budget in decades and achieved a budget surplus. As part of a plan to celebrate the millennium in 2000, Clinton called for a great national initiative to end racial discrimination.

After the failure in his second year of a huge program of health care reform, Clinton shifted emphasis, declaring "the era of big government is over." He sought legislation to upgrade education, to protect jobs of parents who must care for
sick children, to restrict handgun sales, and to strengthen environmental rules.

President Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas, three months after his father died in a traffic accident. When he was four years old, his mother wed Roger Clinton, of Hot Springs, Arkansas. In high school, he took the family name.
He excelled as a student and as a saxophone player and once considered becoming a professional musician. As a delegate to Boys Nation while in high school, he met President John Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden. The encounter led him to enter a life of public service.

Clinton was graduated from Georgetown University and in 1968 won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. He received a law degree from Yale University in 1973, and entered politics in Arkansas.
He was defeated in his campaign for Congress in Arkansas's Third District in 1974. The next year he married Hillary Rodham, a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School. In 1980, Chelsea, their only child, was born.
Clinton was elected Arkansas Attorney General in 1976, and won the governorship in 1978. After losing a bid for a second term, he regained the office four years later, and served until he defeated incumbent George Bush and third party candidate Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential race.

Clinton and his running mate, Tennessee's Senator Albert Gore Jr., then 44, represented a new generation in American political leadership. For the first time in 12 years both the White House and Congress were held by the same party. But that political edge was brief; the Republicans won both houses of
Congress in 1994.
In 1998, as a result of issues surrounding personal indiscretions with a young woman White House intern, Clinton was the second U.S. president to be impeached by the House of Representatives. He was tried in the Senate and found not guilty of the charges brought against him. He apologized to the nation for his actions and continued to have unprecedented popular approval ratings for his job as president.

In the world, he successfully dispatched peace keeping forces to war-torn Bosnia and bombed Iraq when Saddam Hussein stopped United Nations inspections for evidence of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. He became a global proponent for an expanded NATO, more open international trade, and a worldwide campaign against drug trafficking. He drew huge crowds when he traveled through South America, Europe, Russia, Africa, and China, advocating U.S. style freedom.


More in Bill Clinton: Clinton  Presidential Library 
       or The William J Clinton Center
                                       
Born: Aug 19, 1946
Died:
Married: Hillary Rodham
Occupation: Lawyer
Political Party: Democrat
Height: 6' 2"
VP: Al Gore (1993-2001)
US Population: 281,421,906
Stars in the Flag: 50
 


43rd President 2001-2008

Yale-bachelor's degree in history
Harvard- business administration
Grew up in Midland & Houston, TX

George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States. What is this President's legacy?
He will be remembered for many things, none of them good. He earned the right to become the most unpopular US President ever. By the end, even people in his own party didn't support him. He proved how unwise it is to have one party control the Presidency, the Congress and the Judiciary.

He will be remembered for invading a country that was of no threat to America whatever and bogging the US into a quagmire. And misleading the country in his justification as to why the US should invade. He should be remembered as having totally ignored the group that was supposed to be responsible for the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York on 9-11-2001 after using that as a justification to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps the fact that he and his family were and are business partners to the Bin Ladens had something to do with that. Then he financed the billions of dollars the wars cost with a tax cut favoring the upper income groups. This self admitted fiscal conservative created a deficit for the US that exceeded the combined total of all deficits generated by ALL prior Presidents.

He must also be remembered as squandering the most unique opportunity of the world uniting behind the US after 9-11. The entire world supported the US at the moment in time. Bush blew that badly.

Let us not forget his administration was a greater threat to the personal liberties of US citizens then any outside threat. Add to that list, his administration coerced the phone companies into releasing all their phone and internet records without any justifiable court order, then he asked that these companies be given retroactive immunity for breaking the law.

His administration's refusal to acknowledge facts related to global warming resulted in a huge setback in attempts to slow the degrading of our climate. And the US lost face to the rest of the world. Bush should also be remembered for the price of gasoline tripling during his administration that tipped the scales resulting in Bush handing his successor a terrible recession.

And I shouldn't overlook towards the end of his second term, the value of the US dollar dropped to all time record lows in relation to other currencies of the world. This resulted in the US real estate, companies and investments being sold out at a discount to other countries like China and India who held so many US dollars due to the trade deficits. The US economy may never recover. Nor the US international prestige.

This list is not all inclusive. There are many other things that should be here. Like all indications are the second if not his first election was stolen through questionable if not illegal methods. I will conclude this by saying history will make the final determination, but George W. Bush is without question the worse President this country has ever seen. He was right about one thing, he said he would bring the country together. The vast majority of people in this country couldn't wait till his second term was over.


Born: Jul 6, 1946 New Haven, CT
Died:
Married: Laura Welch
Occupation: Owner, oil and gas business
Political Party: Republican (?)
Height: 5'11"
VP: Dick Cheney
 

 
 
 
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