Presidents of the United States of America

The United States  of America has chosen its next President, as I write Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has been declared the victor and will be sworn in as the forty-sixth President in January, but for now, I’m taking a look at some of America’s past Presidents.

  1. George Washington (President 1789 – 1797)
  • George Washington (b. 22 February 1732  d. 14 December 1799)     
  • His family were descendants of John Washington who immigrated from England in 1633.
  • George Washington led the charge as Commander in Chief for American independence during the Revolutionary War. 
  • As president, he took his oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall, Wall Street, New York.
  • He married Martha Dandridge Custis, the widow of a plantation owner in 1759.  Martha had two children from her first marriage but they had no children of their own. Although not known as the First Lady, she was sometimes called Lady Washington. 
  • He chose the site for the White House in 1791 but never lived in it.
  1. John Adams (President 1797 – 1801)
  • John Adams (b. 30 October 1735  d. 4 July 1826)
  • A one term president, he refused to attend his successor’s inauguration.
  • John Adams died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. 
  • He was the first president to live in the White House, moving in in 1800. However, in 1814, during the war of 1812, (which lasted until February 1815), the British set fire to it.
  1. Thomas Jefferson (President 1801 – 1809)
  • Thomas Jefferson (b. 17 April 1743 d. 4 July 1826)
  • Along with Washington and James Madison, Jefferson was a slave owner. 
  • Like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. 
  • John Adams survived Thomas Jefferson by approximately five hours. 
  1. James Madison (President 1809 – 1817)
  2. James Monroe (President 1817 – 1825)
  • James Monroe (b. 28 April 1758 d. 4 July 1831)
  • He was the third president, and Founding Father, to die on the fourth of July.
  • As President Monroe, he moved into the rebuilt White House in 1817. 
  1. John Quincy Adams (President 1825 – 1829)
  • John Quincy Adams (b. 11 July 1967 d. 23 February 1848)
  • He was the first son of a former president to be elected president; the son of John and Abigail Adams.
  • Like his father, a one term president and also like his father he refused to attend his successor’s inauguration. 
  • The Adams family were directly descended from William Mullins, a Mayflower passenger, who had left his home in Dorking, England in May, 1620. You can read my post about them here
John Quincy Adams
  1. Andrew Jackson (President 1829 – 1837
  2. Martin Van Buren (President 1837 – 1841)
  3. William Henry Harrison (President 1841)
  4. John Tyler (President 1841 – 1845)
  5. James K. Polk (President 1845 – 1849)
  • James Knox Polk (b. 2 November 1795 d. 15 June 1849)
  • His parents were Samuel Polk and Jane Knox.
  • Poor health meant he missed much formal schooling as a child, however, he still attended the University of North Carolina. 
  • He married Sarah Childress in 1824. Such was her interest in her husband’s politics, she was sometimes called the ‘presidentress’.
  • To date, he was the youngest man to be president.
  • Polk’s presidential career includes the Mexican American War and acquiring vast territories along the Pacific coast and in the south west. 
  1. Zachary Taylor (President 1849 – 1850)
  2. Millard Fillmore (President 1850 – 1853)
  3. Franklin Pierce (President 1853 – 1857)
  4. James Buchanan (President 1857 – 1861)
  5. Abraham Lincoln (President 1861 – 1865)
  6. Andrew Johnson (President 1865 – 1869)
  • Andrew Johnson (b. 29 December 1808 d. 31 July 1875)
  • Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  • He was impeached by the House of Representatives, but later acquitted.
  • A one term president, he refused to attend his successor’s inauguration. 
  1. Ulysses S. Grant (President 1869 – 1877)
  2. Rutherford B. Hayes (President 1877 – 1881)
  3. James A. Garfield (President 1881)
  • James Abram Garfield (b. 19 November 1831 d.19 September 1881)
  • He was married to Lucretia Rudolph-Garfield who was First Lady for the 200 days her husband was President.
  • Garfield was shot in Washington D.C. on 2 July 1881 and died from complications on 19 September that year having never recovered from his wound and subsequent infection.
  • Charles J. Guiteau was executed for his murder June 1882.
  1. Chester A. Arthur (President 1881 – 1885)
  2. Grover Cleveland (President 1885 – 1889)
  • Stephen Grover Cleveland (b. 18 March 1837 d. 24 June 1908)
  • He is the only president to serve two discontinuous terms.
  1. Benjamin Harrison (President 1889 – 1893)
  2. Grover Cleveland (President 1893 – 1897)
  3. William McKinley (President 1897 – 1901)
  • William McKinley (b. 29 January 1843 d. 14 September 1901)
  • He was eighteen at the outbreak of civil war and enlisted. He joined the regiment that was commanded by Rutherford B. Hayes, later the nineteenth president of the United States.
  • He married Ida Saxton in January 1871 and had two daughters. The first, Katherine, was born on Christmas Day 1871 and the second, named Ida after her mother, was born in 1873 and died the same year. Katherine died of typhoid fever in 1875. Never to fully recover from her loss, Ida sunk into depression and developed epilepsy. William remained devoted to his wife. 
  • McKinley was reelected for a second term in the campaign of 1900. 
  • In September 1901 he travelled to Buffalo, New York, for the Pan-American Exposition where he gave a speech to 50,000 people on 5 September. 
  • On 6 September he was shot twice by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. It was initially thought that he would survive his wounds, however, he succumbed to gangrene and blood poisoning. 
  • His assassin was convicted and executed by electric chair on 29 October 1901.
6 September 1901 William McKinley on the day of his assassination
  1. Theodore Roosevelt (President 1901 – 1909)
  2. William Howard Taft (President 1909 – 1913)
  3. Woodrow Wilson (President 1913 – 1921)
  4. Warren G. Harding (President 1921 – 1923)
  5. Calvin Coolidge (President 1923 – 1929)
  6. Herbert Hoover (President 1933 – 1945)
  • Herbert Clark Hoover (b. 10 August 1874 d. 20 October 1964)
  • He was the son of Jesse and Hulda Hoover. His father died of a heart attack when Herbert was six. His mother died of pneumonia three years later. 
  • He spent the rest of his childhood with his maternal uncle and his wife. He graduated Stanford University with a degree in geology. He worked on a variety of engineering projects in four continents. His engineering career made him a rich man.
  • He was a great humanitarian and in the first two decades of the twentieth century was well travelled. In 1900 he helped organise relief for trapped foreigners during the Boxer Rebellion in China. At the start of the First World War he helped stranded Americans in Europe and arranged food deliveries for starving Belgians when they were invaded by Germany. 
  • He had homes around the world and lived in Australia, China and London. Whilst in England in 1902 the Hoovers spent a short amount of time in Surrey and you can read my post about it here
Herbert Hoover (rear) with his sister and brother
  1. Franklin D. Roosevelt (President 1933 – 1945)
  2. Harry S. Truman (President 1945 – 1953)
  • Harry S. Truman (b. 8 May 1884 d. 26 December 1972)
  • Harry was named after his maternal uncle Harrison, known as Harry, his middle initial ’S’ didn’t stand for anything. It represented both of his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Soloman Young.
  • Truman was the only president of the United States to fight during World War I, he served in France.
  • Truman had been vice-president for 80 days when FDR died, he became president after the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt informed him of her husband’s death.
  • On 6 August 1945 the American bomber, Enola Gay, dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, Truman had authorised the bombing. Eighty thousand people died immediately, many more were to die of its effects in the ensuing months. On the 9 August 1945 a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki ultimately resulting in Japanese surrender. 
Harry S Truman during WWI
  1. Dwight D. Eisenhower (President 1953 – 1961)
  2. John F. Kennedy (President 1961 – 1963)
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy (b. 29 May 2017 d. 22 November 1963)
  • JFK’s father was Joseph Kennedy, a former ambassador to Great Britain, his mother was Rose Fitzgerald. 
  • He married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in 1953 and she became one of the most recognisable figures of the 20th century. She died in 1994.
  • The 1960 Kennedy v Nixon election campaign was the first to feature televised presidential debates.
  • Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president and was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. To read more about the Kennedy assassination click here
  • Kennedy was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, on Monday 25 November 1963. Police Officer J. D. Tippit, who was killed when attempting to arrest suspect Lee Harvey Oswald, was buried the same day. Their assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was also buried that same Monday. 
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  1. Lyndon B. Johnson (President 1963 – 1969)
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson (b. 27 August 1908 d. 22 January 1973)
  • LBJ was sworn in as president on 22 November 1963 in the hours after the Kennedy assassination. Before leaving Dallas, he swore his oath of office on board Air Force One with Jackie Kennedy at his side.
  1. Richard Nixon (President 1969 – 1974)
  2. Gerald Ford (President 1974 – 1977)
  3. Jimmy Carter (President 1977 – 1981)
  4. Ronald Reagan (President 1981 – 1989)
  • Ronald Wilson Reagan (b. 6 February 1911 d. 5 June 2004)
  • Ronald Reagan was a former Hollywood actor and appeared in films that starred Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart and Errol Flynn. 
  • An assassination attempt was made on Reagan on 30 March 1981. John Hinkley Jr. had been stalking actress Jodie Foster and decided to make a grand gesture by killing the president in the hope that it would bring them together. 
  • Three other people were also wounded in the attempt. That the president’s life was saved was attributed to quick acting secret service agents who drove the president to George Washington University Hospital.
  • Reagan told his wife, ‘Honey, I forgot to duck’. 
Ronald Reagan (1927)
  1. George H. W. Bush (President 1989 – 1993)
  2. Bill Clinton (President 1993 – 2001)
  3. George W. Bush (President 2001 – 2009)
  4. Barack Obama (President 2009 – 2017)
  5. Donald J. Trump (President 2017 – present) 
  6. Joseph R. Biden (President-elect 7 November 2020)


2 thoughts on “Presidents of the United States of America

    1. Thank you! Me too! I learnt some at uni, but thematically, so I did a lot about the slave trade and slavery and race up to around 1980 and the impact on that on young women, even now. But as I generally avoid politcal history, I was limited to the assassination of Lincoln, Kennedy (obviously) and the Reagan attempt. Marilyn Monroe was such an idol for me so I think my Kennedy fascination stemmed from that.

      Liked by 2 people

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