The Presidents of the United States. George Washington 1788-1796. George Washington led the Colonial Army in their revolt against Britain. After the war, some in Congress wanted to make Washington king. With the new constitution, adopted in 1787, Washington was
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George Washington led the Colonial Army in
their revolt against Britain. After the war, some
in Congress wanted to make Washington king.
With the new constitution, adopted in 1787, Washington was
elected president. Being the first, all eyes were on him. How
would he want people to address him and how would he run the
Executive Department. Washington created the first cabinet
positions and also signed the Judicary Act.
John Adam’s is considered by many to be the
person most responsible for convincing the
Continental Congress to break away from
Britain. The Undeclared War occurred during
Adams presidency. It was also during this time that the Alien
and Sedition Acts were passed. Adams and Jefferson continued
to be at odds and both ran against each other in the election of
1800. With the loss, Adams returned home. John Adams died on
July 4, 1826 the 50th year anniversary of the signing of the
Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson was a politician, writer, scientist, and
slave owner. He was the main writer of the
Declaration of Independence. As president, he
had a wine bill of over $11,000 and sometimes even
met foreign amassadors in a wine stained coat. During his
Presidency, Jefferson sent the Navy out to destroy the Barbary
Pirates, purchased the Louisiana Territory, and sent the
Lewis and Clark Expedition out. Jefferson freed his slaves after
his death. Some believe he fathered a child from a slave. Like John
Adams, Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, the 50th year anniversary
of the Declaration of Independence.
James Madison is considered the Father of the
Constitution. During his presidency, America’s
Second Revolutionary War occurred (War of 1812). As the
British burned Washington D.C. Madison’s wife Dolly saved
Much of the art work in the White House before fleeing for
Monroe’s Presidency was called the era of
good feeling. The U.S. entered a period of a
75 years of isolationism. He did issue the Monroe Doctrine which told
Europeans to stay out of Western Hemisphere affairs. Monroe was
The last president to have been directly involved in the Revolutionary
War. The Erie Canal was built during this time and the Missouri
Compromise was agreed to by Northern and Southern leaders.
The son of John Adams, John Quincy actually
lost the popular and electoral vote to Andy
Jackson. Because there was no clear majority the
House decided the election and voted for Adams. Not very
popular because of the election results, John Q. Adams lost his
reelection bid. Returning home he represented Mass. In
Congress. In 1838 John Adams Represented the Africans in the
Supreme Court in the famous Amestad Case. Jackson dueled
with Charles Dickenson after Dickenson insulted Jackson’s
Andrew Jackson was probably one of the most
stubborn presidents in history. He should have
been impeached for his removal of the Indians
in Georgia in the famous ‘Trail of Tears’. During the War of 1812
he became famous for capturing New Orleans even though the
war was over when the battle occurred. Hating the National Bank
Jackson removed all government money out and put it in local
banks triggering inflation and eventually a Depression. He
started the Spoils System and the Kitchen Cabinet. Jackson died
when on a hot summer day he ate to many cherries and the
“gas attack” killed him.
Van Buren was Jackson’s hand picked successor
which meant that everything he did he would be
compared to the popular Andy Jackson. Even though the
Panic of 1838 was not his making (Jackson), he was the
president and had to assume responsibility in the eyes of the
people. He was President during the famous Amestad Case.
No hand picked successor has ever been reelected.
“Tippicanoe” became famous in the early
Indian Wars when he defeated the famous
Chief Pontiac. At the treaty signing a
Shaman told Harrison he would become
leader of his people and while leader he will die and that every
20 years the leader chosen by the American people will die.
Harrison was elected in 1840 and died 45 days later of
the flu because he gave a 3 hour inauguration speech in
freezing weather. In the elections of 1860, 1880, 1900, 1920,
1940 and 1960 that president never finished the term.
ended the streak when he was elected in 1980.
‘Tippicanoe and Tyler To’ was the campaign
slogan in the election of 1840. When Harrison
died people started asking “Tyler Who?” Tyler
will be the first Vice-President to become president upon the
death or resignation of the president elect. The question that
needed to be answered was is Tyler a caretaker with congress
dictating policy or is Tyler actually the president. Tyler decided
he was president according to the constitution. During a
Navy parade on the Potomac River, the guns on the ships went
off and landed on a dock killing Tyler’s Father-in-Law.
’54’40” or Fight’ and ‘Texas Annexation’
were the campaign slogans of Polk.
The crying call of Manifest Destiny could be
heard as Polk took office. Wanting to serve only one term Polk
accomplished a lot. He forced war with Mexico, getting all the of
Southwest as a prize. Polk convinced congress to annex Texas as a
State. In an agreement with Britain, the border between the
United States and Canada was set at the 49th parallel from the
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. Just before he left office gold
was discovered in California.
Zachary Taylor became famous as a result of the Mexican War.
He survived two years into his presidency. He was only
the second president to die in office. In the 1990’s his
relatives allowed his remains to be dug up to test for arsenic.
the fear was Taylor was poisoned which ended up being
Taking Zachary Taylor’s place, Filmore is most
Remembered for the Compromise of 1850.
Just before Pierce took office his 11 year old son was killed
in a train wreck. His most notable accomplishment was
The Kansas-Nebraska Act.
Buchanan was the last president of a unified
country prior to the Civil War. His
opponent, John C. Fremont, was the first
Republican to run for the presidency. Even though Fremont lost,
he did win the Northern States thus telling Southerner's that
in the election of 1860 they could be in trouble. Some say
Buchanan was our only gay president. They say his girl friend
committed suicide when he wrote her telling her he was gay.
There are also letters to his “boyfriend”.
Abraham Lincoln’s goal was to preserve the
union and if that meant the continuation of
slavery then so be it, but the South wasn’t
buying it. Shortly after his victory South Carolina led the
Southern States in seceding from the Union. Lincoln knew
how he wanted to win the war, firing 4 generals before
he came up with U.S. Grant. When the war was over, Lincoln
wanted the South to easily come back into the Union but
He was killed before he could implement it. He carried
letters and bills in his stove pipe hat.
Taking Lincoln’s place as president he fought
the Radical Republican’s on their idea about
the South. Fearing they would have problems
with Johnson, the Radical’s passed the Tenure in Office Act
and when Johnson did not oblige they impeached him.
By one vote, Johnson was saved from removal from office.
Grant won the presidency because he was The
Hero of the Civil War. But Grant would not
make a good president. A heavy drinker,
Grant was taken advantage of by his aides. During his two
terms the transcontinental railroad was finished, Custer’s
Last Stand occurred and the U.S. celebrated its 100th
Anniversary. Grant once got a ticket for speeding on a
horse. He was born Hiram Ulysses Grant but changed it
Because of H.U.G
Rutherford B. Hayes was involved in one of the
most controversial elections in U.S. History.
Sam Tilden won the popular vote and and
needed only one electoral vote to win clear majority. There
were 20 electoral votes in dispute and historians say Tilden
had clear evidence of winning some. But the Electoral
Commission gave all the electoral votes to Hayes and thus the
election. The South was furious but agreed to let Hayes
become president if Reconstruction ended.
Garfield wasn’t president very long. He was
president long enough to ask Lincoln’s
son, Robert, to the White House to tell Garfield all the details
he could about his fathers assassination. Shortly afterward
Garfield himself was assassinated. Being ambidextrous and
bilingual, Garfield could write Greek with one hand while
writing Latin with the other hand.
Arthur knew he had a fatal kidney infection within one
year after taking office and kept it a secret. He is most
Known for signing the Pendleton Act.
Grover Cleveland is the only president to have
won an election lost the next election and then
come back four years later to win again. What
Happened? It might have been the fact that he raised his best
friends daughter and then married her in a lavish White House
ceremony. People loved her but word came out that Grover
abused her. When he lost the election Mrs. Cleveland told the
Maids to keep every thing clean because they would be back. And so they were. Or did he lose because of his rubber jaw?
Benjamin Harrison’s grandfather was William
Harrison. Benjamin was once a Prosecuting
Attorney in Chicago. His job was to find
people who were stealing cadavers. The cadavers were used
by medical students for practice. When he broke in to one
operation he found out that one of the cadavers was his
Grandfather. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act was passed during
his four years in office.
McKinley took the United States out of its
isolationist beliefs when he asked Congress
for a declaration of war against Spain. The
Spanish-American War got the U.S. involved in the
Imperialistic movement of the time. Winning reelection
McKinley will the the 3rd president that is assassinated.
Roosevelt became famous when he led the
Rough Riders up San Juan hill. Roosevelt
became known as ‘Teddy the Trust Buster’.
He was the first president to use a telephone and ride in a
submarine. Roosevelt supported Panama’s independence
from Colombia and the resulting treaty allowed the U.S.
to build the Panama Canal. Roosevelt decided not to run
for reelection in 1908 but returned in 1912 to start the
Bull Moose Party costing Taft the election.
Taft never wanted to run for president
but his pushy wife convinced him to.
Weighing over 300 pounds Taft got stuck
in the White House bathtub and had a special oversized tub
installed. Taft is considered the first golfing president. As
hand picked successor of Roosevelt’s he lost reelection.
He later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Woodrow Wilson was elected because
William Howard Taft and Teddy Roosevelt
split the Republican vote. Wilson won re-
election because he “kept us out of war”. After his re-election,
Wilson found himself asking for U.S. participation in WW I.
After the war Wilson had a stroke while trying to convince the
American people to force the Senate to support the Treaty of
Versailles. Wilson’s wife protected him and in some respects ran the Executive Department. During his tenure, Wilson convinced Congress to create the Federal Reserve System. He allowed sheep
To grow on the White House lawn giving profits to Red Cross.
“He wasn’t a bad man. He was just simply
a slob.” So said Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter
at the funeral of Warren Harding. His Ohio
Gang was involved in numerous scandals that came out after his
death (the Teapot Dome Scandal to name one). He had an
affair with a women who would bear him a child and write
a book about it after his death. This is the first election in which
women were allowed to vote.
If there was a dime on the ground, Coolidge
would fight you for it. He was that cheap.
But he was also honest and that was a
great change. Coolidge believed in Laze-Faire which would
make him popular but hurt his predecessor. The Roaring
Twenties was a signature of the Coolidge Prosperity. The
radio, talkies, sports, prohibition and the automobile all took
center stage during this time period
“A chicken in every pot and a car in every
garage.” So said Hoover. What a mistake. Less
then one year after his famous speech and
becoming president, the Stock Market Crashed and the country
fell into its worst depression in history. Was Hoover at fault?
No, but he was the president. He tried to get us out of the
Depression but it wasn’t enough and wasn’t fast enough.
Considered by most people, including his
mistress, the greatest president in the
history of the U.S. His Social Revolution
of government spending and debt might have saved the
Country. New Deal measures included minimum wage, FDIC,
and Social Security. Leading this country in WW II, Roosevelt
was the only President to serve more then two terms. He died
after being reelected for the 4th time with his mistress by his
Shortly after becoming president, Truman
was told about the atomic bomb. He will
decide to drop it on Japan in hopes of ending
the war. Because of the fear of Communism, Truman issued
the Truman Doctrine based on containing the communist. To
help Europe, Truman convinced Congress to pass the Marshall
Plan. In a bold move, Truman integrated the military and
recognized Israel. Not expected to win in 1948, Truman
surprised everyone. One of his most famous decisions was to
fire Gen. MacArthur during the Korean War.
The war hero Eisenhower ran and won the
election of 1952. His running mate was the
young and controversial Richard Nixon.
Eisenhower had a major heart attack during his first term.
It was also during his first term that McCarthyism took place.
When the Russians sent up Sputnik, American’s panicked.
Eisenhower was the first president that could not run for
More then two terms.
What started out as Camelot ended in tragedy
for the youngest elected president. Kennedy
defeated Richard Nixon in, at that time, the closest election in
the history of the United States. The Cuban Missile Crisis,
The Berlin Wall, The first Nuclear Test ban Treaty, Civil
Rights all took a back seat when on November 22, 1963 three
shots ran out in Dallas and a dead president was the result.
“Guns and Butter”. More guns (Vietnam)
means less butter (Social Programs). This was
Johnson’s problem throughout his time as
president. Johnson pushed his ‘Great Society’ but always the
Vietnam War was around. Running for election in 1964
Johnson trumped up the Gulf of Tonkin incident and convinced
Congress to pass the Tonkin Resolution. “Hey, Hey LBJ, whose
kid did you kill today” was the slogan for Vietnam War
protestors. After the Tet Offensive in 1968 Johnson decided not
to run for a second full term.
A Political Player from 1950-1974 it all came
crashing down on Richard Nixon because of the
Watergate Scandal. The Anti-Communist, he became the first
President to go to mainland China and meet with Mao. He also
signed the first SALT agreement with the Soviet Union. A very
strong foreign policy president his downfall started with his
refusal to pull out of Vietnam. “I will not be the first president
to lose a war.”, was his fear. His fear ended up costing him.
Gerald Ford is the first and only non-elected
president. He became Vice-President when
Spiro Agnew resigned and then became
President when Richard Nixon resigned. Wanting the long
nightmare to be over, Ford pardoned Nixon and gave
amnesty to draft dodgers. There were two attempts on his
life. One was by one of Charlie Manson’s girls. Gerald Ford’s
first name is actually Leslie. Ford was drafted by the Green
Bay Packers to pay football but declined the offer.
The man from Plains, Georgia became
president out of America’s want for an
outsider. And an outsider he was, which
caused him problems with all the insiders.
the highest inflation and interest rates combined helped
cause a deep Recession in 1980 and ultimately helped cost him
the election in 1980. Other reasons for not being reelected was
the Iran Hostage Crisis and Boycotting the 1980 Olympics.
Nationalism and Patriotism jumped to the
forefront when Reagan was elected.
Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ slogan helped
create the first START agreement. Many
admirers believe Ronald Reagan ended the Soviet Bloc. Reagan
was the oldest elected president in history and the first former
actor. As a young life guard, Reagan rescued 77 people from
He was a former U.S. Representative,
and head of the CIA. “Read my lips.
There will be no new taxes”, was his
campaign slogan. After Iraq invaded
Kuwait, he led a UN backed mandate
to get Iraq out. The war ended 100
Days and Bush looked like a sure winner in 1992. That was until
The economy went sour and Bush had to raise taxes breaking
His campaign promise.
Clintonwill be the first president since
Andrew Johnson to be impeached
by the House, but the senate did not
remove him from office. His famous
campaign slogan, “It’s the economy
stupid” helped defeat Bush Sr.
During his eight years in office the
American economy had its longest
Bush was sworn in as president on January 20, 2001. Though he originally outlined an ambitious domestic agenda, his priorities were significantly altered following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Wars were waged in Afghanistan and later Iraq while significant debates regarding immigration, healthcare, Social Security, economic policy, and treatment of terrorist detainees took place within the United States.