Presidents of the United States

In America, the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever.
— Oscar Wilde
President Benjamin Harrison by the Pach Brothers, 1896

President Benjamin Harrison by the Pach Brothers, 1896

Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901)

Term (1889-1893) Vice President Levi P. Morton (1889-1893)

The grandson of President William Harrison, Benjamin served as a Brigadier General during the Civil War and served in the U.S. Senate before becoming the 23rd U.S. President. His administration is most remembered for economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and for annual federal spending that reached one billion dollars for the first time. He lost the re-election to Grover Cleveland in 1892.

Grover Cleveland (1837-1908)

Term (1893-1897) Vice President Adlai E. Stevenson (1893-1897)

Lawyer, politician, New York Governor, and the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. Shortly after Cleveland’s second term began, the Panic of 1893 struck the stock market, and he soon faced an acute economic depression. he declined to accept a nomination for a third term.

William McKinley, Jr. (1843-1901)

Term (1897-1901) Vice President(s) Garret Hobart (1897-1899), None (1899-1901), Theodore Roosevelt (1901)

The was the 25th President of the United States, and the last veteran of the American Civil War to be elected to the office. He presided over a return to prosperity after the Panic of 1893, and made gold the base of the currency. He also oversaw the Spanish-American War. He was re-elected in 1900 but was assassinated by an anarchist in 1901.


President Theodore Roosevelt by Forbes Litho

President Theodore Roosevelt by Forbes Litho

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919)

Term (1901-1909) Vice President None (1901-1905), Charles Fairbanks (1905-1909)

The 26th President of the United States, leader of the Rough Riders, naturalist, explorer, hunter, and author. Roosevelt became president after William McKinley was assassinated. Just 42 years-old, he was the youngest of any U.S. President in history. He was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. He has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

William Howard Taft (1857-1930)

Term (1909-1913)  Vice President James S. Sherman (1909-1912) None (1912-1913)

Attorney, politician, judge and Governor-General of the Philippines, Taft became the 27th U.S. President and later served as the 10th Chief Justice of the United States. During his term, he often alienated his own key constituencies and was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for a second term in the presidential election of 1912.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)

Term (1913-1921)  Vice President Thomas R. Marshall (1913-1921)

Princeton University President, Governor of New Jersey, and 28th U.S. President, Wilson was a leader of the Progressive Era. In his first term he persuaded Congress to pass several Progressive acts and during his second term, was focused on World War I. Wilson’s idealistic internationalism, which calls for the United States to enter the world arena to fight for democracy, has been a contentious position in American foreign policy, serving as a model for “idealists” to emulate and “realists” to reject ever since.

Warren G. Harding (1865-1923)

Term (1921-1923) Vice President Calvin Coolidge (1921-1923)

He was an influential newspaper publisher, Ohio politician, U.S. Senator and 29th U.S. President. A fiscal conservative, he represented a trend in government that departed from the progressive movement that had dominated Congress since President Theodore Roosevelt. He died suddenly in 1923 and was succeeded by his Vice President, Calvin Coolidge. Though unemployment dropped in half during Harding’s administration, it was plagued with multiple scandals, causing him to be rated by historians as one of the worst U.S. Presidents.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

Term (1923-1929)  Vice President None (1923-1925), Charles Dawes (1925-1929)

A lawyer, politician, Governor of Massachusetts and 30th U.S. President, after the death of Warren Harding. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative and restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor’s administration. He left office with considerable popularity. The assessment of his presidency today is divided between those who approve of his reduction of the size of government programs and those who believe the federal government should be more involved in regulating and controlling the economy.

Herbert Hoover (1874-1964)

Term (1929-1933) Vice President Charles Curtis (1929-1933)

Professional mining engineer, author, Secretary of Commerce, and 31st U.S. President, he was elected despite having no previous electoral or high ranking military experience. He believed deeply in the Efficiency Movement, which held that government and the economy were riddled with inefficiency and waste, and could be improved by experts. However, Wall Street crashed eight months after he took office, and he was unable to produce economic recovery during his term, which resulted in his failure to be re-elected and his poor ranking among U.S. Presidents.

President Franklin Roosevelt, by Harris & Ewing, 1938

President Franklin Roosevelt, by Harris & Ewing, 1938

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) 

Term (1933-1945) Vice President(s) John Nance Garner (1933-1941), Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945), Harry S Truman (1945)

The 32nd U.S. President, he was a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and World War II. The only American president elected to more than two terms, and would oversee the creation of the FSA under his “New Deal”. Roosevelt forged a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. He has consistently rated by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents. (Also see “Day of Infamy” speech).

Harry S Truman (1884-1972)

Term (1945-1953) Vice President None (1945-1949), Alben Barkley (1949-1953)

Artillery officer in World War I, Senator, Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and 33rd President of the United States. Most American historians consider Truman one of the greatest U.S. Presidents

Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower (1890-1969)

Term (1953-1961) Vice President Richard Nixon (1953-1961)

A five-star general in the United States Army and the 34th President of the United States. Eisenhower ranks highly among former U.S. presidents in terms of approval rating. He was an inspiring military leader, best-selling author, head of Columbia University, and president of the United States. As the top American general and later Allied Supreme Commander in the European theater, he directed Allied forces in World War II to victories in North Africa and Italy and coordinated the massive and successful D-Day invasion of France. Extraordinarily popular with both his soldiers and the American public, Eisenhower was twice elected to the presidency, where he led the United States with determination and purpose during the difficult early years of the Cold War. After his retirement from public life in 1961, Eisenhower continued to serve his country as an advisor to presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

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