All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.
— James Madison
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.
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).
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.