US Presidents study guide

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1 George Washington
Party: Independent
Lived: 1732 - 1799
VP(s): John Adams
1789-1797• Commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
• Assumed presidency April 30, 1789.
• Proclaimed American neutrality during European wars after French revolution.
• Nicknamed "Father of his Country."
• He bowed to his visitors, believing that shaking hands was beneath a president.
• Had one remaining tooth at the time of his inauguration, but never had wooden dentures.
2 John Adams
Party: Federalist
Lived: 1735 - 1826
VP(s): Thomas Jefferson
1797-1801• Rebuilt the Navy in order guard against possible French escalations during the Quasi-War.
• Signed the Alien and Sedition Acts in order to quell extreme anti-government criticism.
• Eventually reconciled with long time rival Thomas Jefferson.
• With his first lady, first residents of the White House.
• Last survivor of the only two presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence.
• Nicknamed "Atlas of Independence."
3 Thomas Jefferson
Party: Democratic-Republican
Lived: 1743 - 1826
VP(s): Aaron Burr/George Clinton
1801-1809• Presided over purchase of Louisiana territory from France.
• Implemented the Embargo Act of 1807 to (unsuccessfully) avoid war with Europe.
• Founded the University of Virgina after his presidency.
• Was right-handed, but taught himself to write with his left hand.
• Helped start the Library of Congress with about 6,000 books from his private library.
• Invented the swivel chair, a pedometer, a letter-copying machine, and the lazy susan.
4 James Madison
Party: Democratic-Republican
Lived: 1751 - 1836
VP(s): Elbridge Gerry
1809-1817• Played leading role in drafting and ratifying Constitution. Drafted first 10 amendments.
• Led America into the War of 1812.
• Supported strong military and national bank after 1812 war.
• Second cousin of Zachary Taylor.
• Nicknamed "Father of the Constitution."
• Presided during the "Era of Good Feelings" at the end of the Napoleonic wars. The smallest, lightest president to date (under 5ft 5in and 100 lbs).
5 James Monroe
Party: Democratic-Republican
Lived: 1758 - 1831
VP(s): Daniel D. Tompkins
1817-1825• Oversaw major westward expansion of the U.S.
• Negotiated for purchase of Florida from Spain.
• Signed the Missouri Compromise allowing inclusion of a slave state into the Union.
• First president that had previously been a US Senator.
• His inauguration was first to be held outdoors.
• Received all but one electorial vote in 1819.
6 John Quincy Adams
Party: Democratic-Republican
Lived: 1767 - 1848
VP(s): John C. Calhoun
1825-1829• Historians agree he was one of the greatest diplomats and secretaries of state in American history.
• His benevolent policy toward Native Americans caused him trouble. Settlers on the frontier, who were constantly seeking to move westward, cried for a more expansionist policy.
• Lost the election of 1828 to Andrew Jackson.
• The first president to be photographed.
• Liked to skinny-dip in the Potomac.
• Only president elected to the house after his presidency.
7 Andrew Jackson
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1767 - 1845
VP(s): Martin Van Buren
1829-1837• Initiated forced relocation and resettlement of Native American tribes from the Southeast to west of the Mississippi River with the Indian Removal Act.
• Although he was supportive of states rights, he declared that states do not have the right to nullify federal laws.
• Strongly against the Second Bank of the United States.
• Nicknamed "Old Hickory."
• Only president to have been a prisoner of war.
• First president to ride a railway train.
8 Martin Van Buren
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1782 - 1862
VP(s): Richard Mentor Johnson
1837-1841• Did not want the United States to annex Texas.
• Had to deal with the Panic of 1837 and ensuing depression.
• Continued the Second Seminole War, which had begun while Jackson was in office.
• Deferred his presidential salary until end of his term. Received $100,000 in lump sum.
• Tried unsuccessfully to run for president again 3 times.
• First president to be born in the USA (post 1776).
9 William Henry Harrison
Party: Whig
Lived: 1773 - 1841
VP(s): John Tyler
1841-1841• Shortest tenure of any US president.
• Delivered long inaugural speech in inclement weather without coat or hat. Died a month later with pneumonia.
• Mocked for being too old to run for president.
• His father was a signatory on the Declaration of Independence.
• Only president who studied to become a doctor.
• Nicknamed "Old Tip."
10 John Tyler
Party: Whig and Independent
Lived: 1790 - 1862
VP(s): none
1841-1845• A firm believer in American exceptionalism and manifest destiny.
• Annexed Texas.
• Most of his cabinet resigned, and the Whigs, dubbing him His Accidency, expelled him from the party.
• His wife started the tradition of playing "Hail to the Chief" at president's appearance.
• First president who married wife during his presidency.
• Was impoverished 5 years after presidency.
11 James K. Polk
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1795 - 1849
VP(s): George M. Dallas
1845-1849• Led the nation to a sweeping victory in the Mexican-American War.
• Oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution.
• Presided over the issuance of the first postage stamps in the United States.
• Survived a gallstone operation at age 17 without anesthesia or antiseptics.
• Wife banned alcohol, cards and dancing at the White House.
• Baptized a Methodist a week before death.
12 Zachary Taylor
Party: Whig
Lived: 1784 - 1850
VP(s): Millard Fillmore
1849-1850• Before his presidency, led American troops to victory in a series of battles culminating in the Battle of Palo Alto and the Battle of Monterrey.
• Died sixteen months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery.
• Drafted reluctantly to lead the Whig ticket; he largely ignored their platform after election.
• Nicknamed "Old Rough and Ready."
• Cast his first ballot at age 62. Didn't have official place of residence early in soldier career.
• His presidential election was the first to be held same day in every state.
13 Millard Fillmore
Party: Whig
Lived: 1800 - 1874
VP(s): none
1850-1853• Accepted mass resignation of cabinet when he took over presidency and appointed members sympathetic to Compromise of 1850.
• Last Whig president.
• Took criticism over position on Cuba during Lopez invasions.
• A founder of the University of Buffalo.
• Refused an honorary degree from Oxford as he felt he was unqualified.
• Born on 7th January, 1800.
14 Franklin Pierce
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1804 - 1869
VP(s): William R. King
1853-1857• Publicly declared that a presidential nomination would be "utterly repugnant to my tastes and wishes."
• Publication of Ostend Manifesto, promoting Cuba annex, drew scorn.
• Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 repealed the Missouri Compromise and reopened the question of slavery in the West.
• Because of religious considerations, he affirmed rather than swore the Presidential oath of office.
• Only elected president that sought and did not receive his party's nomination for a second term.
• Died of cirrhosis of the liver as a result of years of heavy drinking.
15 James Buchanan
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1791 - 1868
VP(s): John C. Breckinridge
1857-1861• His efforts to maintain peace between the North and the South alienated both sides.
• Southern states declared their secession in the prologue to the American Civil War.
• Historians have voted his failure to deal with secession the worst presidential mistake ever made.
• Only president to remain a life long bachelor.
• Often called a "doughface" (a Northerner with Southern sympathies).
• Was noted for his mantra, "I acknowledge no master but the law."
16 Abraham Lincoln
Party: Republican
Lived: 1809 - 1865
VP(s): Hannibal Hamlin/Andrew Johnson
1861-1865• His election prompted seven southern slave states to form the Confederacy.
• His Gettysburg Address of 1863 became an iconic statement of America's dedication to the principles of nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy.
• Assassinated in Ford's Theatre.
• First president to die by assassination.
• Only president to receive a patent, for a device for lifting boats over shoals.
• At 6 foot, 4 inches, he was the tallest president.
17 Andrew Johnson
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1808 - 1875
VP(s): none
1865-1869• Bitter disputes with Congress led to his impeachment.
• Generally considered among the worst American presidents for his opposition to federally guaranteed rights for African Americans.
• Supported Secretary of State Seward's acquisition of Alaska.
• The first president to be impeached.
• After being sworn in as vice president, gave a rambling and possibly drunken speech, and he secluded himself to avoid public ridicule.
• Opposed the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave citizenship to African-Americans.
18 Ulysses S. Grant
Party: Republican
Lived: 1822 - 1885
VP(s): Schuyler Colfax/Henry Wilson
1869-1877• Military commander in the American Civil War.
• Lobbied Congress to pass the Fifteenth Amendment, guaranteeing that no state could prevent someone from voting based on race.
• Passed the Public Credit Act of 1869, which guaranteed that bondholders would be repaid in gold, not greenbacks.
• Nicknamed "Hero of Appomattox."
• Buried in the largest mausoleum in North America.
• Was fined for driving his horse too fast through the streets of D.C.
19 Rutherford B. Hayes
Party: Republican
Lived: 1822-1893
VP(s): William A. Wheeler
1877-1881• Elected president in one of the most contentious and confused elections in American history.
• He ordered federal troops to quell the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.
• He declined to seek re-election in 1880, keeping his pledge that he would not run for a second term.
• Only president to be wounded in the Civil War.
• Signed the act that permitted women to plead before the Supreme Court.
• The first White House telephone was installed, by Alexander Graham Bell, during his administration.
20 James A. Garfield
Party: Republican
Lived: 1831 - 1881
VP(s): Chester A. Arthur
1881-1881• His presidency lasted just 200 days.
• Became president after completing nine consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1863-81).
• Throughout his extended congressional service after the Civil War, he fervently opposed the Greenback, and gained a reputation as a skilled orator.
• Died of blood poisoning from non-sterile instruments probing gunshot wound.
• The first president to campaign in two languages: English and German.
• Was the first left-handed president of the United States.
21 Chester A. Arthur
Party: Republican
Lived: 1829 - 1886
VP(s): none
1881-1885• Embraced civil service reform. Advocacated and enforced the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.
• Presided over the rebirth of the United States Navy.
• New York World summed up his presidency at his death in 1886: "No duty was neglected in his administration, and no adventurous project alarmed the nation."
• Served as quartermaster general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
• Obituary: "No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted as ---, and no one ever retired more generally respected, alike by political friend and foe".
• First President to face accusations that he was not a native-born citizen of the United States.
22 Grover Cleveland
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1837 - 1908
VP(s): Thomas A. Hendricks
1885-1889• Leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs, Free Silver, inflation, imperialism, and subsidies to business, farmers, or veterans.
• His intervention in the Pullman Strike of 1894 to keep the railroads moving angered labor unions nationwide.
• He relentlessly fought political corruption, patronage and bossism.
• The only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms.
• Personally hanged two murderers as public executioner.
• The only president married in the White House.
23 Benjamin Harrison
Party: Republican
Lived: 1833 - 1901
VP(s): Levi P. Morton
1889-1893• Facilitated the creation of the National Forests through an amendment to the Land Revision Act of 1891.
• Federal spending reached one billion dollars for the first time during his term.
• Hallmarks of his administration include the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act.
• The grandson of the ninth president.
• The fourth (and last) president to sport a full beard.
• The earliest president whose voice is known to be preserved.
24 Grover Cleveland
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1837 - 1908
VP(s): Adlai Stevenson I
1893-1897• Leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs, Free Silver, inflation, imperialism, and subsidies to business, farmers, or veterans.
• His intervention in the Pullman Strike of 1894 to keep the railroads moving angered labor unions nationwide.
• He relentlessly fought political corruption, patronage and bossism.
• The only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms.
• Personally hanged two murderers as public executioner.
• The only president married in the White House.
25 William McKinley
Party: Republican
Lived: 1843 - 1901
VP(s): Garret Hobart/Theodore Rossevelt
1897-1901• Led the nation to victory in the Spanish-American War.
• He promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition.
• Secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act.
• The last president to have served in the American Civil War.
• He led the nation in the Spanish-American War.
• Assassinated by Leon Czolgosz.
26 Theodore Roosevelt
Party: Republican
Lived: 1858 - 1919
VP(s): Charles W. Fairbanks
1901-1909• Attempted to move the Republican Party toward Progressivism, including trust busting and increased regulation of businesses.
• First person elected to a term in his own right after having ascended to the presidency upon the death of his predecessor.
• Coined the phrase "Square Deal" to describe his domestic agenda.
• "Teddy".
• Known for his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity.
• His first wife and his mother died on the same day.
27 William Howard Taft
Party: Republican
Lived: 1857 - 1930
VP(s): James S. Sherman
1909-1913• Furthered the economic development of nations in Latin America and Asia through "Dollar Diplomacy."
• On his watch, a proposed amendment to allow the federal government to tax incomes was passed.
• Was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for a second term in the presidential election of 1912.
• After his presidency became the tenth Chief Justice of the United States.
• Founded League to Enforce Peace.
• Supervised the beginning of construction on the Panama Canal.
28 Woodrow Wilson
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1856 - 1924
VP(s): Thomas R. Marshall
1913-1921• Passed in his first term: the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and an income tax.
• In April 1917, he asked Congress to declare war in order to make "the world safe for democracy."
• In 1919, he went to Paris to add the formation of a League of Nations to the Treaty of Versailles.
• Re-elected around the slogan, "He kept us out of war."
• Was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize.
• His favorite car was a 1919 Pierce-Arrow, in which he preferred to ride with the top down.
29 Warren G. Harding
Party: Republican
Lived: 1865 - 1923
VP(s): Calvin Coolidge
1921-1923• First sitting U.S. president to visit Canada.
• Being a former newspaperman, he got along better with the press than any other previous president.
• He signed the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, considered one of his greatest domestic and enduring achievements.
• He suffered nervous breakdowns at the age of 24 and had to spend some time in a sanitarium.
• His advisors were known as the "Poker Cabinet" because they all played poker together.
• The first president to own a radio and the first to speak over the radio airwaves.
30 Calvin Coolidge
Party: Republican
Lived: 1872 - 1933
VP(s): Charles G. Dawes
1923-1929• During his presidency the United States experienced the period of rapid economic growth known as the "Roaring Twenties."
• The Ku Klux Klan lost most of its influence during his term.
• Some contemporaries and historians have blamed his laissez-faire ideology for the Great Depression.
• Reputation as a small-government conservative, and also as a man who said very little.
• Gave 520 press conferences, meeting with reporters more regularly than any president before or since.
• The only U.S. President to be born on Independence Day.
31 Herbert Hoover
Party: Republican
Lived: 1874 - 1964
VP(s): Charles Curtis
1929-1933• President during the stock market crash that ushered in the Great Depression.
• Spearheaded the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Hoover Dam as Secretary of Commerce.
• Signed into law the Smoot-Hawley Act, which was consided a critical mistake at a bad time.
• One of only two presidents (along with Taft) elected without electoral experience or high military rank.
• Claimed to be the very first student at Stanford, by virtue of having been the first person in the first class to sleep in the dormitory.
• Worked as an engineer in Australian goldfields.
32 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1882 - 1945
VP(s): John Nance Garne/Henry Wallace/Harry Truman
1933-1945• Greatly expanded the powers of the federal government through a series of programs and reforms known as the New Deal.
• Only president elected four times.
• Was president on "a date that will live in infamy."
• "Happy Days Are Here Again" was his campaign theme song.
• Ordered the internment of 100,000 Japanese American civilians.
• Longest term in office.
33 Harry S. Truman
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1884 - 1972
VP(s): Alben W. Barkley
1945-1953• His policy of communist containment started the Cold War.
• He initiated U.S. involvement in the Korean War.
• He dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, ending World War II.
• Middle initial doesn't stand for anything.
• The most recent U.S. president to not have earned a college degree.
• "The buck stops here."
34 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Party: Republican
Lived: 1890 - 1969
VP(s): Richard Nixon
1953-1961• First Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
• He orchestrated an armistice that brought peace to South Korea's border.
• During his presidency, Alaska and Hawaii were established as states.
• Ordered his golf balls painted black so he could see them better against snow on the ground.
• 5 star general.
• "I Like Ike".
35 John F. Kennedy
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1917 - 1963
VP(s): Lyndon B. Johnson
1961-1963• Sought to inspire all Americans to more active citizenship... "Ask not what your country can do for you..."
• He created the Peace Corps by executive order.
• Blockaded Cuba during the Missile Crisis.
• "Ich bin ein Berliner."
• Spent little more than a thousand days in office before being assassinated.
• Commander of Motor Torpedo Boats PT-109.
36 Lyndon B. Johnson
Party: Democratic
Lived: 1908 - 1973
VP(s): Hubert Humphrey
1963-1969• Initiated the "Great Society" social service programs.
• Signed the Civil Rights Act into law.
• Bore the brunt of national opposition to his expansion of American involvement in the Vietnam War.
• Was born in Stonewall, Texas.
• A 60-cigarette-per-day smoker, he suffered a near-fatal heart attack.
• Sworn in as President on Air Force One.
37 Richard Nixon
Party: Republican
Lived: 1913 - 1994
VP(s): Spiro Agnew and Gerald Ford
1969-1974• Established "New Federalism" principles of less government and fiscal responsibility.
• Was able to achieve détente with China and the Soviet Union.
• Brought down by "Watergate" scandal.
• Only president to resign from office.
• Promised "peace with honor" in the Vietnam War.
• Won second term with one of largest landslides in American history.
38 Gerald Ford
Party: Republican
Lived: 1913 - 2006
VP(s): Nelson Rockefeller
1974-1977• Signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act which established special education throughout the United States.
• Officially ended US involvement in the Vietnam War
• Attended the inaugural meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations.
• Both he and his wife, Betty, had been models before their marriage.
• The first president to visit Japan.
• Two assassination attempts against him were made by women.
39 Jimmy Carter
Party: Democratic
Lived: born 1924
VP(s): Walter Mondale
1977-1981• He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace (20 years after his presidency).
• His successful mediation of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt led to a historic peace treaty.
• Delivered a disastrous speech, referred to as the "Crisis of Confidence" speech, in which he seemed to blame America's problems on the poor spirit of its people.
• He appeared as the first guest on an episode of the game show What's My Line.
• "I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times."
• Hostage crisis in Iran hobbled re-election chances.
40 Ronald Reagan
Party: Republican
Lived: 1911 - 2004
VP(s): George H. W. Bush
1981-1989• "..Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." - Inaugural speech.
• Appointed the first woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.
• Announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, a plan to develop space-based weapons.
• Oldest elected president.
• Actor.
• The first serving U.S. president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt.
41 George H. W. Bush
Party: Republican
Lived: 1924 - 2018
VP(s): Dan Quayle
1989-1993• He famously stated, "Read my lips: No new taxes."
• Invaded Kuwait to drive out Saddam Hussein.
• Oversaw the U.S. military's removal of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.
• Founded his own oil company.
• Served as Ambassador to the United Nations and Director of CIA.
• "Oh, the vision thing."
42 Bill Clinton
Party: Democratic
Lived: born 1946
VP(s): Al Gore
1993-2001• Impeached by the House of Representatives, but acquitted by the Senate.
• His campaign principle : "It's the economy, stupid."
• Ratified the North American Free Trade agreement.
• The first president to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.
• Plays saxaphone.
• Presided over the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in American history.
43 George W. Bush
Party: Republican
Lived: born 1946
VP(s): Dick Cheney
2001-2009• Announced the U.S. would not abide by the Kyoto Protocol for reducing green-house gas emissions.
• Created the Homeland Security Department and the Patriot Act.
• Invaded Iraq.
• Of the 6 million votes cast in Florida in the election, he won the state's 25 electoral votes by 537 votes.
• Prior to his marriage, he had multiple episodes of alcohol abuse.
• Launched the War on Terror.
44 Barack Obama
Party: Democratic
Lived: born 1961
VP(s): Joe Biden
2009-2017• Signed his health-care reform plan, known as the Affordable Care Act, into law.
• Awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize while in office.
• Approved a covert operation in Pakistan in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
• First president born outside of the contiguous United States.
• In a poll conducted in Western Europe and the U.S., he was rated as the most respected world leader.
• First Afro-American president.
45 Donald J. Trump
Party: Republican
Lived: born 1946
VP(s): Mike Pence
2017-Incumbent• Has written several books, including The Art of the Deal.
• Loves golf and owns 17 golf courses around the world.
• Co-produced and starred in a tv game show where he was known for saying "You're fired".
• Oldest president at time of election.
• Wealthiest person to assume presidency.
• First president elected without prior military or government service.
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