James Monroe

State Offices Held By Presidents Before Becoming The Chief Executive

Continuing the analysis of Presidents that has been done on this blog in the last week or so, today we will examine what state offices were held by Presidents before becoming the nation’s Chief Executive.

Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Tyler all served in the Virginia House of Delegates.

James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson served in the Tennessee House of Representatives, while Johnson also served in the Tennessee Senate.

James Buchanan served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

William Henry Harrison, James A. Garfield, and Warren G. Harding served in the Ohio Senate.

Millard Fillmore and Theodore Roosevelt served in the New York State Assembly.

Martin Van Buren and Franklin D. Roosevelt served in the New York State Senate.

Franklin Pierce served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

John Quincy Adams and Calvin Coolidge served in the Massachusetts Senate, while Coolidge also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Abraham Lincoln served in the Illinois House of Representatives, while Barack Obama served in the Illinois Senate.

Finally, Jimmy Carter served in the Georgia State Senate.

Additionally, Martin Van Buren served as Attorney General of New York State; Millard Fillmore as New York State Comptroller; Warren G. Harding as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio;’ Calvin Coolidge as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts; and Bill Clinton as Attorney General of Arkansas.

Also, three Presidents served as Mayors–Andrew Johnson as Mayor of Greeneville, Tennessee; Grover Cleveland as Mayor of Buffalo, New York; and Calvin Coolidge as Mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts.

Presidents Who Served As US Ambassadors To Foreign Nations

This author and blogger has so far examined the history of Presidents serving as members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate, as State Governors, and as Cabinet Officers.

Now, let’s examine those 8 Presidents who served as US Ambassadors to foreign nations:

John Adams as Ambassador to Great Britain during the Continental Congress

Thomas Jefferson as Ambassador to France during the Continental Congress

James Monroe as Ambassador to France during the George Washington Presidency, and to Great Britain during the Thomas Jefferson Presidency

John Quincy Adams as Ambassador to the Netherlands during the George Washington and John Adams Presidencies; to Germany during the John Adams Presidency; to Russia and to Great Britain during the James Madison Presidency

Martin Van Buren as Ambassador to Great Britain during the Andrew Jackson Presidency

William Henry Harrison as Ambassador to Colombia during the John Quincy Adams Presidency

James Buchanan as Ambassador to Great Britain during the Franklin Pierce Presidency

George H. W. Bush as Ambassador to the United Nations during the Richard Nixon Presidency and as Chief of the US Liaison Office in China during the Gerald Ford Administration.

The most common Ambassadorship was to Great Britain, where five of the eight Presidents listed above served.

Cabinet Officers And The Presidency

Continuing our examination of the background of America’s Presidents, we will now look at the Presidency in relation to those who have held Cabinet positions under other Presidents.

So far, we have seen that there were 19 Presidents who served in the House of Representatives, 17 who served as Governors of their states, and 16 who served in the US Senate.

In regards to Cabinet officers a total of 8 Presidents served in a total of three different Cabinet positions.

Six of the 8 served as Secretary of State, including:

Thomas Jefferson under George Washington
James Madison under Thomas Jefferson
James Monroe under James Madison twice with a break of about a year when he served also as Secretary of War during the War of 1812, but then returned to the State Department.
John Quincy Adams under James Monroe
Martin Van Buren under Andrew Jackson
James Buchanan under James K. Polk

James Monroe served for about a year as Secretary of War under James Madison, as stated above, and William Howard Taft served in that position under Theodore Roosevelt..

Finally, Herbert Hoover served as Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge before running for President in 1928. Arguably, Hoover proved to be one of the best Cabinet officers in all of American history, and added great distinction to a Cabinet agency not much thought of as a major position otherwise.

Additionally, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt served as sub cabinet members under William McKinley and Woodrow Wilson respectively, both as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

Also, William Howard Taft served as Solicitor General of the United States, the government’s lawyer before the Supreme Court, under President Benjamin Harrison.

US Senators And The Presidency

In recent days, we have looked at the record of Presidents who had been members of the House of Representatives and those who had been state Governors.

Now, we will examine those Presidents who served in the US Senate.

The record shows 16 US Senators who went on to become President, as compared to 19 who served in the House of Representatives and 17 who served as Governors of their states.

The majority of these 16 Senators served before the 20th century, and only three, all since 1900, were directly elected to the Presidency.

The list is as follows:

James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Andrew Johnson
Benjamin Harrison
Warren G. Harding
Harry Truman
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Barack Obama.

Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama were the three Senators elected directly to the Presidency, and only three others—Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon were elected by the people under the 17th Amendment, which was added to the Constitution in 1913.

John Tyler and Andrew Johnson succeeded to the Presidency upon the deaths of William Henry Harrison and Abraham Lincoln, and were not elected President, while Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, and then were elected to a full term of their own.

Andrew Johnson served in the Senate from Tennessee from 1857-1862, became President from 1865-1869, and then was elected again in 1875, serving a few months before his death, and is the only person who served in the Senate after being President.

Andrew Jackson served two separate times in the Senate, the second period ending in 1825, after he had won the popular vote, but would lose the Presidency in the House of Representatives to John Quincy Adams, part of the tumultuous Presidential Election of 1824.

Benjamin Harrison is the only other President before the 20th century to be a Senator close to the time when he became President, serving from 1881-1887, and being elected President in 1888, and serving from 1889-1893.

Only a few of these Presidents served for a long time in the Senate–Lyndon B. Johnson for 12 years; James Buchanan for 11 years; Harry Truman for 10 years; and John Tyler for 9 years.

State Governorships And The Presidency

As reported two days ago on here, there were 19 Presidents who had served in the US House Of Representatives, almost 45 percent of all Presidents

When one examines state governors who became President, we discover that there were 17 such cases, two less than those who were Congressmen, so about 40 percent of all Presidents.

The list of state Governors who went to the White House include, in chronological order:

Thomas Jefferson
James Monroe
Martin Van Buren
John Tyler
James K. Polk
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
Grover Cleveland
William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson
Calvin Coolidge
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush

Four of these Presidents were NY Governor (Van Buren, Cleveland, TR, FDR), with three Virginia Governor (Jefferson, Monroe, Tyler), two from Ohio (Hayes, McKinley), and two from Tennessee (Polk and Johnson). There were also one each from New Jersey (Wilson), Massachusetts (Coolidge), Georgia (Carter), California (Reagan), Arkansas (Clinton), and Texas (George W. Bush).

Four ascended to the Presidency from the Vice Presidency, with John Tyler and Andrew Johnson not elected President later, while Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge were elected President in their own right.

Five times in American history, we had one governor succeed another one–1845 when Polk succeeded Tyler; 1897 when McKinley succeeded Cleveland; 1901 when TR succeeded McKinley; 1981 when Reagan succeeded Carter; and 2001 when George W. Bush succeeded Clinton.

There were two periods of years when there were no governors in the White House–from Polk leaving office in 1849 until Andrew Johnson in 1865; and from FDR leaving office in 1945 until Carter in 1977.

Twenty eight of the last 40 years between 1977 and 2017 saw a total of four Governors in the Presidency, from Carter to Reagan to Clinton to George W. Bush.

Presidents Who Were Widowed

On the day of the funeral of Barbara Bush, here is a list of all Presidents who were widowed, a total of 11 of 44 Presidents, 3 in office, and 8 out of office, and 4 remarrying, and 2 (Tyler and Wilson) while in office.

John Adams out of office in 1818

James Monroe out of office in 1830

John Tyler in office 1842, remarried in 1844 in office

Millard Fillmore out of office 1853, remarried

Franklin Pierce out of office 1863

Rutherford B. Hayes out of office 1889

Benjamin Harrison in office 1892, remarried

Woodrow Wilson in office 1914, remarried in 1915 in office

Herbert Hoover out of office 1944

Richard Nixon out of office 1993

George H. W. Bush out of office 2018

Political Scientist 2018 Presidential Poll Rates Several Presidents Quite Differently Than C Span Poll Of Presidential Scholars A Year Ago

The 2018 Presidents And Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey of 170 Political Scientists, which showed Donald Trump at the bottom of the list, and only four places higher in the view of conservatives and Republicans, also shows several Presidents rated quite differently than in the 2017 C Span Presidential Poll of Presidential Scholars just a year ago.

Thomas Jefferson is fifth in the Political Scientist poll, ahead of Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, while Ike rated fifth and Truman sixth ahead of Jefferson in seventh place in the C Span Poll.

John F. Kennedy is knocked out of the top ten, all the way down to 16th in the Political Scientist poll, with Barack Obama taking his place as 8th, so a big drop for JFK, and a dramatic rise for Obama from 12 to 8.

James Madison went from 16th in the first poll to a ranking now of 12th, just behind Woodrow Wilson, who is steadily in 11th place.

Bill Clinton went from 15th place in the C Span poll to 13th in the Political Scientist poll.

John Adams went from 19th to 14th, a dramatic rise from a year ago.

Andrew Jackson went from 18th to 15th, after having suffered a drop in the 2009 C Span Poll from 13th.

George H. W. Bush went from 20th a year ago to 17th this year.

James Monroe went from 13th a year ago to 18th this year.

William McKinley went from 16th a year ago to 19th this year.

James K. Polk dropped dramatically from 14th last year to 20th this year.

Ulysses S. Grant remained elevated, having gone from 33rd in 2000 to 23rd in 2009 to 22nd in 2017, and now 21st this year.

Martin Van Buren rose dramatically from 34th last year to 27th this year.

Rutherford B. Hayes rose from 32nd last year to 29th this year.

George W. Bush rose from 36th in 2009 to 33rd in 2017, and now to 30th in 2018.

Richard Nixon dropped from 28th in 2017 to 33rd in 2018.

Of course, these kinds of differences in polls is understandable, with the different combination of scholars in each poll.

But some of these statistics stick out, particularly the dramatic rise of Barack Obama, James Madison, John Adams, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush; and the dramatic drop of John F. Kennedy, James Monroe, James K. Polk, and Richard Nixon.

The long range likelihood is that these dramatic changes will not, necessarily, last and may even reverse themselves, with the exception of Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy, and also Ulysses S. Grant, and this will be analyzed further in future postings soon.

Presidents Who Were Most Prolific Authors In Life Or After Their Deaths

The issue of the intellectual prowess of Presidents is a significant one, in a time of a President who does not display much intellectual interest or talents.

Of course, ability to write and communicate in diaries or in books is not the only area of competence for a President, but we are fortunate that so many Presidents contributed to our nation in their writings.

First, however, is which Presidents did NOT contribute any significant writings in print or in diaries, although many left behind a massive amount of manuscripts, which historians have utilized in their published books on Presidents.

The list would include, chronologically, the following 20 Presidents.

George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
James A. Garfield
Chester Alan Arthur
William McKinley
William Howard Taft
Warren G. Harding
Franklin D. Roosevelt

A long list of Presidents (24) wrote diaries, Memoirs, or autobiographies, or other published works in their lifetime, or after their deaths, including, chronologically:

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
James K. Polk
James Buchanan
Ulysses S. Grant
Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
Theodore Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump

Of all of these 24 who contributed published works, only a few, however, were voluminous, substantial, and could be described as prolific.

John Quincy Adams, with his 69 year diary in 48 volumes, would be one such case.

James K. Polk. with his 4 volume diary, would be another.

Theodore Roosevelt was extremely active as an author, and Woodrow Wilson was an active academic, which explains his large amount of publishing.

Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter, all with long retirements, were prolific, and Carter has continued to be so.

Barack Obama is expected to join this group of prolific authors, and had two books before his Presidency, similar to John F. Kennedy, who clearly would have contributed more, had he not been assassinated.

So this is a summary of the literary intellectual life of our 44 Presidents!

Five Presidents Of Both Parties, 40 Years, And Unity, As Compared To Donald Trump’s Divisiveness

That was quite a scene on Saturday night in College Station, Texas, at the George H W Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Texas A & M University.

Five former Presidents–two Republicans (Bush and his son George H W Bush) and three Democrats (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama)—representing all of the Presidents since 1977 except for Ronald Reagan, were together raising relief funds for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria.

All five had been rivals–Carter vs the senior Bush’s boss, Reagan–Bush Sr vs Clinton—Bush Jr critical of Clinton when he ran against his Vice President, Al Gore in 2000—Obama critical of Bush Jr when he ran in 2008 to succeed him—Carter and Clinton both critics of Obama during his Presidential run and years in office—but they all came together and unified in a manner that Donald Trump is incapable of accomplishing.

All five former Presidents were far from perfect in office, but they all had high levels of popularity at some point, unlike Donald Trump.

Carter and the Senior Bush lost reelection, while the other three won and completed second terms, the first time we had three Presidents in a row finish eight years in office since Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe from 1801-1825.

We have had five former Presidents alive now for the fourth time in American history—1861-1862 for ten and a half months under Abraham Lincoln, until John Tyler died in January 1862, with one of the five former Presidents, Martin Van Buren, living to see eight future Presidents take the oath office—1993-1994 under Bill Clinton for 15 months until Richard Nixon died in April 1994—2001-2004 under George W. Bush for three years and four and a half months until June 2004 when Ronald Reagan died in June 2004.

With the miraculous accomplishment that George H W Bush has passed Ronald Reagan’s age, and will pass Gerald Ford’s age on November, and that Jimmy Carter, three and a half months younger than Bush, has also reached 93, and seems in better health than Bush, although has cancer in remissions, one wonders if it is possible that both Bush and Carter might last longer than June 2020, which would make the longest period of five living former Presidents, with Bush and Carter both being 96 in the year 2020.

That would be an amazing situation, and of course, were Donald Trump to leave office by impeachment, the 25th Amendment Section 4 utilization, or resignation, then we would have for the first time ever a total of SIX former Presidents of the United States alive and well at the same time frame!

July 4th And Four Presidents

July 4 is our national holiday, and many Americans are unaware of the fact that four Presidents are connected to the holiday.

Three Presidents died on July 4:

Thomas Jefferson in 1826 early in the day.

John Adams shortly before midnight in 1826, uttering that his writing pal Jefferson still survived, but he had died early on that day, which happened to be the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence they both participated in creating!

James Monroe in 1831, making him the third and last Founding Father to die on Independence Day.

And then, there is Calvin Coolidge, who was born on the 4th of July in 1872, 145 years ago!

Every 4th of July, this author wonders if any of the six living Presidents will join Jefferson, Adams, or Monroe in passing away, but it has never happened since 1831, and the odds are long against it happening on that precise day.

Instead, we have 93 year old George H. W. Bush; nearly 93 year old Jimmy Carter (on October 1); 71 year old George W. Bush (on July 6); 71 year old Bill Clinton (on August 19); 71 year old Donald Trump (reached on June 14); and 56 year old Barack Obama (on August 4).