John Adams

Presidential Campaigns Lost By 15 Presidents

In our final examination of Presidents and their background and experiences for the White House, we will now examine Presidential campaigns lost by Presidents.

A total of 15 Presidents ran unsuccessful campaigns for Presidents as follows:

Thomas Jefferson lost the Presidential Election of 1796 to John Adams, but then won in 1800 and 1804.

Andrew Jackson lost the Presidential Election of 1824 to John Quincy Adams, but then won in 1828 and 1832.

William Henry Harrison lost the Presidential Election Of 1836 to Martin Van Buren, but then won in 1840.

Martin Van Buren received the most votes on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention in 1844, but failed to win the required two thirds majority, and lost the nomination to James K. Polk. He also ran on the Free Soil Party ticket for President in 1848, and finished behind winner Zachary Taylor and second place finisher Lewis Cass. However, he had won the Presidency earlier in 1836.

James Buchanan competed for the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1848 and 1852, but failed to get the nomination, losing to Lewis Cass and Franklin Pierce, respectively, but then won the Presidency in 1856.

Millard Fillmore ran on the American (Know Nothing) Party ticket for President in 1856, but finished behind winner James Buchanan and loser John C. Fremont. Earlier, he had served as President after the death of Zachary Taylor.

Andrew Johnson competed for the Democratic nomination in 1860, but lost the nomination to Stephen A. Douglas. He later served as President after the death of Abraham Lincoln.

Ulysses S. Grant competed for the Republican nomination in 1880, losing the nomination to James A. Garfield. He had earlier been elected President in 1868 and 1872.

Theodore Roosevelt competed for the Republican nomination in 1912, losing the nomination to President William Howard Taft. He ran in the general election as the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party candidate, having earlier served as President, after succeeding to the officer upon the death of William McKinley, and then being elected in his own right in 1904.

Herbert Hoover competed for the Republican nomination in 1920, but lost the nomination to Warren G Harding, but then won the Presidency in 1928.

Lyndon B. Johnson lost the Democratic nomination to John F. Kennedy in 1960, became his Vice Presidential running mate, and succeeded to the Presidency upon Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, and was elected for a full term in 1964.

Richard Nixon lost the Presidency to John F. Kennedy in 1960, but then won the Presidency in 1968 and 1972.

Ronald Reagan competed for the Republican nomination in 1968 and 1976, losing the nomination to Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, respectively, but then won the Presidency in 1980 and 1984.

George H. W. Bush competed for the Republican nomination in 1980, losing the nomination to Ronald Reagan, but became his Vice Presidential running mate, and then Vice President, and then was elected to succeed him as President in the Presidential Election of 1988.

Donald Trump competed for the Reform Party nomination in 2000, but withdrew before Pat Buchanan won that party’s nomination, and later won the Republican nomination and was elected in 2016.

Also, two future Presidents competed for the Vice Presidency, with Franklin D. Roosevelt being the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in 1920, losing to Calvin Coolidge; and John F. Kennedy competing for the Vice Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in 1956, when Presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson opened up the Vice Presidential nomination to be decided by the convention delegates, and Estes Kefauver being selected over Kennedy.

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.

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.

The Obsessive Donald Trump Hatred Of Barack Obama And Hillary Clinton A Clear Cut Sign Of Serious Mental Illness

We have never seen such hatred and obsessiveness by any President against a predecessor or successor in the Oval Office or a presidential rival as we see with Donald Trump’s attitude toward Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

There have been other rivalries that existed, as for instance:

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson;

John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson;

Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft;

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson;

Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt;

Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower;

Harry Truman and Richard Nixon;

Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller;

Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan

as the major cases, but none of these rivalries were on the level of Donald Trump with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

None of these was a situation of such vehement, long lasting venom, and the manufacturing of lies and accusations that are clearly paranoid and vicious to an extreme, with no possibility of being resolved.

Some of the above rivalries were long lasting, including JQ Adams and Jackson, TR and Wilson, and Hoover and FDR, but the rest ended up with reconciliation and eventual communication between the two parties involved.

That will never happen with Donald Trump, and it is a sad commentary that teaches the wrong lessons to children and to all of us, that no matter what differences one has, they can be overcome with a real effort and commitment.

The difference is that Donald Trump, unlike past Presidents, is clearly a person with a serious mental illness, which undermines the possibility of cooperation among and unity of the American people.

Former Living Vice Presidents To Be Proud Of: Walter Mondale, Al Gore, Joe Biden

Today, January 5, marks the 90th Birthday of former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Two days ago, when Vice President Mike Pence swore in Doug Jones and Tina Smith as new Senators from Alabama and Minnesota, we had Mondale join Joe Biden, and we had a rare scene of three Vice Presidents together.

Biden came to DC to be there for his good friend, Doug Jones, and Mondale was in DC to support a new Minnesota Senator, Tina Smith.

It brought back memories of when Mondale was Vice President under Jimmy Carter from 1977-1981, and when Joe Biden was Vice President under Barack Obama from 2009-2017.

Both Vice Presidents were extremely close to their Presidents, and both played a major role in adding to the stature and influence of the Vice Presidency.

Also, with Mondale reaching the age of 90, it marks the second President and Vice President who reached the age of 90, after Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

It will be 37 years out of office for Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale on January 20, an all time record out of office for any President and Vice President.

Also, Mondale became today the sixth Vice President to reach the age of 90, along with three Presidents who served as Vice President–John Adams, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush–and two Vice Presidents who lived longer than any of the others—John Nance Garner under Franklin D. Roosevelt, living to age 98, and Levi Morton under Benjamin Harrison, living to age 96.

The scene of three Vice Presidents together also brought back the tragic result of the Presidential Election of 2000, when Vice President Al Gore under Bill Clinton from 1993-2001, won the national popular vote by 540,000, and yet lost the Electoral College 271-266, when the Republican majority Supreme Court ruled in favor of George W. Bush, awarding Florida to Bush by 537 votes out of a total of 6 million.

One has to wonder how Al Gore would have been as President, with the assurance that he would have done better than Bush.

The scene of Mike Pence posing with Mondale and Biden also sobers us that he is likely to become the 46th President this year, unless he is shown to have collaborated on the Russian collusion, and if so, could be the second Vice President to resign due to scandal, after Spiro Agnew in 1973.

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!

Presidential Retirements

Of our 44 Presidents of the United States, 16 of them have had retirements lasting 15 years or more.

This statistic comes to mind as we celebrate the 93rd Birthday of Jimmy Carter, and root for him and George H. W. Bush to beat the record of longevity of Gerald Ford (93 years, 165 days) and Ronald Reagan (93 years 120 days), which Bush will surpass on October 11 and November 25, and Carter will surpass on January 30, 2018 and March 16, 2018.

The President with the most retirement years is Carter, who will reach 37 years out of office on January 20, 2018.

Herbert Hoover had 31 and a half years in retirement, followed by Gerald Ford with just a month short of 30 years.

John Adams had four months more than 25 years, and will be passed by George H. W. Bush in May 2018.

Martin Van Buren had about the same retirement time as Adams with 25 plus years, and Bush will soon pass him as well on the list.

Millard Fillmore, Harry Truman, and Richard Nixon each had close to 20 years in retirement.

James Madison and John Quincy Adams each had about 19 years in retirement

Thomas Jefferson, William Howard Taft, and John Tyler each had about 17 years in retirement.

Bill Clinton will soon finish 17 years in retirement, and will, therefore, pass Jefferson, Taft, and Tyler in 2018.

And Ronald Reagan had a few months more than 15 years in retirement, although much of his retirement was spent in a state of dementia and Alzheimers Disease.

Jimmy Carter Becomes Fourth President In A Row To Hit Age 93! And New Age Records For First Ladies Too!

President Jimmy Carter turns 93 today, and it is a moment to celebrate!

Carter and his Vice President, Walter Mondale, have survived as a combo longer than any Presidential-Vice Presidential team, an amazing 37 years come next January 20.

Mondale will be 90 in early January, so Carter and Mondale will be the second team where both have reached the age of 90, after Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

Longevity has been an amazing situation in so many ways, as now we have four straight Presidents–Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush–who will have reached 93.

Only two other Presidents reached 90 and died at that age–John Adams and Herbert Hoover.

Additionally, however, two other Presidential-Vice Presidential nominee teams reached the age of 90 for both men—George McGovern and Sargent Shriver, who were the Democratic team in 1972; and Gerald Ford and Bob Dole, who were the Republican team in 1976, with Bob Dole still alive at age 94. And Bob Dole also was the Republican Presidential nominee in 1996.

And only in the Presidential Election of 1980 did we have all four on the ballot—President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale–and nominees Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush—live to the age of 90 and beyond and be in the Presidency and Vice Presidency, if Mondale survives until his 90th birthday on January 5, just three months away.

Amazingly, George H. W. Bush will pass Ronald Reagan in longevity of age on October 11, and Bush will be the longest lived President, beyond the age of Gerald Ford, who outlasted Reagan by 45 days, on November 25.

And Carter, who seems in better health than Bush, despite Carter’s having had brain cancer diagnosis more than two years ago, but being in remission, seems likely to outlive Bush, if he can survive Bush by less than four months, a total of 111 days!

Also, with Rosalyn Carter having reached the age of 90 in August, it is now reality that four straight Presidents who reached 93, also saw or are seeing their First Ladies having accomplished reaching the 90s—Rosalyn Carter now 90; Barbara Bush now 92; and Nancy Reagan who lived to 94, second longest lived First Lady, only behind Bess Truman, who was 97; and Betty Ford who reached 93, fourth longest, with Lady Bird Johnson being 94, but a few months less than Nancy Reagan, so third longest lived. So six First Ladies, all since World War II, have managed to reach the 90s, an amazing fact!

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).