With Presidents Day upon us, another interesting point of investigation about the American Presidency is the extent of public service of former Presidents.
The Presidents who remained active public figures after their Presidency, chronologically, were:
President John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), who served as a Congressman from Boston from 1830-1848, dying on the House floor during a debate over expansion of slavery into the territories gained from the Mexican War.
President Martin Van Buren (1837-1841), who after his difficult term in office due to the Panic of 1837, attempted to come back to the Presidency in 1844, failing at that venture, but running as the Presidential candidate of the Free Soil Party in 1848, the forerunner of the Republican Party.
President John Tyler (1841-1845), who renounced his American citizenship, and served for one year in the Confederate Congress before his death in 1862, which was not officially acknowledged by the United States government, due to his treason, as Americans saw it.
President Millard Fillmore (1850-1853), who after completing Zachary Taylor’s unfinished term without much distinction, came back and ran as the Presidential candidate of the American (Know Nothings) Party, an anti immigrant party, in the 1856 Presidential election, winning only Maryland in the Electoral College, and then went back into obscurity.
President Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), who served a few months as US Senator from Tennessee in 1875, serving alongside many of that body who had voted to remove him from office in the Impeachment trial of 1868, but died after those few months in the upper chamber.
President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), who remained active, and ran for President on the third party Progressive Party line in 1912 against his own successor, William Howard Taft, and by running, helped to elect Woodrow Wilson as the next President. He also wrote and made speeches incessantly on every public topic imaginable!
President William Howard Taft (1909-1913), who was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by President Warren G. Harding in 1921, served nine years, and helped to plan the construction of the Supreme Court Building, which opened five years after he left the Court.
President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933), who served on the Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of Government under appointment by President Harry Truman after World War II. Hoover also kept active in writing, and speaking up about public affairs.
President Richard Nixon (1969-1974), stayed active, writing about ten books and doing a lot of traveling around the world, and was an informal adviser to every President after him, including Bill Clinton in whose first term he passed away.
President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) remained extremely active in his post Presidential years, writing over 20 books, forming the Carter Center to promote peace and diplomacy, and the fight against many diseases, and working for Habitat for Humanity in the construction of housing for the poor. He also had innumerable interviews and constantly spoke his mind on all kinds of domestic and foreign policy issues, and that continues today.
President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) followed in the steps of Jimmy Carter, promoting regular activity through his Clinton Global Initiative, and also promoting earthquake relief in Haiti in 2010 in tandem with President George W. Bush (2001-2009). Also, Clinton was involved in promotion of relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 with former President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993). He also has been interviewed regularly and published many books and articles.
So these are the contributions, after being President, of 13 Presidents, and it is highly likely that President Barack Obama will continue that tradition, leaving office, whether in 2013 or 2017, as one of the youngest retired Presidents in our history as a nation!