William Howard Taft

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 Without Prior Elected Occupation

A total of 6 Presidents have been elected without any prior elected position in government.

Three of them had careers in the military:

Zachary Taylor who was a Major General in the US Army, and served in, and became famous in the Mexican War of 1846-1848, and was elected President in 1848.

Ulysses S. Grant, who was a General in the Civil War, gained the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee to end the war, and was elected President in 1868.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was General of the Army during World War II, and planned the D-Day invasion on France on June 6, 1944, and was elected President in 1952.

Two other Presidents had appointed experience in the US government as Cabinet Officers before they were elected President:

William Howard Taft, who served as Secretary of War under Theodore Roosevelt, and was elected President in 1908.

Herbert Hoover, who served as Secretary of Commerce under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, and was elected President in 1928.

And then, finally, there is Donald Trump, in a category by himself, as Chairman of the Trump Organization, his whole career in real estate, and also a reality star on television, a public figure for decades, but never holding office in any form by election or appointment, or by military service, but elected President in 2016.

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.

Theodore Roosevelt To Barack Obama, And The Antiquities Act Of 1906, Now Under Threat From Donald Trump

Theodore Roosevelt, the greatest environmental and conservation President, promoted the passage of the Antiquities Act of 1906, and since then, 16 Presidents have designated a grand total of 157 National Monuments and National Parks.

Four Republican Presidents added no national monuments or national parks—Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, although Nixon is seen as a great environmental President with his Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickel, and the signing into law of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, and the first declared Earth Day on April 22, 1970.

Under Theodore Roosevelt, a total of 18 monuments or parks were added, including Devils Tower National Monument, Petrified Forest National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, Grand Canyon National Park, and Olympic National Park.

William Howard Taft added 10 national monuments and national parks, including Navajo National Monument and Zion National Park.

Woodrow Wilson added 13 national monuments and national parks, including Dinosaur National Monument, Acadia National Park, and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.

Warren G. Harding added 8 national monuments and national parks, including Great Basin National Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument, and Bryce Canyon National Park.

Calvin Coolidge added 13 national monuments and national parks, including Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Statue Of Liberty National Monument, Fort Pulaski National Monument, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

Herbert Hoover added 9 national monuments and national parks, including Arches National Park, Portion Of White River National Forest, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Grand Canyon National Park (extension), White Sands National Monument, and Death Valley National Park.

Franklin D. Roosevelt added 13 national monuments and national parks, including Dry Tortugas National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Zion National Park (extension), and Grant Teton National Park.

Harry Truman added just 1 national monument and national park, Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Dwight D. Eisenhower added just 2 national monuments and national parks, Thomas Edison National Historical Park, and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

John F. Kennedy added just 2 national monuments and national parks, including Russell Cave National Monument, and Buck Island Reef National Monument.

Lyndon B. Johnson added just 2 national monuments and national parks, an extension again of Grand Canyon National Park, and Portion of Tongrass National Forest.

Jimmy Carter added 15 national monuments and national parks in just one term as President, a reason why Carter is seen as one of the top three conservation oriented Presidents, alongside TR and Nixon. Among those monuments and forests Carter added were Denali National Park in Alaska, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge.

Bill Clinton added the grant total of 19 national monuments and national parks, including Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, California Coastal National Monument, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Portion of Sequoia National Forest, President Lincoln and Soldier’s Home National Monument, Sonoran Desert National Monument, Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, and Governors Island National Monument.

George W. Bush added 6 national monuments and national parks, including African Burial Ground National Monument, World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and Pacific Remote Islands National Monument.

Finally, Barack Obama added the grand total of 29 national monuments and national parks, far more than runners up Bill Clinton, Theodore Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These included Fort Monroe National Monument, Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, San Juan Islands National Monument, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, Stonewall National Monument, Bears Ears National Monument, Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Freedom Riders National Monument, and Reconstruction Era National Monument.

Lying In State And Honor At The US Capitol Rotunda In American History

The Reverend Billy Graham is lying in state and honor at the US Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC today.

This is a rare event, and Graham is only the fourth private person outside of government to be so honored, along with Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks in 2005, and two police officers who defended the Capitol from a gunman in 1998.

The list of government figures who have been so honored include 11 Presidents; 10 Senators; Soldiers of the various wars of America in the 20th century; and a few other military and government figures.

Henry Clay 1852
Abraham Lincoln 1865
Thaddeus Stevens 1868
Charles Sumner 1874
Henry Wilson 1875
James A. Garfield 1881
John A Logan 1886
William McKinley 1901
Pierre Charles L’Enfant 1909
George Dewey 1917
Unknown Soldiers of World War I 1921
Warren G. Harding 1923
William Howard Taft 1930
John Joseph Pershing 1948
Robert A. Taft 1953
Unknown Soldiers of World War II and the Korean War 1958
John F. Kennedy 1963
Douglas MacArthur 1964
Herbert Clark Hoover 1964
Dwight D. Eisenhower 1969
Everett McKinley Dirksen 1969
J. Edgar Hoover 1972
Lyndon Baines Johnson 1973
Hubert H. Humphrey 1978
Unknown Soldier Of the Vietnam Conflict 1984
Claude Denson Pepper 1989
Jacob Joseph Chestnut and John Michael Gibson (US Capitol Police Officers)
Ronald Wilson Reagan 2004
Rosa Parks 2005
Gerald R. Ford, Jr. 2006-2007
Daniel K. Inouye 2012

Additionally, Salmon P. Chase 1873 in the Senate chamber; Samuel Hooper 1875 in the House chamber; also Thurgood Marshall in 1993, Warren Burger in 1995, and Antonin Scalia in 2016 at the US Supreme Court; as well as Commerce Secretary Ron Brown at the Commerce Department in 1996.

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.

Donald Trump, The Laziest And Least Knowledgeable President Since 1900, If Not Before

It is difficult to know for certain how hard working our Presidents from George Washington to William McKinley were, as available sources cannot often pinpoint the work habits of the 24 Presidents before 1900.

It is much easier to pinpoint the work habits of the 20 Presidents since 1901, from Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump.

It is also clear that being President is a tough, challenging job, and one does not have to be President to understand that reality.

But then, we have Donald Trump, who has expressed surprise at how difficult and complex and time consuming the Presidency is.

After all, Donald Trump has never truly worked that hard in his life, and always has had an advantage over others by his wealth and connections.

It is now clear that despite the burdens of the Presidency, that Donald Trump is the laziest and least knowledgeable President since 1900, if not before, but also likely.

Historians make clear how hard working and time consuming most Presidents have found their job and its duties.

William Howard Taft, being the heaviest President, took long naps daily, which makes it seem as if he was lazy to some, but clearly, Taft had a good mind, and a history of legal experience. He later became the only President to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as well, and no one has ever accused Taft in his nine years on the Court as not taking his job seriously.

Warren G. Harding was poorly qualified for the Presidency, and did not really like the job, and that he spent a lot of time engaging in love affairs and drinking alcohol in a time of Prohibition. But despite his generally disastrous Presidency, he comes across as still less lazy and far more knowledgeable than Donald Trump, and certainly more goodhearted and considerate of others who worked with him, and with the general public.

Calvin Coolidge, who was not at all overweight, also took a lot of naps, but despite that, he seems to have asserted himself, and his work load seems activist. His napping maybe was a way to cope with the loss of his younger son, Calvin, Jr at age 16 in 1924, just as he was running for a full term, after succeeding to the Presidency upon the death of Harding in 1923.

Dwight D. Eisenhower liked to delegate authority, and avoid dealing with many issues in detail, and was far less interested in dealing personally with every issue. But no one could accuse him of being lazy and lacking in knowledge, although many criticized his love of golf as a hobby during the White House years. But we must remember his military brilliance in World War II at D Day, and realize he was very capable of being President.

Ronald Reagan also liked to delegate authority, and liked longer vacations, but still could not be accused of lacking knowledge, or being overly lazy. His staff and his wife, Nancy Reagan, promoted an activist Presidency, and Reagan comes across as an activist President. He knew how to communicate in a positive way with the American people.

George W. Bush took many long vacations on his ranch in Texas, and seemed often poorly informed. He leaned too much on his Vice President, Dick Cheney, in his first term, but in the second term, his attention to issues and his commitment to his job grew, even though the results in his Presidency were often disastrous.

Once one goes beyond these six Presidents named above, there is no question that the other Presidents were committed to the work ethic, and had broad knowledge of the major issues of their times.

This is particularly true of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman, who all governed in complex times with challenging issues to deal with on a daily basis.

But equally true is the competence and commitment of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

Particularly “workaholic” Presidents would include TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, and Obama.

On the other hand, Donald Trump has spent more time on “vacation” than any President, and has shown ignorance and lack of interest in the details of his job. He spends more time playing golf; is constantly on attack against his critics on Twitter; and he eats unhealthy foods and drinks twelve Diet Cokes daily.

The man loves the title and the pomp and circumstance of the Presidency, but is extremely disinterested in the details of the issues he must deal with in domestic and foreign policy, and clearly is the laziest President in modern times, if not the entire history of the Presidency. He has undermined both domestic and foreign policy in dangerous ways.

The conclusion is that Donald Trump is ill equipped to be President, and disgraces the reputation of the office every day. If earlier Presidents were able to come back from the next world, they would be shocked at what harm he has done to the Presidency in just one short year! Heads would be shaking, and eyes rolling, without any doubt!

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.

Hardworking Presidents Vs. Lazy Presidents, And Then There Is Donald Trump!

The Presidency is an all encompassing job, one that the occupant of the Oval Office, particularly in modern times, cannot escape, even when on so called “vacation”.

Some Presidents stand out as constantly on the job, very active, very committed and hard working.

These would include in modern times, since 1900, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Note only three of these Presidents–TR, Nixon and the first Bush–are Republicans.

Indications are that James K. Polk and Abraham Lincoln, Democrat and Republican respectively, were also hard workers, dedicated, and committed, among pre1900 Presidents.

On the other hand, the following Presidents come across as far less committed, and in many cases, too laid back, and in some cases, purely lazy:

William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, all Republicans. All of these Presidents took many vacations, and had short work days much of the time, and it undermined America in domestic and foreign policy on a regular basis.

Pre1900 examples would include Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Ulysses S. Grant, the first two being Democrats and Grant being a Republican.

And then there is Donald Trump, whose work habits make clear that he is the LAZIEST President of the United States in all of American history, certainly since 1900 at the least!

He loves to sign executive orders, many which are symbolic, and to take a long time in signing in a flourishing manner at Presidential signing ceremonies, and then showing it to the gathered audience over and over, like a little child proud of his signature, absolutely unbelievable immaturity on the part of a President, who lowers the image of the Presidency every day.

He has taken no part in promoting Health Care legislation, and is simply ready to sign any bill that comes to his desk, as he told evangelist Pat Robertson in an interview before leaving for his trip to Paris, France for Bastille Day.

Trump knows no details on anything, and is not willing to do much reading or learning, and it is truly pitiful how he has degraded the Presidency daily!