William McKinley

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.

State Elections Lost By Presidents

Today, we will examine elections at the state and Congressional level lost by future Presidents, indicating that about a third of our Presidents lost election on the way to the White House.

William Henry Harrison lost election as Governor of Ohio in 1820, and as a Congressman in 1822.

John Quincy Adams lost election as Governor of Massachusetts in 1833.

James K. Polk lost election as Governor of Tennessee in 1841 and again in 1843.

Abraham Lincoln lost election as Senator of Illinois in 1854 and again in 1858.

Andrew Johnson lost election as Senator of Tennessee in 1869 and again in 1872.

Rutherford B. Hayes lost election as Congressman of Ohio in 1872.

Benjamin Harrison lost election as Governor of Indiana in 1876 and as Senator in 1887.

William McKinley lost election as Congressman of Ohio in 1890.

Warren G. Harding lost election as Governor of Ohio in 1910.

Lyndon B. Johnson lost election as Senator of Texas in 1941.

Richard Nixon lost election as Governor of California in 1962.

George H. W. Bush lost election as Senator of Texas in 1964, and again in 1970.

Jimmy Carter lost election as Governor of Georgia in 1966.

Bill Clinton lost election as Congressman of Arkansas in 1974 and as Governor in 1980.

George W. Bush lost election as Congressman of Texas in 1978.

Barack Obama lost election as Congressman from Illinois in 2000.

What this all demonstrates is that just because someone running for office is defeated does not mean to give up the idea of running again, as clearly, the proof is that 16 future Presidents did not give up the idea of running for public office again.

It also shows that 9 states defeated future Presidents running for public office, with 4 future Presidents in Ohio, 3 in Texas, two in Tennessee and Illinois. and one each in Massachusetts, Indiana, California, Georgia, and Arkansas.

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.

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.

The House Of Representatives And The Presidency

The history of the Presidency shows us that Presidents come from the Governorship of a state, or the US Senate, or military leadership, or from being a Cabinet member under a President.

Only one House of Representatives member has gone directly from the lower chamber to the White House, James A. Garfield of Ohio, elected in 1880, but tragically shot after four months in office, and dying after six and a half months in September 1881.

A total of 19 Presidents served in the House of Representatives, however, including:

James Madison
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
James K. Polk
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
James A Garfield
William McKinley
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
George H. W. Bush

Some interesting observations:

Gerald Ford served the longest in the House, nearly 25 years, hoping to be Speaker of the House one day.

James A. Garfield served the second longest, almost 18 years, followed by John Quincy Adams.

James K. Polk served as Speaker of the House of Representatives as part of his service.

While only Garfield was elected President from the House, four who served in the House succeeded to the Presidency from the Vice Presidency during a term and were not elected–John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson and Gerald Ford, with Ford the only one not elected to the Vice Presidency, but rather being appointed through the 25th Amendment.

14 of the 19 Presidents who served in the House of Representatives did so before the 20th century, with only 5 serving from the 1930s to the 1970s.

When one looks at the present House of Representatives, there are a number of Democrats who are seen as potential Presidential contenders and also a few Republicans who might join the race, depending on circumstances.

For the Democrats:

Joe Kennedy III (Massachusetts)
Seth Moulton (Massachusetts)
John Delaney (Maryland)
Joaquin Castro (Texas)
Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii)
Adam Schiff (California)
Eric Swalwell (California)

Other potential Democrats who have served in the House of Representatives in the past include:

Bernie Sanders (Vermont)
Kirsten Gillibrand (New York)
Chris Murphy (Connecticut)
Sherrod Brown (Ohio)

For the Republicans:

Mike Pence (Indiana)
Paul Ryan (Wisconsin)
John Kasich (Ohio)
Jeff Flake (Arizona)
Tom Cotton (Arkansas)

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.

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.

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!

The Experience Of Reagan And Trump A Lesson: Age Of Presidents Should Be Between 43 and 70, Election To Retirement!

The growing signs that President Donald Trump might be in the early stages of dementia, and possibly Alzheimers Disease, based on his speech pattern and delusional behavior, brings to the forefront the issue of Presidential age and health.

We live in a time of more and more Americans working into their 70s and 80s,although most only work part time, in jobs that are not highly challenging or stressful.

There is no desire to discriminate against people based on age, but when it comes to the Presidency, the most challenging and stressful job in the world, it would seem wise to learn from the experiences of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, as well as the illnesses experienced by Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Presidency.

Reagan clearly suffered from early dementia and Alzheimers, particularly in the second term, when his wife and his staff often were there to help him in what he said publicly. His public speeches suffered, as already Donald Trump’s public utterances are demonstrating.

Eisenhower had three serious illnesses in 1955, 1956, and 1957, with a massive heart attack in 1955. When Ike retired at age 70 and three months in January 1961,the oldest when leaving office until Reagan and now Trump, he said no one older than himself should be President, and that now makes a lot of sense.

And then we have Zachary Taylor who died in office, elected at age 64 and dying 16 months later; and William Henry Harrison, elected at age 68, and dying after one month in office.

Also, James Buchanan, elected at age 65 but nearly 66, and being unable to handle the job of President effectively, and he goes down in history as the worst President ever, in most scholarly polls of Presidential experts.

Only George Herbert Walker Bush, elected at 64, and defeated at age 68, might have been acceptable had he won a second term over Bill Clinton in 1992. And even he would have been past Ike’s age only for the last two years of a theoretical second term.

John F. Kennedy was the youngest elected President at age 43 and seven months, with only Theodore Roosevelt being younger, succeeding William McKinley after his assassination, and being 42 years and almost 11 months.

The average age of Presidents is 55, and it would seem to make sense that we elect Presidents only from age 43 to age 62, when they first take the oath of office, so that the range of age when leaving office is 51 to 70.

Altogether, we have had 9 Presidents in their 40s when inaugurated, and 11 Presidents in their 60s or more when elected President.

So basically, the age of JFK when elected, to the age of Ike, when he retired, makes the most sense for the long term future.