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.
July 2 is an extremely historic day in American history in so many ways, more than typical.
July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, with the document being printed, and beginning to be signed on July 4.
July 2, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed Morrill Act, granting land for state agricultural colleges.
July 2, 1863, Second day of Battle of Gettysburg, turning point battle of Civil War.
July 2, 1881, President James A. Garfield was shot and mortally wounded by Charles Guiteau, died 79 days later on September 19, 1881, a tragedy I devote a chapter to in my Assassinations book, now out in paperback from Rowman Littlefield.
July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, most path breaking and historic civil rights law in American history.
July 2, 1986, the Supreme Court upheld Affirmative Action in two cases.
On this day, January 11, in either 1755 or 1757, depending on which historical records one believes, Alexander Hamilton was born in the British West Indies.
Hamilton went on to a life of success, migrating to the American colonies, serving George Washington in the American Revolution, being a delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, becoming President Washington’s first Secretary of the Treasury, founding the first political party (the Federalists), and promoting what has become the “liberal” interpretation of the Constitution (although it was termed “conservative” at the time).
Hamilton was always controversial, outspoken, opinionated, egotistical, and had so called “skeletons in his closet” regarding his financial and love lives.
But he saved the country during its early years under George Washington with his policies of paying off the national and state debts. He developed the broad interpretation of the Constitution, utilized later by Chief Justice John Marshall and the Supreme Court in the doctrine of “judicial review”. He developed the US Mint; the US Coast Guard; emphasized the importance of manufacturing and industry in the American economy alongside agriculture; started the Bank of New York; and developed the oldest continually published newspaper in America, the New York Post.
Hamilton would be tragically killed by Vice President Aaron Burr in an infamous gun duel in New Jersey in the summer of 1804, dying at the young age of 47 or 49, and remains one of the tragic losses of a young politico, alongside John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. among others.
It is hard to imagine how America would have evolved without the contributions of Alexander Hamilton!