Presidential History

C-Span Presidential Historians Survey 2021 Announced Today!

For all Presidential followers, including scholars and specialists in the American Presidency and Presidential history, today is a great day, as C-Span announced its Presidential Historians Survey results for 2021!

It will take time to analyze the results, but a few points stand out:

Barack Obama went up from 12th to 10th in the overall listings.

Donald Trump ended up tied for 42nd out of 44, with Franklin Pierce, with only James Buchanan at 44 and Andrew Johnson at 43 below him.

Woodrow Wilson slipped from 11th to 13th as he continues to decline in overall rankings.

Andrew Jackson slipped dramatically from 18th to 22nd, and is now just in the middle of the overall rankings.

James K. Polk slipped from 14th to 18th, a continued decline in overall rankings.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams both rose four points from earlier rankings.

Bill Clinton dropped from 15th to 19th, a dramatic decline after having risen in earlier rankings.

Jimmy Carter ended up tied with James A. Garfield at 26th, and in the “battle” of Gerald Ford vs Carter, Carter came out ahead for the third time in the four C-Span surveys, in 2000, 2008 along with 2021, with Ford ahead in 2017.

Only 3 Presidents Did Not Seek Reelection, And Only 5 Failed To Gain A Nomination To Run For Reelection

A historical investigation of Presidential reelection efforts shows only three Presidents, who survived to the end of their term, chose not to attempt to run for reelection:

James K. Polk in 1848

James Buchanan in 1860

Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876.

Five Presidents who did not survive to run were:

William Henry Harrison, elected in 1840, dying in 1841.

Zachary Taylor, elected in 1848, dying in 1850.

James A. Garfield, elected in 1880, dying in 1881.

Warren G. Harding, elected in 1920, dying 1923.

John F. Kennedy, elected in 1960, dying in 1963.

Five Presidents wished to run for reelection, but failed to gain a nomination on any party line:

John Tyler in 1844

Millard Fillmore in 1852

Franklin Pierce in 1856

Andrew Johnson in 1868

Chester Alan Arthur in 1884

Two Presidents chose not to run after succeeding a President due to death, only having one full term:

Calvin Coolidge in 1928

Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968

27th Republican Presidential Nominee Since 1860, and 34th Democratic Presidential Nominee Since 1828!

As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are formally nominated for President this and next week, some history comes into play.

This is the 40th time we have had a Republican nominee, and 27 people have had that honor. The following candidates had the honor of being the nominee twice:

Abraham Lincoln 1860 and 1864
Ulysses S. Grant 1868 and 1872
Benjamin Harrison 1888 and 1892
William McKinley 1896 and 1900
William Howard Taft 1908 and 1912
Herbert Hoover 1928 and 11932
Thomas E. Dewey 1944 and 1948
Dwight D. Eisenhower 1952 and 1956
Ronald Reagan 1980 and 1984
George H. W. Bush 1988 and 1992
George W. Bush 2000 and 2008

Also, Richard Nixon was nominated three times—1960, 1968, 1972.

This is also the 48th time we have had a Democratic nominee, and 34 people have had that honor. The following candidates had the honor of being the nominee twice:

Andrew Jackson 1828 and 1832 (along with being a nominee of the Democratic Republican Party in 1824, losing to John Quincy Adams).
Martin Van Buren 1836 and 1840
Woodrow Wilson 1912 and 1916
Adlai Stevenson 1952 and 1956
Jimmy Carter 1976 and 1980
Bill Clinton 1992 and 1996
Barack Obama 2008 and 2012

Also, Grover Cleveland was nominated three times—1884, 1888, 1892 ; and William Jennings Bryan was nominated three times—1896, 1900, 1908.

And finally, Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated four times—1932, 1936, 1940, 1944.

In sum, we have had 18 Republican Presidents (including Chester Alan Arthur who succeeded James A. Garfield, but was never elected President; and Gerald Ford, who replaced Richard Nixon, but was never elected President); and 16 Democratic Presidents (including John Tyler,who succeeded William Henry Harrison, but was never elected President; Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Abraham Lincoln,but was never elected President; and with Grover Cleveland being elected non consecutively but only counting him once).

We have also had 2 Federalist Presidents–George Washington and John Adams,although Washington never declared him a party member; 4 Democratic-Republican Presidents—Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams; and 3 Whig Presidents—William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore (who succeeded Zachary Taylor, but was never elected President.

Also, the National Republican Party, the forerunner of the Whigs, ran twice nationally for President, with John Quincy Adams in 1828 and Henry Clay in 1832, but both times, they lost to Andrew Jackson, although Adams had won the Presidency over Jackson in 1824 when both were Democratic Republicans.

The Month Of April In Presidential And American History

The month of April is particularly rich in Presidential History.

The following Presidents were born in the month of April:

Thomas Jefferson April 13
James Monroe April 28
James Buchanan April 23
Ulysses Grant April 27

The following Presidents died in the month of April:

William Henry Harrison April 4
Abraham Lincoln April 15
Franklin D. Roosevelt April 12
Richard Nixon April 22


John Tyler became President in April.
The Civil War began in April. (Lincoln)
The Civil War ended in April.(Lincoln)
Andrew Johnson became President in April.
The Spanish American War began in April.(McKinley)
American entrance into World War I was in April. (Wilson)
Harry Truman became President in April.
The Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba occurred in April.(Kennedy)
The unsuccessful attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran occurred in April. (Carter)