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George H.W. Bush Biography

  • 41st President of the United States
  • Years Served as President: 1989-1993
  • Vice President: Dan Quayle 
  • Party: Republican
  • Age at Inauguration: 64
George H.W. Bush portrait
  • Home State: Massachusetts
  • Date of Birth: June 12, 1924
  • Died: November 30, 2018
  • Married: Barbara Pierce
  • Children: George, Robin, John, Neil, Marvin, Dorothy
  • Nickname: Chief Spook, Poppy
Desert Storm Gulf War

What is George H.W. Bush known for?

George H.W. Bush is best known for being the president during the Persian Gulf War.

He’s also known for his political family: His son George followed in his footsteps as president, and his son John “Jeb” Bush served as the governor of Florida.

George Bush son of George HW
George, son of George H.W.

Early Life

George Herbert Walker Bush was born in 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts to Dorothy and Prescott Bush. His father Prescott was a banker, and later a U.S. Senator.

Soon after George was born, the family moved to Connecticut. Although the family was wealthy, they lived modestly and emphasized the importance of giving back to others.


When he was a teenager, George left home to attend a boarding school in Massachusetts called Phillips Academy Andover.

He was the senior class president and the captain of the soccer and baseball teams.

George graduated on his eighteenth birthday in 1942. That same day, he joined the United States Navy. He became the youngest pilot in the Navy.

parachute escape

During World War II, Bush went on 58 combat missions. During one mission, his plane was shot down by Japanese soldiers, and he parachuted into the ocean.

He was rescued by a submarine and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After being discharged from the Navy in 1945, Bush went to Yale University. He led the baseball team to two College World Series and earned a degree in economics by 1948.

baseball player cartoon

Family Life

While he was still in the Navy, Bush married Barbara Pierce. The couple met at a country club dance during the Christmas holidays.

The couple had six children: George, John, Neil, Marvin, Dorothy, and Robin, who died of leukemia at a young age.

sickness emoticon

Political Career

After graduating from Yale, Bush and his family moved to Texas, where he worked in the oil industry for many years.


Bush’s political career began when he became the chairman of the Republican Party in Harris County, Texas. In 1966, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served for two terms.

Richard Nixon presidential portrait
President Richard Nixon

President Nixon appointed Bush as the ambassador to the United Nations in 1970. In 1973, he was appointed as the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Under President Gerald Ford, Bush was a diplomatic envoy to China and later the director of the CIA.

Gerald Ford official Presidential photo
President Gerald Ford

When Ford lost the presidency to Jimmy Carter, Bush offered to continue working as the director of the CIA, but Carter declined.

The family returned to Houston, and Bush began planning for the 1980 presidential election.

Jimmy Carter portrait
President Jimmy Carter

During the campaign, Bush fell behind Ronald Reagan in the Republican primary. Luckily, Reagan chose Bush to be his running mate.

Reagan won the election, and Bush served as his vice president for two terms. In 1988, Bush ran for president again and won.

Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan


Foreign policy was a major part of Bush’s presidency. The Cold War was coming to an end, and he helped improve relations with the Soviet Union.

Bush and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991.

Manuel Noriega
Manuel Noriega

Military Operations

Bush also authorized military operations in Panama and in the Persian Gulf. In Panama, the United States overthrew the corrupt dictator Manuel Noriega, who was also trafficking drugs into the U.S.

When the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and threatened to invade Saudi Arabia, Bush organized a coalition of 30 countries to fight back against Iraq.


The United States led Operation Desert Storm, which included an air attack and a ground offensive in Iraq.

The Iraqi army was soon forced out of Kuwait, and Hussein had to agree to restrictions on his government.

military operation

Domestic Policies

At home, Bush passed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. He also appointed Clarence Thomas and David Souter to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Near the end of Bush’s presidency, the economy began to struggle. He had originally promised “no new taxes” but had to go back on this promise to deal with an increasing budget deficit.

save on taxes

Although his foreign policies made him popular with the American public, breaking the “no new taxes” promise lost Bush many of his supporters.

He ran for re-election but lost to Arkansas governor Bill Clinton.

After the Presidency

Bush and his wife returned to Houston, Texas, where they frequently volunteered in their community.

George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

In 1997, he opened the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

Later, Bush worked with Bill Clinton to raise funds for people affected by Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. They founded the Bush-Clinton Houston Tsunami Fund.

tsunami destruction

George H.W. Bush died on November 30, 2018 at the age of 94, seven months after his wife Barbara.

After a state funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Bush was buried at his Presidential Library alongside his wife and his daughter, Robin.

Fun Facts About George H.W. Bush

In 1993, 17 people were arrested in Kuwait for plotting to assassinate George H.W. Bush using a car bomb.

Queen Elizabeth George HW Bush

That same year, Bush was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He was the third U.S. president to receive this honor.

Bush and his wife Barbara were married for 73 years, the longest marriage of any U.S. president and First Lady in history.

To celebrate his 85th birthday, Bush went skydiving.


Bush’s son George was the governor of Texas, while his son Jeb was the governor of Florida.

When George was elected president in 2000, the father and son became only the second father-son presidential duo in U.S. history. (The first was John Adams and John Quincy Adams in 1824.)

John Adams
President John Adams

In the Bush family, George H.W. was often referred to as “Forty-One,” while George W. was referred to as “Forty-Three.”

US Presidents

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