US President Facts
Let’s explore all of the presidents who came before, who helped make our country great!
Even if you are not American, you may be very interested to read about these brilliant men too.
Any maybe some day, there will be a female president too?
Related: US Government (US Constitution, Amendments, Bill of Rights and much more).
Or, maybe some are brilliant, and others not so much! What do you think?
Here is a list of the US Presidents and their biographies.
Also be sure to check out our comprehensive section on the US Government
Quick US President Facts
- James Madison was the shortest president in America; he was five feet and four inches tall.
- Joseph Biden is the oldest president ever elected in America. He was 78 when he was sworn in.
- Abraham Lincoln was the tallest American president, standing tall at six feet and four inches.
- Rutherford B. Hayes was the first US president to use the telephone.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first American president who appeared on television.
- James Buchanan was the only president who never got married, which meant that his niece was the First Lady.
- It was during Bill Clinton’s administration that a website for the White House was created.
1st – George Washington
George Washington lived in Virginia and was a plantation owner. During the American Revolution, he was a commander-in-chief of the colonial army.
He later became the first president of the United States and served as president from 1789 to 1797. He was also one of the founding fathers.
2nd – John Adams
John Adams was a lawyer and statesman from Massachusetts. He served as the second vice president and later became the second president of the United States.
He was a major leader in the American Revolution which led to independence from Britain.
In 1776, he helped to write the Declaration of Independence of the United States.
3rd – Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson represented Virginia during the American Revolution. He was one of the founding fathers and authors of the Declaration of Independence, which declared independence from Great Britain.
He served as the second vice president from 1796 to 1801.
He became the third president of the United States and served as president from 1801 to 1809.
4th – James Madison
James Madison was a plantation owner in Virginia. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates as well as a member of the Continental Congress.
After the American Revolution, he helped draft the Constitution of the United States.
He was a co-founder of the Democratic-Republican Party. Before he became president, he served as Secretary of State.
He served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817.
5th – James Monroe
James Monroe and his family owned a plantation in Virginia. During the American Revolution, he served in the Continental Army.
In 1790, he was elected to the U.S. Senate and became the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party.
He left the Senate in 1794 and served as the Ambassador to France under President George Washington. He was a major negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase.
He won the presidential election in 1817 and became the fifth president of the United States.
6th – John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was born in Quincy, Massachusetts and was elected as the sixth president of the United States in 1825.
Before becoming president, he represented Massachusetts and was a member of the Senate and House of Representatives.
He spent a number of years of his political career as a U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, to which he was appointed by President George Washington, and as ambassador to Russia, to which he was appointed by President James Madison.
7th – Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was an army general in the United States Army. He was born in the Carolinas and served in the U.S. House of Representative and the U.S. Senate, representing Tennessee.
He became a very wealthy plantation owner who owned several slaves.
He also became a famous army general who led his troops to win the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the Creek War, the First Seminole War, and many others.
Jackson was Florida’s first governor and then returned to the Senate. He became the seventh president of the United States in 1829.
8th – Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, N.Y. of Dutch immigrant parents, and is the only president of the U.S. who spoke English as a second language.
He trained to be a lawyer and became a politician and statesman who helped found the Democratic Party.
He served as the governor of New York and also the U.S. Secretary of State. He was influential in establishing a two-party system.
He later became an influential leader supporting anti-slavery. He won the election for president of the United States in 1836.
9th – William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was born in Virginia. He was a military officer who became a politician. During his military career, he led his troops to end the Northwest Indian War.
He later won victory over Tecumseh’s Confederacy. In 1801, he became the governor of Indiana Territory.
He was promoted to Major General during the War of 1812 which was fought in Canada.
After the War of 1812, he was elected to represent Ohio and later nominated as a candidate for president twice – once in 1836 and again in 1841.
10th – John Tyler
John Tyler was born into a prominent family in Virginia in 1790. When he was in his thirties, he became a national figure. The only political party at the time was the Democratic-Republican Party, although Tyler was a Democrat.
He was opposed to Andrew Jackson’s actions of expanding executive power and the infringement on the rights of the states.
This led him to join the Whig Party. He was appointed vice president by President Harrison.
11th – James K. Polk
James Polk was a successful lawyer in Tennessee. Before he became president, he was Speaker of the House of Representatives.
He was a member of the Democratic Party. He left Congress to run for Governor of Tennessee, which he won.
He then ran for president in 1845 and became the 11th president of the United States. While president, he extended the territory of the United States by annexing the Republic of Texas and the Oregon Territory.
He instigated a war with Mexico and won when Mexico gave up nearly all of the American southwest. After his term ended in 1849, he returned to Tennessee, where he died three months later.
12th – Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was born into a family of plantation owners. The family moved from Virginia to Louisville, Kentucky. He was an officer in the U.S. Army and became famous after serving as a Captain in the War of 1812.
He led his troops to fight in the Black Hawk War, the Second Seminole War.
He was sent to the Rio Grande to fight in the Mexican-American War in 1846 where he and his troops defeated the Mexican Army.
Huge tracts of land were given up to the United States as a concession. He became a national hero and won the Presidential election in 1849.
13th – Millard Fillmore
Millard Fillmore was born to tenant farmers in New York State. Dispite his family being very poor, he became a successful attorney and polititian. In the 1830s, he was a member of the Anti-Masonic Party and then the Whig Party.
He was elected and served as Vice President to President Zachary Taylor.
When Taylor died in 1850, Fillmore became president of the United States. He was not supported by the Whigs in the presidential election in 1852. He ran again in 1856 supported by the Know Nothing Party – but lost again.
14th – Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce was born in New Hampshire. He was a successful lawyer and served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. In 1845, he was appointed to the post of New Hampshire’s U.S. Attorney.
He served as a brigadier general in the Army during the Mexican-American War. He was elected president of the United States in 1852.
As president, he angered anti-slavery groups and enforced the Fugitive Slave Act. He was an expansionist and signed treaties with Britain and Japan, but failed in acquiring Cuba from Spain.
He lost the support of the Democratic Party and was not endorsed as a candidate for the 1856 presidential election.
15th – John Buchanan
John Buchanan was born into a wealthy family in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Dickinson College. He was elected to the House of Representatives five times and also served in the Senate
He served as Minister to Russia, Secretary of State under President Polk, and as Minister to Great Britain under President Pierce.
Buchanan was elected President of the United States in 1856.
16th – Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1861. At the time, there was great strife between the northern states (Unionists) and the southern states (Confederates).
The Confederates were opposed to Lincoln’s plans to abolish slavery, and this sparked the Civil War. In 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed all slaves.
He spent his years in office encouraging the South to join the Union. He was re-elected as President in 1864.
On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington.
17th – Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson became the 17th President of the United States when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. He and Lincoln were Democrats and they met opposition from the Republicans who dominated Congress.
Johnson was impeached in 1868 and was acquitted by one vote. The Republicans in the Senate passed Black Codes to deny civil liberties to freed slaves.
Johnson vetoed those bills but Congress overrode him. Johnson, surprisingly, was opposed to giving citizenship to freed slaves. He himself was a slave owner in Tennessee.
18th – Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was an American soldier who let the Union Army that eventually won the American Civil War. He was elected by the Republican Party and, in 1868, was elected president. He was re-elected in 1872.
He was instrumental in working with radical Republicans to protect freed slaves.
Grant created the Department of Justice and prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Kan for their crimes against black Americans.
He was the first president to appoint African Americans and Jewish Americans to federal office.
19th – Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes was an American politician and lawyer. He served as Governor of Ohio for three terms and was a staunch abolitionist.
At the beginning of the Civil War, he joined the Union Army, was wounded several times and was promoted to brevet major general.
He served in Congress as a Republican. In 1877, he became the 19th President of the United States in one of the most disputed elections in American history.
The Democrats finally agreed to support his presidency if he withdrew the U.S. troops from the Southern states.
20th – James Garfield
James Garfield served nine terms as a Republican in the U.S. House of Representative. He was elected President of the United States in 1881. However, he only served as president for 200 days before he was assassinated.
When he was just 31, he served as a brigadier general and major general in the Union Army during the Civil War.
He served in Lincoln’s Senate for 18 years and eventually became the leading Republican in the House.
21st – Chester A. Arthur
Chester A. Arthur was born in Vermont but grew up and practiced law in New York City. During the American Civil War, he was quartermaster general of the New York Militia. In 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him Collector of the Port of New York.
He was a Republican and was nominated to run in the election for president in 1880. He became James Garfield’s vice president and assumed to role of president when Garfield was assassinated.
He vetoed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which imposed a 20-year ban to Chinese immigration but signed the second version which imposed a 10-year ban.
22nd – Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland grew up in upstate New York and was elected mayor of Buffalo and then Governor of New York. At the age of 33, in 1871, he was elected Sheriff of Erie County, N.Y.
He was a devoted Democrat and served as the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.
He was against high tariffs and subsidies to businesses, farmers, and veterans. He was a reformer and against political corruption and patronage.
In 1894, he intervened in the Pullman Strike to keep the railroads moving, which angered labour unions across the nation.
23rd – Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison was a noted attorney and politician in Indiana. Although he has no military experience, he served in the Union Army as a colonel during the American Civil War.
He was the Governor of Indiana in 1876.
He was then elected to the U.S. Senate. In 1888, he became the 23rd President of the United States. He set about to modernize the U.S. Navy but was unsuccessful in securing voting rights for African Americans.
24th – Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland was elected the 24th President of the United States in 1893. This was his second term as President. This was when the American stock market crashed and caused the Panic of 1893, a national economic depression.
Cleveland was unsuccessful in reversing the Great Depression.
Angered over low wages and 12-hour workdays, almost 125,000 railway workers held a strike against the Pullman Company and others struck against the American Railway Union.
Commerce and mail delivery in the United States was paralyzed. Cleveland finally sent federal troops to rail centres to quell the strikes.
25th – William McKinley
In 1897, during a severe economic depression, William McKinley was elected as the 25th President of the United States. Tragically, he was assassinated in 1901.
He was the last president to have served in the American Civil War, enlisting as a private and ended his service as a brevet major.
In 1891 and 1893, he served as the Governor of Ohio. During his presidency, the United States realized great economic growth.
He was instrumental in securing a peace settlement to the American-Spanish War which saw Spain relinquish ownership of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. The Republic of Hawaii became a territory of the United States.
26th – Theodore Roosevelt
Roosevelt resigned his position in government to lead the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. He returned a hero and was elected Governor of New York in 1898.
He ran in the 1900 election with McKinley and assumed the office of vice president.
In 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt became the President of the United States after McKinley was assassinated. At 42, he was the youngest person to become president.
He won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for brokering the end of the Russo-Japanese War.
27th – William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He became a lawyer and, while still in his twenties, was appointed a judge and later named as the Solicitor General.
In 1901, President McKinley appointed Taft to the post of civilian Governor of the Philippines.
In 1904, President Roosevelt appointed him Secretary of War. With Roosevelt’s help, Taft was nominated by the Republicans for president in 1908.
During his presidency from 1909 to 1913, he was more interested in trade with East Asia than Europe.
28th – Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson was a member of the Democratic Party. He ran in the 1912 presidential election and became the 28th President of the United States. In 1917, he led the United States when it entered WWI.
He was instrumental in establishing the League of Nations.
The year of 1919 became a devastating year – there was massive unemployment and race riots where returning black soldiers were mobbed by white citizens and Wilson suffered a stroke.
During his presidency, he passed the Revenue Act of 1913, which established a federal income tax.
29th – Warren G. Harding
Warren Harding was elected president in 1921 until his untimely death two years later. He was a Republican and very popular.
Before his election, he was the owner of a successful newspaper, served in the Ohio State Senate and was the Lieutenant Governor.
In 1914, he was elected the U.S. Senate. While President, he gathered world leaders to take part in the Washington Naval Conference where major powers agreed on a 10-year naval limitations program.
He released political prisoners who had been incarcerated for opposing U.S. participation in WWI. He died suddenly due to a heart attack.
30th – Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge was born in Vermont and became a Republican lawyer. He later became the Governor of Massachusetts. During the Boston Police Strike in 1919, he achieved national attention because of his decisions and calm demeanour.
In 1920, he was elected and served as vice president to President Warren Harding. When Harding died suddenly in 1923, Coolidge assumed the role of President of the United States.
In 1924, he won the presidential election and served in that role until 1929.
31st – Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover graduated from Stanford and was hired as an engineer by a mining company. He was appointed head of the Food Administration by President Woodrow Wilson when the U.S. entered WWI.
After the war, he served as the head of the American Relief Administration to provide food to the people of Central and Eastern Europe.
He won the presidency in 1928 and was president during the stock market crash of 1929. He failed to be re-elected in 1932 when he ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt.
32nd – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt is often referred to as “FDR”. He graduated from Harvard and practiced law in New York City. In 1921 he contracted polio and permanently lost the use of his legs.
This did not stop him from winning the election for Governor of New York in 1928 and worked tirelessly during his 5 years as Governor.
During the Great Depression, he won the election for president and, in fact, won the presidential election four times.
He was President during World War II and served as President from 1933 until 1945 when he died.
33rd – Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman served during WWI as a captain in France. He returned home after the war and lived in Kansas City, Missouri. He became very popular in Missouri and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1934.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945, Truman left his role as Vice President and became President of the United States. Truman was instrumental in forming NATO and helped in the rebuilding of Western Europe’s economy.
In 1950, with the sanction of the United Nations, he pledged American troops during the Korean War to combat North Korea and stop its invasion of South Korea.
34th – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower was raised in Kansas. He graduated from West Point in 1915. During WWI, he rose to the rank of Brigadier General.
Eisenhower directed the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, France and Germany during WWII.
From 1945 to 1948, he served as Army Chief of Staff and was the first Supreme Commander of NATO from 1951 to 1952.
Eisenhower won the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections by a landslide.
During the Korean War, threatened the use of nuclear weapons and successfully negotiated a peace treaty with China. Eisenhower helped establish NASA.
35th – John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy was a member of a wealth family in Massachusetts. He joined the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1940. During WWII, he was the commander of a number of PT boats in the Pacific.
In 1953, he was elected to the Senate and represented Massachusetts. He won the presidential election in 1960.
In 1961, Kennedy authorized the invasion of the Bay of Pigs, which failed to overthrow the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro.
In 1962, U.S. spy planes took pictures of Soviet missile bases in Cuba, which resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis and a near breakout of a global nuclear war.
On November 20, 1963, he was assassinated by a lone gunman who had ties to the Soviet Union.
36th – Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson was a Texas Senator and became President Kennedy’s vice president. He was named President of the United States immediately after President Kennedy was shot and killed.
He served as President from November, 1963 until the next election, which he won by a landslide.
He served as President until 1969.
37th – Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon was raised in a small town in California. He graduated from Duke University School of Law and in 1937 he returned to California. In 1942, he moved to Washington to work for the government.
He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946, and to the Senate in 1950. Nixon gained a reputation as an anti-Communist.
In 1960, he lost the presidential election to John F. Kennedy. He ran again in 1968 and was elected President of the United States.
38th – Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and studied law at the Yale Law School. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
His political career started in 1949 when he was elected as Michigan’s U.S. representative in Congress. He served in this role for 25 years.
He was appointed vice president by President Richard Nixon and assumed the presidency in 1974 after Nixon resigned.
He signed the Helsinki Accords which essentially ended the Cold War with Russia, but the U. S. economy was at its worst since the Great Depression 40 years prior.
39th – Jimmy Carter
James Earl Carter grew up in Plains, Georgia and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and then, in 1946, joined the U.S. Navy where he served on submarines.
In 1953, he resigned from the Navy and took over his father’s peanut farm. He became an activist in the Democratic Party and opposed racial segregation and supported the civil rights movement which was growing stronger.
He served in the Georgia State Senate and was elected Governor of Georgia in 1970. In 1976, Carter ran and won the presidential race against President Gerald Ford.
On his second day as President, he pardoned all the Vietnam draft dodgers.
40th – Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan was raised in Illinois. He moved to California in 1937 and found work as an actor and a union leader.
He was elected Governor of California in 1966. In 1980, Reagan won the Republican nomination and ran for president against President Jimmy Carter and won.
He was re-elected in 1984 and remained President until 1989. During his first term as president, he initiated the War on Drugs and survived an assassination attempt.
41st – George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush was born in Massachusetts. He enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces at the age of 18.
After WWII, he returned home to study at Yale University and then started his career in the oil industry in Texas.
In 1980, he became President Reagan’s vice president. George Bush won the presidential election and served as President from 1989 to 1993.
42nd – Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton graduated from Yale Law School and served as the Governor of Arkansas. He then went on to win the presidential election of 1992 and served for two terms until 2001.
Clinton passed the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.
Clinton ordered U.S. troops to intervene in the Bosnian and Kosovo wars.
43rd – George W Bush
George W. Bush served as the Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. He won the presidential election and served from 2001 to 2009. After 9/11, he created the Department of Homeland Security and began what he called a “War on Terror”.
He ordered the invasion of Iraq and propagated the theory that Saddam Hussein possessed “weapons of mass destruction”, which was later found to be false.
He also falsely claimed Hussein was in league with Al-Qaeda, the group suspected of the attacks of 9/11. In 2007, he ordered more troops to fight in Iraq as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continued.
44th – Barack Obama
Barack Obama was a state Senator representing Illinois. He became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States. He served two terms as president from 2009 to 2017.
His running mate, Joe Biden, was his vice president.
As president, Barack Obama signed many reform bills, one of which was the Affordable Care Act, which became known as “Obamacare”.
45th – Donald Trump
Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 and became the only president who had no military or government service.
He bombarded social media with false statements and accusations against anyone who dared disagree with him. He ordered a travel ban to be imposed on anyone from a Muslim country.
He was determined to stop people from crossing the U.S. – Mexican border and separated children from their parents.
He lost the election to Joe Biden and instigated the armed insurrection attempt on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. He was impeached twice, once after he left office on Jan. 7, 2021, and was acquitted in both cases.
46th – Joe Biden
Joe Biden was elected to the U.S. Senate six times and served on various committees for 36 years. He served as vice president to Barack Obama for 8 years.
He was instrumental in negotiating with the Republicans to pass the Violence Against Women Act, the U.A.-Russia START treaty, the 2011 policy to withdraw troops from Iraq, and a number of policies regarding crime, anti-drug, and civil liberties policies.
He was chosen by the Democratic Party to run for president in 2020 and won against Donald Trump. Biden’s running mate was Kamala Harris, who became his vice president.