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Facts About the United States Presidents

Angela loves history and feels it is essential to our future to know the past—or else we're destined to repeat it.

George H. W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter

George H. W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter

#1 George Washington

Born - February 22, 1732, in Virginia

Military Service

  • British Militia: 1752–58
  • Continental Army: 1775–83
  • U.S. Army: 1798–99

Major Wars Served

  • French and Indian War (1754 – 1763), Battle of Jumonville Glen (May 28, 1754), Battle of Fort Necessity (July 3, 1754), Braddock Expedition (July 9, 1755), Battle of the Monongahela (July 9, 1755), Forbes Expedition (1758)
  • American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), Boston campaign (1774-1776), New York and New Jersey campaign (July 3, 1776), Philadelphia campaign (1777-1778), Yorktown campaign (January 1781 – October 1781)
  • Northwest Indian War (1785 – 1795)

Term of Office - April 30, 1789 - March 3, 1797 (served 2 terms at the age of 57)

Vice-President - John Adams

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - December 14, 1799 (67 years old) unknown

George Washington was the very first President of the United States and the only one to have been elected with a unanimous vote. He was known for his high moral character and his ability during battle. Americans often think of him as the "father of our country" because of his influential role in developing the United States. The American leader is called a President due to Washington's adverse feelings towards the title King. He also played a role in writing the Constitution.

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#2 John Adams

Born - October 30, 1735 - Massachusetts Bay, British America

Military Service and Major Wars Served - none

Term of Office - March 4, 1797 - March 3, 1801 (62 years old) one term

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Vice-President - Thomas Jefferson

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - July 4, 1826 (aged 90) Unknown

John Adams was our first Vice-President. Although Washington won unanimously during the first election, each electoral voter got two votes. Many of the voters chose to use one of their votes towards John Adams; a few used both votes for George. Because of this, he had the second most votes and became Vice-President. Later he was elected for one term.

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#3 Thomas Jefferson

Born - April 13, 1743 - Virginia

Military Service and Major Wars Served - none

Term of Office - March 4, 1801 - March 3, 1809 (58 years old) 2 terms

Vice-President - Aaron Burr (1801–1805), George Clinton (1805–1809)

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - July 4, 1826 (aged 83) rheumatism, urinary, and digestive issues

Thomas Jefferson was the second Vice-President under Adams. Along with four other men, he wrote the Declaration of Independence; however, he is often credited as the "Father of the Declaration of Independence" because he wrote the majority of it. Even though he was President and author of the Declaration of Independence, he felt building the University of Viriginia as his greatest accomplishment.

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#4 James Madison

Born - March 16, 1751 - Virginia

Military Service and Major Wars Served - Virginia Militia - Colonel

Term of Office - March 4, 1809 - March 3, 1817 (58 years old) 2 terms

Vice-President - George Clinton (1809–1812) None (1812–1813) Elbridge Gerry (1813–1814) None (1814–1817)

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - June 28, 1836 (aged 85) unknown

James Madison had a significant effect on our nation early on. He was good friends with Thomas Jefferson and was influential to George Washington. He wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom while Washington was in office, allowing everyone to worship freely and not be ruled by the Church of England, officially separating church and state.

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#5 James Monroe

Born - April 28, 1758 - Virginia

Military Service - Continental Army (major) Virginia Militia (colonel)

Major Wars Served - American Revolutionary War - Battle of Trenton (December 26, 1776)

Term of Office - March 4, 1817 - March 3, 1825 (59 years old) two terms

Vice-President - Daniel D. Tompkins

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - July 4, 1831 (aged 73) heart failure and tuberculosis

The earlier presidents recognized James Monroe due to his political promise. He was a Senator and played a crucial role in the Louisiana Purchase. He was both Secretary of State and Secretary of War under Madison during the War of 1812. He was elected shortly after the war ended, and due to the ease and success of his presidency, his terms in office became known as the "Era of Good Feelings."

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#6 John Quincy Adams

Born - July 11, 1767, in Massachusetts Bay

Military Service and Major Wars Served - none

Term of Office - March 4, 1825 - March 3, 1829 (58 years old) one term

Vice-President - John C. Calhoun

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - February 23, 1848 (aged 80) stroke

John Quincy Adams was the son of the second President, John Adams. He was a very successful politician before and after he was in office. Unfortunately, due to the lack of support during his term, not much success was found during his presidency. This lack of support was due to a tie in electoral votes between Jackson and himself. The House of Representatives chose him, which is why he got the position, not Jackson. Still, he had a significant impact on anti-slavery views while serving in the House of Representatives. He served there for 17 years.

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#7 Andrew Jackson

Born - March 15, 1767 - Waxhaw between the Carolinas

Military Service - Tennessee Militia United States Army (colonel and major)

Major Wars Served

  • American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783) • Battle of Hobkirk's Hill Creek War (April 25, 1781)
  • War of 1812 • Battle of Talladega (November 9, 1813) • Battles of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek (January 1814) • Battle of Horseshoe Bend (March 27, 1814) • Battle of Pensacola (November 7, 1814 – November 9, 1814) • Battle of New Orleans (January 8, 1815 – January 26, 1815)
  • First Seminole War Conquest of Florida • Battle of Fort Negro (July 27, 1816) • Siege of Fort Barrancas

Term of Office - March 4, 1829 - March 3, 1837 (62 years) two terms

Vice-President - John C. Calhoun (1829–1832) None (1832–1833) Martin Van Buren (1833–1837)Age, Year, and Cause of Death - June 8, 1845 (aged 78) Unknown

Andrew Jackson had an impressive military career, which caught America's attention. He was known for a hot temper, and his heavy use of veto power earned him the nickname King Andrew. Despite these two characteristics, he was well-liked and helped create what we now know as the Democratic Party.

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#8 Martin Van Buren

Born - December 5, 1782 - New York

Military Service and Major Wars Served - none

Term of Office - March 4, 1837 - March 3, 1841 (55 years old) one term

Vice-President - Richard Mentor Johnson

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - July 24, 1862 (aged 79) bronchial asthma and heart failure

Martin Van Buren, nicknamed "the Little Magician," was very successful at achieving his goals and only stood 5'6" while working as a politician. President Jackson was a firm supporter of Van Buren. Still, unfortunately, once Martin was in office, his popularity plummeted due to the financial panic of 1837, which occurred right after his inauguration. The country did not recover while he was in office, and he was often blamed.

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#9 William Henry Harrison

Born - February 9, 1773 - Virginia Colony

Military Service - United States Army

Major Wars Served

  • Northwest Indian War - Siege of Fort Recovery (June 30, 1794) - Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794)
  • Tecumseh's War - Battle of Tippecanoe (November 7, 1811)
  • War of 1812 - Siege of Fort Wayne (September 5-12, 1812) - Battle of the Thames (October 5, 1813)

Term of Office -March 4, 1841 - April 4, 1841 (68 years old) 32 days in office

Vice-President - John Tyler

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - April 4, 1841 (aged 68). At the time of death, he was believed to have died of pneumonia, but a 2014 medical analysis changed his cause of death to the enteric fever

William Henry Harrison served the shortest term of any President due to enteric fever, which caused him to die only 32 days after his inauguration. Before becoming President, he was very successful in the military. He was nicknamed "Old Tippecanoe" because of his success during the Battle of Tippecanoe, where he defeated Native Americans.

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#10 John Tyler

Born - March 29, 1790 - Virginia

Military Service - Volunteer Military Company

Major Wars Served - none

Term of Office - April 6, 1841 - March 3, 1845 (51 years old) one term

Vice-President - none

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - January 18, 1862 (aged 71) most likely a stroke

John Tyler became president when William Henry Harrison died, becoming the first to take the oath of office due to the death of a predecessor. Due to the unique circumstances, he did not have a Vice-President. Tyler had a powerful personality that conflicted with many. He also often used the power of veto, and when he vetoed one particular tariff bill, John Quincy Adams headed a committee to impeach John Tyler. The impeachment failed. However, he did accomplish good things, such as ending the war with the Seminole Indians in Florida and entering a trade treaty with China.

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#11 James K. Polk

Born - November 2, 1795 - North Carolina

Military Service and Major Wars Served - none

Term of Office - March 4, 1845 - March 3, 1849 (50 years old) one term

Vice-President - George M. Dallas

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - June 15, 1849 (aged 53) cholera

During Polk's time in office, the United States acquired many new lands, including Texas, California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Despite these significant gains, tension rose during this time between the North and the South. Each new state would debate whether it would become a slave or free state. Despite his success in his endeavors, when it came time to run again, he decided not to.

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#12 Zachary Taylor

Born - November 24, 1784 - Virginia

Military Service - United States Army - Major general

Major Wars Served -

  • War of 1812 • Siege of Fort Harrison (September 4, 1812 – September 5, 1812)
  • Black Hawk War (May 1832 – August 1832)
  • Second Seminole War • Battle of Lake Okeechobee (December 25, 18370
  • Mexican–American War • Battle of Palo Alto (May 8, 1846) • Battle of Resaca de la Palma (May 9, 1846) • Battle of Monterrey (September 21, 1846 – September 24, 1846) • Battle of Buena Vista (February 23, 1847)

Term of Office - March 4, 1849 - July 9, 1850 (65 years old) 16 months

Vice-President - Millard Fillmore

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - July 9, 1850 (aged 65) intestinal ailments

Zachary Taylor was a war hero nicknamed "Old Rough and Ready" because of his success on the battlefield. He joined the army at 18 years old, and the first War he fought in was the War of 1812. He was nominated for President without being present or aware of his nomination. He was well-liked because of his casual demeanor but unfortunately became ill only sixteen months after being inaugurated and died four days later.

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#13 Millard Fillmore

Born - January 7, 1800 - New York

Military Service - New York, Militia - Major

Major Wars Served

  • Mexican-American War
  • American Civil War

Term of Office - July 10, 1850 - March 3, 1853 (50 years old) less than three years

Vice-President - none

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - March 8, 1874 (74 years old) unknown

Millard Fillmore took office suddenly when Zachary Taylor unexpectedly died during a tumultuous time in the United States. The issue of slavery was very prominent, which caused him to make critical decisions. While he was in office, he drafted the Compromise of 1850. He broke it down into five main points. California would become a free state. They would abolish slavery in D.C.. Federal officers would assist in finding fugitive slaves, determine the Texas boundary, and grant New Mexico's territorial status.

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#14 Franklin Pierce

Born - November 23, 1804 - New Hampshire

Military Service- United States Army

Major Wars Served - Mexican–American War • Battle of Contreras (August 19, 1847 – August 20, 1847) • Battle of Churubusco (August 20, 1847) • Battle of Molino del Rey (September 8, 1847) • Battle of Chapultepec (September 8, 1847) • Battle for Mexico City (September 8, 1847 – September 15, 1847)

Term of Office - March 4, 1853 - March 3, 1857 (49 years old) one term

Vice-President - William R. King (1853) None (1853–1857)

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - October 8, 1869 (aged 64) cirrhosis of the liver

Franklin Pierce was pro-slavery during a time when the issue of slavery was a hot topic within the United States. Although, unlike many confederates, he did not think that secession was a good idea. Due to his stance, he became very unpopular and was only able to serve one term.

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#15 James Buchanan

Born - April 23, 1791 - Pennsylvania

Military Service - United States of America Dragoons - Private

Major Wars Served - War of 1812

Term of Office - March 4, 1857 - March 3, 1861 (66 years old) one term

Vice-President - John C. Breckinridge

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - June 1, 1868 (aged 77) tuberculosis

James Buchanan was very well-liked and served in many governmental positions before becoming President. He vowed only to serve one term, which is a vow he kept. He spent most of his time in office dealing with foreign affairs and managed to keep away from the issue of slavery. Unfortunately, at the end of his term, right before Abraham Lincoln took office, the first of the Confederate states seceded, despite Buchanan's objections stating that it was unconstitutional.

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#16 Abraham Lincoln

Born - February 12, 1809 - Kentucky

Military Service - Illinois Militia

Major Wars Served - Black Hawk War

Term of Office - March 4, 1861 - April 15, 1865 (52 years old) 4 years

Vice-President - Hannibal Hamlin (1861–1865) Andrew Johnson (1865)

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - April 15, 1865 (aged 56) gunshot

Abraham Lincoln became President at the most tumultuous moment in United States history as the Civil War broke out and the country became split. He was able to reunite a nation through the war, stop slavery, and heal hearts. Unfortunately, some remained very angry at the outcome of the Civil War, including John Wilkes Booth, who shot him at Ford's Theater. Lincoln died from the injury the following day.

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#17 Andrew Johnson

Born - December 29, 1808 - North Carolina

Military Service -United States Army and Union Army - Brigadier General

Major Wars Served - American Civil War

Term of Office - April 15, 1865 - March 3, 1869 (57 years old) 4 years

Vice-President - none

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - July 31, 1875 (aged 66) stroke

Andrew Johnson unexpectedly took the oath of office after Lincoln was shot and died. The nation was trying to heal from the Civil War. He tried to make new laws regarding the newly freed slaves. Unfortunately, "black codes" were created after Johnson let the Southern government establish laws, but Congress felt that it was their responsibility, which caused dissension between Congress and Johnson. Impeachment hearings soon occurred. Although the House approved of impeachment, the Senate was one vote shy of impeaching Johnson. Although he did seek a second term, his Party chose a different candidate.

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#18 Ulysses S. Grant

Born - April 27, 1822 - Ohio

Military Service - United States Army Union Army

Major Wars Served - Mexican–American War and American Civil War

Term of Office (age at the beginning of the Presidency and how long President)

Vice-President - March 4, 1869 - March 3, 1877 (47 years old) 2 terms

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - July 23, 1885 (aged 63) throat cancer

Grant was known for his years as a war hero, although he was well-liked as President. He fought during the Mexican-American War, where he was quickly promoted to captain within the Army due to his bravery during battle. Although he briefly left the Army, he rejoined as a commanding general when the Civil War broke out and had great success for the Union. His success and bravery caught the attention of the Union and eventually got him elected into office.

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#19 Rutherford B. Hayes

Born - October 4, 1822 - Ohio

Military Service - United States Army, Union Army

Major Wars Served - American Civil War Battle of South Mountain Valley Campaigns of 1864

Term of Office - March 4, 1877 - March 3, 1881 (55 years old) 1 term

Vice-President - William Wheeler

Age, Year, and Cause of Death - January 17, 1893 (aged 70) complications from a heart attack

Hayes was known for his extreme conservative beliefs, so much so that his wife got the nickname "Lemonade Lucy" because they did not serve alcohol in the White House. He was not a fan of big government and felt that local communities should govern themselves. Unfortunately, this may have hurt the black community as Northern troops sent to the South to protect the recently freed slaves left, and local Southern governments were free to govern as they wished. Since he felt strongly that all should be equal, this may have hurt his mission for the United States. He promised early on that he would only serve one term, and he stuck by that promise. He did not run again.

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#20 James A. Garfield

Born - November 19, 1831 - Ohio

Military Service - United States Army and Union Army (Major General)

Major Wars Served - American Civil War Battle of Middle Creek Battle of Shiloh Siege of Corinth Battle of Chickamauga