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Presidential history


These synopses are based on Wikipedia notes, in an effort to shed light on the in-between presidents of the 1800s.
Most people only know things about Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts and maybe Wilson.I stopped at Ike.
Mass media of the modern world has globalized it, and in my opinion, reduced the relevance and significance of U.S. presidents.
I'm not interested in getting into the Warren Commission, Watergate, OPEC, deregulation, or anything that followed.
As well, it should be noted that terms like "Republican" or "Democrat" had entirely different meanings, as in the "Democratic Republican" party vs. Federalists.


George Washington - 1789-97 Washington became President of the United States in 1789. Once President, he attempted to bring rival factions together in order to create a more unified nation. He supported Alexander Hamilton's programs to pay off all the state and national debts, implement an effective tax system, and create a national bank, despite opposition from Thomas Jefferson. Washington proclaimed the U.S. neutral in the wars raging in Europe after 1793. He avoided war with Britain and guaranteed a decade of peace and profitable trade by securing the Jay Treaty in 1795, despite intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never officially joining the Federalist Party, he supported its programs
John Adams - 1797-01 his own election in 1796 as the second president. During his one term, he encountered ferocious attacks by the Jeffersonian Republicans, as well as the dominant faction in his own Federalist Party led by his bitter enemy Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, and built up the army and navy especially in the face of an undeclared naval war (called the "Quasi War") with France, 1798-1800. The major accomplishment of his presidency was his peaceful resolution of the conflict in the face of Hamilton's opposition. In 1800 Adams was defeated for reelection by Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson - 1801-09 principal author Decl. of Ind., known for his promotion of ideals of republicanism. envisioned America as force behind a great "Empire of Liberty" that would promote republicanism and counter imperialism of the British. Major events during his presidency: Louisiana Purchase (1803) Lewis & Clark Expedition (1804–1806), escalating tensions with both Britain & France that led to war with Britain in 1812, after he left office. As a political philosopher, Jefferson was a man of the Enlightenment and knew many intellectual leaders in Britain and France. He idealized the independent yeoman farmer as exemplar of republican virtues, distrusted cities and financiers, and favored states' rights and a strictly limited federal government. Jefferson supported separation of church and state; author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779, 1786). was the eponym of Jeffersonian democracy; cofounder leader Democratic-Republican Party, dominating politics 25 years.
James Madison - 1809-17 authored bill of rights, constitution, president during war of 1812. As a political theorist, Madison's most distinctive belief was that the new republic needed checks and balances to protect individual rights from the tyranny of the majority.
James Monroe - 1817-25 last Founding Father, His presidency was marked both by an "Era of Good Feelings" – a period of relatively little partisan strife – and later by the Panic of 1819 and a fierce national debate over the admission of the Missouri Territory. Monroe is most noted for his proclamation in 1823 of the Monroe Doctrine, which stated that the United States would not tolerate further European intervention in the Americas
John Quincy Adams - 1825-29 (pic is a Daguerreotype taken 1848, 20 years later) As a diplomat, Adams was involved in many international negotiations, and helped formulate the Monroe Doctrine as Secretary of State. Historians agree he was one of the great diplomats in American history. As president, he proposed a program of modernization and educational advancement, but was stymied by Congress, controlled by his enemies. Adams lost his 1828 bid for re-election to Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson - 1829-37 commander of the American forces at the Battle of New Orleans (1815); shaped the modern Democratic Party.[1]; protector of popular democracy and individual liberty for American citizens, checkered by his support for slavery and Indian removal.first president primarily associated with the American frontier. last U.S. President to have been a veteran of the American Revolution
Martin Van Buren - 1837-41 first president not of British descent—his family was Dutch. He was the first president to be born an American citizen, only president not to have spoken English as his first language, his administration was largely characterized by the economic hardship of his time, the Panic of 1837.
William Henry Harrison - 1841-41 first president to die in office on his thirty-second day. earned the nickname "Tippecanoe"
John Tyler - 1841-45 A longtime Democratic-Republican, Tyler was nonetheless elected Vice President on the Whig ticket. Upon the death of President William Henry Harrison; Once he became president, he stood against his party's platform and vetoed several of their proposals. In result, most of his cabinet resigned and the Whigs expelled him from their party. annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845
James Polk - 1845-49 When Mexico rejected American annexation of Texas, Polk led the nation to a sweeping victory in the Mexican–American War, followed by purchase of California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

My own note here: The Mexican cession of 1848, in my opinion, seemed a bit of a swindle, in that they gave it up for less than half of the original offer years prior. It only took the "enlightened" settlers a year to raid Oroville of all its gold.
Zachary Taylor - 1849-50 (No idea as to why this Daguerrotype was singled out for colorization) As president, Taylor angered many Southerners by taking a moderate stance on the issue of slavery. He urged settlers in New Mexico and California to bypass the territorial stage and draft constitutions for statehood, setting the stage for the Compromise of 1850. Taylor died just 16 months into his term, the third shortest tenure of any President.
Millard Fillmore - 1850-53 He opposed the will to abolish slavery in the territories annexed during the Mexican-American War to appease the South, supporting the Compromise of 1850, which he signed together with the Fugitive Slave Act ("Bloodhound Law") it contained. On the foreign policy front, he furthered the arising trade with Japan and clashed with the French over Napoleon III`s attempt to annex Hawaii, and with the French and the British over the attempt of Narciso López to invade Cuba. Later, he joined the Know-Nothing movement; throughout the Civil War, he opposed President Lincoln and during Reconstruction supported President Johnson.
Franklin Pierce - 1853-57 His amiable personality and handsome appearance caused him to make many friends, but he suffered tragedy in his personal life. As president, he made many divisive decisions which were widely criticized and earned him a reputation as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. Pierce's popularity in the North declined sharply after he came out in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, repealing the Missouri Compromise and renewed the debate over expanding slavery in the West
James Buchanan - 1857-61 only PA president & lifelong bachelor, As President, he was often called a "doughface", a Northerner with Southern sympathies, who battled with Stephen A. Douglas for the control of the Democratic Party; By the time he left office, popular opinion had turned against him, and the Democratic Party had split in two. his inability to impose peace on sharply divided partisans on the brink of the Civil War has led to his consistent ranking by historians as one of the worst Presidents
Abraham Lincoln - 1861-65 Civil War; slavery abolition, assassinated.
Andrew Johnson - 1865-69 His conciliatory policies towards the South, his hurry to reincorporate the former Confederate states back into the union, and his vetoes of civil rights bills embroiled him in a bitter dispute with Radical Republicans. He is commonly ranked by historians as being among the worst U.S. presidents.
Ulysses Grant - 1869-77 civil war general, led Reconstruction by signing and enforcing civil rights laws and fighting Ku Klux Klan violence. He helped rebuild the Republican Party in the South, an effort that resulted in the election of African Americans to Congress and state governments for the first time. Despite these civil rights accomplishments, Grant's presidency was marred by economic turmoil and multiple scandals. His response to the Panic of 1873 and the severe depression that followed was heavily criticized. His low standards in Cabinet and federal appointments and lack of accountability generated corruption and bribery in seven government departments.
Rutherford B. Hayes - 1877-81 entry into the Second Industrial Revolution. Hayes was a reformer who began the efforts that would lead to civil service reform and attempted, unsuccessfully, to reconcile the divisions that had led to the American Civil War fifteen years earlier.
James Garfield - 1881-81 six months in office, got shot dead. Garfield accomplished very little. In his inaugural address, Garfield outlined a desire for Civil Service Reform which was eventually passed by his successor Chester A. Arthur in 1883 as the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. His presidency was cut short after he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau while entering a railroad station in Washington D.C. on July 2, 1881. He was the second United States President to be assassinated.
Chester A. Arthur - 1881-85 Arthur's primary achievement was the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.
Grover Cleveland - 1885-89 22nd and 24th; only president to serve two non-consecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897) only Democrat elected to the presidency in the era of Republican political domination, only Democrat elected to the presidency in the era of Republican political domination. Cleveland was the leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs, free silver, inflation, imperialism and subsidies to business, farmers or veterans. His battles for political reform and fiscal conservatism made him an icon for American conservatives. Cleveland won praise for his honesty, independence, integrity, and commitment to the principles of classical liberalism. As a reformer he worked indefatigably against political corruption, patronage, and bossism.
Benjamin Harrison - 1889-93 grandson of William Henry; His administration is most remembered for economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and for annual federal spending that reached one billion dollars for the first time. Democrats attacked the "Billion Dollar Congress", and used the issue, along with the growing unpopularity of the high tariff, to defeat the Republicans, both in the 1890 mid-term elections and in Harrison's bid for re-election in 1892. He also saw the admittance of six states into the Union
Grover Cleveland - 1893-97 His second term coincided with the Panic of 1893, a severe national depression that Cleveland was unable to reverse. It ruined his Democratic party, opening the way for Republican landslides in 1894 and 1896, and for the agrarian and silverite seizure of his Democratic party in 1896. The result was a political realignment that ended the Third Party System and launched the Fourth Party System and the Progressive Era.
William McKinley - 1897-01 last civil war veteran; By the 1880s, McKinley was a national Republican leader; his signature issue was high tariffs on imports as a formula for prosperity, as typified by his McKinley Tariff of 1890. As the Republican candidate in the 1896 presidential election, against Democrat William Jennings Bryan, he upheld the gold standard, and promoted pluralism among ethnic groups. McKinley presided over a return to prosperity after the Panic of 1893, and made gold the base of the currency. He demanded that Spain end its atrocities in Cuba, which were outraging public opinion; Spain resisted the interference and the Spanish-American War became inevitable in 1898. annexed the independent Republic of Hawaii in 1898, with all its residents becoming full American citizens. McKinley was reelected in the 1900 presidential election another intense campaign against Bryan, assassinated by an anarchist, in 1901
Theodore Roosevelt - 1901-09 age 42, taking office at the youngest age "rough rider" in Cuba (medal of honor) during Spanish-American war, He is noted for his energetic personality, range of interests and achievements, leadership of the Progressive Movement, and his "cowboy" image and robust masculinity.[4] He was a leader of the Republican Party and founder of the short-lived Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party of 1912, he promoted the conservation movement. negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize,
William Howard Taft - 1909-13 over 300 pounds, in his first and only term, President Taft's domestic agenda emphasized trust-busting, civil service reform, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, improving the performance of the postal service, and passage of the Sixteenth Amendment. However, Taft often alienated his own key constituencies, and was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for a second term in the presidential election of 1912.
Woodrow Wilson - 1913-21 in his first term, Wilson persuaded a Democratic Congress to pass the Federal Reserve Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and America's first-ever federal progressive income tax in the Revenue Act of 1913. Wilson brought many white Southerners into his administration, and tolerated their expansion of segregation in many federal agencies re-election campaign around the slogan "he kept us out of war", but U.S. neutrality was challenged in early 1917 when the German government proposed to Mexico a war alliance, Wilson asked Congress to declare war. He went to Paris in 1919 to create the League of Nations and shape the Treaty of Versailles,
Warren G. Harding - 1921-23 one of the worst; President Harding rewarded friends and political contributors with powerful monetary positions. Scandals and corruption eventually pervaded his administration. Several of his cabinet members, referred to as the Ohio Gang, were eventually tried, convicted and sent to prison for bribery and fraud. Harding nevertheless did make some notably positive appointments to his cabinet; Harding signed the first child welfare program in the United States and dealt with striking workers in the mining and railroad industries. The nation’s unemployment rate dropped by half during Harding’s administration. In August 1923, while on a trip abroad in the western states President Harding suddenly collapsed and died.[6] He was succeeded by Vice President, Calvin Coolidge.
Calvin Coolidge - 1923-29 His reputation underwent a renaissance during the Ronald Reagan Administration, but the ultimate assessment of his presidency is still divided between those who approve of his reduction of the size of government programs and those who believe the federal government should be more involved in regulating and controlling the economy.
Herbert Hoover - 1929-33 When the Wall Street Crash of 1929 struck less than eight months after he took office, Hoover tried to combat the ensuing Great Depression with volunteer efforts, none of which produced economic recovery during his term. The consensus among historians is that Hoover's defeat in the 1932 election was caused primarily by failure to end the downward economic spiral. As a result of these factors, Hoover is ranked poorly among former US Presidents.
Franklin D. Roosevelt - 1933-45 the New Deal, WPA, WWII, one of the greatest
Harry Truman - 1945-53 Truman Doctrine (to contain communism), created NATO
Dwight Eisenhower - 1953-61 concluded negotiations with China to end the Korean War. He maintained pressure on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, gave priority to inexpensive nuclear weapons and reduced the other forces to save money. He had to play catch-up in the Space Race after the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957. On the domestic front, he helped remove Joseph McCarthy from power but otherwise left most political actions to his Vice President, Richard Nixon. Eisenhower did not end New Deal policies, and in fact enlarged the Social Security, and signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956.