Can you guess which American presidents are the most loved in the nation? C-SPAN recruited a team of experts to find out the heads of state who won the hearts of the American people. They used criteria like public persuasion, international relations, and leadership in the middle of a crisis. Read on to see if your favorite US President made it to the list!
Warren G. Harding
The 29th election was important since it was the first one that women participated in. Warren G. Harding was declared the winner, though you might not know that he got his start from the newspaper industry. He owned the Ohio publication called the Marion Star but he went into politics when the situation called for it. While he was in power, Harding drew World War I to a close by declaring peace with Germany, Hungary, and Austria. He also helped promote a “return to normalcy” and tried to help out the economy. Sadly, he died of a heart attack in 1923 and this cut his term short.
After President William Henry Harrison passed away, John Tyler started his term as the 10th President of the United States. He was in office from 1841 to 1845 and he was the first person to take over a president who died in office. Basically, he was the first non-elected president. He expressed support for the right of the states to decide about slavery for themselves. He was later called “His Accidency” and people tried to impeach him to no avail. In the international sphere, Tyler wrote treaties with China and Britain.
Franklin Pearce was the 14th President of the United States and he was, to say the least, rather controversial. A Democrat, he criticized the abolitionist movement and called it “a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation”. Nonetheless, Pearce signed the Kansas-Nebraska act which gave new territory residents the autonomy to decide on the slavery question.
Another Democrat, James Buchanan was the person to take over Franklin Pierce. Sadly, he failed to improve the situation of the country back then. This is pretty ironic when you consider the fact that he said he will work as hard to be as great as George Washington. On another note, he is the eldest of eleven children.
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison holds the record for the shortest time in power. He earned the moniker “Old Tippecanoe” after he helped the US win the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. Basically, his term lasted only 31 days long! He acquired pneumonia and the condition later took his life. He got sick after the rainy inauguration. He was apparently the first photographed president and the grandchild of the 23rd President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison.
Millard Fillmore was the last president hailing from the Whig Party before it dissolved. This president grew up in a poor family but he managed to rise to the status of vice president by getting a good education. He attained the position under President Zachary Taylor. When the president died of cholera, Fillmore then became the 13th President of the United States in 1850. The whole White House resigned right after Taylor’s death so he needed to create a new one from the bottom up. He tried to resolve tensions between the North and South with the Compromise of 1850, though it was not very effective. He also improved relations with the newly-opened Japan.
Herbert Hoover was the 31st President of the United States and he was in office during a difficult moment in American history. The Stanford University graduate married his college girlfriend and worked in China before he launched his political career. He was in Europe when the First World War erupted and he earned recognition by helping evacuate about 120,000 American tourists in France and Germany. He was in power from 1929 until 1933, the same time the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Hoover employed many methods to improve things in the country, though we all know these things take time to get better.
The 21st President of the United States was the child of Irish immigrants. In 1881, he was the vice president so he earned the presidency upon the assassination of James Garfield. He passed the Pendleton Act which ensured that government jobs were given on a merit system. He also legislated a federal immigration law in the hope of preventing “paupers, criminals, and lunatics” from moving to the country.
Martin Van Buren
President Martin Van Buren was in power from 1837 to 1841. He was the president during a huge economic crisis called the Panic of 1837. It started three months into his time in office. The so-called ‘Liltte Magician’ urged for the independence of the US Treasury to deter corruption. He served as President Andrew Jackson’s secretary of state before his presidency and as “minister to Great Britain” after his term. He was criticized when banks and businesses closed down, though he actually made subtle improvements to the economy.
George W. Bush
George W. Bush was the head of state when the September 11 attacks happened. He served two consecutive terms starting on 2001. The invasion of Afghanistan, the second Gulf War, and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein happened under his watch. He also created the Department of Homeland Security. He won the 2000 presidential race after serving as the Texas governor for five years. He is the second President of the United States to be the child of another president.
Bush Hears About 9/11
No one in the United States will forget about the attacks on the Twin Towers. The Al Qaeda terrorists flew a pair of planes into the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001. This was how President Bush took the news when he was informed about the tragedy. He had been at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Florida when he found out. At the time, he was working on a literacy project and participated in a reading of The Pet Goat.
Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th President of the United States. The Republican politician was in power from 1877 to 1881. Hayes had the support of Mark Twain during the elections, though he lost the popular vote. He had been the Ohio governor for three terms and his political career began with the now defunct Whig party. He supported the civil rights movement, though the Congress blocked his efforts. He also supported the new civil service exams and the Pendleton Act.
Zachary “Old Rough and Ready” was the 12th President of the United States and he is mostly known for his brief time in office. He was considered a war hero thanks to the same leadership skills that got him the moniker. He also came from the Whig Party and he expressed anti-slavery opinions despite the fact that he was also a slave owner. He encouraged New Mexico and California to join the union. Sadly, he died of cholera on July 9, 1850, and this cut his term short.
Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States, was a Union Army member during the Civil War. He was great at international relations and worked well with Congress when he was in power from 1889 to 1893. He was called “Little Ben”, a reference to his grandfather Benjamin Harrison. He was the only president with a US president for a grandfather! Other memorable things about his term are the enforcement of African American suffrage and the entry of Washington, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota into the Union.
James A. Garfield
James A. Garfield was the only sitting House of Representatives member who was elected the position. He was the 20th President of the United States and he was a major general for the Union during the Civil War. He even fought in battles like Middle Creek, Shiloh, and Chickamauga. He was in office for a couple of months, though he managed to get rid of corruption in the postal service and improve the state of the navy. He advocated for universal education systems and supported the civil rights movement as well. An assassination attempt in July 1881 led to numerous infections that cut his term and life short.
President James Garfield hadn’t even completed his 4th month of being president when he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau. The president actually survived the shooting, but later died of infection. Many doctors believe that had that occurred today, he would have been treated better and he would even recover completely.
Richard M. Nixon
Richard Nixon was the 37th POTUS and he was great at negotiating foreign affairs. He was in office from 1969 to 1974, bringing an end to the US involvement in Vietnam. He also retrieved POWs, improved US-China relations, and signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. He is credited for the enforcement of desegregation, the funding of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the “War on Cancer”. If Watergate did not happen, he might have gone on to do more things for the country.
Nixon’s Watergate Scandal
The Watergate Scandal led Richard M. Nixon to resign. He was the first President of the United States to have ever done this. He even mentioned, “I have always tried to do what is best for the nation.”
Vice president Calvin Coolidge took over the presidency after the death of President Warren Harding in 1923. He won the presidential race in 1924 and served until 1929. He was a supporter of a laissez-faire foreign policy and small government so he had a good rep when his term ended. The soft-spoken President of the United States fought for racial equality and civil rights. He also made lynching a federal crime, a move disapproved by the other government officials at the time. He also passed the Indian Citizenship Act which gave American citizenship to all the native Americans on reservations. His biographer described him in this manner: “He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength”.
The 39th President of the United States was in office from 1977 to 1981. Jimmy Carter was busy building his business when he became involved in the civil rights movement. He later moved on to politics and accomplished many things while in office. He created the Department of Energy and Department of Education and arranged the Camp David Accords, among other things. Sadly, his term coincided with unforeseen events like the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Energy Crisis of 1979. This led to the public’s negative perception of him and he lost the 1980 presidential race to Ronald Reagan.
Carter’s Peace Deal
Jimmy Carter is credited for brokering peace between Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Saddat of Egypt. The 1978 deal involved the return of Egyptian territory and the recognition of Israel. This momentous event earned them the Nobel Peace Prize.
Gerald R. Ford Jr.
After the resignation of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford succeeded him as the 38th President of the United States. He was in office from 1974 to 1877. He took part in the Helsinki Accords in the hope of improving US-USSR relations in the middle of the Cold War. He also pardoned his predecessor. He was praised for the moral authority with which he led the nation through a terrible economic depression. He was also the only person who ascended into the presidency and vice presidency without being elected into the positions.
Ford’s First Assassination Attempt
President Gerald Ford experienced an assassination attempt on September 5, 1975. He had been walking through throngs of people in Sacramento when Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme shot at him using a Colt M1911 pistol. It did not fire and no one was injured, though the Secret Service acted quickly and pounced on her. Later, it was revealed that she was a member of Charles Manson’s cult.
Ford’s Second Assassination Attempt
The president was nearly killed only 17 days after the initial assassination attempt. He was almost shot by Sara Jane Moore while he was participating in another California street tour. Luckily, an ex-marine in the crowd noticed her gun and immediately immobilized her. She shot a bullet from the gun, though it hit a taxi driver instead. Fortunately, the victim survived.
William H. Taft
William H. Taft was the 27th President of the United States and he was the only person who served as the Chief of Justice after serving as the president. The Yale University alumnus was allegedly a member of the secret society called Skull and Bones. He experienced a successful law practice and even became a judge. He was in power from 1909 to 1913 and he made an interesting political move. He decided to focus on East Asia over other international affairs. He also intervened in the politics of Latin America, however.
Grover Cleveland served two terms as the President of the United States, though they were not consecutive. His first term ran from 1885 to 1889, though he lost the following reelection. He was elected yet again in 1893 and stayed in office until 1897. He was praised by Conservatives for his fiscal policy and his political reform advocacy. He dealt with the Panic of 1893, an economic depression, and the Pullman Strike of 1894, a nationwide strike of railroad workers. His biographer said, “He possessed honesty, courage, firmness, independence, and common sense. But he possessed them to a degree other men do not.”
Grover Cleveland remains the only President of the United States who got married at the White House. However, people took more interest in his bride at the time. His wife was 28 years younger than him and she was just 21 years old when they married. She charmed everyone nonetheless. She spoke fluent French on top of being beautiful and charismatic. She was none other than Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston.
Ulysses S. Grant
The 18th President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant was a commanding general of the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was popular when he was in power from 1869 to 1877. He made a name for himself just a couple of years following his West Point graduation when he served during the Mexican-American war. He was 47 years old when he was sworn into office, making him the youngest president. He did well in the survey for his moral authority, public persuasion skills, international relations skills, and pursuance of justice for all Americans. He is best remembered as an honest politician who opposed the KKK and appointed Jewish Americans and African Americans to various government positions.
John Quincy Adams
The 6th President of the United States was none other than John Quincy Adams. He was in office from 1825 until 1829. Better known as JQA, he was the child of John Adams, a former president, and founding father. The younger man was passionate about the abolition of slavery and he even called himself “the acutest, the astutest, the archest enemy of southern slavery that ever existed.” He preferred to stay out of the political machinations in Europe and pushed for nonintervention policies. He was a staunch critic of the Texas annexation as well. He has the oldest surviving presidential photo that dates back to 1843 when he was 76 years of age!