#1. Warren Gamaliel Harding(Republican) Born November 2, 1865. Died August 2, 1923. 29th President (March 4, 1921-August 2, 1923). U.S. Senator from Ohio (March 4, 1915- January 13, 1921). 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio (January 11, 1904-January 8, 1906). First incumbent U.S. Senator and first newspaper publisher to be elected to Presidency. Campaigned on platform of return to “normalcy” in the 1920 presidential election; left Progressive movement that dominated Congress during Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson administrations. Awarded friends and political contributors positions in his administration. Scandals like Teapot Dome scandal have led historians to rank him as our worst president, but his reputation has been viewed favorably among some historians for his strength in foreign policy, conservative fiscal policies, fiscal responsibility, and support for civil rights.
#2. James Buchanan (Democratic) Born April 23, 1791. Died June 1, 1868. 15th President (March 4, 1857- March 4, 1861). 17th U.S. Secretary of State (March 10, 1845-March 7, 1849). U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania (December 6, 1834-March 5, 1845). Only president from Pennsylvania and only president who never married; his niece Harriet Lane was First Lady. Is considered one of the worst presidents because his efforts to keep peace between North and South failed, as both sides were unsympathetic to those efforts, which undermined his ability to prevent succession and American Civil War in subsequent Lincoln administration.
#3. Franklin Pierce(Democratic) Born November 23, 1804. Died October 8, 1869. 14th President (March 4, 1853-March 4, 1857). U.S. Senator from New Hampshire (March 4, 1837-February 28, 1842). Member of U.S. House of Representatives from New Hampshires At-large district (March 4, 1833-March 4, 1837). Only President from New Hampshire. Was a “doughface” Democrat (Northerner who was sympathetic to South). Made many unpopular decisions; his popularity plummeted sharply in North after he favored Kansas-Nebraska Act to replace Missouri Compromise (which was declared unconstitutional by U.S. Supreme Court) and resumed debate over expansion of slavery in American West. His legitimacy was further ruined when some of his diplomats issued Ostend Manifesto; was abandoned by Democrats and did not seek re-election.
#4. Millard Fillmore (Whig) Born January 7, 1800. Died March 8, 1874. 13th President (July 9, 1850-March 4, 1853). Last Whig to hold office of president. Was opposed to proposal to block slavery out of territories annexed during Mexican-American War in order satisfy South and supported Compromise of 1850, which he signed, including Fugitive Slave Act (“Bloodhound Law”); this was part of compromise. On foreign policy front, he expanded rising trade with Japan and broke with French over Napoleon III’s attempt to annex Hawaii and with French and British over attempt of Narciso López to take over Cuba. Joined Know-Nothing movement; during Civil War, he was opposed to President Lincoln but supported President Johnson during Reconstruction. Is ranked as one of the ten worst presidents.
#5. Andrew Johnson(Democratic) Born December 29, 1808. Died July 31, 1875. 17th President (April 15, 1865-March 4, 1869). 16th Vice President (March 4, 1865- April 15, 1865). U.S. Senator from Tennessee (March 4, 1875- July 31, 1875). Headed Reconstruction era from 1865-1869 after Civil War. Put own form of Presidential Reconstruction into effect. Was impeached by House of Representatives in 1868, becoming first president to be impeached, and was charged with violation of Tenure of Office Act, when he moved to fire Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton without Senate approval. Was acquitted by one vote in Senate. His Reconstruction policies have ranked him one of the worst presidents.
#6. Ulysses Simpson Grant (Republican) Born April 27, 1822. Died July 23, 1885. 18th President (March 4, 1869-March 4, 1877). Commanding General of U.S. Navy (March 9, 1864-March 4, 1869). Led Union Army to victory against Confederate military and put an end to Civil War with Robert E. Lee’s army at Appomattox Court House. Led Radical Republicans in their effort to remove all remnants of Confederate nationalism and slavery; destroyed Ku Klux Klan with KKK Act of 1871. Passed 15th Amendment, which ensured protection of African American voting rights. His administration was marked by 11 scandals with which they were directly associated; the main scandals were Black Friday in 1869 and Whiskey Ring in 1875.
#7. John Tyler (Whig) Born March 29, 1790. Died January 18, 1862. 10th President (April 4, 1841-March 4, 1845). 10th Vice President (March 4, 1841-April 4, 1841). 23rd Governor of Virginia (December 10, 1825-March 4, 1827). First president to succeed to presidency following his predecessor’s death. Stood opposed to his party’s platform when he took office and vetoed some of their proposals; majority of his cabinet resigned as a result, and Whigs, nicknaming him His Accidency, expelled him from the party. Achievements in foreign policy were signing of Webster-Ashburton Treaty with Great Britain and Treaty of Wanghia with China; devoted final two years as president to 1845 annexation of Texas, which was achieved by successor James Knox Polk.
#8. Zachary Taylor (Whig) Born November 24, 1784. Died July 9, 1850. 12th President (March 4, 1849-July 9, 1850). Was at first uninterested in politics, but ran as Whig candidate in 1848 presidential election; he was elected over Democrat Lewis Cass. Last President to own slaves in office, and second and last Whig to win in presidential election. Second president who died in office; first was 9th president, William Henry Harrison. Had 40-year military career in U.S. Army, serving in Wars such as War of 1812, Black Hawk War, and Second Seminole War. Dissatisfied many Southerners by taking moderate position on issue of slavery; pressed settlers in New Mexico and California to bypass territorial stage and design constitutions for statehood, leading to Compromise of 1850.
#9. Herbert Clark Hoover(Republican) Born August 10, 1874. Died October 20, 1964. 31st President (March 4, 1929-March 4, 1933). 3rd U.S. Secretary of Commerce (March 5, 1921-August 21, 1928). Served as head of Food Administration (1917- 1919) under Thomas Woodrow Wilson. Advanced partnerships between government and business under rubric “economic modernization”. Even though he had no previous elected office experience, Hoover easily won 1928 presidential election in landslide over Democrat Al Smith because United States was economically prosperous under incumbent Republican administration of John Calvin Coolidge. Tried to battle Great Depression with volunteer efforts, public works projects like Hoover Dam, tariffs like Smoot-Hawley Tariff, increase in top tax bracket from 25% to 63%, and increases in corporal taxes; failed to restore economic prosperity during his only term, but served as foundation for various policies of successor Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, of which he became a critic after leaving office in 1933. Failure of his administration to end downward economic spiral has ranked him unfavorably among U.S. presidents.
#10. John Calvin Coolidge(Republican) Born July 4, 1872. Died January 5, 1933. 30th President (August 2, 1923-March 4, 1929). 29th Vice President (March 4, 1921-August 2, 1923). 48th Governor of Massachusetts (January 2, 1919-January 6, 1921). 46th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts (January 6, 1916-January 2, 1919). Ascended to Presidency upon death of Warren G. Harding in 1923; was elected to full term in his own right in 1924 and achieved reputation as small-government conservative, and also as a man who said very little. Returned public confidence in White House after scandals of predecessors administration, and left office a significantly popular man. Exalted accomplishment of widespread prosperity of 1928, saying: “The requirements of existence have passed beyond the standard of necessity into the region of luxury.” His presidency was later judged as part of general criticism of laissez-faire government.
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