President of the United States
|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
“”No president starts with a clean slate. Upon entering the Oval Office each confronts an imposing and often problematic inheritance. Constraints, some foreign, others domestic, limit his freedom of action. Struggling to control (or even to understand) that inheritance and to elude those constraints, presidents fail at least as often as they succeed. Pretending to the role of Decider, a president all too often becomes little more than the medium through which power is exercised. Especially on matters related to national security, others manufacture or manipulate situations to which presidents then react.
|—Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Rules — America's Path to Permanent War|
The President of the United States (POTUS) is the head of the Executive Branch of the United States government.
During the Cold War (and even currently, though to a lesser extent), Americans would refer to their presidents as "the leader of the free world." This was due to America's place of power in world politics, the President's high degree of autonomy and influence in the US, and the general American belief that the rest of the world admires them in some way.
 Constitutional issues
The President is elected via a convoluted, slightly democratic process at four-year intervals. After FDR won four Presidential terms — which kind of freaked out some people because it was the first time a president stayed past two terms — the 22nd Amendment (1951) was ratified to limit the president to two terms in office so s/he wouldn't get too popular.[notes 1] Many countries have copied both the executive Presidency and the limits on infinite reelection from the US. This does not, however, keep popular Presidents from trying to run for more terms than allowed by the constitution.
The Constitution confers the title of "commander in chief of the armed forces" in order to maintain the structure that puts a civilian leader above all military positions. Civilian control of the military is a Big Frigging Deal.
 Presidents from Ratification of the Constitution to the Civil War (1789-1865)
 George Washington (1789-1797)
The first president, the only one to be unaffiliated with a political party, and the only to be elected unanimously. Quite possibly also the only president to be elected unwillingly, being dragged out of retirement. Prior to the presidency he led the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. During his term the federal government assumed the debts of the states and established a national bank. Resolved the Whiskey Rebellion relatively peacefully. Helped improve post-war relations with Britain, and declared neutrality in regards to European political affairs, including the emerging French Revolution. Was quite literally a 'living legend', having completed a lifetime of service to his country. Declined to run for a third term, setting the two-term tradition for future presidents that would be successfully broken just once[notes 2]. Upon leaving office warned America against forming political parties and meddling in foreign affairs, advice which has been ignored ever since.
 John Adams (1797-1801)
The first vice president to become president, and the only Federalist president. Avoided all-out war with France following the XYZ affair. Signed the Alien and Sedition Acts into law, which made immigration to the country more difficult and outlawed certain dissent against the government (these acts being swiftly done away with once Jefferson became president).
He's obnoxious and disliked, you know that, sir! Lacked charisma and didn't get along with the other Founding Fathers.
 Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
The first Democratic-Republican president. Was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. Believed in a limited federal government (because it would let him and his buddies keep their slaves) and adherence to the Constitution. Despite this, he used authority not expressly given to the president in the Constitution to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France — he knew it wasn't mentioned in the Constitution, but he also knew this was a really good deal. Also founded the University of Virginia and authored the Jefferson Bible. Initiated the first overseas war the United States was ever a part of, the First Barbary War (Barbary being the Anglophone world's name for the North African states of the time, even though only two of those states were involved in the conflict). Historians have been debating for years whether he was the most or the least racist of the American founders.
 James Madison (1809-1817)
The second Democratic-Republican president. Helped write the Federalist Papers, and was the primary author of both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Fought the useless War of 1812 with
Canada Great Britain during his term, which got Washington DC and the White House burned down. Stood only 5'4" tall.
 James Monroe (1817-1825)
The third Democratic-Republican and last Founding Father in the U.S. presidency. Established the Monroe Doctrine (which was actually written by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams), proclaiming American dominance over political affairs in the western hemisphere, and isolation from European political affairs. Also signed the Missouri Compromise, resolving the first major slavery incident in U.S. history. The capital of Liberia is named for him.
 John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
Wonkish son of John Adams, and the last of the Democratic-Republican presidents. Was elected president in the contentious 1824 election (there were four candidates, and Andrew Jackson had a plurality of the popular vote, the first time this anomaly occurred). Swore on a book of law instead of a Bible when taking his oath of office. Paid off two thirds of the public debt while in office, with the rest being paid off by Jackson.
 Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
The first Democratic president and a homicidal maniac. Another man insulted his wife, so he killed him in a duel, after letting the other guy shoot first. Commanded U.S. forces during the War of 1812, and was popular for kicking British buttocks in Louisiana... two weeks after the war was already over, so it didn't actually do anything. As president he expanded the spoils system. Despite supporting states' rights, he declared during the Nullification Crisis that states do not have the right to nullify federal laws. Signed the Indian Removal Act, forcing Native Americans living in the states to move further west. Pissed off the banks with several laws that he made and by having the government issue monetary notes instead of letting the banks issue them, which allowed the government to control interest rates instead of the banks. Was the first President on whom assassination attempts were made, all most likely committed by the banks; that ended with Jackson beating the would-be assassin to near death.
 Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
Andrew Jackson's VP and the second Democratic president. Presided over and was blamed for the Panic of 1837, which cost him reelection in 1841. Had rad muttonchops and was the first — and to date only — president to speak English as a second language (as you might be able to tell from his surname, his first language was Dutch). Currently the only president not descended from King John of Robin Hood fame. He also started the "tradition" of former presidents trying long-shot third party runs for the presidency when he became the Free Soil Party candidate in the 1848 election. He carried 10% of the popular vote and no electoral votes with his largely anti-slavery platform.
 William Henry Harrison (1841)
The first Whig to ascend to the presidency. His first act as president was to deliver the longest inaugural address ever (8,445 words). A few weeks later he developed a sickness that turned to pneumonia, although a recent study has suggested enteric fever, caused by the proximity of a marsh that held a landfill for human waste, as a better match to his symptoms and the doctors' treatment attempts. Whatever he had caused him to promptly die not long after. At the time of his death the cause of the infection was blamed directly on his trying to prove that he was a vigorous man with his long speech without protective clothing from the wind and rain, although a basic understanding of how calendars work and modern research has looked to other causes. As he was the first to die in office, his death sparked a constitutional crisis that ended with Vice President Tyler taking his place.
 John Tyler (1841-1845)
Succeeded Harrison. Despite having been elected to the vice presidency on the Whig ticket, he opposed most Whig policies and vetoed many bills brought to the White House. This pissed enough people off that most of his cabinet resigned, and the Whigs kicked him out of the party. Authorized the annexation of Texas. Later supported the secession of his native Virginia and was a member of the congress of the Confederacy.
 James K. Polk (1845-1849)
Another Democrat. Oversaw the largest territorial expansion in U.S. history, which included Texas, the Oregon territory (acquired through a treaty with Britain that divided the disputed land along the 49th parallel), and pretty much the entire southwest (ceded by Mexico following the Mexican-American War). Also reestablished an independent treasury system and lowered tariffs. Basically, he accomplished everything he said he would at the beginning of his term, including not running for a second term. His achievements are listed in a song by beat combo "They Might Be Giants." The polka is nothing to do with him.
 Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)
Whig Party candidate and former general during the Mexican-American War. Became ill and died 16 months into his term. Was probably the best Whig president, having lived long enough to get a few good things done but not long enough to completely screw everything up.
 Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)
The last Whig, who succeeded Taylor upon his death. Helped create the Compromise of 1850, which helped stave off civil war for a little longer, although measures such as the Fugitive Slave Act were sufficiently unpopular that he lost the Whig nomination in 1852. His name really was Millard Fillmore. His greatest contribution to American culture was lending his name to the two Fillmore theaters, both legendary in the history of rock and roll. Famous for being an obscure factoid in the days before the internet. His wife caught a cold on the day his successor Franklin Pierce was inaugurated, and she died of pneumonia 26 days later. Continuing a trend established by Martin van Buren, he was another former Whig President to run a long-shot third-party run for the Presidency, when he ran as a candidate for the anti-immigrant "know nothing" or "American" Party in 1856. He managed to win Maryland and its eight electoral votes as well as 21.5% of the popular vote. The tragically unfunny conservative comic strip Mallard Fillmore is named after him.
 Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)
Democrat and a "doughface" (a northerner with southern sympathies). Was strong-armed into signing the Kansas-Nebraska Act, effectively nullifying the Missouri and 1850 Compromises, reopening western territories to slavery and getting a lot of people killed in the disputed territories. He is generally ranked among the worst presidents for his failure to reconcile North and South and his controversial attempt to annex Cuba. His vice president William R. King died 6 weeks after inauguration and was never replaced. Before becoming president Pierce's occupations included military service in the Mexican-American war, where he spent important military engagements variously in a tent with severe diarrhea or strapped to a horse on account of a sore leg (his not the horse's). He devoted his post-presidential life to the abuse of alcohol (as we might ourselves if our careers had turned out so piss-poor).
 James Buchanan (1857-1861)
Another Democrat and doughface. The only reason he got the nomination — which with the fracturing of the Whigs and the Republicans being a disorganized emerging party at the time was tantamount to election — was the fact that he spent most of the previous years abroad or as a private citizen, thus he could be presented as divorced from the sectional conflicts tearing the Democratic Party apart at the time. Figured the best way to deal with escalating tensions between the North and South was to wait it out and hope for the two sides to resolve their differences themselves. You know how well that worked. Is ranked at or near the bottom in almost all serious rankings of presidents — which just highlights the greatness of his successor who usually ranks at or near the top. He did not run for reelection, which gave rise to two separate Democratic tickets. The first secessions happened in the awfully long period between Lincoln's election (November 1860) and Lincoln's inauguration (March 1861) — Buchanan was unwilling or unable to lift a single finger to keep the Union together, which helps explain the "worst President ever" moniker. Despite all that, inauguration day was only moved to January in FDR's time, seven decades later.
 Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
The first Republican president. Upon his election numerous southern states seceded to form the Confederate States of America. Led the country through the Civil War to victory for the Union and the reunification of the nation. Set the stage for abolition of slavery which occurred after his death. Was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth shortly after the war ended. May or may not have hunted vampires during his presidency.
 Presidents from Civil War to World War II (1865-1945)
 Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)
Lincoln's VP for his second (but not first) term, who became president following Honest Abe's death. Being a Southerner himself (from Tennessee), he didn't want to punish his defeated homeland too harshly. This put him at odds with the Republican-dominated Congress (and especially with the Radical Republicans), who eventually had him impeached for firing the Secretary of War appointed by Lincoln (in an effort to prevent this, Congress had passed a law forbidding removal of Cabinet members without Senate approval, which was was blatantly unconstitutional, never again enforced, and subsequently repealed in the 1880s). He was acquitted by one vote, but spent the remainder of his term essentially powerless. It was also during his tenure in office that Secretary of State William Seward purchased Alaska from the Russians though it didn't become a state until Eisenhower. During his presidency he was a member of the National Union Party (the name used by the Republican Party for the 1864 election), but was politically closer to the Democratic Party and formally joined it later in his life.
 Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
Republican and former Civil War general. He kept Reconstruction humming along, namely by crushing the KKK, fighting a giant mechanical spider, and passing the Fifteenth Amendment. His two terms were also marred by widespread corruption in the federal government, as well as the Panic of 1873. He failed to win his party's nomination for a third term. His reputation has suffered a lot from pro-Southern historians who exaggerated his faults and downplayed his virtues after his death, as they hated him for his progressive stance and policies on Civil Rights and Reconstruction. In later years some historians have noted these policies and drawn a more favorable image of him.
 Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
Another Republican and former Civil War general. Won the contentious 1876 election despite coming second in the popular vote — the third time a person who did not win the most popular votes became President and the only time this happened when another person gained more than 50% of the vote, other than Trump. Formally ended Reconstruction, withdrawing federal troops from the South and effectively handing the region back over to the Democrats, ushering in the Jim Crow era as part of a deal (appropriately titled "the corrupt bargain") that gave him the disputed electoral votes he needed to win the Presidency.
 James A. Garfield (1881)
Republican president famous for two reasons: for having been assassinated, and for sharing his name with a cartoon cat. Was shot shortly into his term by a mentally-ill man upset over Garfield's refusal to appoint him to a government position.[notes 3] Died after only 200 days in office.
 Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885)
Republican and successor to Garfield. Passed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which stipulated that government jobs should be granted based on merit. Opponents spuriously claimed he hadn't been born in the United States, and that as such he was ineligible to be president. (Sound familiar?) He also signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the
only first of two federal mandates denying a specific population from immigrating into the United States. He has the honor of being the guy whose name is least likely to be recognized as belonging to a POTUS. He was pretty popular when he left the White House, but has faded into history.
 Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897)
The first Democrat elected since the Civil War, and the only U.S. president thus far to serve two non-consecutive terms. Opposed the growth of labor unions and kept the country on the gold standard at a time when it was unpopular. Is fairly popular with modern libertarians (including his handling of Long Depressions).
 Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)
Republican and grandson of the ninth president, William Henry Harrison. Beat out incumbent Cleveland in the Electoral College, despite losing the popular vote. Passed the protectionist McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act. His term also saw the national debt surpass the billion dollar mark for the first time in U.S. history.
 William McKinley (1897-1901)
Another Republican president. Led the country to victory in the Spanish-American War and acquired the United States' first overseas possessions from Spain. Was assassinated by anarchist Leon Czolgosz.
 Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Youngest to ever become President (41), Republican, Spanish-American War hero and successor to McKinley. The first president to have had a soft toy named after him. Commissioned the creation of the Panama Canal and set up the National Park System. Became the first U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace between Japan and Russia. Declined to run for reelection in 1908, but grew to dislike the direction Taft was taking the Republican Party. Roosevelt ran as a third party candidate in 1912, splitting the Republican vote (and coming in second place), handing the election over to a Democrat. He was the last former President to start a third party run. Though several former Vice Presidents and other figures tried the same later.
 William Howard Taft (1909-1913)
Who's the dude who wasn't svelte, elected after Roosevelt? TAFT Republican, and the fattest president in U.S. history (though given trends in obesity, that may not remain true for much longer]]). His policies alienated him from much of his own party, costing him reelection. Later served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, making him the only person to hold both positions in U.S. history. Was also the last president with any facial hair and the only president to place lower than second in a bid for re-election. Teddy Roosevelt tried to eke him out for the nomination of his party, but the bosses wouldn't have any of it, so Roosevelt ran on a third party ticket, throwing the election to avowed racist and segregationist Wilson.
 Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
A Democrat with bad teeth, and the guy who led the country
into through World War I. He helped found the League of Nations following the war's end. As for domestic policies, he instituted the country's first income tax and established the Federal Reserve. He also came down hard on opposition to the war or criticism of the government, and had many protesters arrested. His term also saw the passing of the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the production and consumption of alcohol. While only lukewarmly supporting the suffrage movement, he suffered a massive stroke and his wife more or less took over the Presidency; within a year women were allowed to vote. Wilson was the only president to have a PhD. Wilson's record on Civil Rights however was abysmal. He segregated the military and several of his cabinet appointments did likewise for their offices. He is said (perhaps apocryphally) to have shown the racist film "Birth of a Nation" in the White House and was an apologist for both the Ku Klux Klan and the antebellum South, even though he considered slavery to be wrong on economic (not moral) grounds.
 Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)
Gambling addict and a Republican. He wore a bowtie well, but his administration was the most corrupt yet. Died in office, sparking numerous conspiracy theories. Coined the term "normalcy." That's about it.
 Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
Republican and successor to Harding from the vice-presidency upon Harding's death. He first came to fame as an anti-union governor of Massachusetts, crushing the 1919 Boston Police Strike. Known as a man of few words while vice president, a job of few responsibilities, he sat back and did virtually nothing as president. He was actually a reasonable public speaker, and a pioneer of radio broadcast and regular press conferences, but he didn't speak unless he had to. The country saw an economic boom under his presidency, then when he decided not to run again in 1928, a stock market crash and the Great Depression followed soon after. Phew. However, throughout the 1920s agriculture and the South were experiencing a silent crisis that was only compounded by the stock market crash. No president until FDR did anything to alleviate that, either. The Coolidge effect is named for him. He was also an early advocate for civil rights reform.
 Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
 Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)
Semi-tyrannical Democrat and the longest-serving president in U.S. history, serving over 12 years through three terms and partway into a fourth. He suffered from polio since age 39 and lost use of his legs, a well-kept secret back then. Launched the New Deal to combat the Great Depression, which (among many other Godless things) spawned Social Security, mandated bank holidays, and a variety of new government agencies. Led the country into World War II following the attack on Pearl Harbor (just as he had planned!). Controversially had Japanese Americans living on the west coast placed in internment camps. Died in office from a stroke.
 Presidents from World War II to Present (1945- )
 Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)
President for the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. Had the most epic re-election comeback. Introduced a mandatory "loyalty oath" for all federal employees. Also plays a role in UFO lore — supposedly met with ETs, set up UFO investigation bureau and even featured in a cameo role in that fake alien autopsy film. Oh, and the "S." doesn't actually stand for anything.
 Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
The first...er...last? Eisenhower Republican, e.g. a centrist president. He commanded Allied forces in Europe during WWII. As president, he oversaw the expansion of Social Security, creation of NASA, and the desegregation of public schools. The CIA overthrew democratically-elected leaders in Iran and Guatemala under Ike.
 John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
A Democrat, the youngest man elected president (at age 42), and the only Catholic so far. Foreign policy incidents during his term included the Bay of Pigs invasion (which went poorly to say the least) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (which went a little better). Gave us Affirmative Action. Heavily associated with the success of the Apollo program, largely because he could give wicked speeches to Congress (though it was Eisenhower who started the space program). Was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, setting off countless conspiracy theories. Is fondly remembered despite not getting a whole lot done in his three years in office.
 Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
Democrat and successor to JFK. Passed numerous civil rights bills, set up Medicare and Medicaid, and established numerous programs aimed at clobbering poverty (and they did a pretty good job). Had it not been for him driving the U.S. off a cliff in Vietnam, he'd have been the greatest President since Lincoln.
 Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974)
"Cloth coat Republican" and true bastard. Played footsie with white supremacists during the '68 election, then sabotaged the Vietnamese peace talk in order to win. Created the EPA, improved relations with Red China, and pulled American troops out of Vietnam (sort of). He also secretly bombed Cambodia, launched the War on Drugs, and scaled back the U.S. space program. Used the phone budget to chat with Billy Graham about their mutual disgust for da Joos. Was implicated in a certain scandal but refused to release evidence. Became the second President after Andrew Jackson to tell the Supreme Court, "Fuck you, I'm the president." Their response to him: "Nice try — smell the glove, motherfucker." Thus, he became the only president ever to resign. Reagan, Bush, Trump: All ran, and won, on a platform of "anti-establishment" because Nixon proved you can't trust politicians. Hunter S. Thompson saw Nixon as responsible in large part for the death of the American Dream.
 Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
The final Rockefeller Republican, and the only person to have been both vice president and president without ever being elected in the Electoral College. Mainly remembered for pardoning Nixon (especially during the 1976 presidential campaign), which he, like the rest of the country, later regretted. Had a very popular, outspoken feminist wife. Chevy Chase owes his career to him.
 Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Democrat and millionaire peanut farmer. He was the first major candidate since Bryan to use his Christian piety to win votes, giving Y'all Qaida the ladder they needed to take over Washington. His administration suffered due to the 1979 energy crisis and the 1980 recession, as well as the hostage crisis in Iran, and as a result he lost his reelection bid. He gave funding and arms to Zia ul-Haq in Pakistan, allowing both douchebags to carry out a nationwide and very effective radical Islamization in their respective neighboring countries. The reverberations of both dealings more than haunt us to this day.
 Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Former Actor, Governor of California, and union member. Reagan, like Bush and Trump to follow, was a figurehead leader. His charisma made him popular with the masses, but the brains behind his operation kept to the shadows. Kicked off Reaganomics, tripled the national debt, fired a bunch of air traffic controllers, turned a blind to AIDS/Apartheid, and took LaRouche seriously when he said Star Wars could be made nonfiction. (He publicly referred to the USSR as the "evil empire" and the Contras as "freedom fighters", both of which were lifted verbatim from the opening crawl to Star Wars Chapter IV.) On the foreign policy front, he illegally sold arms to Iran and then used the money to fund terrorists in Nicaragua, funded yet more terrorists in Afghanistan to help fight the Soviets, propped up Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, covered for Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and considered Augusto Pinochet a great man. Canonized as a saint because he presided over the end of the Cold War and said some nice words... although they don't like it when you raise the fact that he supported gun control, raised taxes each year of his presidency, and authorized an illegal immigrant amnesty in '86.
 George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
Former DCI and last of the "Reagan Republicans", he buckled from the shitshow Reagan pawned off on him. People called him a loser for not going into Baghdad and toppling Saddam, but that's because he knew the US military's limitations better than most. Is fondly remembered for observing the breakdown of the USSR, and vomiting on the Prime Minister of Japan. Ousted Noriega when it became clear that he was political venom for the US (who propped him up to begin with). Election tip: raising taxes after campaigning on "No new taxes" is a bad tactic. He has disavowed the new GOP.
 Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Hypergamist and "New Democrat" from Arkansas. Before that, he bummed around at Yale (though he "didn't inhale".) His Veep was from Tennessee, and the cultural difference between the north and south wasn't as severe back then. A 3rd party candidate also took 19% of the vote, although we'll never know who Perot siphoned more votes from. Famously balanced the federal budget. (In spite of this, Gingrich was able to brand the New Democrats as "Tax and Spend" liberals.) It was a time of normalcy in Freedom's Land and it was wonderful. Then he was caught having sexual relations with that woman, and it’s been a nightmare ever since. Repealed Glass-Steagall (which invited the financial sector to rob Peter to pay Paul), intervened in Kosovo, bombed a pharmaceutical facility in Sudan (thousands died of diseases that could not be countered, including tuberculosis, for chrissake), imposed crushing sanctions that failed to wrestle Saddam's grip on power, signed Don't Ask, Don't Tell, signed the Defense of Marriage Act, signed NAFTA, and "ended welfare as we know it". Still one of the most popular Presidents of the modern era, though admittedly he hasn't aged well.
 George W. Bush (2001-2009)
Fake-accented son of the 41st president. Was elected...cancel that, selected by the Electoral College, as per the Constitution. His first term was basically a celebration of Republicans having control of congress and the White House. It was almost like revenge for Clinton stealing a 2nd term away from H.W. Bush. By 2002, they could do whatever they wanted. He began the War on Terror, gave the finger to the Geneva Conventions, curtailed civil liberties, and introduced the concept of a semi-unitary executive. Other highlights include: ignoring and distorting scientific data, watching as Louisiana sank into the Gulf, and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. In 2010, he published a memoir of his 7-year vacation called Decision Points, in which he lies even more frequently than he did at the time. Now likes to paint weird pictures of himself in the bathroom.
He brings respect and dignity to the office.
 Barack Obama (2009-2017)
Democrat, and the first Gay-Kenyan-Muslim-Commie-Nazi African-American president. Democrats believed (or at least hoped) that he would stick to his guns more than Carter did, but by 2010 he had failed to make a case to the people that Republicans were obstructing his agenda, which by extension is the people's agenda. Pulled out of Iraq, bagged bin Laden, passed Obamacare and very slight banking regulation, reduced reliance on Middle Eastern oil, enforced emission targets, ushered a thaw in Cuban relations, spearheaded negotiations with Iran, vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline (due to grassroots lobbying) and helped improve LGBT rights. On the other hand, he continued the NSA surveillance, cracked down on whistleblowers more than any other President, deported and detained more immigrants than any other President, raided a bunch of legal marijuana dispensaries, coddled the wealthy, refused to prosecute the Bush administration, signed the NDAA into law, returned forces to Iraq(?), kicked off a global refugee crisis, killed thousands (the majority of them civilians) with drone strikes, and expanded the Afghanistan War into Pakistan. American democracy sounded its stage 3 cancer alert when the PATRIOT Act wasn't repealed under Obama.
 Donald Trump (2017-WW3)
the sound a woman's body makes when it hits the glass ceiling a former failed meat salesman who wants to date his own daughter. He produced a reality series which hardly anyone watched and has been walking around like Gloria Swanson ever since. Americans thought it appropriate to elect a rank amateur to President because they expected Trading Places hijinks, and because unemployment wasn't falling fast enough. (It was falling pretty fucking fast though.) The cornerstones of his campaign were "Lock Her Up" (walked it back), "Build the Wall" (walked it back), and promising to start a trade war with Gyna—though ironically by killing the TPP, he assured Chinese domination over the Pacific Rim. Trump is also confirmed to owe several Chinese banks a large sum of money. In the years to come, we will see that Trump and Le Pen (and likely Erdogan) were seduced by some promise of Putin to teach them how to use disinformation, bots, etc. to set up an oligarchy for themselves. So far, Trump has been too stupid to pull it off. They need more time than one suspects they have.
 Curse of Tippecanoe
William Henry Harrison, elected in 1840, died after contracting what was believed to be pneumonia. This was the start of the so-called "Curse of Tippecanoe," a 120 year tenure of Presidents, elected or re-elected in years evenly divisible by twenty, dying in office — or taken further, died in a year divisible by ten. This "Curse" was named after Harrison's "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" campaign slogan, which referenced his past as a killer of Native American leaders.
Zachary Taylor was elected in 1848... and died in 1850, because of a sudden stomach illness. He ate a bowl of cherries that were cooled with contaminated ice; the prevailing thought was that he was poisoned. This was the only time two Presidents died ten years apart from one another. He was not elected in a "cursed" year, but like Harrison, Taylor fought against Tecumseh, and like Harrison, Taylor died in a year ending in 0 and divisible by ten; which made the Curse prominent in the public mind.
Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860, was the first President assassinated in office, mere weeks after winning the Civil War. He was the first President elected in a "cursed" year since Harrison, and the "we die in twenty years" curse returned to form as a result. He was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer who opposed Lincoln's proposals in favor of civil rights and voting rights for African Americans. To Booth, "that meant Nigger citizenship."
James A. Garfield, elected in 1880, was assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau, who thought the only way to end intra-party fighting among the Republicans was for Garfield to die (but had nothing against Garfield personally).
William McKinley, re-elected in 1900, was assassinated by gunman Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist who regarded McKinley as as a symbol of oppression due to losing his job during a recession. McKinley died on September 14, 1901 from gangrene caused by the bullet wounds.
Warren G. Harding, elected in 1920, died in 1923 of heart disease in San Francisco while on a western tour. While immensely popular during his time in office, after his death, reports of massive corruption scandals within his administration eroded his popularity and public perception; just to add insult to injury.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, re-elected in 1940, died in office from a stroke while posing for a painting on a chair. He was the only President elected four times and the only President to serve for three terms, but his health eroded the closer he got to 1940, and he died a year into his fourth term just before he could see the end of World War II.
John F. Kennedy, elected in 1960, was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas. Conspiracy theories persist over the motive behind his death, the investigation to his death, the men responsible for his death, and even the shooter who shot him. This was the first assassination ever caught on tape as well, which fueled the mythology of the moment, since people who were alive at the time largely remain alive today.
Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980, had an attempt on his life that left him wounded, but he survived. He also survived treatment for colon cancer while in office. Oddly enough, the first President to be stricken by the Curse, Harrison, held the record for oldest President at inauguration (68 years, 23 days) for 140 years, until he was finally surpassed by Ronald Reagan in 1981 (69 years, 349 days), the President who "broke" said Curse. Interestingly, as Governor of California prior to his presidency, Reagan refused to approve a major dam project that would have flooded an Indian reservation, on the grounds that "we've already broken enough treaties with the Indians."
Who was the first President to neither die in office nor suffer any injuries from an attempt on his life? George W. Bush, "elected" in 2000. Many argue that, since he was appointed by the Supreme Court after Gore took the popular vote, he deserves an asterisk. However, the person that won the 2000 popular vote also survived both of Bush's terms.
 See also
- Official website of the White House
- Animaniacs — Presidents Song
- Metal Wolf Chaos — What happens when a Japanese game developer gets hold of a copy of Air Force One.
- See the Wikipedia article on President of the Continental Congress.
- ↑ Too popular, in this sense, means well-liked by a populous who feel they would be imprisoned or executed if they didn't.
- ↑ Though several two term Presidents tried to run for a third term, both consecutive and not — none of them successful before FDR
- ↑ Although it's been well documented that it was the doctors, not the bulletwound, that killed Garfield.
- ↑ Bavevich, Andrew J., 2010. Washington Rules — America's Path to Permanent War. New York: Metropolitan Books. P. 31. ISBN 978-0-8050-9141-0
- ↑ Why Civilian Control Matters, UNC
- ↑ 12 year old discovers all Presidents but Martin van Buren descended from King John
- ↑ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/01/science/what-really-killed-william-henry-harrison.html
- ↑ http://mentalfloss.com/article/69233/7-presidential-facts-about-william-henry-harrison
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Historical rankings of Presidents of the United States.
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Calvin Coolidge.
- ↑ Craig, Susanne, "Trump’s Empire: A Maze of Debts and Opaque Ties", NYT 8.20.16.
|Presidents of the United States|
| Washington (n/a) - J. Adams (Fed.) - Jefferson (Dem-Rep) - Madison (Dem-Rep) - Monroe (Dem-Rep) - J.Q. Adams (Dem-Rep) - Jackson (D) - Van Buren (D) - Harrison (Whig) - Tyler (Whig) - Polk (D) - Taylor (Whig) - Fillmore (Whig) - Pierce (D) - Buchanan (D) - Lincoln (R) - A. Johnson (D*) - Grant (R) - Hayes (R) - Garfield (R) - Arthur (R) - Cleveland (D) - Harrison (R) - Cleveland (D) again - McKinley (R) - T. Roosevelt (R) - Taft (R) - Wilson (D) - Harding (R) - Coolidge (R) - Hoover (R) - F.D. Roosevelt (D) - Truman (D) - Eisenhower (R) - Kennedy (D) - L.B. Johnson (D) - Nixon (R) - Ford (R) - Carter (D) - Reagan (R) - G.H.W. Bush (R) - Clinton (D) - G.W. Bush (R) - Obama (D) - Trump (R) (incumbent)
*Ran for VP on the "National Union" ticket together with Lincoln but was otherwise a lifelong Democrat