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Advanced Placement
American History
The Presidents


Washington Lincoln FDR

Jefferson Jackson
Polk T. Roosevelt
Wilson Truman

J. Adams Monroe
Cleveland McKinley
Eisenhower JFK LBJ

Tyler Taylor
Fillmore Coolidge

Pierce Buchanan
A. Johnson Grant
Harding Hoover Nixon

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., 1996
  1. Lincoln
  2. FDR
  3. Washington
  4. Jefferson
  5. T. Roosevelt
  6. Wilson
  7. Truman
  8. Jackson
  9. Eisenhower
10. Madison
11. Polk
12. LBJ
13. Monroe
14. J. Adams
15. JFK
   • • •
37. Pierce
38. Grant
39. A. Johnson
40. Buchanan
41. Harding

William J. Ridings, Jr. & Stuart B. McIver, 1997
Washington Jefferson
Lincoln FDR

Jackson T. Roosevelt
Wilson Truman

J. Adams Madison
Monroe J. Q. Adams
Polk Cleveland
Eisenhower JFK LBJ

Tyler Taylor Fillmore Pierce Buchanan
A. Johnson Coolidge Nixon

Grant Harding

William A. McClenaghan, 1997
   1. Lincoln
   2. Washington
   3. FDR
   4. Jefferson
   5. T. Roosevelt
   6. Wilson
   7. Truman
   8. Jackson
   9. Polk
(tie) Eisenhower

   1. Harding
   2. Buchanan
   3. Pierce
   4. Grant
   5. A. Johnson
   6. Fillmore
   7. Nixon
   8. Tyler
   9. Coolidge
 10. Hoover

James MacGregor Burns, et al., 2000

  Clearly important accomplishment which produced decidedly positive results (immediate and eventual) affecting
       widespread America; highly praised among historians with little or no exception.
  Historically noteworthy event; however, historians bestow mixed judgments regarding the outcomes, or the effects
       are inherently awkward to assign any sort of blanket evaluation.
  Represents major shortcoming within this presidential administration; the action is routinely questioned or openly
       criticized by historians due to evident flaws.

George Washington    Federalist / Virginia (ST)

During most of George Washington's presidency, no real two-party political system existed. The Constitution made no provision whatever for political parties. While its framers recognized that reasonable disagreement and organized debate were healthy components in a democratic society, creation of permanent factions was an extreme to be avoided. (The consensus among the founding fathers was that political parties were potentially dangerous because they divided society, became dominated by narrow special interests, and placed mere party loyalty above concern for the common welfare.) Hence, to identify Washington with the Federalist Party is an ex post facto distinction. Accordingly, Washington's first "election" is more accurately described as a "placement"; his second election was procedural only. The first presidential challenge whereby the citizenry genuinely expressed choice between candidates affiliated with two separate parties occurred in 1896, when John Adams won the honor of following in Washington's footsteps.

"I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may
 not hereafter be drawn into precedent."
—President George Washington 

  Established presidential Cabinet
  Bill of Rights adopted (1791)
  Implemented Alexander Hamilton's superb economic plan
  Whiskey Rebellion (1794)
  Jay's Treaty (1795)
  Pinckney's Treaty / Treaty of San Lorenzo (1795)
  Two-party political system began to take shape during second term
  Delivered memorable Farewell Address

FUN FACT #1: Washington's second inaugural address was the shortest in history, containing only 135 words!
FUN FACT #2: The infamous "cherry tree" story is the creation of a biographer; it's pure bunk!

John Adams    Federalist / Massachusetts (ST)

"...always an honest man, often a wise one, but sometimes and in some things,
 absolutely out of his senses."
—Benjamin Franklin 

  XYZ Affair (1797) → Quasi-War
  Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) → Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
  Judiciary Act of 1801 → appointed so-called "midnight judges"

FUN FACT #1: Adams was the first President to live in the White House!
FUN FACT #2: Abigail Adams was an outspoken women's rights advocate!

Thomas Jefferson    Democratic-Republican / Virginia (ST)

The Democratic-Republican Party arose in response to what many Americans viewed as a Federalist Party becoming increasingly neglectful of public interest. While members of the new party called themselves "Republicans," they are not related to the modern Republican Party but instead are considered by many historians the rudiment of today's Democratic Party. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison provided strong early leadership for the Democratic-Republicans. In the so-called "Revolution of 1800," the electorate ousted the distant, monarchical-acting Federalists in favor of comfortable, old-fashioned democratic principles championed by the Democratic-Republicans.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain
—President Thomas Jefferson 

  Elected via "Revolution of 1800" → soothing Inaugural Address
  Marbury v. Madison (1803)
  Purchased Louisiana from France (1803) → Lewis & Clark Expedition
  Dealt with piracy of North African Arab countries
  Weathered Aaron Burr's shenanigans
  Embargo Act of 1807

FUN FACT #1: Among Jefferson's several inventions are the swivel chair and dumbwaiter!
FUN FACT #2: Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence!

James Monroe    Democratic-Republican / Virginia (MD)

"He is a man whose soul might be turned wrong side outward, without discovering a
—Thomas Jefferson 

  Rush-Bagot Agreement (1817) → Convention of 1818
  First Seminole War (1818) → Adams-Onís Transcontinental Treaty (1819)
  Panic of 1819
  Missouri Compromise (1820)
  Monroe Doctrine (1823)

FUN FACT #1: Monroe proposed that Cabinet members wear uniforms, but the idea was never adopted!
FUN FACT #2: Monrovia, Liberia, is the only foreign capital city named for a President of the United States!

Andrew Jackson    Democrat / Tennessee (CO)

Andrew Jackson thrust America into a democratic experience even more grass-roots than that of the Jeffersonians before him. Some historians are reluctant to trace the modern Democratic Party all the way back to Thomas Jefferson, preferring instead to credit Jackson as the present-day party's ancestral standard-bearer. Perhaps a suitable historical image of the Democratic Party would be a circle outlined by Jefferson, plenished by Jackson. Ironically, Jefferson did not care for Jackson's brash form of democracy, once calling Jackson a politically "dangerous man"; the puritanical John Quincy Adams (Jackson's predecessor and major opponent in the presidential elections of 1824 and 1828) referred to him as a "barbarian."

"If you have a job in your department that can't be done by a Democrat, then abolish
 the job."
—President Andrew Jackson 

  Wide use of "spoils system" fixed it firmly upon American politics
  Peggy Eaton Affair (1828)
  "Tariff of Abominations" (1828) → defused Nullification Crisis
  Indian Removal Act (1830) → pursued policy with distasteful zest
  Worcester v. Georgia (1832)
  Sought to dissolve Bank of United States
  Whig Party created from several anti-Jackson elements (1834)
  Specie Circular (1836) → Panic of 1837

FUN FACT #1: Jackson was the target of the first presidential assassination attempt!
FUN FACT #2: "King Andrew" used the presidential veto more than his six predecessors combined!

William Henry Harrison    Whig / Ohio (KT)

The Whig Party emerged during the early 1930s. It rejuvenated America's two-party system effectively eradicated by Andrew Jackson. The Whigs possessed great stores of wealth and talent (indeed, political giants John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster were all drawn into the ranks). However, a definitive party ideology was problematic—the single common element among the Whigs' varied membership was opposition to "King Andrew," hence placing the Whig Party in apparent clear conflict with the popular Jacksonian theme of glorification of the common man. The Whigs managed to overcome this ideological bump by portraying themselves as the party of economic prosperity, moral respectability, and social-welfare measures. Beginning with William Henry Harrison in 1840, the Whigs occupied four of a stretch of five presidencies, after which the party dissolved, many of its members defecting to the newly-formed Republican Party.

"...availability was the only ability sought by the Whigs."
—Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton 

  Died from complications due to pneumonia after one month in office

FUN FACT #1: Harrison is the first half of the only grandfather/grandson presidential combination!
FUN FACT #2: Harrison's inaugural speech—history's longest—was 8,445 words and took nearly two hours to recite!

John Tyler    Whig / Virginia (NG)

William Henry Harrison's death elevated Vice-President John Tyler into the highest office, the first time in the nation's history such action became necessary. While today the response to presidential vacancy is fixed by the Twenty-fifth Amendment, Harrison's early exit created quite a stir owing to the fact that the Constitution itself is noticeably abrupt regarding the roles and duties of the Vice-President. Thus, the door was opened wide for partisan politics to complicate the issue. Some people opposed straightforward replacement, insisting that Tyler should be addressed as "Acting President" or "Vice-President serving as President." Apparent simple questions caused debate. Should Tyler be paid the President's full salary? Should he be allowed to reside in the White House? His political foes—Tyler managed to alienate Democrats and Whigs (he aligned with both parties at one time or another, but lacked a base in either)—referred to him as "His Accidency" and even moved (unsuccessfully) toward impeachment. All things considered, it's not surprising that Tyler's term was noted more for its political squabbling than for many meaningful accomplishments.

"In 1840 I was called from my farm to undertake the administration of public affairs
 and I foresaw...a bed of thorns. I now leave that bed which has afforded me little
 rest, and eagerly seek repose in the quiet enjoyments of rural life."
—President John Tyler 

  Webster-Ashburton Treaty (1842)
  Treaty of Wang Hya (1844)
  Annexed Texas (1845) → triggered Mexican War

FUN FACT #1: At the outset of the Civil War, Tyler was elected to serve in the Confederate House of Representatives!
FUN FACT #2: Tyler's youngest and oldest daughters died a century apart!

Zachary Taylor    Whig / Virginia (BC)

"If I occupy the White House, I must be untrammeled and unpledged, so as to be
 President of the nation and not of a party."
—General Zachary Taylor 

  Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850)
  Stoutly opposed southern principles of states' rights & secessionism

FUN FACT #1: Taylor's son-in-law was Jefferson Davis, the Mississippi senator who became president of the Confederacy!
FUN FACT #2: Taylor died in office after serving only 16 months!

Millard Fillmore    Whig / New York (AH)

"God knows that I detest slavery, but it is an existing evil, for which we are not
 responsible, and we must endure it, and give it such protection as is guaranteed
 by the Constitution, till we can get rid of it without destroying the last hope of free
 government in the world."
—President Millard Fillmore 

  Compromise of 1850
  Sent Commodore Matthew Perry to seek relations with far-off Japan (1852)

FUN FACT #1: Vice-President Fillmore did not meet President-elect Zachary Taylor until after they had won the 1848 election!
FUN FACT #2: The first White House bathtub, kitchen stove, and library were installed during Fillmore's term!

Ahead to Lincoln thru Wilson                        Ahead to Harding thru Obama

"Elected"   by Alice Cooper