Presidents Timeline


George Washington

1789 - 1797

American commander-in-chief; first president, set precedents for future presidents, put down Whiskey Rebellion (enforced Whiskey Tax), managed first presidential cabinet, carefully used power of executive to avoid monarchial style rule. Began to figure out how the new government should function.

John Adams

1797 - 1801

Federalist president. XYZ Affair, A Massachusetts attorney and politician who was a strong believer in colonial independence. He argued against the Stamp Act and was involved in various patriot groups. As a delegate from Massachusetts, he urged the Second Continental Congress to declare independence. He helped draft and pass the Declaration of Independence. Adams later served as the second President of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson

1801 - 1809

Anti-federalists President. Louisiana Purchase, Virginian, architect, author, governor, and president. Lived at Monticello. Wrote the Declaration of Independence. Second governor of Virgina. Third president of the United States. Designed the buildings of the University of Virginia.

James Madison

1809 - 1817

Anti-federalist president. War of 1812, The fourth President of the United States (1809-1817). A member of the Continental Congress (1780-1783) and the Constitutional Convention (1787), he strongly supported ratification of the Constitution and was a contributor to The Federalist Papers (1787-1788), which argued the effectiveness of the proposed constitution. His presidency was marked by the War of 1812.

James Monroe

1817 - 1825

Anti-federalist. Monroe Doctrine, He was the fifth President of the United States. He is the author of the Monroe Doctrine. Proclaimed that the Americas should be closed to future European colonization and free from European interference in sovereign countries' affairs. It further stated the United States' intention to stay neutral in European wars

John Q. Adams

1825 - 1829

Democratic- Republican. Erie Canal, fairly useless, Secretary of State, He served as sixth president under Monroe. In 1819, he drew up the Adams-Onis Treaty in which Spain gave the United States Florida in exchange for the United States dropping its claims to Texas. The Monroe Doctrine was mostly Adams' work.

Andrew Jackson

1829 - 1837

Democratic. Second Bank of the US, "I have killed the bank", trail of tears, The seventh President of the United States (1829-1837), who as a general in the War of 1812 defeated the British at New Orleans (1815). As president he opposed the Bank of America, objected to the right of individual states to nullify disagreeable federal laws, and increased the presidential powers.

Martin Van Buren

1837 - 1841

Democratic party. Panic of 1937, He was the eighth president of the United States who was experienced in legislative and administrative life. He passed the Divorce Bill which placed the federal surplus in vaults located in large cities and denied the backing system.

John Tyler

1841 - 1845

Whig Canadian Border set at 45th parallel, Elected Vice President and became the 10th President of the United States when Harrison died 1841-1845, President responsible for annexation of Mexico after receiving mandate from Polk, opposed many parts of the Whig program for economic recovery

William Henry Harrison

March 24, 1841 - April 4, 1841

Whig party. Ran with a democrat, Was an American military leader, politician, the ninth President of the United States, and the first President to die in office. His death created a brief constitutional crisis, but ultimately resolved many questions about presidential succession left unanswered by the Constitution until passage of the 25th Amendment. Led US forces in the Battle of Tippecanoe.

James K. Polk

1845 - 1849

Democrat. Texas entered the Union as a state directly, Polk was a slave owning southerner dedicated to Democratic party. In 1844, he was a "dark horse" candidate for president, and he won the election. Polk favored American expansion, especially advocating the annexation of Texas, California, and Oregon. He was a friend and follower of Andrew Jackson. He opposed Clay's American System, instead advocating lower tariff, separation the treasury and the federal government from the banking system. He was a nationalist who believed in Manifest Destiny.

Zachary Taylor

1849 - 1850

Whig, General that was a military leader in Mexican-American War and 12th president of the United States. Sent by president Polk to lead the American Army against Mexico at Rio Grande, but defeated.

Millard Fillmore

1850 - 1853

WhigCompromise of 1850, Successor of President Zachary Taylor after his death on July 9th 1850. He helped pass the Compromise of 1850 by gaining the support of Northern Whigs for the compromise.

Franklin Pierce

1853 - 1857

Demorat Kansas-Nebraska Bill, An American politician and the fourteenth President of the United States. Pierce's popularity in the North declined sharply after he came out in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, repealing the Missouri Compromise and reopening the question of the expansion of slavery in the West.

James Buchanan

1857 - 1861

Dred Scott decision, the 15th President of the United States (1857-1861). He tried to maintain a balance between proslavery and antislavery factions, but his moderate views angered radicals in both North and South, and he was unable to forestall the secession of South Carolina on December 20, 1860.

Abraham Lincoln

1861 - 1865

Republican Civil War, One of the most skillful politicians in Republican party. Lawyer. Tried to gain national exposure by debates with Stephen A. Douglas. The Lincoln-Douglas debates attracted much attention. Lincoln's attacks on slavery made him nationally known. He felt slavery was morally wrong, but was not an abolitionist. He felt there was not an alternative to slavery and blacks were not prepared to live on equal terms as whites. Won presidency in November election.

Andrew Johnson

1865 - 1869

Democrat Adoption of Black Codes in the South, reconstruction issues, A Southerner form Tennessee, as V.P. when Lincoln was killed, he became president. He opposed radical Republicans who passed Reconstruction Acts over his veto. The first U.S. president to be impeached, he survived the Senate removal by only one vote. He was a very weak president.

Ulysses S. Grant

1869 - 1877

Republican Panic of 1873, U.S. president 1873-1877. Military hero of the Civil War, he led a corrupt administration, consisting of friends and relatives. Although Grant was personally a very honest and moral man, his administration was considered the most corrupt the U.S. had had at that time.

Rutherford B. Hayes

1877 - 1881

Republican 19th president of the united states, was famous for being part of the Hayes-Tilden election in which electoral votes were contested in 4 states, most corrupt election in US history

James Garfield

March 4, 1881 - September 19, 1881

Republican James Garfield was elected to presidency in 1880. He barely won the popular vote but won by a huge margin in the electoral college. He was assassinated so Stalwarts could be in power in the government. This brought about reforms in the spoils systems.

Chester A. Arthur

September 19, 1881 - 1885

Republican He was the Vice President of James A. Garfield. After President Garfield was assassinated, September of 1881, Arthur assumed the position. He was chosen to run as Vice President, primarily, to gain the Stalwart's vote. Arthur was left in charge of the United States with no apparent qualifications. He, in turn, surprised the public with his unexpected vigor in prosecuting certain post office frauds and wouldn't help the Conklingite cronies when they came looking for favors. He was also in favor of civil service reform.

Grover Cleveland

1885 - 1889

Democrat was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. was the only Democrat elected to the presidency in the era of Republican political domination that lasted from 1860 to 1912. Was the leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs, free silver, inflation, imperialism and subsidies to business, farmers or veterans

Benjamin Harrison

1889 - 1893

Republican the twenty-third President of the United States, serving one term from 1889 to 1893. He had previously served as a senator from Indiana. His administration is best known for a series of legislation including the McKinley Tariff and federal spending that reached one billion dollars. Democrats attacked the "Billion Dollar Congress" and defeated the GOP in the 1890 mid-term elections, as well as defeating Harrison's bid for reelection in 1892. He is to date the only president from Indiana.

Grover Cleveland

1893 - 1897

was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. was the only Democrat elected to the presidency in the era of Republican political domination that lasted from 1860 to 1912. Was the leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs, free silver, inflation, imperialism and subsidies to business, farmers or veterans

William McKinley

1897 - 1901

The twenty-fifth President of the United States, and the last veteran of the Civil War to be elected. By the 1880s, this Ohio native was a nationally known 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, he upheld the gold standard, and promoted pluralism among ethnic groups.

Theodore Roosevelt

1901 - 1909

26th president, known for: conservationism, trust-busting, Hepburn Act, safe food regulations, "Square Deal," Panama Canal, Great White Fleet, Nobel Peace Prize for negotiation of peace in Russo-Japanese Wa

William Taft

1909 - 1913

was endorsed by Roosevelt because he pledged to carry on progressive program, then he didn't appoint any Progressives to the Cabinet, actively pursued anti-trust law suits, appoints Richard Ballinger as Secretary of the Interior, Ballinger opposed conservation and favored business interests, Taft fires Gifford Pinchot (head of U.S. forestry), ran for re-election in 1912 but lost to Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

1913 - 1921

28th president of the United States, known for World War I leadership, created Federal Reserve, Federal Trade Commission, Clayton Antitrust Act, progressive income tax, lower tariffs, women's suffrage (reluctantly), Treaty of Versailles, sought 14 points post-war plan, League of Nations (but failed to win U.S. ratification), won Nobel Peace Prize

Warren G. Harding

1921 - 1923

Pres.1921 laissez-faire, little regard for government or presidency. "return to normalcy" after Wilson + his progressive ideals. Office became corrupt: allowed drinking in prohibition, had an affair, surrounded himself w/ cronies (used office for private gain). Ex) Sec. of Interior leased gov't land with oil for $500,000 and took money himself. Died after 3 years in office, VP: Coolidge took over

Calvin Coolidge

1923 - 1929

Became president when Harding died of pneumonia. He was known for practicing a rigid economy in money and words, and acquired the name "Silent Cal" for being so soft-spoken. He was a true republican and industrialist. Believed in the government supporting big business.

Herbert Hoover

1929 - 1933

Republican candidate who assumed the presidency in March 1929 promising the American people prosperity and attempted to first deal with the Depression by trying to restore public faith in the community.

Franklin Roosevelt

1933 - 1945

often referred to by his initials FDR, was the thirty-second President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945, and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms of office. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war.

Harry Truman

1945 - 1953

The 33rd U.S. president, who succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt upon Roosevelt's death in April 1945. Truman, who led the country through the last few months of World War II, is best known for making the controversial decision to use two atomic bombs against Japan in August 1945. After the war, Truman was crucial in the implementation of the Marshall Plan, which greatly accelerated Western Europe's economic recovery.

Dwight Eisenhower

1953 - 1961

He was the U. S. general who led the attack in North Africa in Nov. of 1942.He was the master organizer of the D-Day invasion in Europe (June 6, 1944). He ran for the Republican ticket in the 1952 and the1956 elections and won. He was very well liked by the public.

John Kennedy

1961 - 1963

President during part of the Cold War and especially during the superpower rivalry and the Cuban missile crisis. He was the president who went on TV and told the public about the crisis and allowed the leader of the Soviet Union to withdraw their missiles. Other events, which were during his terms was the building of the Berlin wall, the space race, and early events of the Vietnamese war. Was assassinated Nov. 22 1963

Lyndon Johnson

1963 - 1969

Signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He had a war on poverty in his agenda. In an attempt to win, he set a few goals, including the Great Society, the Economic Opportunity Act, and other programs that provided food stamps and welfare to needy famillies. He also created a Department of Housing and Urban Development. His most important legislation was probably Medicare and Medicaid. He was against the Vietnam war but went to fight the spread of communism

Richard Nixon

1969 - 1974

President of the United States from 1969 to 1974 who followed a foreign policy marked by détente with the Soviet Union and by the opening of diplomatic relations with China. In the face of likely impeachment for the Watergate scandal, he resigned.

Gerald Ford

1974 - 1977

the first president to be solely elected by a vote from Congress. He entered the office in August of 1974 when Nixon resigned. He pardoned Nixon of all crimes that he may have committed. The Vietnam War ended in 1975, in which Ford evacuated nerely 500,000 Americans and South Vietnamese from Vietnam. He closed the war.

Jimmy Carter

1977 - 1981

The 39th President who created the Department of Energy and the Depatment of Education. He was criticized for his return of the Panama Canal Zone, and his last year in office was marked by the takeover of the American embassy in Iran, fuel shortages, and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, which caused him to lose to Ronald Regan in the next election.

Ronald Reagan

1981 - 1989

First elected president in 1980 and elected again in 1984. He ran on a campaign based on the common man and "populist" ideas. He served as governor of California from 1966-1974, and he participated in the McCarthy Communist scare. Iran released hostages on his Inauguration Day in 1980. While president, he developed Reagannomics, the trickle down effect of government incentives. He cut out many welfare and public works programs. He used the Strategic Defense Initiative to avoid conflict. His meetings with Gorbachev were the first steps to ending the Cold War. He was also responsible for the Iran-contra Affair which bought hostages with guns.

George H. W. Bush

1989 - 1993

1988; Republican; increased welfare and unemployment benefits during a recession, yielded to Democrat Congress on economic issues, signed the American with Disabilities Act, sent troops to Panama, Soviet Union collapsed in 1991: end of Cold War, sent troops to fight Sadaam Hussein in the Persian Gulf War; North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Bill Clinton

1993 - 2001

This Democrat served as president from 1993 to 2001, during a period of intense partisanship in the US government. His plan to provide universal health care to all Americans was defeated by Republican Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America" movement and a well-organized opposition from the doctors' lobbying organization (the American Medical Association). His few domestic and international successes were overshadowed by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal that led to his impeachment and eventual acquittal.