Table of the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the United States

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period


presidents


vice-presidents

1. 1789 - 1797 George Washington John Adams
2. 1797 - 1801 John Adams Thomas Jefferson
3. 1801 - 1809 Thomas Jefferson Aaron Burr
George Clinton
(from 1805)
4. 1809 - 1817 James Madison George Clinton
Elbridge Gerry
(from 1813)
5. 1817 - 1825 James Monroe D. D. Tomkins
6. 1825 - 1829 John Q. Adams John C. Calhoun
7. 1829 - 1837 Andrew Jackson John C. Calhoun
8. 1837 - 1841 Martin Van Buren R. M. Johnson
9. 1841
(Died in office)
William H. Harrison John Tyler
10. 1841 - 1845 John Tyler -
11. 1845 - 1849 James K. Polk George M. Dallas
12. 1849 - 1850
(Died in office)
Zachary Taylor Millard Fillmore
13. 1850 - 1853 Millard Fillmore -
14. 1853 - 1857 Franklin Pierce William R. King
15. 1857 - 1861 James Buchanan J. C. Breckinridge
16. 1861 - 1865
(Assassinated)
Abraham Lincoln H. Hamlin
Andrew Johnson
(1865)
17. 1865 - 1869 Andrew Johnson -
18. 1869 - 1877 U. S. Grant S. Colfax
H. Wilson
(from 1873)
19. 1877 - 1881 Rutherford B. Hayes W. A. Wheeler
20. 1881 James A. Garfield
(Assassinated)
Chester A. Arthur
21. 1881 - 1885 Chester A. Arthur -
22. 1885 - 1889 Grover Cleveland A. Hendricks
23. 1889 - 1893 Bejamin Harrison Levi P. Morton
24. 1893 - 1897 Grover Cleveland Adlai E. Stevenson
25. 1897 - 1901 William McKinley G. A. Hobart
Theodore Roosevelt
(from 1901)
26. 1901 - 1909 Theodore Roosevelt -
C. W. Fairbanks
(from 1905)
27. 1909 - 1913 William H. Taft J. S. Sherman
28. 1913 - 1921 Woodrow Wilson T. R. Marshall
29. 1921 - 1923 Warren G. Harding
(Died in office)
Calvin Coolidge
30. 1923 - 1929 Calvin Coolidge -
Charles G. Dawes
(from 1925)
31. 1929 - 1933 Herbert C. Hoover Charles Curtis
32. 1933 - 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt
(Died in office)
John N. Garner
Henry A. Wallace
(from 1941)
Harry S. Truman
(from 1945)
33. 1945 - 1953 Harry S. Truman -
Alben W. Barkley
(from 1949)
34. 1953 - 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower Richard M. Nixon
35. 1961 - 1963 John F. Kennedy
(Assassinated)
Lyndon B. Johnson
36. 1963 - 1969 Lyndon B. Johnson -
Hubert H. Humphrey
(from 1965)
37. 1969 - 1974 Richard M. Nixon
(resigned)
Spiro Agnew
(resigned)
Gerald R. Ford
(from 1973)
38. 1974 - 1977 Gerald R. Ford Nelson A. Rockefeller
39. 1977 - 1981 Jimmy Carter Walter F. Mondale
40. 1981 - 1989 Ronald Reagan George Bush
41. 1989 - 1993 George Bush Dan Quayle
42. 1993 - 2001 Bill Clinton Al Gore


(table taken from "Politics in the USA", M.J.C. Vile, Hutchinson University Library, London)

 

Washington, George

When George Washington was born, Virginia was a British colony. His father farmed and owned slaves, but was not rich. He died when his son was 11. Washington did not have much schooling, but he was always very practical. At 14 he helped to survey some frontier land. A year later he had his own surveying business, and in 1752 he inherited some land from one of his brothers. At this time, Britain and France were rivals: they both owned colonies in North America and they both tried to be in control. As a soldier in the British army, Washington was sent to tell the French commander to stop building forts on the Ohio River. The French refused. Thus began the North American part of the Seven Years War, a wide-ranging conflict involving Prussia, Britain and part of Germany against Austria, France, Russia, Sweden and Spain. The British army fought against the French for five years before the French finally retreated to Canada. Washington's exploits made him well known in Virginia, and he left the army at the end of the war with the rank of colonel.
After the war, Washington settled down to be a farmer in Virginia. However, he gradually came to believe that the American colonists needed to be free from Britain. In 1775 he was made commander-in-chief of the colonists' army. His job was to recruit men for it and train them. The American Revolution (War of Independence) began soon after.
In fighting against the British, Washington made mistakes, but his grit and perseverance kept his forces going. Often his troops were famished, and sometimes they went barefoot in the snow.
In 1783, after the war had been won, Washington went back to Virginia. Although he was a national hero, he did not want public office. Nevertheless, in 1789 he was unanimously elected as the first president of the USA. Dutifully he accepted the job, and his subsequent re-election in 1792, although he refused to serve for a third term.
After he died, it was said of Washington that he was ‘first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen’.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Jefferson, Thomas

When Thomas Jefferson was born, Virginia was still a colony ruled by Britain. His father died when he was 14 and he inherited an enormous plantation, together with some slaves. After going to college, he became a lawyer, and in 1769 he was elected to the House of Burgesses, a local parliament. Many Virginians felt that Britain should allow the colonists to rule themselves. Jefferson agreed. He wrote that London had no right to make laws for people who had left England. Many people read and discussed his ideas and he was chosen to draft what became the Declaration of Independence. This formed the basis of the US constitution. He wrote ‘all men are created equal and independent’, and therefore they have rights which no one can take away. These rights include ‘the preservation of life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’. This declaration led to the American Revolution (1775–1783) which secured US independence from England.
Jefferson did not fight in the war, choosing instead to return to Virginia. He was elected governor of Virginia (1779–1781) and then rose up the political ladder, as well as serving on diplomatic missions to Europe. In 1801 he became the third president of the USA. During his presidency, the size of the USA doubled.
Jefferson dedicated his last years to what was one of his proudest achievements, the University of Virginia.

Declaration of Independence


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Lincoln, Abraham

Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin to a very poor family. He spent much of his childhood doing chores to help his parents. He rarely had a chance to go to school, but he still loved reading. A relative said, ‘I never seen Abe after he was twelve 'at he didn't have a book in his hand or in his pocket.’ Books were scarce and expensive then; Lincoln read the Bible and a few precious story books over and over again.
When he was 22, Lincoln left home and settled in Illinois. He tried various jobs, before eventually qualifying as a lawyer, at which he was extremely successful. It was in Illinois that he became involved in politics, serving for several years in the Illinois General Assembly. He then served a term in Congress before attempting to gain a place in the US Senate, although he was not successful. He came to national attention when he took part in a series of heated debates against slavery, and he became acknowledged as a powerful speaker and one of the leaders of the anti-slavery movement. In 1860 he was elected president of the USA. On his election, many southern states (where slavery was still allowed) broke away from the United States and reorganized themselves as an independent nation, called the Southern Confederacy. This was the beginning of the American Civil War, which lasted until 1865. In the middle of the war, on 1 January 1863, he announced his Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in the US. (Southerners, of course, did not free their slaves until they had lost the war.)
Later in 1863, Lincoln made a speech when he dedicated a soldiers' cemetery after the terrible battle of Gettysburg (which the Union armies of the northern states had won). It became known as ‘The Gettysburg Address’ and contained famous, often-quoted lines. Few people realized it at the time, but Lincoln had in fact summed up the spirit of democracy. He said that the soldiers had died so ‘that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth’.
Lincoln had plans for healing the wounds caused by the war, but he was killed before he could carry them out. He was shot dead while at the theatre by John Wilkes Booth, a fanatical supporter of the southern states.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Grant, Ulysses S.

Ulysses S. Grant was named Hiram Ulysses Grant, but did not use his first name. The S. crept into his name through a mistake when he enrolled at the US Military Academy, West Point, New York. He never corrected it and always maintained that it did not stand for anything.
After 11 years in the army, Grant, then a captain, resigned and tried farming. He failed, and eventually got a job in his father's leather goods business. When the American Civil War broke out in 1861 he volunteered for the Union Army of the northern states. Within four months his skill as a commander had earned him promotion to brigadier-general.
A series of victories led President Abraham Lincoln to appoint Grant commander-in-chief of all the Union armies. Grant's drive and ruthlessness forced the Confederates of the southern states to surrender in April 1865.
Three years later, Grant won the presidential election for the Republicans with the slogan ‘Let us have peace’. He was honest himself, but many members of his administration were not. Scandals about bribes rocked the government, yet he easily won re-election in 1872. That year he helped set up Yellowstone, the first national park in the USA.
Grant refused to run for a third term as president, and retired in 1877. He invested his considerable savings in a firm which went bankrupt in 1884, leaving him with heavy debts. To earn some money, he decided to write his memoirs. It was a race against time, for he knew he was dying of cancer. He died shortly after finishing the book, but it earned his family $450,000.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Roosevelt, Theodore

Theodore Roosevelt was born into a wealthy family. He was a weak child who suffered from asthma, and he had to build up his health and strength. He was always known as ‘Teddy’.
After graduating from Harvard University, Roosevelt entered politics at the age of 23. He was elected to the New York State assembly as a Republican, but the death of his wife and his mother in 1884 shattered him. He left politics and became a cattle rancher in Dakota instead.
However, it was only a few years before he was involved in politics again. He was appointed to the Civil Service Commission and then became in charge of the New York police. In 1886 he was an assistant secretary of the navy, but resigned in 1898 to lead a cavalry regiment, the Rough Riders, in the Spanish American War. Then he was elected vice-president in 1900. Six months later President McKinley was assassinated, and Roosevelt became president.
As president, Roosevelt broke up trusts (big business monopolies), settled a damaging coal strike, and bought a strip of land to build the Panama Canal. Through his efforts, Panama became independent from Colombia.
After he was elected president in his own right in 1904, Roosevelt helped to bring about peace in a war between Russia and Japan. For this he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. He was the first American to win a Nobel prize.
When he retired, Roosevelt hunted big game in Africa, and led an expedition to explore the River of Doubt in Brazil, now called the Roosevelt or Teodoro River.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Wilson, Woodrow

Thomas Woodrow Wilson spent his childhood in Georgia and South Carolina. He began his career as a lawyer, but soon started teaching history, economics, and law at various colleges. By 1890 he was a professor at Princeton University, New Jersey, and in 1902 he was elected president of the university. Eight years later he was invited by the Democratic Party to run for the office of Governor of New Jersey. He was elected and, as governor, he set about reforming New Jersey, ending corrupt practices in elections and improving the school system.
Wilson became president of the USA in 1913. Again he set about changing things, including lowering many import duties and other taxes, ending child labour and cutting working hours.
When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, Wilson kept the USA out of it and was re-elected in 1916 mainly because of this. However, within a few months German submarines in the Atlantic Ocean began sinking all merchant ships, including American vessels, and Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany.
In January 1918, shortly before the end of the war, Wilson outlined ‘Fourteen Points’ for a peace settlement. When the war ended, Wilson persuaded other countries to agree to most of the Fourteen Points, including the setting up of the League of Nations (an earlier form of the United Nations). However, Congress refused to let the USA join the League. Despite this, Wilson, now a sick man, was awarded the 1920 Nobel Peace Prize for his help in safeguarding the peace.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Roosevelt, Franklin Delano

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, was the only son of rich parents. He studied at Harvard University and in 1907 he became a lawyer in New York.
Under president Woodrow Wilson, he served in the New York State senate, and as Assistant Secretary for the Navy during World War I. Then tragedy struck: at the age of 40, he developed polio. Although he could never walk again – and he had been a very athletic young man – he was able to keep fit by swimming and to drive a car. Although he was badly crippled by the polio, he soon returned to politics. In 1928 he was elected Governor of New York State, and four years later he became president of the USA.
At this time, the country was in a terrible state. One worker in four was out of work, and many families were too poor even to buy food. Five thousand banks had failed. Roosevelt promised a ‘New Deal’, and told Americans: ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ His New Deal was a programme to put the country back on its feet. It enabled banks to reopen and gave jobs to the unemployed. He also began radio broadcasts to the nation, known as his ‘Fireside Chats’. The success of these and later measures ensured his re-election as president in 1936.
In 1940, with World War II raging in Europe, Roosevelt was elected for a third term, the first and last president to achieve this. In December 1941 the USA entered the war after the Japanese bombed the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Roosevelt guided the country through its darkest days, working closely with the leaders of Britain and the Soviet Union, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. He won a fourth election in 1944, but only six months later, with victory in the war in sight, he suddenly died. He was honoured as one of the greatest citizens in American history.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Eisenhower, Dwight D.

From his childhood, everybody called Dwight David Eisenhower by the nickname ‘Ike’. He became a soldier during World War I, and by World War II, although he had never been in action, he had risen to the rank of brigadier-general. His organizing ability then led to his promotion to command US forces in Europe in 1942. British and American generals were often jealous of each other, but as commander-in-chief of the Allied armies, Eisenhower turned them into a winning team.
Eisenhower held two more important army posts; he was chief of staff of the US Army, and in 1951 he was invited to be the supreme commander of the NATO forces in Europe. In 1952 the Republican Party persuaded him to be its presidential candidate. He left the army, and his supporters swept him to power in the election with the slogan ‘I like Ike’.
He served for two terms, winning a second election in 1956. During his presidency, the Korean War ended, two new states — Alaska and Hawaii joined the United States, and the US space programme began. At the end of his presidency, he retired to his farm in Pennsylvania.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Kennedy, John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (‘Jack’ to his family) was one of nine children. He did well at college, but he hurt his back while playing football and never fully recovered from the injury. During World War II, Kennedy commanded a small ship. It was sunk by the Japanese, but Kennedy, although badly injured, managed to lead his men to safety. For this he was awarded a medal for heroism.
Kennedy's father was a strong-minded man who became successful in business and was the US ambassador to England during part of World War II. He had decided that his eldest son, Joe, would be a politician and perhaps even president one day. However, when Joe was killed during World War II, John Kennedy took his place.
The whole family helped him win his first election as a Democrat member of the House of Representatives in 1946, and then to become a senator in 1952. His father spent a lot of money on the campaigns and other members helped to canvass voters. One opponent said, ‘It's that family of his. They're all over the state.’
In 1960 he was elected president of the USA. Handsome and inspiring, in his first speech he said, ‘My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’ Although he was energetic and intelligent, Kennedy soon faced problems. He gave American help to Cuban refugees trying to invade communist Cuba. They failed, making the USA look foolish. But Kennedy did stop the USSR from building nuclear missile bases on Cuba in 1962. He also sent military advisers and troops to Vietnam, which led, after his death, to American involvement in the Vietnam War. At home, he proposed laws to give black Americans equal rights, but Congress did not pass these laws in his lifetime.
In November 1963 Kennedy travelled to Dallas, Texas, to gather support in the American South. He was shot and killed by a gunman while travelling in an open car. The world mourned Kennedy not only for what he did, but for the good he could have done had he lived.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Nixon, Richard

Richard Nixon began his career as a lawyer, and then served as a naval officer in World War II. In 1946 he was elected as a Republican to the House of Representatives, and after four years there he became a senator. When Eisenhower became president in 1953, Nixon was his vice-president. He failed to win the election for president himself in 1960 (losing to J. F. Kennedy), but won in 1968.
At the time, US troops were heavily involved in the Vietnam War. At first Nixon increased the bombing attacks against North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. But gradually he recognized that the communists could not be defeated. From 1971 American forces began to withdraw from South Vietnam. Afterwards he improved relations with China and later visited that country. He also visited the USSR and signed an agreement to limit the production of nuclear weapons.
Nixon was easily re-elected in 1972, but his second term of office was rocked by scandal. During the 1972 election campaign, some of Nixon's supporters had burgled the Watergate Hotel, the headquarters of the opposing Democratic Party. At first Nixon denied all knowledge of the break-in, but eventually he had to admit that he had helped to cover up the scandal. He resigned in 1974.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Reagan, Ronald

Ronald Reagan came from a poor family. After working his way through college, he became a radio sports announcer. His good looks and voice helped him get a Hollywood contract in 1937, and he made his first film that year. In total he made about 50 films.
His acting career was interrupted when he joined the air force in World War II. However, he did not see active service but made training films instead. For several years after the war he was president of the Screen Actors Guild, and he also worked in television. He was so good at making speeches that many people told him he should be a politician.
Reagan joined the Republican Party in 1962 and was elected Governor of California in 1966. He believed that government had become too big and powerful. It also cost too much, and was hindering instead of helping most Americans. He failed to win the presidential election in 1976, but he tried again and was elected president in 1980. Four years later he was elected for another term. He was not only the oldest, but one of the most popular and conservative American presidents. During his presidency, military expenditure increased while less money was spent on welfare benefits for the poor. In 1987 a treaty was signed with the USSR to eliminate ground-based nuclear missiles.


(text taken from "Oxford Children`s Encyclopedia", OUP 96)
(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Clinton, Bill


(photo taken from "Encarta 99", Microsoft 93-98)

 


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Do you know some facts about the presidents of the U.S.A.?

1. Who was shot and killed by a gunman while travelling in an open car?
2. What are the first names of the president Grant?
3. When did the wife and mother of Theodore Roosevelt die?
4. What ended in the year 1865?
5. How old was George Washington as he helped to survey some frontier land?

6. When did Woodrow Wilson become president of the USA?
7. What was the nickname of Dwight David Eisenhower since his childhood?


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