Chart of presidents of the United States

Here is a chart that I hope easily gives all relevant presidential info at a glance.

Presidents with the lighter blue background on their dates are the ones who did not serve full terms.

Presidents with the darker blue background on their dates are ones who succeeded to office as vice president.

Blue represents Democrats, red Republicans, green Democratic-Republicans, orange Whigs, and yellow Federalists. George Washington had no party.

For presidents of the United States Congress (1776-1789), who are sometimes considered to be the American heads of state for a 13-year period after the Revolution but before George Washington, see my chart on presidents of the United States before George Washington.

Learn more about historical documents.

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Name: Term: Time in office: Elections won: Left office:
1
George Washington July 1, 1789 - March 4, 1797 6 years, 4 months, 6 d.
2
Did not seek re-election
2
John Adams March 4, 1797 - March 4, 1801 4 years
1
Lost reelection
3
Thomas Jefferson March 4, 1801 - March 4, 1809 8 years
2
Did not seek reelection
4
James Madison March 4, 1809 - March 4, 1817 8 years
2
Did not seek reelection
5
James Monroe March 4, 1817 - March 4, 1825 8 years
2
Did not seek reelection
6
John Q. Adams March 4, 1825 - March 4, 1829 4 years
1
Lost reelection
7
Andrew Jackson March 4, 1829 - March 4, 1837 8 years
2
Did not seek reelection
8
Martin Van Buren March 4, 1837 - March 4, 1841 8 years
2
Did not seek reelection
9
William H. Harrison March 4, 1841 - April 4, 1841 30 days
1
Died in office

No one — see below
April 4, 1841 - April 6, 1841
2 days

10
John Tyler April 6, 1841 - March 4,1845 3 years, 11 months
0
Did not seek reelection
11
James K. Polk March 4, 1845 - March 4,1849 4 years
1
Did not seek reelection

No one
March 4, 1849 - March 5, 1849
1 day

12
Zachary Taylor March 5, 1849 - July 9, 1850 1 year, 4 months, 4 d.
1
Died in office

No one July 9, 1849 - July 10, 1849
1 day

13
Millard Fillmore July 10, 1850 - March 4, 1853 2 years, 7 months, 26 d.
0
Did not seek reelection╣
14
Franklin Pierce March 4, 1853 - March 4, 1857 4 years
1
Did not seek reelection╣
15
James Buchanan March 4, 1857 - March 4, 1861 4 years
1
Did not seek reelection
16
Abraham Lincoln March 4, 1861 - April 15, 1865 4 years, 1 month, 11 d.
1
Assassinated
17
Andrew Johnson April 15, 1865 - March 4, 1869 3 years, 10 months, 20 d.
0
Did not seek reelection
18
Ulysses S. Grant March 4, 1869 - March 4, 1877 8 years
2
Did not seek reelection
19
Rutherford B. Hayes March 4, 1877 - March 4, 1881 4 years
1
Did not seek reelection
20
James Garfield March 4, 1881 - September 19, 1881 6 months, 15 d.
1
Assassinated

No one September 19, 1881 - September 20, 1881
1 day

21
Chester A. Arthur September 20, 1881 - March 4, 1885 3 years, 5 months, 16 d.
0
Did not seek reelection
22
Grover Cleveland March 4, 1885 - March 4, 1889 4 years
1
Lost reelection
23
Benjamin Harrison March 4, 1889 - March 4, 1893 4 years
1
Lost reelection
24
Grover Cleveland (2nd time) March 4, 1893 - March 4, 1897 4 years
1
Did not seek reelection
25
William McKinley March 4, 1897 - September 14, 1901 4 years, 6 months, 10 d.
2
Assassinated
26
Theodore Roosevelt September 14, 1901 - March 4, 1909 7 years, 5 months, 21 d.
1
Did not seek reelection
27
William H. Taft March 4, 1909 - March 4, 1913 4 years
1
Lost reelection
28
Woodrow Wilson March 4, 1913 - March 4, 1921 8 years
2
Did not seek reelection
29
Warren Harding March 4, 1921 - August 2, 1923 2 years, 4 months, 27 d.
1
Died in office

No one August 2, 1923 - August 3, 1923
1 day

30
Calvin Coolidge August 3, 1923 - March 4, 1929 5 years, 7 months, 2 d.
1
Did not seek reelection
31
Herbert Hoover March 4, 1929 - March 4, 1933 4 years
1
Lost reelection
32
Franklin D. Roosevelt March 4, 1933 - April 12, 1945 12 Years, 1 months, 8 d.
4
Died in office
33
Harry S. Truman April 12, 1945 - January 20, 1953 7 Years, 9 months, 8 d.
1
Did not seek reelection
34
Dwight Eisenhower January 20, 1953 - January 20, 1961 8 years
2
Term ended
35
John F. Kennedy January 20, 1961 - November 22, 1963 2 Years, 10 months, 2 d.
1
Assassinated
36
Lyndon Johnson November 22, 1963 - January 20, 1969 5 Years, 1 month, 29 d.
1
Did not seek reelection
37
Richard Nixon January 20, 1969 - August 9, 1974 5 Years, 6 months, 20 d.
2
Resigned
38
Gerald Ford August 9, 1974 - January 20, 1977 2 Years, 5 months, 11 d.
0
Lost election
39
Jimmy Carter January 20, 1977- January 20, 1981 4 years
1
Lost reelection
40
Ronald Reagan January 20, 1981 - January 20, 1989 8 years
2
Term ended
41
George H.W. Bush January 20, 1989 - January 20, 1993 4 years
1
Lost reelection
42
Bill Clinton January 20, 1993 - January 20, 2001 8 years
2
Term ended
43
George W. Bush January 20, 2001 - January 20, 2009 8 years
2
Term ended
44
Barack Obama January 20, 2009 - January 20, 2017
8 years
2
Term ended
45
Donald J. Trump
January 20, 2017-
1 year +
1

NOTES:

╣ Pierce and Fillmore did not win re-nomination from their parties to run for another term.

TOTALS:


Times when no one was president / presidents for one day?

Article I of the Constitution of the United States says a president must take an oath of office "before he enter on the execution of his office," which leads to some ambiguity as to at what exact moment a person becomes president. On multiple occasions, a vice president has not taken the oath of office immediately upon the death of the old president (or in the case of Zachary Taylor, on his scheduled inauguration day), and did not serve as president until he took the oath, which means it may be most correct to record a president's term as beginning on the date of his oath-taking, which is what the chart above does. Most historians and record-keepers, however, operate on the belief that a president's term begins the moment it is "supposed to" — i.e., the moment of a predecessor's death or his scheduled inauguration day — even if the oath was not taken at that time and the president didn't perform any presidential duties until he did.

There is a popular urban legend that because Zachary Taylor did not take the oath on the day he was supposed to, this made Senate President Pro Tempore David Rice Atchison "president for one day," during that one-day gap between the end of President Polk's term and the day Taylor did take his oath. Based on this logic, there would have been five "presidents for one day" in all (including two stints for Atchison himself, meaning Atchison was actually president for two days).

Of course, as none of these people, including Atchison, ever took the oath of office themselves, there is no real constitutional argument that any of these "presidents for one day" actually served, even theoretically. They are included here as mere historical curiosity.


Name: Term: Job:
Samuel Southard
April 4, 1841 - April 6, 1841 Senate President Pro Tempore
David Rice Atchison
March 4, 1849 - March 5, 1849 Senate President Pro Tempore
David Rice Atchison (2nd time) July 9, 1849 - July 10, 1849 Senate President Pro Tempore
Samuel Jackson Randall
September 19, 1881 - September 20, 1881 Speaker of the House
Charles Evans Hughes  August 2, 1923 - August 3, 1923 Secretary of State

From 1792 to 1886 the Senate President Pro Tempore was the third in line to the presidency after the president and vice president. From 1886 to 1947 it was the Secretary of State. When President Garfield was assasinated in 1881 the Senate was not in session and no one was serving as president pro tempore, which made the Speaker of the House of Represenatives next in line. 


Acting Presidents of the United States

The twenty-fifth amendment to the Constitution of the United States creates the office of "Acting President," someone who exercises all the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the President of the United States when the incumbent is temporarily incapacitated or otherwise unable to serve. This person is usually the vice president, second-in-line to the presidency.

The 25th has only been evoked three times, to briefly transfer presidential power to two vice presidents, for less than a day each.

Name: Term: Time in office:
George H.W. Bush July 13, 1985 approx. 8 hours (11:28 - 19:22 EST)
Dick Cheney June 29, 2002 approx. 2 hours (7:09 - 9:24 EST)
Dick Cheney (2nd time) July 21, 2007 approx. 2 hours (7:16 - 9:21 EST)

In all of the above situations the incumbent presidents were undergoing surgery during their absence from office.


CONCLUSIONS:

The only President who assumed office without first being elected President or vice president was Gerald Ford. He was appointed vice president by Congress in 1973, after Nixon's first vice president resigned.

The shortest term in office was William Henry Harrison, who served for only a month. Only he and James Garfield served as President for less than a year.

Andrew Johnson was the vice president who served the longest time as President without specifically being elected to the office. Lincoln was assassinated a mere month into his second term, so Johnson got to serve almost all of Lincoln's second, four-year mandate.

We are currently living in the longest stretch of successive presidents without anything weird (death, assassination, resignation) happening. Assuming Trump fulfills his term in office, there will have been seven successive presidents who have not ended their terms prematurely. The previous record period of presidential stability was the first nine successive presidencies, from Washington through Van Buren. Not a single one of the first nine presidents were killed, died in office, resigned, or were impeached. If Trump manages to serve a full eight years there will have been four eight-year presidencies in a row, which would be a historic first.

The most unstable period was 1933 to 1977. Of the seven presidents of that 40-year period, Eisenhower was the only truly "normal" president; that is to say the only one didn't die in office, resign, or succeed to the presidency as a vice president.


Living former presidents

Name: Left office: Time out of office:
Jimmy Carter January 20, 1981 36 years +
George H.W. Bush January 20, 1993 24 years +
Bill Clinton January 20, 2001 16 years +
George W. Bush January 20, 2009 8 years +
Barack Obama
January 20, 2017


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