The President of the United States is the elected head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces . The president is indirectly elected to a four-year term by the people through the Electoral College .

Since the office was established in 1789, 44 men have served as president. The first, George Washington , won a unanimous vote of the Electoral College. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms in office, and is counted as the nation's 22nd and 24th presidents; the incumbent, Donald Trump , is therefore the 45th president. There are currently five living former presidents . The most recent death of a former president was on December 26, 2006 with the death of Gerald Ford ; the most recently serving president to die was Ronald Reagan on June 5, 2004 .

William Henry Harrison ’s presidency was the shortest in American history. He died 31 days after taking office in 1841. Franklin D. Roosevelt served the longest, over twelve years, before dying early in his fourth term in 1945. He is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. Since the ratification of the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1951, no person may be elected president more than twice, and no one who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected may be elected more than once. [8]

Of the elected presidents, four died in office of natural causes (William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor , Warren G. Harding , and Franklin D. Roosevelt), four were assassinated ( Abraham Lincoln , James A. Garfield , William McKinley and John F. Kennedy ), and one resigned ( Richard Nixon ). John Tyler was the first vice president to assume the presidency during a presidential term, and set the precedent that a vice president who does so becomes the fully functioning president with his own presidency, as opposed to a caretaker president. The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution put Tyler's precedent into law in 1967. It also established a mechanism by which a mid-term vacancy in the vice presidency could be filled. Richard Nixon was the first president to fill a vacancy under this Provision when he appointed Gerald Ford to the office. Later, Ford became the second to do so when he appointed Nelson Rockefeller to succeed him. Previously, a mid-term vacancy was left unfilled.

Throughout most of its history, American politics has been dominated by political parties . The Constitution is silent on the issue of political parties, and at the time it came into force in 1789, there were no parties. Soon after the 1st Congress convened, factions began rallying around dominant Washington Administration officials, such as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson . Greatly concerned about the very real capacity of political parties to destroy the fragile unity holding the nation together, Washington remained unaffiliated with any political faction or party throughout his eight-year presidency. He was, and remains, the only U.S. president never to be affiliated with a political party. [9] Since Washington, every president has been affiliated with a political party at the time they assumed office.

Presidents

Unaffiliated (2) Federalist (1) Democratic-Republican (4) Democratic (15) Whig (4) Republican (19) National Union (2)
Presidency President Prior office Party Term Vice President
1 April 30, 1789


March 4, 1797
George Washington
1732–1799
(Lived: 67 years)
[10] [11] [8]
Commander-in-Chiefof theContinental Army
( 1775–1783 )
Unaffiliated
[9]
( 1788–89 )
1
( 1789 )
John Adams
( 1792 )
2
( 1793 )
2 March 4, 1797

March 4, 1801
John Adams
1735–1826
(Lived: 90 years)
[8] [8] [8]
1stVice President of the United States Federalist ( 1796 )
3
( 1797 )
Thomas Jefferson
3 March 4, 1801

March 4, 1809
Thomas Jefferson
1743–1826
(Lived: 83 years)
[8] [8] [8]
2ndVice President of the United States Democratic-Republican ( 1800 )
4
( 1801 )
Aaron Burr
March 4, 1801 March 4, 1805
( 1804 )
5
( 1805 )
George Clinton
March 4, 1805 March 4, 1809
4 March 4, 1809

March 4, 1817
James Madison
1751–1836
(Lived: 85 years)
[19] [20] [21]
5thUnited States Secretary of State
(1801–1809)
Democratic-Republican ( 1808 )
6
( 1809 )
George Clinton
March 4, 1809 April 20, 1812
(Died in office)
Office vacant
(Balance of Clinton's term)
( 1812 )
7
( 1813 )
Elbridge Gerry
March 4, 1813 November 23, 1814
(Died in office)
Office vacant
(Balance of Gerry's term)
5 March 4, 1817

March 4, 1825
James Monroe
1758–1831
(Lived: 73 years)
[22] [23] [24]
7thUnited States Secretary of State
(1811–1817)
Democratic-Republican ( 1816 )
8
( 1817 )
Daniel D. Tompkins
( 1820 )
9
( 1821 )
6 March 4, 1825

March 4, 1829
John Quincy Adams
1767–1848
(Lived: 80 years)
[25] [26] [27]
8thUnited States Secretary of State
(1817–1825)
Democratic-Republican ( 1824 )
10
( 1825 )
John C. Calhoun
7 March 4, 1829

March 4, 1837
Andrew Jackson
1767–1845
(Lived: 78 years)
[28] [29] [30]
U.S. Senator from Tennessee
(1797–1798 & 1823–1825)
Democratic ( 1828 )
11
( 1829 )
John C. Calhoun

March 4, 1829 December 28, 1832
(Resigned from office)
Office vacant
(Balance of Calhoun's term)
( 1832 )
12
( 1833 )
Martin Van Buren
March 4, 1833 March 4, 1837
8 March 4, 1837

March 4, 1841
Martin Van Buren
1782–1862
(Lived: 79 years)
[31] [32] [33]
8thVice President of the United States Democratic ( 1836 )
13
( 1837 )
Richard M. Johnson
9 March 4, 1841

April 4, 1841
(Died in office)
William Henry Harrison
1773–1841
(Lived: 68 years)
[34] [35] [36]
United States Minister to Colombia
(1828–1829)
Whig ( 1840 )
14
( 1841 )
( 1841 )

John Tyler
(Succeeded to presidency)
10 April 4, 1841


March 4, 1845
John Tyler
1790–1862
(Lived: 71 years)
[37] [38] [39]
10thVice President of the United States Whig
April 4, 1841 September 13, 1841
Office vacant
Unaffiliated
September 13, 1841 March 4, 1845
11 March 4, 1845

March 4, 1849
James K. Polk
1795–1849
(Lived: 53 years)
[40] [41] [42]
9thGovernor of Tennessee
(1839–1841)
Democratic ( 1844 )
15
( 1845 )
George M. Dallas
12
March 4, 1849

July 9, 1850
(Died in office)
Zachary Taylor
1784–1850
(Lived: 65 years)
[43] [44] [45]
Major General of the 1st Infantry Regiment
United States Army
(1846–1849)
(No prior elected office)
Whig ( 1848 )
16
( 1849 )
( 1850 )

Millard Fillmore
(Succeeded to presidency)
13 July 9, 1850


March 4, 1853
Millard Fillmore
1800–1874
(Lived: 74 years)
[46] [47] [48]
12thVice President of the United States Whig Office vacant
14 March 4, 1853

March 4, 1857
Franklin Pierce
1804–1869
(Lived: 64 years)
[49] [50] [51]
Brigadier General of the 9th Infantry
United States Army
(1847–1848)
Democratic ( 1852 )
17
( 1853 )
William R. King
March 4 April 18, 1853
(Died in office)
Office vacant
(Balance of King's term)
15 March 4, 1857

March 4, 1861
James Buchanan
1791–1868
(Lived: 77 years)
[52] [53] [54]
United States Minister to the
Court of St James's
(1853–1856)
Democratic ( 1856 )
18
( 1857 )
John C. Breckinridge
16 March 4, 1861

April 15, 1865
( Died in office )
Abraham Lincoln
1809–1865
(Lived: 56 years)
[55] [56] [57]
U.S. Representative for Illinois' 7th District
(1847–1849)
Republican
( National Union )
( 1860 )
19
( 1861 )
Hannibal Hamlin
March 4, 1861 March 4, 1865
( 1864 )
20
( 1865 )
( 1865 )

Andrew Johnson
March 4 April 15, 1865
(Succeeded to presidency)
17 April 15, 1865

March 4, 1869
Andrew Johnson
1808–1875
(Lived: 66 years)
[58] [59] [60]
16thVice President of the United States National Union
April 15, 1865 c. 1868
Office vacant
Democratic
c. 1868 March 4, 1869
18
March 4, 1869

March 4, 1877
Ulysses S. Grant
1822–1885
(Lived: 63 years)
[61] [62] [63]
Commanding General of the U.S. Army
( 1864–1869 )
(No prior elected office)
Republican ( 1868 )
21
( 1869 )
Schuyler Colfax
March 4, 1869 March 4, 1873
( 1872 )
22
( 1873 )
Henry Wilson
March 4, 1873 November 22, 1875
(Died in office)
Office vacant
(Balance of Wilson's term)
19 March 4, 1877

March 4, 1881
Rutherford B. Hayes
1822–1893
(Lived: 70 years)
[64] [65] [66]
29th & 32ndGovernor of Ohio
(1868–1872 & 1876–1877)
Republican ( 1876 )
23
( 1877 )
William A. Wheeler
20 March 4, 1881

September 19, 1881
( Died in office )
James A. Garfield
1831–1881
(Lived: 49 years)
[67] [68] [69]
U.S. Representative for Ohio's 19th District
(1863–1881)
Republican ( 1880 )
24
( 1881 )
( 1881 )

Chester A. Arthur
(Succeeded to presidency)
21 September 19, 1881


March 4, 1885
Chester A. Arthur
1829–1886
(Lived: 57 years)
[70] [10] [10]
20thVice President of the United States Republican Office vacant
22 March 4, 1885

March 4, 1889
Grover Cleveland
1837–1908
(Lived: 71 years)
[73] [74]
28thGovernor of New York
(1883–1885)
Democratic ( 1884 )
25
( 1885 )
Thomas A. Hendricks
March 4 November 25, 1885
(Died in office)
Office vacant
(Balance of Hendricks' term)
23 March 4, 1889

March 4, 1893
Benjamin Harrison
1833–1901
(Lived: 67 years)
[10] [10] [10]
U.S. Senator from Indiana
(1881–1887)
Republican ( 1888 )
26
( 1889 )
Levi P. Morton
24 March 4, 1893

March 4, 1897
Grover Cleveland
1837–1908
(Lived: 71 years)
[73] [74]
22ndPresident of the United States
(1885–1889)
Democratic ( 1892 )
27
( 1893 )
Adlai Stevenson
25 March 4, 1897

September 14, 1901
( Died in office )
William McKinley
1843–1901
(Lived: 58 years)
[10] [10] [10]
39thGovernor of Ohio
(1892–1896)
Republican ( 1896 )
28
( 1897 )
Garret Hobart
March 4, 1897 November 21, 1899
(Died in office)
Office vacant
(Balance of Hobart's term)
( 1900 )
29
( 1901 )
( 1901 )

Theodore Roosevelt
March 4 September 14, 1901
(Succeeded to presidency)
26 September 14, 1901

March 4, 1909
Theodore Roosevelt
1858–1919
(Lived: 60 years)
[11] [11] [11]
25thVice President of the United States Republican Office vacant
September 14, 1901 March 4, 1905
( 1904 )
30
( 1905 )
Charles W. Fairbanks
March 4, 1905 March 4, 1909
27 March 4, 1909

March 4, 1913
William Howard Taft
1857–1930
(Lived: 72 years)
[11] [11] [11]
42ndUnited States Secretary of War
(1904–1908)
Republican ( 1908 )
31
( 1909 )
James S. Sherman
March 4, 1909 October 30, 1912
(Died in office)
Office vacant
(Balance of Sherman's term)
28 March 4, 1913

March 4, 1921
Woodrow Wilson
1856–1924
(Lived: 67 years)
[11] [11] [11]
34thGovernor of New Jersey
(1911–1913)
Democratic ( 1912 )
32
( 1913 )
Thomas R. Marshall
( 1916 )
33
( 1917 )
29 March 4, 1921

August 2, 1923
(Died in office)
Warren G. Harding
1865–1923
(Lived: 57 years)
[11] [8] [8]
U.S. Senator from Ohio
(1915–1921)
Republican ( 1920 )
34
( 1921 )
( 1923 )

Calvin Coolidge
(Succeeded to presidency)
30 August 2, 1923


March 4, 1929
Calvin Coolidge
1872–1933
(Lived: 60 years)
[8] [8] [8]
29thVice President of the United States Republican Office vacant
August 2, 1923 March 4, 1925
( 1924 )
35
( 1925 )
Charles G. Dawes
March 4, 1925 March 4, 1929
31
March 4, 1929

March 4, 1933
Herbert Hoover
1874–1964
(Lived: 90 years)
[8] [8] [8]
3rdUnited States Secretary of Commerce
(1921–1928)
(No prior elected office)
Republican ( 1928 )
36
( 1929 )
Charles Curtis
32 March 4, 1933

April 12, 1945
(Died in office)
Franklin D. Roosevelt
1882–1945
(Lived: 63 years)
[8] [8] [8]
44thGovernor of New York
( 1929–1932 )
Democratic ( 1932 )
37
( 1933 )
John N. Garner
March 4, 1933 January 20, 1941
( 1936 )
38
( 1937 )
( 1940 )
39
( 1941 )
Henry A. Wallace
January 20, 1941 January 20, 1945
( 1944 )
40
( 1945 )
( 1945 )

Harry S. Truman
January 20 April 12, 1945
(Succeeded to presidency)
33 April 12, 1945

January 20, 1953
Harry S. Truman
1884–1972
(Lived: 88 years)
[8] [8] [8]
34thVice President of the United States Democratic Office vacant
April 12, 1945 January 20, 1949
( 1948 )
41
( 1949 )
Alben W. Barkley
January 20, 1949 January 20, 1953
34
January 20, 1953

January 20, 1961
Dwight D. Eisenhower
1890–1969
(Lived: 78 years)
[8] [8] [8]
Supreme Allied Commander Europe
( 1949–1952 )
(No prior elected office)
Republican ( 1952 )
42
( 1953 )
Richard Nixon
( 1956 )
43
( 1957 )
35 January 20, 1961

November 22, 1963
( Died in office )
John F. Kennedy
1917–1963
(Lived: 46 years)
[8] [8] [8]
U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
(1953–1960)
Democratic ( 1960 )
44
( 1961 )
( 1963 )

Lyndon B. Johnson
(Succeeded to presidency)
36 November 22, 1963

January 20, 1969
Lyndon B. Johnson
1908–1973
(Lived: 64 years)
[8] [8]
37thVice President of the United States Democratic Office vacant
November 22, 1963 January 20, 1965
( 1964 )
45
( 1965 )
Hubert Humphrey
January 20, 1965 January 20, 1969
37 January 20, 1969

August 9, 1974
( Resigned from office )
Richard Nixon
1913– 1994
(Lived: 81 years)
[8] [8] [8]
36thVice President of the United States
(1953–1961)
Republican ( 1968 )
46
( 1969 )
Spiro Agnew
January 20, 1969 October 10, 1973
(Resigned from office)
( 1972 )
47
( 1973 )
( 1974 )

Office vacant
October 10 December 6, 1973
Gerald Ford
December 6, 1973 August 9, 1974
(Succeeded to presidency)
38 August 9, 1974

January 20, 1977
Gerald Ford
1913– 2006
(Lived: 93 years)
[8] [8] [8]
40thVice President of the United States Republican Office vacant
August 9 December 19, 1974
Nelson Rockefeller
December 19, 1974 January 20, 1977
39 January 20, 1977

January 20, 1981
Jimmy Carter
Born 1924
(93 years old)
[8] [8] [8]
76thGovernor of Georgia
(1971–1975)
Democratic ( 1976 )
48
( 1977 )
Walter Mondale
40 January 20, 1981

January 20, 1989
Ronald Reagan
1911– 2004
(Lived: 93 years)
[8] [8] [8]
33rdGovernor of California
( 1967–1975 )
Republican ( 1980 )
49
( 1981 )
George H. W. Bush
( 1984 )
50
( 1985 )
41 January 20, 1989

January 20, 1993
George H. W. Bush
Born 1924
(93 years old)
[8] [8] [8]
43rdVice President of the United States Republican ( 1988 )
51
( 1989 )
Dan Quayle
42 January 20, 1993

January 20, 2001
Bill Clinton
Born 1946
(71 years old)
[8] [8] [8]
40th & 42ndGovernor of Arkansas
(1979–1981 & 1983–1992)
Democratic ( 1992 )
52
( 1993 )
Al Gore
( 1996 )
53
( 1997 )
43 January 20, 2001

January 20, 2009
George W. Bush
Born 1946
(71 years old)
[8] [8]
46thGovernor of Texas
( 1995–2000 )
Republican ( 2000 )
54
( 2001 )
Dick Cheney
( 2004 )
55
( 2005 )
44 January 20, 2009

January 20, 2017
Barack Obama
Born 1961
(56 years old)
[8] [8]
U.S. Senator from Illinois
( 2005–2008 )
Democratic ( 2008 )
56
( 2009 )
Joe Biden
( 2012 )
57
( 2013 )
45 January 20, 2017

Incumbent
Donald Trump
Born 1946
(71 years old)
[135] [8]
Chairman of
The Trump Organization
( 1971–2017 )
(No prior elected office)
Republican ( 2016 )
58
( 2017 )
Mike Pence

Subsequent public service

Four presidents held other high U.S. federal offices after leaving the presidency.

President Presidency Subsequent service
John Quincy Adams 6 1825–1829 U.S. Representative from Massachusetts (1831–1848)
Andrew Johnson 17 1865–1869 U.S. Senator from Tennessee (1875)
Grover Cleveland 22 1885–1889 24th President of the United States (1893–1897)
William Howard Taft 27 1909–1913 10th Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930)

Several presidents campaigned unsuccessfully for other U.S. state or federal elective offices after leaving the presidency.

President Presidency Office sought unsuccessfully
John Quincy Adams 6 1825–1829 Governor of Massachusetts ( 1833 )
Martin Van Buren 8 1837–1841 President of the United States ( 1844 )
President of the United States ( 1848 )
Millard Fillmore 13 1850–1853 President of the United States ( 1856 )
Andrew Johnson 17 1865–1869 U.S. Senator from Tennessee ( 1870 )
U.S. Representative from Tennessee ( 1872 )
Ulysses S. Grant 18 1869–1877 President of the United States ( 1880 )
Theodore Roosevelt 26 1901–1909 President of the United States ( 1912 )
Herbert Hoover 31 1929–1933 President of the United States ( 1940 )

Additionally, one former president, John Tyler , served in the government of the Confederate States during the American Civil War . Tyler served in the Provisional Confederate Congress from 1861 to 1862. He was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives in November 1861, but died before he could take his seat.

See also

Notes

  1. The presidents are numbered according to uninterrupted periods of time served by the same person. For example, George Washington served two consecutive terms and is counted as the first president (not the first and second). Upon the resignation of 37th president Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford became the 38th president even though he simply served out the remainder of Nixon's second term and was never elected to the presidency in his own right. Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd president and the 24th president because his two terms were not consecutive. A vice president who temporarily becomes acting president under the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution is not counted, because the president remains in office during such a period.
  2. Listed here is the most recent office (either with a U.S. state, the federal government, or a private corporation) held by the individual prior to becoming President.
  3. Three presidents are counted above with multiple political affiliations: John Tyler (Whig, Unaffiliated ), Abraham Lincoln (Republican, National Union), and Andrew Johnson (National Union, Democratic).
  4. Listed and numbered here are the elections and inaugurations that constitute a presidential term.
  5. Due to logistical delays, instead of being inaugurated on March 4, 1789, the date scheduled for operations of the federal government under the new Constitution to begin, Washington's first inauguration was held 1 month and 26 days later. As a result, his first term was only 1,404 days long (as opposed to the usual 1,461), and was the shortest term for a U.S. president who neither died in office nor resigned.
  6. Political parties had not been anticipated when the Constitution was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788, nor did they exist at the time of the first presidential election in 1788–89. When they did develop, during Washington's first term, Adams joined the faction which became the Federalist Party. The elections of 1792 were the first ones in the United States to be contested on anything resembling a partisan basis.
  7. Due to logistical delays, Adams assumed the office of Vice President 1 month and 17 days after the March 4, 1789 scheduled start of operations of the new government under the Constitution. As a result, his first term was only 1,413 days long, and was the shortest term for a U.S. vice president who neither died in office nor resigned.
  8. The 1796 presidential election was the first contested American presidential election and the only one in which a president and vice president were elected from opposing political parties. Federalist John Adams was elected president, and Jefferson of the Democratic-Republicans was elected vice president.
  9. John Calhoun, formerly a Democratic-Republican, founded the Nullifier Party in 1828 to oppose the Tariff of 1828 and advance the cause of states' rights , but was brought on as Andrew Jackson's running mate in the 1828 presidential election in an effort to broaden the democratic coalition led by Jackson.
  10. Intra-term extraordinary inauguration.
  11. John Tyler was sworn in as President on April 6, 1841.
  12. John Tyler, a former Democrat, ran for vice president on the Whig Party ticket with Harrison in 1840. Tyler's policy priorities as president soon proved to be opposed to most of the Whig agenda, and he was expelled from the party in September 1841.
  13. Millard Fillmore was sworn in as President on July 10, 1850.
  14. When he ran for reelection in 1864, Republican Abraham Lincoln formed a bipartisan electoral alliance with War Democrats by selecting Democrat Andrew Johnson as his running mate, and running on the National Union Party ticket.
  15. Democrat Andrew Johnson ran for vice president on the National Union Party ticket with Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Later, while president, Johnson tried and failed to build a party of loyalists under the National Union banner. Near the end of his presidency, Johnson rejoined the Democratic Party.
  16. Chester A. Arthur was initially sworn in as President on September 20, 1881, and then again on September 22.
  17. Calvin Coolidge was initially sworn in as President on August 3, 1923, and then again on August 21.
  18. The Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution (ratified on January 23, 1933) moved Inauguration Day from March 4 to January 20, beginning in 1937. As a result, Garner's first term in office was 1 month and 12 days shorter than a normal term.