We expect our presidents to be great politicians but we certainly don’t expect them to be great athletes as well. But when you think about it, the sports that a president played can say a lot about their success in politics. People have theorized that a president who did well at a team sport like football and baseball tended to rely on staff members more, while those who played individual sports like golf or jogging were more inclined to make decisions on their own.
Whether or not sports have any connection to a president’s politics, we can be sure that they helped keep our commander in chiefs healthy throughout their years in the Oval Office.
You’ll never guess which president was drafted by the NFL.
Lincoln Was An Amateur Wrestler
Yep, you read that right. Honest Abe turned to $10 fights as a young man in Illinois. In the early 1930s, he developed an impressive record as an amateur wrestler after a saloonkeeper bet him that he couldn’t beat the champion of a nearby town.
While Lincoln might have looked thin and wiry, he was a lot stronger than you’d think. His long arms allowed him to fend off other wrestlers and deliver blows from far away. Lincoln ended up winning his inaugural fight and showed his true tenacity when it came to leading the Union in the Civil War.
Theodore Roosevelt Was An Avid Boxer And Outdoorsman
Teddy Roosevelt is by far one of the more athletic presidents. He was an avid outdoorsman all his life and tried any sport he could. His passion for athletics came after being sick as a child. After that, he vowed to build up his body and began entering himself into boxing tournaments. What Teddy lacked in skill he made up with fierceness.
The 26th president kept up the sport after he entered the White House. He was known for engaging in sparring sessions with some of his White House aides. One fight even left him with a permanent eye injury!
Read on to learn which other sport Roosevelt enjoyed.
FDR Started Swimming To Save His Life
The fifth cousin of Teddy Roosevelt chose a much less aggressive sport to keep in shape with. Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t play many sports as a young adult and only took up swimming after being stricken by polio at age 39. The disease took away his ability to walk but FDR realized that water could support his weakened body.
He then began swimming three times a week and within a few months, he gained enough strength back to stand for short periods at a time. FDR’s love of swimming even led him to build a small, 50-foot-long pool inside the White House that is still there today.
Keep reading to see which 20th-century president almost became a football superstar.
Kennedy Played A Ton Of Sports In College
JFK was a seriously athletic guy in his younger years. He played left end and tackle on his prep school football team at Choate Hall. Kennedy then went on to swim for the varsity team at Harvard. Unfortunately, he cut both of those sports short when Addison’s disease began to plague his body.
With severe back pain and a lack of energy, Kennedy took up the sport of golf to stay active. Golf wasn’t just a hobby though. According to a biographer, Kennedy had a “lyric swing and was told that if he was healthy, he “could have been a professional golfer.”
George H.W. Bush Loved Nearly Every Sport
When George H.W. Bush became president in 1989, he was known for being an all-around athlete. The former president’s biographer said “sailing, skydiving, horseshoes, fishing, tennis, and golf—you name the sport, and he was good at it.” While H.W. might have been a natural at all sports he excelled at one in particular: baseball.
When he returned from service in WWII, Buh became an all-star fielder for Yale’s varsity baseball team. With a .992 fielding percentage, he twice led the Yale Bulldogs to the College World Series. In his later life, Bush Sr. was often invited to throw out the first pitch at major league baseball games.
Gerald Ford Was An All-American Linebacker
During his presidency, Ford was mocked by Saturday Night Live for his clumsiness but in reality, he’s probably one of the most athletic people to serve in America’s highest office. As a teenager, Ford played center and linebacker and the University of Michigan football team. Under his wing, the team won two national championships. Ford actually turned down offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers after graduating.
Instead, he chose to become a Navy officer. Once he reached the White House, the 38th president swam on a daily basis, loved to ski, golf, and play tennis.
The next president rode the bench in college football but found his calling later on.
Richard Nixon Was A Benchwarmer
When the 37th president attended Whittier College in California, his dream of being a varsity lineman was crushed. Nixon was small for a lineman and spent most of his college days riding the bench. Still, he was known for attending every practice even if it meant he was used as “scrap iron.”
While Nixon remained a devoted football fan all his life, when he reached the White House he became more famous as a bowler. Nixon installed a new single-lane bowling ally in the basement of the White House. Both he and his wife Pat would bowl every night.
Jimmy Carter Was A Track Star
At first glance, Jimmy Carter doesn’t look like the greatest athlete. His goofy smile and love of peanut farming wouldn’t make you guess that he was a star on his high school tennis and basketball teams. While Carter enjoyed the team sports, he excelled at individual competition and was a track star. At the U.S. Naval Academy, he ran cross-country and was a pole vaulter.
As president, Carter continued to jog every morning, play tennis, and occasionally golf. As he grew older his real passion was for outdoor sports though, and Carter loved to fish, hike, and hunt at Camp David.
Obama Breaks Ankles On The Basketball Court
The 44th president developed a fan base devoted to his court skills. Barack Obama’s love of basketball began when he was a young child living in Hawaii. He recalled playing pickup games every day on a court near his school. As a left-handed forward, Obama even led his high school team to the state championship game.
During his time at the White House, Obama’s basketball skills routinely became a point of competition between him and his staff. He would play games against his aide that played basketball at Duke, and his Secretary of Education who played at Harvard.
The next president’s sport of choice was a nightmare for his Secret Service detail.
Clinton Loved Jogging
Bill Clinton was and still is an avid jogger. He ran track throughout high school and college and kept up the habit when he entered politics. Clinton was known in the White House for going on daily jogs and even made headlines for doing it in some scanty jogging shorts. For him, it was a “temporary mental escape from the White House.”
While Clinton loved to stay active while jogging, his Secret Service detail hated it. The agent in charge called it a “nightmare” because Clinton loved to meet with people while jogging, which made it really difficult to protect him.
Eisenhower Was A Varsity Football Player
The rough and tough leader of the WW2 Allied forces was also a leader on the football field. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a star halfback and linebacker on his varsity football team at the military academy, West Point. In November 1912, Eisenhower recalled playing the game of his life against the Carlyle Indian School, whose football team was headed by renowned athlete Jim Thorpe.
Eisenhower apparently “dreamed of hitting Thorpe hard enough to knock him out.” Unfortunately, the opposite played out and it was Eisenhower that suffered a knee injury. Luckily the injury didn’t affect his military career and he could go on to defeat Hitler.
Trump Sure Does Love To Golf
The current president’s love of golf has gained quite a lot of attention in the media. Trump owns 17 golf courses under The Trump Organization. He began collecting and constructing golf courses in 1999 but his love for the sport goes back to his college years. He began playing when he attended the University of Pennsylvania and has even written that golf is not just a game, “it is a passion.”
During the few moments that he’s not playing golf, Trump also likes to play tennis at country clubs and at the White House’s tennis courts.
Bush Jr. Was Also A Baseball Player
Like his father, George W. Bush also took a liking to baseball. He played on the same varsity team as his father at Yale but he just didn’t have the same passion or talent. Bush Jr. was a relief pitcher who only made his way into three games. After giving up sports for a short while, Bush Jr. took up running in order to get back in shape.
In 1993, Bush Jr. finished the Houston Marathon with a time of 3:44:52 and as president, he competed in a three-mile race. One of his former Secret Service agents admitted that “few agents could keep up with him when he ran.”
Reagan Loved Sports So Much He Was A Sportscaster
The actor-turned-politician always had a love for anything athletic. In high school, Reagan played football, captained the swim team, and ran track. In his spare time, he also loved to ride horseback with his wife Nancy.
Reagan loved athletics so much that he worked as a sportscaster calling games. He called various Iowa football games and even broadcasted the 1932 World Series game that was famous for Babe Ruth’s called shot.
His love of swimming led him to save an astonishing number of lives. Read on to find out how.
Harry Truman Adored College Football
Growing up as a poor farmer, Truman wished all his life that he could play football. He applied to West Point military academy for college since there was no tuition, but he was refused entry because he had poor eyesight. That left him to turn to becoming a soldier rather than playing football.
Even though he never played, he adored the sport all his life. He still holds the record for attending the most Army vs. Navy games while in office. Truman also attended to most college football games overall while in office.
Truman enjoyed another sport, too… read on to find out which one!
Taft Was A Heavyweight Wrestling Champion
As one of the more heavyset men to sit in the Oval Office, many people have assumed that William Howard Taft wasn’t the most athletic, but they’d be wrong. Taft was an avid wrestler at Yale College and was actually crowed the intramural heavyweight wrestling champion.
Taft credits his family for his love and success in wrestling. The 27th president grew up with four brothers. Anyone with siblings knows that wrestling and fighting are unavoidable. Taft learned to wrestle and protect himself as a kid and that carried over to his college days.
Wilson Coached A Rugby Team
Before becoming one of the most memorable presidents of the 20th century, Wilson was just like any other college kid who desperately wanted to make his school’s baseball team. Wilson attended Davidson for a year where it played on the freshman team. One year later, he transferred to Princeton where he chose instead of coach rugby rather than play himself.
He turned to a different sport later in his life, one that influenced his presidential policy. Read on to learn which one he chose!
Hoover Managed A Football Team
Yet another president who didn’t actually play the sport they love, Herbert Hoover made up for it with his business skills. Knowing that he wasn’t athletic enough to make the Stanford football team, Hoover instead offered to be the team’s business manager and even claimed he would sell out their games.
Hoover must have had a calling when it came to business because not only did he sell out tickets to Stanford’s game, he actually ran out and had to take coins at the gate.
Harding Golfed Until His Final Breath
Warren G. Harding is often forgotten in presidential history because he died in office after suffering from a heart attack. As a result, he was in office for barely two years. Still, those two years were enough time to fit in quite a few rounds of gold.
Harding loved golf so much that not long after being elected, he went on a golf trip instead of making important decisions. When Congress passed the resolution to formally removed the U.S. from WWI, Harding was playing golf in New Jersey. Unsurprisingly, his apparent love for golf more than his country left him to be one of the worst-rated presidents in history.
Grant Made Baseball Popular In America
The 18th president of the United States who led the Union Army to victory in the Civil War also had a deep love of baseball. He was the sitting president at the time when the National Baseball Association and the National League was formed. Grant attended early games as a show of support.
During his presidency, he was also said to have joined in with boys who used to play baseball on a field behind the White House. In 1868, supporters of Grant and supporters of the candidate opposing him faced off in a fun baseball game.
George Washington Excelled At Many Sports
You can add the nation’s very first president to this list. That’s right – George Washington was a multi-talented athlete! He stood at a towering six feet and two inches and had an incredible throwing arm. According to one report, he participated in an iron bar-throwing contest at Mount Vernon in 1773.
Artist Charles Willson Peale was there and wrote of the event: “no sooner…did that heavy iron bar feel the grasp of his mighty hand than it lost the power of gravitation and whizzed through the air, striking the ground far, very far, beyond our utmost limits. As he walked away, Washington slyly observed, ‘When you beat my pitch, young gentlemen, I’ll try again.'”
Read on to find out what other athletic event Washington was good in
Washington Was Also An Accomplished Horseman
Thomas Jefferson once called George Washington “the best horseman of the age.” He had a lifelong love of horsemanship that started when he was very young. Washington personally checked on his horses’ conditions and closely supervised their care. He even wrote a journal entry about riding a horse across a river in Maryland when he was just 14 years old.
He owned many horses during his lifetime, but his favorites were Nelson and Blueskin, which were both gifted to him during the Revolutionary War. Washington brought both of them home to Mount Vernon when the war was over.
Teddy Roosevelt Took Up Jiu Jitsu Later In Life
After receiving a permanent eye injury during a wrestling match, Roosevelt took up the Japanese martial art Jiu Jitsu. He’d often talk about the sport to people visiting the White House. One visitor named Robert Johnstone Mooney recalled a conversation with Roosevelt during one of these visits.
“[He] sprang to his feet and excitedly asked: ‘By the way, do you boys understand jiu-jitsu?’ We replied in the negative, and he continued, pounding the air with his arms, ‘You must promise me to learn that without delay. You are so good in other athletics that you must add jiu-jitsu to your other accomplishments. Every American athlete ought to understand the Japanese system thoroughly.’” Above is a political cartoon from Roosevelt’s era.
Woodrow Wilson Was Also A Cyclist
Later in his life, Wilson took up cycling as a way to stay active. He went on several cycling trips in England and once even rode more than 200 miles from York to London. His love of cycling led him to become a powerful advocate for road improvement, and he wrote this policy during his 1916 presidential election campaign:
“The happiness, comfort and prosperity of rural life, and the development of the city, are alike conserved by the construction of public highways. We, therefore, favor national aid in the construction of post roads and roads for military purposes.”
Ronald Reagan Was A Lifeguard
Ronald Reagan was such a good swimmer that he worked as a part-time lifeguard as a teenager. He is said to have rescued 77 people in that job! He continued swimming after becoming president, in the White House pool, the swimming pools at Camp David, and at his own California ranch.
In addition, he was honored with a gold medallion at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Upon his passing, the president of the International Swimming Hall of Fame said, “Publicizing [Reagan’s] lifelong love affair with our sport could have done wonders for its growth and popularity.”
There Was A Bowling Alley In The White House Named For Truman
Although Harry Truman didn’t bowl frequently, he greatly admired the sport and supported White House employees who formed a bowling league in 1950. The league’s teams included a variety of staff, from secretaries to groundskeepers to Secret Service agents and everyone in between.
In 1947, bowling lanes were built in the ground floor of the West Wing as a birthday gift for the president. That area is now the Situation Room. As we read earlier, President Nixon built another bowling lane during his time in office.
We’ve seen which presidents were the most athletic, next we’ll read about the most popular ones.
The Most Popular Presidents Ever – Ranked
C-SPAN polled 91 historians in 2017 to determine who the most popular presidents of all time are. Criteria included relationships with Congress, calm during crises, and international and national relations. Here, we count down from 25 to one from that list, followed by some other presidents who made positive marks during their tenures and then some who are consistently ranked as least-favorites.
When Barack Obama made the C-SPAN list for the first time, you won’t believe where he landed!
Gerald Ford Pardoned Nixon After The Watergate Scandal
Gerald Ford took over as President of the United States in 1974 after Richard Nixon resigned. In C-SPAN’s poll, he was praised most for his relationship with Congress and matters of moral authority. He was not seen as active dealing with internal affairs. Pardoning Nixon after the Watergate scandal was a significant criticism keeping him from ranking higher.
During his time in office, Ford saw his approval rating with the public plummet to 36%. He left the Oval Office in 1977 with one of the lowest scores for a president since WWII.
William Howard Taft Was Teddy Roosevelt’s Hand Picked Successor
Known for his administrative skills, William Howard Taft slides into 24th on the list. He is the only person to ever serve as President of the United States (1909- 1913) and Chief Justice of the United States (1921-1930). Following Theodore Roosevelt as the 27th Commander in Chief, Taft was Roosevelt’s hand-picked successor.
Easily defeating William Jennings Bryan in the 1908 election, Taft’s presidency was filled with internal conflict. He was never able to find a balance between conservative and liberal views. Roosevelt, unhappy with his heir, challenged him for re-election in 1912 but failed.
Grover Cleveland Served Two Terms Four Years Apart
The only president to take a break between terms, Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. Before becoming president, he was governor of New York. Poll results indicated he was strongest with his administrative and public persuasion skills. His weakest areas were his pursuits for equality and justice.
More of a thinker than a doer, Cleveland is notable for using his position to be a “watchdog” over Congress. During his second term, he became so overwhelmed he refused to run for a third.
Ulysses S. Grant Created The Department Of Justice
The first president on the list to earn high marks in his pursuit of equality and justice, Ulysses S. Grant served from 1869 to 1877. During the Civil War (1861- 1865), Grant successfully led the North to victory over the South. Four years later he was chosen to lead the country. He beat Horatio Seymour 214 electoral votes to 80.
After winning the election, Grant quickly stabilized a nation still broken from war. He created the Department of Justice and prosecuted Ku Klux Klan members. Did we mention he was the youngest president elected at the time?
John Quincy Adams Fought Slavery Until Congress “Gagged” Him
Serving from 1825 until 1829, John Quincy Adams fought for civil liberties and equality during his time in office. Despite this, historians rated him as poor with public relations. Ahead of his times, Adams was able to make a big impact after leaving office.
Losing the election of 1828 to Andrew Jackson, Adams was heartbroken. He nearly retired from politics. By 1830 Adams changed his mind and joined Congress. He served until his death in 1848 and was a major opponent of slavery. His voice was so loud that the Congress created a “gag rule” to keep him from pursuing abolishment.
George H.W. Bush Ended The Cold War
George H.W. Bush served as President of the United States from 1989 until 1993. During that time he accomplished several things, most notably ending the Cold War. Historians, as a result, gave him high marks for his crisis management skills and moral authority.
During four years in office, Bush received numerous awards and accolades. Time named him “Man of the Year” in 1990. He was awarded the Lone Sailor Award in 1991 by the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation. Finally, Queen Elizabeth named him an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1993.
John Adams Got Into A “Quasi-War” With France
Elected the second President of the United States after George Washington, John Adams served one term from 1797 to 1801. His presidency was filled with conflict. Under Washington, the country maintained a strict policy to stay out of foreign conflicts. Adams found that policy hard to keep as tensions between Britain and France boiled over.
Adams sent diplomats to France to negotiate peace but failed. Knowing America would never win a war in its infancy, the President gained support to harass French ships, starting a “Quasi-War.” In 1800 France and America realized their conflict was pointless and agreed to peace.
Andrew Jackson Tried To Eliminate The Electoral College
Andrew Jackson led the charge for electoral reform and an end to government corruption. He was a staunch opponent of the electoral college. In a message to Congress, he urged the removal of the electoral college to give the government back to the people. Despite his efforts, the electoral college was not eliminated.
Elected President in 1828, Andrew Jackson served two terms and displaced a number of Native Americans. Obsessed with westward expansion, Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. Once passed into law, it allowed him to buy land from Native Americans, forcing them to leave their territory.
James Madison Made War Profitable
The fourth President of the United States, James Madison oversaw the War of 1812 followed by the “Era of Good Feelings.” During the war, the United States attempted to capture Canada. Britain attacked the Atlantic coast while the American Army was North, but was repelled. The war ended when Napolean was defeated at Waterloo, ending Britain’s need to attack America.
The post-war economic boom was named the “Era of Good Feelings.” During these years Madison established the Second Bank of the United States. He also oversaw the implementation of a new tax system.
William McKinley Freed Cuba From Spain
Earning his spot at number 16 on this list, William McKinley was noted by historians as having a great relationship with Congress. He also had favorable foreign relations acumen. During his first term, McKinley oversaw negotiations to decrease tensions between Cuba and Spain. In 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the conflict.
Unfortunately, McKinley was not able to a finish his second term in office. On his way to a meeting, a man walked up and shot the president twice in the stomach. He did not survive.
Bill Clinton Made America Profitable
The first “baby-boomer” president, Bill Clinton served two successful terms from 1993 to 2001. Entering office in debt, Clinton left leaving the country in a monetary surplus. Until the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he was one of the most popular presidents ever. He left office with a 65% approval rating.
During his time, Clinton signed a number of acts. One that is under scrutiny by President Trump today is the North American Free Trade Agreement. At the time the agreement led to the most extended period of peacetime economic expansion ever.
James K. Polk Expanded America To The Pacific Border
Historians give James K. Polk high marks for his vision and agenda setting. Under his guidance, the United States expanded to the Pacific border. Focusing on creating more railroads, Polk managed to increase the strength of the American military. By the end of his presidency, the United States was a formidable military force.
Worn down from years of public service, Polk did not seek re-election after his first term. He planned to retire in peace on the Atlantic Coast and moved into a house he bought two years prior. Shortly after moving into “Polk Place” Polk became ill with cholera and died.
James Monroe Closes The West Off From Europe
Most famous for the Monroe Doctrine, James Monroe was president from 1817 until 1825. In 1823 he delivered the doctrine in a speech to Congress. Monroe reaffirmed the United State’s policy to stay neutral during European conflicts.
Monroe also used his speech to declare the United States would not accept recolonization of any country. He ended his speech stating that the west was closed for further colonization. At the time Russia was eyeing Western expansion. The Monroe Doctrine served as a strict warning for them to stop or suffer the consequences.
Barack Obama Brings Affordable Care To All
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act became law. For the first time in American history, every citizen was offered health care. The program, referred by many as Obamacare, helped lower the cost health care for citizens under financial stress.
The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama served two terms from 2008 until 2017. Historians gave Obama his highest marks in his pursuit of equal justice for all. He led the country through the 2000s economic recession and fought tooth and nail for universal healthcare.
Woodrow Wilson Ends WWI
From 1913 until 1921, Woodrow Wilson used his presence to convince Congress that the United States could not stay neutral during World War I. Originally objecting to the war, Wilson realized in 1917 the country could not remain neutral. Germany, days prior, destroyed several American ships.
Wilson worked quickly to build up the American army. Two years later the war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the same year for his efforts to successfully end the war.
Lyndon Johnson Fights For Civil Rights And Space Travel
Lyndon Johnson took over the presidency after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. From 1963 until 1969 he loyally served the United States, pushing his idea of the “Great Society” the country could become. To achieve the dream, Johnson made it his priority to fight for the Civil Rights Bill.
During his tenure, the United States made journeyed into space for the first time. The first Apollo mission was a failure, and the entire crew was killed. Johnson refused to give up on the program, though, and two successful manned missions occurred before 1969.
Ronald Reagan Was An FBI Informant
Before becoming president in 1981, Ronald Reagan made his name as an actor and FBI informant. Throughout his career in Hollywood, Reagan and his wife leaked information to the bureau, helping them arrest possible communist agents in the 1940s.
For two terms in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan worked to stabilize the economy through ”Reaganomics.” These economic policies were based on four ideas; reduced federal income tax, reduced government regulation, tighten monetary supplies and reduced government spending.
John F. Kennedy Set The Stage For Lyndon Johnson
One of the most forward-thinking presidents of his time, John F. Kennedy set out multiple goals in his campaign. If elected, he promised to push the civil rights agenda and land a man on the moon. Kennedy never saw any of his dream accomplished when he was assassinated in 1963.
After his death, several of Kennedy’ goals came to fruition thanks to Lyndon Johnson. The Civil Rights Bill was signed in 1964. In 1969 the United States successfully landed a man on the moon. Unsurprisingly, Kennedy scored high in his ability to set the country’s agenda.
Thomas Jefferson Doubled The United States
Having authored the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson scored highest for his vision and agenda setting. As president Jefferson purchased Louisiana from France, doubling the size of the United States in 1803. At the time of the deal, Jefferson wanted to buy New Orleans for $10 million to limit French military power in the west.
Napolean counter-offered to sell the United States the entire Louisiana territory for $15 million. The French ruler realized that holding onto such a vast territory was pointless when his war was with Britain. He used the money to increase his military power in Europe.
Harry Truman Ends WWII
Harry Truman entered office in 1945 with the world engaged in the second “Great War.” Entering the conflict three years earlier, Truman and the United States took swift action after his inauguration. The new President ordered two atomic bombs be dropped on Japan.
The event crippled Japan, who surrendered in September. In Europe Germany had surrendered in April. The end of the war boosted the American economy, which was still recovering from the Great Depression. Riding a positive wave, Truman successfully ran for a second term as President in 1948.
Dwight Eisenhower Desegregated The Army
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. During his two terms in office, he led the country through the Cold War and desegregated the army. Harry Truman took the first steps towards military desegregation in 1948, and Eisenhower made it his primary goal to finish the job.
Speaking to Congress in 1953, Eisenhower said, “Wherever Federal Funds are expended … I do not see how any American can justify … a discrimination in the expenditure of those funds.” By 1960 he signed multiple civil rights acts into law and vetoed any law that pushed civil rights policy backward.
Theodore Roosevelt Didn’t Have A Vice President
Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as President of the United States in 1901 after the assassination of William McKinley. Because the 25th Amendment didn’t exist, Roosevelt served his first term without a Vice President. During Roosevelt’s second term Charles W. Fairbanks was his Vice President.
Roosevelt used his power to fund several conservations acts. In 1905 the United States Forest Service was created. Five national parks were signed into law, as well as 51 bird reserves, 150 national forests (Shoshone National Forest being the first), and four game preserves.
Franklin Roosevelt Served Three Terms In Office
Franklin Roosevelt is the only president to serve more than two terms — in fact, he was elected for four! After his third term, the country passed the 22nd Amendment. During Roosevelt’s third term the United States entered WWII. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, the president could not remain neutral in the conflict.
A chain smoker throughout his adult life, Franklin Roosevelt’s health began rapidly to decline in 1940. His illness was hidden from the public. On March 29, 1945, Franklin Roosevelt died of a brain hemorrhage, remarking moments before, “I have a terrific headache.”
George Washington Won By Unanimous Decision… Twice
The second most popular president according to C-SPAN, George Washington served as the country’s first Commander in Chief. To this day, he is the only president to win the electoral vote unanimously. He repeated the feat for his second term. He was urged to run for a third term, but declined, setting a precedent that was not broken until Franklin Roosevelt.
Historians regarded Washington as one of the United States greatest moral authorities and crisis leaders. They were not as kind towards his pursuit of justice and equality.
The #1 most popular president from C-SPAN’s list is on the next page.
Abraham Lincoln Created Thanksgiving
One of Lincoln’s lesser know exploits was his confirmation of Thanksgiving as a National holiday. Lincoln declared in 1863 Thanksgiving would be recognized on the final Thursday of November annually. Before, the special day was only celebrated regionally in New England.
Leading the country through the Civil War and abolishing slavery made Abraham Lincoln an easy choice for number one. Historians gave him high marks in every category. During his presidency, he led the nation through one of its greatest internal conflicts (Civil War). When he as was assassinated in 1865, the United States was united and economically stable.