Although we have paintings, photographs, and other depictions to see former presidents and historical figures' appearances, we don't know what they may have looked like in modern times. Luckily for us, the talented writer Magdalene Visaggio has brought many of them to life in renditions of what these individuals may have looked like if they were standing in front of a camera today. Visaggio is an Eisner and GLAAD Media Award-nominated writer with works including Eternity Girl and Lost on Planet Earth. Since 2016, she has also worked with major companies including DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and more. Be sure to visit her website to learn more, and read on to see some of her incredible renditions.
George Washington Earned His Title Of Founding Father
Born in 1732, George Washington is one of the most recognizable Founding Fathers. He was a man of many talents, working as a political leader, military general, statemen, and the United States' first president.
For his leadership in the formation of the United States, Washington has been called "The Father of His Country," and it's been said that he was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
John Adams Was The First To Set Foot In The White House
Before the American Revolution, John Adams worked as a lawyer and political activist, even defending British soldiers against the charges they faced after the Boston Massacre. However, he would eventually change sides, becoming a leader of the revolution and even helping in drafting the Declaration of Independence.
Adams served two terms as vice president under George Washington and was subsequently elected as the second president of the United States. He was the first person to live in the executive mansion.
Acting as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809, Thomas Jefferson is considered a highly-intelligent individual, skilled as a statesman, lawyer, philosopher, diplomat, and architect. Credited as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, he played a major role in influencing the American colonists to declare independence from Britain.
He stood for democracy, individual rights, and republicanism, and is also remembered for the Louisiana Purchase to promote western expansionism. He was reelected in 1804, although he faced several difficulties in his second term.
James Madison Helped Write The Federalist papers
Born the son of a wealthy planter family in 1751, James Madison served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and Continental Congress during the American Civil War. After his disappointment with the Articles of Confederation, he helped initiate the Constitutional Convention.
He was a key individual in the Constitution's ratification, working with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay in publishing The Federalist Papers. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Madison helped to establish the Democratic-Republican Party, serving as Jefferson's Secretary of State until he himself became the fourth president after the 1808 election.
James Monroe Was Essential During The Era Of Good Feelings
The final president in what is known as the "Virginia Dynasty," James Monroe was a Founding Father and the fifth president of the United States. During the American Revolution, he fought in the Continental Army, going on to study law under Thomas Jefferson in the early 1780s.
In 1790, he became the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party. His actions during the War of 1812 made him popular, resulting in his win of the 1816 presidential election. His presidency is remembered for going hand-in-hand in what is known as the Era of Good Feelings.
John Quincy Adams Was A Skilled Diplomat
Although he was born in Massachusetts, John Quincy Adams grew up in Europe where his father served as a diplomat. Upon returning to the U.S., he established himself as a lawyer in Boston. In 1794, he was appointed as the ambassador to the Netherlands and held such diplomatic positions until 1901, helping to negotiate the end of the War of 1812.
A Democratic-Republican, Adams won the 1824 presidential election, with his presidency being determined by the House of Representatives. Under Adams' presidency, the Democratic-Republican Party split into the National Republican Party, which supported Adams, and the Democratic Party that was in support of Andrew Jackson.
Andrew Jackson Was A Warrior President
Andrew Jackson was born in the Carolinas in 1767, and worked as a frontier lawyer. He served in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate as a representative of Tennessee. During the Creek War, he was the colonel of the Tennessee militia and continued his career in the military during the War of 1812, making a name for himself at the Battle of New Orleans.
After more military success in the First Seminole War, Jackson ran for president in 1824, losing to John Quincy Adams. Jackson ran again in 1828, defeating Adams, and in 1835, survived the first assassination attempt on a president.
Martin Van Buren Was The First President Born After The American Revolution
Born in 1782, Martin Van Buren was the first president born after the Revolutionary War and is the only president to speak English as a second language. He was involved in politics as a Democratic-Republican Party member with a seat in the New York State and the United States Senate.
He would later go on to be a founder of the Democratic Party, the governor of New York, the secretary of state, and the vice president, before finally becoming president after winning the 1836 election.
William Henry Harrison Had The Shortest Presidency In American History
Son of the Founding Father Benjamin Harrison V, Harrison was the last president to be born as a subject of the Thirteen Colonies. In the army, he fought in the Northwest Indian War and at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, which gave forth his nickname "Old Tippecanoe." He was promoted to major general in the War of 1812.
After running for president in the 1836 election and losing, he was nominated again, winning the 1840 election. This made him the first Whig to hold the position. Unfortunately, after being inaugurated at 68 years old, he died of typhoid, pneumonia, or another illness just 31 days into his term.
John Tyler Was The First To Become President Without An Election
Born into a prominent Virginian family, Tyler was originally a Democrat, but his differences with Andrew Jackson during the Bank Crisis led him to transition over to the Whig Party. He would later serve as a Virginia legislator, governor, representative, and Senator.
In 1840, he was nominated alongside Harrison against Martin Van Buren's re-election. Harrison ended up winning, making Tyler vice president. When Harrison died a month into his presidency, it made Tyler the first presidency to assume the position without an election.
James K. Polk Wasn't Expected To Be President
Prior to becoming the 11th president of the United States, James K. Polk was a lawyer in Tennessee. He was elected to the state legislature and soon after, the House of Representatives. He would then go on to become the governor of Tennessee in 1839, although he lost both the 1841 and 1843 elections.
Initially, Polk was a Democratic Party potential nominee for vice president but instead won the entire election, defeating Henry Clay. During his presidency, he expanded the United States, specifically the Texas and Oregon territories.
Zachary Taylor Never Intended To Become President
The last president born before the Constitution's adoption, Zachary Taylor, was a captain during the War of 1812, rising to the rank of colonel by 1832. He earned his nickname "Old Rough and Ready" during the Second Seminole War and further demonstrated his military valor during the Mexican-American War.
Although it was against his original intentions, the Whig Party convinced him to be their candidate for the 1848 election and he won the general election. This made him the first president to have been elected without previously holding a political office.
Millard Fillmore Was Born Into Poverty
Despite being born into a poverty-stricken family, Millard Fillmore managed to work his way up to become an attorney. He was elected into the New York Assembly and the House of Representatives, starting his political career as a member of the Ant-Masonic Party but transitioning to the Whig Party after its formation.
Fillmore was elected as the 12th vice president under Zachary Taylor in 1848 and became president in July of 1850 following Taylor's death. He is remembered for passing the Compromise of 1850, which established a brief pause in the expansion of slavery across the country.
An attorney, Franklin Pierce began his political ascension in the House of Representatives and the Senate, eventually taking on the role of New Hampshire's U.S. Attorney in 1845. He also served as a general in the Mexican-American War and was nominated by the Democrats as their candidate at the 1852 Democratic Convention, easily winning the 1852 presidential election.
Known for his pro-slavery policies, his efforts to ease tensions between the North and the South failed, with the Civil War starting just years after he left office.
Beginning his career as a successful lawyer in Pennsylvania, James Buchanan was elected as a Federalist into Pennsylvania's House of Representatives and then the U.S. House of Representatives from 1820 to 1831. Close to Andrew Jackson, he served as his minister to Russia, was James K. Polk's Secretary of State, and Franklin Pierce's minister to the United Kingdom.
Later serving as president from 1857 to 1861, he is regarded as one of the country's worst leaders for not addressing the issue of slavery and not preventing the succession of the Southern states.
Abraham Lincoln Served During One Of The Country's Darkest Periods
The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was a self-educated lawyer who worked his way up in American politics. Eventually becoming the leader of the Republican Party in 1854, he ran for president in 1860 and won. After years of conflict with the North, the South finally seceded from the Union, starting the Civil War.
Lincoln managed to carry the nation through the American Civil War, successfully preserving the Union and abolishing slavery. Assassinated in 1865, he is often referred to as one of the United States' greatest leaders.
Andrew Johnson Was Impeached
Beginning in 1847, Andrew Johnson served in the House of Representatives as well as the governor of Tennessee for four years. After the Southern states seceded from the Union, he remained the only senator from a Confederate state who did not resign from his position. He stayed with the Union.
This led to him eventually being Lincoln's running mate, becoming vice president in 1864. Following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Johnson assumed the presidency, although he was later impeached by the House of Representatives.
Ulysses S. Grant Was A War Hero
Ulysses S. Grant graduated from West Point in 1843, making a name for himself during the Mexican-American War before retiring from the military in 1854. However, at the start of the American Civil War, he joined the Union Army, was named lieutenant general by Abraham Lincoln, and led the Union to victory.
After Lincoln's assassination, Grant was promoted to general of the Army in 1866 and was nominated by the Republican Party for president, winning the 1868 election. Overall, Grant is considered by historians to have been a valuable president, considering the times when he led the country.
Catherine The Great Transformed Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, was the Empress of All Russia between 1762 and 1796, making her the country's longest-ruling female monarch. Catherine was extremely well connected to powerful individuals. After her husband (who was also her second cousin), Peter III, was overthrown she rose to power.
Catherine proved to be an accomplished leader, expanding the size of Russia, establishing a collective culture, and making Russia one of the most prominent and formidable powers in the world. Today, her period of reign is known as the Catherinian Era.
Charles I Of England Was Accused Of High Treason
Charles I was born into the House of Stuart in 1600 and was the second son of King James IV of Scotland. Following his father's inheritance of the English throne, Charles moved to England, where he would remain for the majority of his life.
After the death of his older brother, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, Charles became the heir apparent of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which he ruled over from 1625 until 1649. However, during the English Civil War, he was executed for high treason.