18 Most Famous US Presidents of All Time

Historians agree that only a few men have occupied the office of President of the United States who can be ranked among the most influential. Some were put to the test by domestic crises, while others were put to the test by international conflict, but all left their mark on history. Let us take a look at some of the famous US Presidents of all time and how they impacted the future of the country.

1. Abraham Lincoln: Honest Abe

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Without Abraham Lincoln, who presided over the American Civil War from March 4, 1861, to April 15, 1865, the United States would be a very different place today. Lincoln, being first on the list of famous US Presidents, led the Union through four years of bloodshed, abolished slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation, and laid the groundwork for peace with the defeated South at the war’s end. Lincoln did not live to see the United States fully reunited. He was assassinated in Washington, D.C. by John Wilkes Booth just weeks before the Civil War ended.

Date of Birth: February 12, 1809

Presidency: March 4, 1861, to April 15, 1865

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The Squire Of Hyde Park

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the country’s longest-serving president, serving from March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945. He was elected during the Great Depression and served until his death in 1945, just months before World War II ended. During his presidency, the federal government’s role was greatly expanded.

Federal programs like Social Security, which were enacted during Roosevelt’s presidency and provide basic financial protections for the nation’s most vulnerable, still exist today. As a result of the war, the United States gained new prominence in international affairs, which it still holds.

Date of Birth: January 30, 1882

Presidency: March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945

3. George Washington: The American Fabius

Source: Wikimedia Commons

George Washington was the first president of the United States and is known as the “Father of the Nation.” During the American Revolution, he served as commander in chief and later presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1787. With no precedent for selecting a president, the Electoral College was tasked with selecting the nation’s first leader two years later.

Washington established many of the traditions that the office still follows today over the course of two terms. Washington insisted on being addressed as “Mr President,” rather than “Your Excellency,” because he was concerned that the office of president would be perceived as that of a monarch, rather than one of the people. During his presidency, the United States established spending rules, normalized relations with its former foe, the United Kingdom, and laid the foundation for the future capital, Washington, D.C.

Date of Birth: February 22, 1732

Presidency: April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797

4. Thomas Jefferson: Apostle of the Constitution

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fourth on our list of famous US Presidents is Thomas Jefferson who was also instrumental in the birth of America. He was the nation’s first secretary of state and drafted the Declaration of Independence.

He organized the Louisiana Purchase as president, which doubled the size of the United States and paved the way for the country’s westward expansion. During Jefferson’s presidency, the United States fought its first foreign war in the Mediterranean, known as the First Barbary War, and briefly invaded modern-day Libya. Aaron Burr, Jefferson’s vice president, was tried for treason during his second term.

Date of Birth: April 13, 1743

Presidency: March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809

5. Andrew Jackson: Hero of New Orleans

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Andrew Jackson, also known as “Old Hickory,” was the nation’s first populist president, serving from March 4, 1829, to March 4, 1837. Jackson gained notoriety as a self-proclaimed “man of the people” for his actions at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 and later against Seminole Indians in Florida. Jackson’s first presidential campaign in 1824 ended in a narrow loss to John Quincy Adams, but four years later, he won in a landslide.

Jackson and his Democratic allies dismantled the Second Bank of the United States while he was in office, effectively ending federal efforts to regulate the economy. Jackson, an outspoken supporter of westward expansion, had long advocated for the expulsion of Indigenous peoples living east of the Mississippi. Thousands of people died as a result of Jackson’s relocation programs, known as the “Trail of Tears.”

Date of Birth: April 13, 1743

Presidency: March 4, 1829, to March 4, 1837

6. Theodore Roosevelt: Telescope Teddy

Source: Wikimedia Commons

After the assassination of President William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt ascended to power. Roosevelt was one of the famous US Presidents and was also the youngest president in history, having been elected at the age of 42. Roosevelt used his two terms in office to pursue a strong domestic and foreign policy.

Roosevelt enacted regulations to limit the power of large corporations such as Standard Oil and the railroads across the country. He also established the first national parks and strengthened consumer protections with the Pure Food and Drug Act, which gave birth to the modern Food and Drug Administration. Roosevelt pursued an aggressive foreign policy, mediating the end of the Russo-Japanese War and overseeing the construction of the Panama Canal.

Date of Birth: October 27, 1858

Presidency: September 14, 1901, to March 4, 1909

7. Harry S. Truman: The Haberdasher

Source: Wikimedia Commons

After serving as Vice President during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s final term in office, Harry S. Truman rose to power. Truman led the United States through the final months of World War II after Roosevelt’s death, including the decision to use the new atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

Relations with the Soviet Union quickly deteriorated after the war, resulting in a “Cold War” that lasted until the 1980s. The Berlin Airlift was launched under Truman’s leadership to combat a Soviet blockade of the German capital, and the multibillion-dollar Marshall Plan was established to rebuild war-torn Europe. The country was engulfed in the Korean War in 1950, which would last longer than Truman’s presidency.

Date of Birth: May 8, 1884

Presidency: April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953

8. Woodrow Wilson

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Woodrow Wilson (March 4, 1913–March 4, 1921) began his first term as president by promising to keep the country out of foreign wars. However, by his second term, Wilson had reversed his position and led the United States into World War I. Wilson launched a vigorous campaign to form a global alliance to prevent future conflicts after the war ended. After rejecting the Treaty of Versailles, the resulting League of Nations, a forerunner to the United Nations, was hampered by the United States’ refusal to participate.

Date of Birth: May 8, 1884

Presidency: April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953

9. James K. Polk: Napolean of the Stump

Source: Wikimedia Commons

James K. Polk was president for one term, from March 4, 1845, to March 4, 1849. During his presidency, Polk increased the size of the United States more than any other president except Jefferson, thanks to the Mexican-American War’s acquisition of California and New Mexico.

He also settled the country’s dispute with the United Kingdom over the northwest border, giving the United States Washington and Oregon, and Canada British Columbia. During his presidency, the United States issued its first postage stamp, and the Washington Monument’s foundation was laid.

Date of Birth: November 2, 1795

Presidency: March 4, 1845, to March 4, 1849

10. Dwight Eisenhower: General Ike

Source: Flickr

Next, on our list of famous US Presidents is Dwight Eisenhower. The Korean War ended during Eisenhower’s presidency (January 20, 1953, to January 20, 1961), and the United States experienced unprecedented economic growth. Several significant events in the civil rights movement occurred during Eisenhower’s presidency, including the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education, the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the 1957 Civil Rights Act.

Eisenhower signed legislation that established the interstate highway system and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, during his presidency. Eisenhower’s foreign policy was characterized by a strong anti-Communist stance in Europe and Asia, as well as the expansion of the country’s nuclear arsenal and support for the South Vietnamese government.

Date of Birth: August 4, 1961

Presidency: January 20, 1953, to January 20, 1961

11. Barack Obama: First Black President

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States of America. His is a classic American story: heartland values, a strong family upbringing, hard work and education as a means of advancement, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.

Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected president of the United States when he was elected in 2008. As president-elect, Obama faced numerous challenges, including the economy’s collapse, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the threat of terrorism. Obama also advocated for a fair pay act for women, as well as financial reform legislation and consumer protection efforts. Obama was the fourth president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Date of Birth: October 14, 1890

Presidency: January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017

12. James Monroe: The Last of the Crooked Hats

Source: Wikimedia Commons

James Monroe served as President of the United States from 1817 to 1825 and was the last of the Founding Fathers to serve. His ambition and energy, combined with President Madison’s support, made him the Republican nominee for President in 1816. In 1820, he easily won re-election with little Federalist opposition. In foreign affairs, Monroe announced the fundamental policy that bears his name in response to the threat that more conservative European governments might try to help Spain reclaim its former Latin American colonies.

Date of Birth: April 28, 1758

Presidency: March 4, 1817 to March 4, 1825

13. Bill Clinton: 42nd President

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Next on our list of famous US Presidents, we have Bill Clinton. He is an Arkansas politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States of America (1993-2001). He was the first President of the baby-boomer generation, and he took office at the end of the Cold War.

During the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton, the United States experienced more peace and prosperity than at any other time in its history. He was the first Democratic president to win a second term since Franklin D. Roosevelt. He could point to the lowest unemployment rate in modern history, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the highest homeownership rate in the country’s history, falling crime rates in many areas, and reduced welfare rolls as examples. He proposed a balanced budget for the first time in decades, and a budget surplus was achieved.

Date of Birth: August 19, 1946

Presidency: January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001

14. James Madison: Father of the Bill of Rights

Source: Wikimedia Commons

By co-authoring The Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, America’s fourth President (1809-1817) made a significant contribution to the Constitution’s ratification. He was dubbed the “Father of the Constitution” in later years. He was a member of Congress when the Bill of Rights was drafted and the first revenue legislation was passed. The Republican, or Jeffersonian, Party arose from his leadership in opposition to Hamilton’s financial proposals, which he believed would unduly bestow wealth and power on northern financiers.

Date of Birth: March 16, 1751

Presidency: March 4, 1809 to March 4, 1817

15. George H.W. Bush: Papa Bush

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Last on our list of famous US Presidents is George H.W. Bush. In the face of a rapidly changing world, the 41st President (1989-1993), brought to the White House a commitment to traditional American values and a determination to channel them toward making the United States “a kinder and gentler nation”.

Bush inherited a world in flux, as the Cold War came to an end after 40 years of bitter conflict, the Communist empire crumbled, and the Berlin Wall fell. The Soviet Union was decommissioned, and reformist President Mikhail Gorbachev, whom Bush backed, resigned. While Bush praised democracy’s progress, he urged restraint in US policy toward the group of new countries.

In other foreign policy matters, President Bush dispatched American troops to Panama to overthrow General Manuel Noriega’s corrupt regime, which was endangering the canal’s security and the lives of Americans living there. Noriega was extradited to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.

Date of Birth: June 12, 1924

Presidency: January 20, 1989 to January 20, 1993

16. John F. Kennedy

Source: Wikipedia

JFK, or John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from 1961 until his assassination near the end of his third year in office. Kennedy was president during the height of the Cold War, and much of his time in office was spent dealing with the Soviet Union and Cuba. Prior to his presidency, he served as a Democrat in both houses of the United States Congress, representing Massachusetts.

Date of Birth: May 29, 1917

Presidency: January 20, 1961 to November 22, 1963

17. Ronald Reagan

Source: Wikipedia

Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States of America, serving from 1981 to 1989. He was the Republican Party’s 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975, following a career as a Hollywood actor and labour organiser.

Reagan began implementing new political and economic initiatives early in his presidency. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed “Reaganomics,” advocated for tax cuts, economic deregulation, and government spending cuts. He survived an assassination attempt during his first term, sparked the War on Drugs, invaded Grenada, and fought public-sector labour unions.

Reagan cut domestic discretionary spending, lowered taxes, and increased military spending, all of which contributed to the federal debt nearly tripling. The bombing of Libya, the Iran–Iraq War, the Iran–Contra affair, and the ongoing Cold War were all topics that dominated his second term.

Date of Birth: February 6, 1911

Presidency: January 2, 1967 to January 6, 1975

18. Lyndon B. Johnson

Source: Wikipedia

Lyndon Baines Johnson, known by his initials LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States, serving from 1963 to 1969. He had previously served as President John F. Kennedy’s 37th vice president from 1961 to 1963. Johnson was a Democrat from Texas who served as a representative, senator, and majority leader in the Senate. He has the distinction of being one of the few presidents to have served in every elected federal office.

Civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, aid to education and the arts, urban and rural development, and public services were all priorities for Johnson’s domestic policy. To describe these efforts, Johnson coined the term “Great Society” in 1964. In addition, he spearheaded an unofficial “War on Poverty” to improve living conditions for low-income Americans; with the help of a strong economy, millions of Americans were able to rise above the poverty line during his presidency.

Date of Birth: August 27, 1908

Presidency: November 22, 1963 to January 20, 1969

With this, we have come to the end of our list of the most famous US Presidents. We hope you liked this article and continue to keep reading some of the best achievements of these Presidents.

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