JAMES S. SHERMAN
27th Vice President of the United States (1909-1912)
Full Name: James Schoolcraft Sherman
Born: October 24, 1855, Utica, New York
College: Hamilton College, Clinton, New York
Career Before the Vice Presidency: Lawyer, Utica, New York (1880-1884); Mayor of Utica, New York (1884-1886); Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (R-NY, Mar. 4, 1887-Mar. 4, 1891); Unsuccessful candidate for re=election to Congress (1890); Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (R-NY, Mar. 4, 1893-Mar. 4,1909)
Political Party: Republican
State Represented: New York
Term: March 4, 1909-October 30, 1912 (Died in office)
Length of Vice Presidency: 3 years, 240 days
Age at Inauguration: 53 years, 131 days
Served: President Taft/31st Presidential Administration/61st and 62nd Congresses
Post-Vice Presidential Career: N/A (Vice President Sherman died in office)
Died: October 30, 1912, Utica, Oneida County, New York
Age at Death: 57 years, 6 days
Cause of Death: Bright’s disease
Buried: Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica, New York
Random facts about James Schoolcraft Sherman:
•Sherman was most recent Vice President to be born in the State of New York; in all, eight Vice Presidents have been born in New York — more than any other state. In addition, a record eleven Vice Presidents represented New York while in office.
•Since the main Constitutional duty of the Vice President is to serve as President of the Senate, ceremonial busts are sculpted in tribute of each former VP (usually after leaving office) and displayed throughout the U.S. Capitol building. Sherman’s bust (pictured above) was actually completed and placed on display while he was in office. Sherman’s bust is the only Vice Presidential sculpture in which the subject is wearing eyeglasses.
•Sherman’s eyeglasses played even more of a prominent role than being a conspicuous feature of his official Vice Presidential bust; after working closely with several Native American tribes while he was in Congress, Indians bestowed a Native American name upon Sherman which was translated as “Four Eyes”.
•The Vice President was a distant relative of legendary Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman and the General’s younger brother, longtime Senator John Sherman, who also served as Secretary of State (under President McKinley) and Secretary of the Treasury (under President Harrison).
•Today, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that an incumbent Vice President will be nominated again as the incumbent President’s running mate in a re-election campaign. However, Sherman’s renomination as President Taft’s running mate in 1912 was the first time an incumbent Vice President had been renominated since John C. Calhoun in 1828.
•The 1912 Presidential election, in which President Taft faced Democrat Woodrow Wilson and a third-party challenge by his former close friend and political mentor, Theodore Roosevelt, was heading towards a definite disappointment and certain defeat for the GOP ticket of incumbents Taft and Sherman, and the campaign waged by the Republican candidates was underwhelming at best. Because of the nasty split between the President and Roosevelt, Taft’s heart wasn’t in the campaign. Vice President Sherman’s heart wasn’t in the 1912 campaign, either, but for a very different reason — the 56-year-old Vice President was dying of Bright’s disease, a kidney ailment that was fatal at the time. Thirty years earlier, President Chester Arthur shot down rumors that he was ill during his Presidency, but he was suffering from Bright’s disease and died less than two years after leaving the White House. Vice President Sherman tried to help out with the 1912 campaign, but he was gravely ill and spent most of the time at his home in Utica. The Vice President died on October 30, 1912 — just six days before Election Day, meaning he remained on ballots as William Howard Taft’s running mate. Metaphorically, President Taft was a dead man walking on Election Day 1912, while his Vice President, Sherman, was literally a dead man. The Taft-Sherman ticket won two states on Election Day and earned eight Electoral votes. The Electoral votes for Vice President that would have gone to Sherman were given to prominent Republican and longtime Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler, a fellow New Yoker.
•Sherman was the 7th and most recent Vice President to die in office.
HENRY WILSON (1812-1875)
18th Vice President of the United States (1873-1875)
Full Name: Henry Wilson (Birth Name: Jeremiah Jones Colbath)
Born: February 16, 1812, Farmington, Strafford County, New Hampshire
College: Did not graduate from college
Career Before the Vice Presidency: Farm laborer, Farmington, New Hampshire (1822-1833); Shoemaker, Natick, Massachusetts (1833-1841); Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1840-1844); Massachusetts State Senator (1844-1846); Publisher and Editor of the Boston Republican, Boston, Massachusetts (1848-1851); Massachusetts State Senator (1850-1852); Chairman of the Free Soil National Convention, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1852); Unsuccessful Free Soil candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts (1852); Delegate, Massachusetts State Constitutional Convention (1853); Unsuccessful Republican candidate for Governor of Massachusetts (1853); United States Senator (R-MA, January 31, 1855-March 4, 1873); Raised and commanded the 22nd Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry briefly during the Civil War (September 27, 1861-October 29, 1861)
Political Party: Republican
State Represented: Massachusetts
Term: March 4, 1873-November 22, 1875 (Died in office)
Length of Vice Presidency: 2 years, 263 days
Age at Inauguration: 61 years, 16 days
Served: President Grant (2nd term)/22nd Administration/43rd Congress & 44th Congress
Post-Vice Presidential Career: N/A (Vice President Wilson died in office)
Died: November 22, 1875, Vice President’s Room, United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.
Age at Death: 63 years, 279 days
Cause of Death: Stroke
Buried: Old Dell Park Cemetery, Natick, Massachusetts
Random facts about Vice President Wilson:
•Henry Wilson was actually born into poverty as “Jeremiah Jones Colbath”. Even when trying to be respectful, the kindest words that could be used to describe his father were “shiftless” and “intemperate”. Mr. Colbath gave his son the name of a wealthy neighbor who had never married or had children of his own in hopes that the “honor” would result in the Colbath family inheriting the man’s money when he died. The future Vice President hated his name and had it changed to “Henry Wilson” when he was 20 years old; he chose that particular name after reading it in a book while he was apprenticed to a shoemaker.
•Since the plan to inherit a neighbor’s money by naming his son after him didn’t work, Wilson’s father apprenticed him to a cobbler when he was 10 years old. An “apprenticeship” sounds better than it was. Like Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Johnson, Wilson was a “bound apprentice” which was actually close to being an indentured servant; Mr. Colbath probably received the equivalent of a “finder’s fee” for committing his son to work in conditions only a little better than slavery. Wilson gained experience as a shoemaker, but was apprenticed to the cobbler for 11 years, meaning he spent more of his early life working for the shoemaker than living under his family’s roof. He was earned his freedom when he was 21 years old after over a decade of work.
•Wilson was supposed to be given rudimentary education during his bound apprenticeship, but received virtually no schooling. He largely taught himself how to read and devoured any book that he could find or borrow.
•At the beginning of his political career, Wilson was a member of the Whig Party, and was one of the architects of the Free Soil Party after the Mexican-American War. The Free Soil Party didn’t last long and Wilson briefly joined the American or Know-Nothing Party, but was turned off by their nativist advocacy and became a Republican for the rest of his life. From early in his career in public service, Wilson was a passionate opponent of slavery, unsurprising considering his own involuntary servitude while bound to a shoemaker.
•Like George Washington, Henry Wilson had to borrow money to get to his inauguration. Members of Congress had recently been granted a 50% raise, so Wilson, a Senator at the time, received $5,000 shortly before being elected Vice President. However, Wilson had been loosely (and innocently, it seems) connected to the Credit Mobilier scandal which had caused problems for quite a few Congressmen, and was probably the reason that Wilson’s Vice Presidential predecessor, Schuyler Colfax, decided to “retire” and leave a spot open on the ticket when Ulysses S. Grant sought re-election in 1872. To be extra careful, Wilson gave his $5,000 raise directly back to the U.S. Treasury. After the 1872 election, Wilson, now the Vice President-elect, told his close friend, Senator Charles Sumner, “I have not got enough money to be inaugurated on,” and borrowed $100.
•Vice President Wilson and his fellow Radical Republicans were worried that President Grant was positioning himself for a third term and dragging the Republican Party down due to scandals in his Administration and a reluctance to go further with the progressive reforms urged by the Radicals during Reconstruction. James Garfield, a fellow Radical Republican who was a member of the House of Representatives and would be elected President himself in 1880, wrote that Vice President Wilson thought “Grant is now more unpopular than Andrew Johnson was in his darkest days; that his appointments had been getting worse and worse; that he is still struggling for a third term; in short that he is a the millstone around the neck of our party that would sink it out of sight.”
•Many Republicans saw Wilson as a potential Presidential candidate in 1876 who could bring the needed reforms and would have the courage to push a progressive agenda. But Wilson’s health was rapidly declining. He suffered a stroke within two months of being inaugurated as Vice President, but in the spring of 1875, he spent six weeks touring the South and speaking to all types of people. Some thought it was a preview to a bid for the Presidency the next year, but his health began failing again in the fall. After bathing at the spa facilities in the basement of the Capitol building on November 10, 1875, Wilson had another stroke. He was carried to the Vice President’s Room upstairs, a large office near the Senate chamber, to recover, but died on November 22,1875. A bronze plaque in the Vice President’s Room honors Wilson and notes that it was where the 18th Vice President actually died.
•Wilson was the first Vice President to be honored by lying in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building.
•Henry Wilson was the great-great uncle (or great-grand uncle) of 1988 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee and longtime Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen.
Okay, ladies and gentlemen…I received a great response to this year’s edition of the Presidential Rankings and always get requests for more projects that are recurring series with entries spread out over several days similar to how the 2014 Presidential Rankings were published. Ranking other important figures from history or various government positions doesn’t appeal to me, but profiling some of our political leaders — especially those who are often overlooked by history — definitely interests me.
So, this sneak peek is of the next big project here on Dead Presidents — a feature that I’ve given an extraordinarily creative and original title: "Vice Presidential Profiles". Hopefully the name of the project won’t confuse too many people, but just in case, the idea of the recurring series is to profile the Vice Presidents.
Once the Vice Presidential Profiles series begins (which will happen soon), I’ll be posting individual entries that look a lot like the entries for the Presidential Rankings. The entries will feature biographical information and political data on each Vice President, along with photos or portraits (so you actually can learn what some of the people who were a heartbeat away from the Presidency actually looked like), as well as a handful of random facts or trivia about every individual VP.
I haven’t decided exactly how many of the Vice Presidential Profiles I will release each day, but the series will kick-off soon. I hope you’ll enjoy the project and I look forward to your feedback on this new series!
Vice Presidents always tend to be easy targets and since Biden is so affable and open, people seem to underestimate him. Quite frankly, I don’t know where the Obama Administration would be without Vice President Biden. It’s no secret that Obama has been terrible with building relationships with Congress (and that’s certainly not solely his fault), and can be aloof at times because that’s just one of his personality characteristics — he’s not cold, he’s just a very serious, focused, cautious person. On the other hand, Biden is open and candid — sometimes to a fault — and it makes it easy to poke fun at him. Biden lacks a filter and often says things that he probably shouldn’t say — not necessarily because he’s saying something inappropriate, but more so because he’s so authentic. Like I said, some people find that to be a fault, but I find that to be incredibly refreshing, especially in a political leader who has basically spent his entire adult life in elective office.
But Biden has built bridges between the White House and Congress that have helped accomplish the big things that the Obama Administration has actually been able to get done. That’s because of Biden’s masterful political skills and the relationships and connections that Biden forged through nearly 40 years in the Senate. Biden likes to be underestimated because Biden knows exactly how gifted he is. He has never lacked that confidence — not even when he first ran for the Senate. I mean, Joe Biden is a guy who was so confident in himself that he ran for the Senate (and won) even though he wasn’t yet Constitutionally eligible to actually take his seat until a few weeks after the election.
Plus, a lot of people don’t truly know Joe Biden’s story. They know that he’s been around forever and that he spent decades in the Senate, but he’s never been the stereotypical fat cat incumbent clinging to his spot on Capitol Hill. Biden has always been active, always been a fighter, and always been straightforward. Biden earned everything that he has ever obtained and he worked for the people of his constituency in Delaware every day since his 1972 election, and he’s continued that work on behalf of the people of the United States every single day since he was elected Vice President. I wish that everyone would read more about Joe Biden, learn his story, and see how much he has overcome and how hard he has worked to get to where he is today — Jules Witcover’s Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption (BOOK | KINDLE) is a great place to start.
On a personal basis, I don’t hesitate to stay that Vice President Biden is probably my favorite politician alive today; it’s a close race between Biden and Bill Clinton. But from a professional standpoint — removing any of my personal biases or political beliefs from the equation — I think Joe Biden is probably the best Vice President in American history. Dick Cheney was a more powerful Vice President, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into excellence. Al Gore was the most influential VP up to that point, but his relationship with President Clinton wasn’t as symbiotic as Biden and Obama’s. Barack Obama is the mind and the conscience of the Obama Administration, but Joe Biden is the heart and soul.
Thank you. The problem with the Vice Presidents is that the position was nothing more than a backup heartbeat with so little Constitutional responsibility that few of them actually lived in Washington, those who did rarely presided over the Senate and didn’t have a place in the Executive Branch until the middle of the 20th Century. Even then, no Vice President had an office in the White House until Mondale in 1977 — nearly 200 years after John Adams was sworn in as the first Vice President. The Vice Presidency of the United States has existed for 225 years, and it was of such little importance for a major part of that history that it has been vacant for 37 years, 290 days of that 225 years — nearly 16% of the time!
In other words, there’s no way to rank the Vice Presidents because the job wasn’t really even a job for most of our history, for a big part of that time, nobody actually held the job, and, in my opinion, only 9 out of 47 Vice Presidents have either had some influence within the Administration they served in or had responsibilities as VP that might be considered notable —Hobart, Nixon, LBJ, Mondale, Bush 41, Quayle, Gore, Cheney, and Biden. And even then, Nixon, LBJ, Bush 41, and Quayle had limited roles, and all of those Vice Presidents, with the exception of Garret Hobart (who served as President McKinley’s VP from 1897 until dying in office in 1899) were born in the 20th Century or served after 1953.
I’m all for helping to advance some knowledge, but there’s nothing to be gained by ranking the VPs. However, I do get asked about the VPs a lot, so maybe I will just do short profiles on each of the Vice Presidents featuring information like each of the entries of the Presidential Rankings contained — biographical data, a short synopsis of who they were, what they did before being elected Vice President, and what they did afterward, if anything.
I don’t know if that sounds interesting to anyone else. Would anybody be interested in Vice Presidential Profiles?
I don’t believe that the 22nd Amendment contradicts the 12th Amendment at all. The 22nd Amendment instituted term limits while the 12th Amendment defined the eligibility requirements for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency, noting that “no person Constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.”
There are some who argue that the 22nd Amendment only means that someone who has served two-terms as President can’t be elected President, but that it doesn’t prohibit a former two-term President from assuming the Presidency another way, such as succession via the Vice Presidency. Perhaps the literal meaning of the 22nd Amendment can be interpreted as only restricting a former two-term President from being elected President again, but that doesn’t abrogate the 12th Amendment.
For someone who has served two-terms as President to even become Vice President and possibly succeed to the Presidency (as those who believe it is possible suggest), that former President would have to either be elected to the Vice Presidency or appointed to the Vice Presidency in the case of a vacancy in the office. Well, the 12th Amendment pretty clearly states (in my opinion) that anyone Constitutionally ineligible to be President (such as someone who has already served two terms) is ineligible to be Vice President. So, that person is prohibited from being elected Vice President, too.
So, what about a term-limited President being appointed to fill a vacancy in the Vice Presidency? First of all, that nominee would have to be confirmed by a majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, so that’s an obstacle for someone whose eligibility is supposedly up-in-the-air Constitutionally. Secondly, the last sentence of the 12th Amendment — the one dealing with this aspect of Presidential eligibility only says, "But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States."
Those who argue that the 22nd Amendment leaves an opening for a term-limited President to possibly become President through succession are relying on a strictly literal interpretation of the 22nd Amendment. If that is how they interpret the Constitution, the 12th Amendment would also have to be interpreted just as strictly, and it would not only restrict a term-limited President from being elected as Vice President, but it would prohibit that former President from becoming Vice President through any means that anybody could come up with. Take a look at that sentence from the 12th Amendment in boldface print above. If we use that strict interpretation of it and define it literally, word-for-word, it says nothing about “election” or “appointment” or “service”. It flat-out says, in language that has much more clarity than just about anything else in the Constitution, that nobody can be Vice President if they are ineligible to be President.
Listen, I’d love more than anything to see Bill Clinton back in the White House, and not just as First Gentleman, but I don’t see any possible way that the 12th Amendment or 22nd Amendment should or could be interpreted to allow a term-limited President to become Vice President in any manner whatsoever. Nothing in the 22nd Amendment abrogates the 12th, contradicts anything in the 12th, or gives any aspect of the 12th a new or different meaning.
Incidentally, if Hillary could appoint Bill as her Vice President, there would be a habitation clause issue that could either challenge their eligibility or cause easily avoidable problems in the Electoral College. Every Electoral vote counts and no candidate wants to risk giving up any more Electoral votes than they need to. If Hillary was allowed to name Bill as her running mate — and, again, she totally can’t, no matter what some people argue — electors from New York wouldn’t be able to cast Electoral ballots for both Hillary and Bill. The 12th Amendment prohibits Presidential electors to cast both of their votes (one for President and one for Vice President) for candidates who have the same state residency. While the electors of the other 49 states could cast both ballots for Hillary and Bill, the New York electors would have their votes disqualified for violating the 12th Amendment if they did so. No party, ticket, campaign, or candidate is going to risk losing a single Electoral vote, especially when it’s 100% unavoidable such as in this case, and New York has 29 Electoral votes in play during a Presidential election.
And, even if they overcame all of these Constitutional obstacles — which they couldn’t because I’m not the smartest guy in the world, I’ve never studied law, and I’m not exactly a Constitutional scholar, but even I am not confused by the wording or clarity of these guidelines — they have one more roadblock. In 1961, John F. Kennedy appointed his brother, Bobby Kennedy, to serve as his Attorney General and as a member of his Cabinet, which led to claims of nepotism. In 1967, a law was passed that states:
A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official. An individual may not be appointed, employed, promoted, or advanced in or to a civilian position in an agency if such appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement has been advocated by a public official, serving in or exercising jurisdiction or control over the agency, who is a relative of the individual.
And defined a “relative” as:
“relative” means, with respect to a public official, an individual who is related to the public official as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister.
Now, this law is a bit more vague than the 12th Amendment and 22nd Amendment because it’s not clear whether “a public official” includes a major party nominee for the President who has not yet been elected or whether selecting a running mate would be considered appointing, employing, promoting, advancing, or advocating for appointment, employment, promoting, or advancement, but it sounds like it would be a struggle. And, guess what? Even if they still overcame all of the Constitutional questions and Electoral College issues and potential problems with the nepotism law, there would still be a Joint Session of Congress in which the Electoral College results would need to be certified and that would present yet another opportunity for their eligibility to be challenged, which I imagine it most certainly would be since, as I’ve mentioned a few times in this post, Bill Clinton would definitely be Constitutionally ineligible to be elected Vice President, be appointed Vice President, serve as President, or even sneak into the Vice President’s office sit down at the VP’s desk and pretend to be Vice President.
So, no, it couldn’t happen, and even if it could there would be so many potential roadblocks — not even Constitutionally, but just politically — that they would be dumb to even attempt it.
Because there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits an incumbent Vice President from running for another office. Even if a Vice President ran for President and won, he or she wouldn’t have to resign to assume office because the terms of the President and Vice President run concurrently and he or she would be able to just step from one office into the other as the old term ends and the new term begins.
Another reason is that we need a Vice President and the actual day-to-day Constitutionally-required responsibilities of a VP aren’t so pressing that campaigning for office would be impossible. The VP is the President of the Senate but almost never actually presides over the Senate and is needed to cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate, something that also rarely happens. The resignation of the Vice President would force the President to appoint a new VP and once a nominee is fully vetted and decided upon, it requires confirmation by both chambers of Congress (usually following hearings) before the new VP could be sworn in. That would take up so much time and energy that it doesn’t really make sense for a Vice President to resign their office in order to run for President, especially when a campaign doesn’t seriously impede their Constitutional responsibilities.
First of all, let me set the table a bit. The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution, which sets forth the process for the election of the President and Vice President (and attempts to explain the Electoral College), instructs Presidential Electors to cast a separate ballot for the President and Vice President and prohibits Electors from casting both votes for candidates who reside in the same state as the Elector. To break that down, basically, that means that if I was an Elector, I couldn’t cast my ballot for a President and Vice President who, like me, live in California. At least one of my votes would have to go to someone residing in a different state.
Some take that to mean that the President and Vice President can’t be elected if their official residency is the same state. In actuality, they can reside in the same state, but Electoral votes are the ticket to the White House, so nobody wants to even risk the possibility of having even just one or two Electoral votes disqualified, which is what would happen if an Elector did cast ballots for a President and Vice President who both resided in the Electors state. In 2000, Dick Cheney established Wyoming as his official residency once he was named as George W. Bush’s running mate. Although Bush and Cheney both lived in Texas at the time, Cheney had a home in Wyoming, had represented Wyoming in Congress, and establishing official residences in different states protected them from any possible complications in the Electoral College.
Anyway, back to the main point of your question, yes, Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates declare their official state of residency when they seek election. I’m not positive when or how they do it — it could be when they file their paperwork to run, it could be as simple as it being where they are registered to vote. I’m not sure about the particulars. But there have been plenty of Presidents whose official state of residency was different from their state of birth.
And, since I’m here to give you as much information, as possible, whether you specifically ask for it or not, here are those Presidents:
•Andrew Jackson: Born in South Carolina; Represented Tennessee throughout his political career and is buried there.
•William Henry Harrison: Born in Virginia; Appointed to territorial government positions in the Northwest Territory and Indiana Territory early in his political career; Represented Ohio during the last half of his political career and at the time of his election as President; Buried in Ohio
•James K. Polk: Born in North Carolina; Represented Tennessee throughout his political career; Buried in Tennessee
•Zachary Taylor: Born in Virginia; Stationed throughout the country during his long military career; Officially resided in Louisiana at the time of his election as President; Buried in Kentucky
•Abraham Lincoln: Born in Kentucky; Represented Illinois throughout his political career; Buried in Illinois
•Jefferson Davis (Confederate President): Born in Kentucky; Represented Mississippi throughout his political career; Buried in Virginia
•Andrew Johnson: Born in North Carolina; Represented Tennessee throughout his political career; Buried in Tennessee
•Ulysses S. Grant: Born in Ohio; Officially resided in Illinois at the time of his Presidential election; Buried in New York
•Chester A. Arthur: Born in Vermont; Spent nearly his entire adult life working and living in New York which was his official state of residency when he was elected Vice President and succeeded to the Presidency upon Garfield’s assassination; Buried in New York
•Grover Cleveland: Born in New Jersey; Represented New York throughout his political career; Buried in New Jersey
•Benjamin Harrison: Born in Ohio; Represented Indiana throughout his political career; Buried in Indiana
•Woodrow Wilson: Born in Virginia and raised in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina; Represented New Jersey when elected to the only two political positions he ever campaigned for; Buried in Washington, D.C.
•Calvin Coolidge: Born in Vermont; Represented Massachusetts throughout his political career; Buried in Vermont
•Herbert Hoover: Born in Iowa and grew up there and in Oregon; Spent nearly a quarter-century working as a mining engineer and then relief organizer around the world; Officially resided in California at the time of his election as President; Buried in Iowa
•Dwight D. Eisenhower: Born in Texas and raised in Kansas; Stationed all over the country and, later, around the world during his military career; Resident of New York at the time of his first election as President in 1952, but established Kansas as his official residence at the time of the 1956 Presidential election; Buried in Kansas
•Richard Nixon: Born and raised in California; Represented California for the first half of his political career but moved to New York to join a law firm after losing the 1962 California gubernatorial campaign; New York was his official place of residence when elected President in 1968; Re-established California — the location of his “Western White House” — as his place of residency by the time of his re-election as President in 1972; Buried in California
•Gerald Ford: Born in Nebraska and raised in Michigan; Represented Michigan throughout his political career; Buried in Michigan
•Ronald Reagan: Born in Illinois; Represented California throughout his political career; Buried in California
•George H.W. Bush: Born in Massachusetts; Represented Texas throughout his political career; Has arranged to be buried in Texas upon his death
•George W. Bush: Born in Connecticut; Represented Texas throughout his political career; Planning to be buried in Texas upon his death
•Barack Obama: Born in Hawaii; Represented Illinois throughout his political career
With his 90th birthday, George Herbert Walker Bush has become the fifth President in American History to reach the age of 90 years old (Jimmy Carter will turn 90 later this year). Bush has been the oldest living President since the death of Gerald Ford in December 2006, is currently in fifth place on the list of longest-living American Presidents of all-time, and he will rise to third place on that list by his next birthday.
1. Ford: 93 years, 165 days
2. Reagan: 93 years, 120 days
3. J. Adams: 90 years, 247 days
4. Hoover: 90 years, 71 days
5. G.H.W. Bush: 90 years, 0 days (Turned 90 years old today)
6. Carter: 89 years+ (Turns 90 years old on October 1st)
7. Truman: 88 years, 232 days
8. Madison: 85 years, 104 days
9. Jefferson: 83 years, 82 days
10. Davis (CSA): 81 years, 186 days
Bush is also currently the fifth longest-living Vice President in American history:
Longest-Living Vice Presidents
1. Garner: 98 years, 351 days
2. Morton: 96 years
3. Ford: 93 years, 165 days
4. J. Adams: 90 years, 247 days
5. G.H.W. Bush: 90 years, 0 days
6. Truman: 88 years, 232 days
7. Mondale: 86 years+ (Turns 87 on January 5, 2015)
8. Dawes: 85 years, 239 days
9. Jefferson: 83 years, 82 days
10. Hamlin: 81 years, 311 days
Former President Bush’s long life has also included a lengthy and well-deserved retirement. Bush is in the top ten of the rankings of the longest lives lived by Presidents after leaving office, as well as the longest post-Vice Presidencies.
Length of Post-Presidency
1. Carter: 33 years+ (Still living/Left office Jan. 20, 1981)
2. Hoover: 31 years, 231 days (1933-1964)
3. Ford: 29 years, 340 days (1977-2006)
4. J. Adams: 25 years, 122 days (1801-1826)
5. Davis (CSA): 24 years, 210 days (1865-1889)
6. Van Buren: 21 years, 142 days (1841-1862)
7. G.H.W. Bush: 21 years+ (Still living/Left office Jan. 20, 1993)
8. Fillmore: 21 years, 4 days (1853-1874)
9. Truman: 19 years, 340 days (1953-1972)
10. Nixon: 19 years, 256 days (1974-1994)
Length of Post-Vice Presidency
1. Mondale: 33 years+ (Still living/Left VP office Jan. 20, 1981)
2. Nixon: 33 years, 92 days (1961-1994)
3. Ford: 32 years, 139 days (1974-2006)
4. Burr: 31 years, 71 days (1805-1836)
5. J. Adams: 29 years, 122 days (1797-1826)
6. Truman: 27 years, 258 days (1945-1972)
7. Morton: 27 years, 73 days (1893-1920)
8. Garner: 26 years, 291 days (1941-1967)
9. Hamlin: 26 years, 122 days (1865-1891)
10. G.H.W. Bush: 25 years+ (Left VP office Jan. 20, 1989)
There are several other age-related longevity records that Bush 41 has either set, broken, or is approaching. No President/Vice President team has lived longer than the Ronald Reagan/George H.W. Bush (93 and 90 years old respectively) team. The combination of Jimmy Carter (turning 90 in October) and Walter Mondale (a few months away from his 87th birthday) is the closest to Reagan/Bush, and both Carter and Mondale are still living. Interestingly, those two combinations were also the opposing tickets in the 1980 election. Although Bob Dole, who is nearly a year older than Bush (born on July 22, 1923), is the oldest living Presidential or Vice Presidential nominee from either party, Bush is the oldest living successful Presidential and Vice Presidential nominee. Dole was the Republican Presidential nominee in 1996 (losing to Bill Clinton) and the unsuccessful Vice Presidential nominee in 1976 as Gerald Ford’s running mate; Bush was elected VP alongside Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984, and was successful against Michael Dukakis in the 1988 Presidential election.
Even the marriage of George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush is a record-breaker. Only two First Couples in American History have been married for longer than 60 years, and they are BOTH still going strong — George and Barbara Bush will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on January 6, 2015 and the 68th anniversary of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s wedding is next month.
Longest Presidential Marriages
1. G.H.W. Bush: 69 years+ (70th anniversary on Jan. 6, 2015)
2. Carter: 67 years+ (68th anniversary on July 7th)
3. Ford: 58 years, 72 days
4. J. Adams: 54 years, 3 days
5. Truman: 53 years, 281 days
6. Nixon: 53 years, 1 day
7. Eisenhower: 52 years, 270 days
8. Reagan (2nd marriage): 52 years, 93 days
9. J.Q. Adams: 50 years, 212 days
10. A. Johnson: 48 years, 75 days
With the Bushes and Carters still happily married and living seemingly healthy lives, both former First Couples have a chance of becoming the longest-living President/First Lady combination as well as adding to their record of longest marriage.
Longest-Living First Couples (Age at Death or Current Age)
1. Gerald Ford (93 years, 165 days)/Betty Ford (93 years, 91 days)
2. Ronald Reagan (93 years, 120 days)/Nancy Reagan (Still living/Turns 93 years old on July 6th)
3. Harry S. Truman (88 years, 232 days)/Bess Truman (97 years, 247 day — longest-living President or First Lady in history)
4. George H.W. Bush (90 years, 0 days)/Barbara Bush (89 years, 4 days) [Both still living]
5. Jimmy Carter (Turns 90 years old on October 1st)/Rosalynn Carter (Turns 87 years old on August 18th) [Both still living]
Theodore Roosevelt on new President William McKinley, 1897.
In 1900, Roosevelt was elected as McKinley’s running mate, replacing Vice President Garret A. Hobart who had died in office in 1899
Both of James Madison’s Vice Presidents died in office. During his eight years in the White House, President Madison had a Vice President for barely half of that time.
Madison’s first Vice President, George Clinton, also served as the Vice President during Thomas Jefferson’s second term from 1805-1809. When Madison was elected in 1808, the new President and Clinton found themselves at odds on numerous issues. After seven years in office (four as Jefferson’s VP; three as Madison’s), Clinton died on April 20, 1812 of a heart attack.
There was no protocol in place to fill a Vice Presidential vacancy until 1967, but because Clinton died during an election year, the Vice Presidency was not vacant for long in 1812. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts became the 5th Vice President of the United States when he took office on March 4, 1813. His term was short-lived, however, and Gerry died in Washington on November 23, 1814.
Besides Clinton and Gerry, five other Vice Presidents have died in office: William Rufus DeVane King (Franklin Pierce’s VP) in 1853, Henry Wilson (Ulysses S. Grant’s second term VP) in 1875, Thomas Andrews Hendricks (Grover Cleveland’s first term VP) in 1885, Garret Augustus Hobart (William McKinley’s first term VP) in 1899, and James Schoolcraft Sherman (William Howard Taft’s VP) in 1912.
In addition, two Vice Presidents resigned from office. John Caldwell Calhoun served as Vice President under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, but resigned in 1832 due to a feud with President Jackson and the urge to run for a vacancy in the United States Senate in his native South Carolina. Richard Nixon’s first Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in disgrace in 1973 while he was being investigated for criminal wrongdoing in a bribery scandal.