Presidents 1789 to 1899

Did you know?

  • Thomas Jefferson suggested our national motto, “E pluribus unum” (one composed of many).
  • The term Gerrymander comes from a redistricting map drawn by Elbridge Gerry that looked like a salamander.
  • During Andrew Jackson’s term the division between the North and the South began over heavy import taxes, which helped the North and hurt the South.
  • “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” was a campaign slogan for the Harrison-Tyler ticket. Tippecanoe refers to Harrison’s victory in a battle with Indians.
  • William Henry Harrison, the ninth President, died one month after taking office.
  • James Buchanan was our first and only bachelor President.
  • South Carolina left the union when Lincoln was elected. Within two months six more states seceded.
  • Johnson’s impeachment failed by one vote.
  • A commission of five senators and five judges decided Rutherford B. Hayes was President after a dispute about the counting of votes.
  • Garfield was shot by a man who expected the President to appoint him to a government job. Congress soon after created the civil-service examinations.

Political Parties of the 1800’s

Twenty-five presidents served between 1789-1899. The first political party was the Federalist, which believed in a strong centralized government.

The Democratic-Republican party, founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, was in opposition to the Federalist. The Democratic-Republican Party thought that a strong centralized government would weaken the rights of individual.

In 1820 the Democratic-Republican party divided to form the Democratic party and the Whigs. The Democratic party believed states should self-rule and opposed a strong centralized government, while the Whigs believed in a centralized federal government.

In 1824 the Republican party was created. The leaders were formally anti-slavery Whig members. Anti-slavery was a rallying cry for the Republican party.

John Quincy Adams is the only Independent party candidate elected to the presidency (1824), converted to the Democratic-Republican party while in office.

During Lincoln’s reelection the Republican party changed its name to the National Union. When Lincoln was assassinated Vice President Andrew Johnson served as a member of the National Union. He is the only president who served as a member of the National Union.

Presidents of the United States

[This is how high school students were taught to memorize the presidents of the United States in 1899.]

George Washington, that hero grand,
Was President of our dear land
Eight troubled years. Then Adams (John)
Preceded Thomas Jefferson.
He was elected twice, you know,
Like Madison and James Monroe.
John Quincy Adams, wise and firm,
Was next; then Jackson’s double term.
Van Buren ruled when times were bad;
The death of Harrison was sad;
But Tyler came his years to close
Ere James K. Polk, in turn, arose.
Zach Taylor of the Texan war
Soon left his place to good Fillmore.
Pierce and Buchanan both held sway
While slavery questions ruled the day.
That storm cloud burst while Lincoln steered
The “Ship of State,” whose wreck he feared;
Scarce had he brought it safe to port
When crime his second term cut short.
Johnson was therefore forced, though loath,
To take the Presidential oath.
Grant of our nation twice was head,
Ere to the White House Hayes was led.
When Garfield’s pain was o’er, at last,
His power to Chester Arthur passed.
Next Cleveland and Ben Harrison,
Whose place again firm Cleveland won
McKinley now rules land and main
And all the islands torn from Spain.