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Know Your Stuff

Presidents of the United States

1st -  George Washington,  1789-1797   (Federalist from Virginia)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  NA/67.0 (1788), NA/63.2 (1792)
Vice President(s): John Adams
Appts. to Supreme Court:  12  (James Wilson, Chief Justice John Jay, William Cushing, John Blair, Jr., James Iredell, Thomas Johnson, William Paterson, John Rutledge [separately as Associate and Chief Justice], Samuel Chase, Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth)
Happenings:  Bill of Rights (1791); Whiskey Rebellion (1794); Vermont (1791), Kentucky (1792), Tennessee (1796) admitted.
Quick fact:  Ran unopposed in both elections; the ungarnered electoral votes went to his Veep, John Adams, who was not opposing him. Still wildly popular, he declined to run for a third term, setting a precedent which held until 1940.

2nd -  John Adams,  1797-1801   (Federalist from Massachusetts)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  NA/31.1 (four-way race)
Vice President(s): Thomas Jefferson
Appts. to Supreme Court:  3  (Bushrod Washington, Alfred Moore, Chief Justice John Marshall)
Happenings:  DC becomes capital, White House president's home (1800).
Quick fact:  Despite the Founders' hopes, political factions developed during Washington's years. In 1796, Federalists favoring strong central government ran the more moderate Adams against States' Rights advocates' Jefferson. Jefferson took second.
Change in federal spending during term:  +51%     Change in national debt during term:  +1%

3rd -  Thomas Jefferson,  1801-1809   (Democratic-Republican from Virginia)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  NA/26.5 (1800) (five-way race), NA/92.0 (1804 -- 12th Amendment takes effect)
Vice President(s): Aaron Burr (1801-5), George Clinton (1805-9)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  3  (William Johnson, Henry Brockholst Livingston, Thomas Todd)
Happenings:  Barbary Wars (1801-5); Louisiana Purchase made (1803); Lewis & Clark expedition (1804-6); Ohio admitted (1803).
Quick fact:  States' Rightist Jefferson's tight 1800 race against Federalist Burr had to be decided by Congress. While Veep, Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. A classic liberal, Jefferson's budget- and tax-slashing presaged modern conservatism.
Change in federal spending during term:  +6%     Change in national debt during term:  -31%
Fiscal fact:  Given the immense expansion of territory attending his administration, Jefferson's spending habits were well restrained by modern standards.

4th -  James Madison,  1809-1817   (Democratic-Republican from Virginia)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  NA/72.2 (1808), NA/59.0 (1812)
Vice President(s): George Clinton (1809-12), Elbridge Gerry (1813-17)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (Gabriel Duvall, Joseph Story)
Happenings:  War of 1812 -- Washington burned, national anthem written (1814); Louisiana (1812), Indiana (1816) admitted; Barbary War (1815).
Quick fact:  Madison was a hero of the constitutional years, being a careful guide and chronicler of the process and prime mover of the Bill of Rights. But he is not viewed as a great or particularly decisive president. Campaigned for starting the War of 1812.
Change in federal spending during term:  +144%     Change in national debt during term:  +81%
Fiscal fact:  Madison's fiscal performance reflects the War of 1812 more than the restraint he shared with Jefferson.

5th -  James Monroe,  1817-1825   (Democratic-Republican from Virginia)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  NA/84.3 (1816), NA/99.6 (1820)
Vice President(s): Daniel D. Tompkins
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (Smith Thompson)
Happenings:  Monroe Doctrine promulgated (1823); Mississippi (1817), Illinois (1818), Alabama (1819), Maine (1820), Missouri (1821) admitted; First Seminole War (1817-18); Missouri Compromise (1820).
Quick fact:  Last Revolutionary War hero to become president.
Change in federal spending during term:  -17%     Change in national debt during term:  -19%

6th -  John Quincy Adams,  1825-1829   (Democratic-Republican from Massachusetts)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  30.9/32.2
Vice President(s): John C. Calhoun
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (Robert Trimble)
Quick fact:  Son of the second president, Adams lost both the popular and electoral vote to Andrew Jackson, but lack of a majority in a four-way race threw the decision to the House, which decided for Adams.
Change in federal spending during term:  -11%     Change in national debt during term:  -30%

7th -  Andrew Jackson,  1829-1837   (Democrat from Tennessee)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  56.0/68.2 (1828), 54.2/76.6 (1832)
Vice President(s): John C. Calhoun (1829-33), Martin Van Buren (1833-37)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  5  (John McLean, Henry Baldwin, James M. Wayne, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, Phillip P. Barbour, John T. Catron, )
Happenings:  Battle of the Alamo and Texas independence (1836); Arkansas (1836), Michigan (1837) admitted; Second Seminole War begins (1835).
Quick fact:  Jackson's 1828 campaign played to personal prejudices, re-establishing the two-party politics of labor vs. wealth. His evolution from Democratic-Republican to straight Democrat in 1832 marked the founding of the current party.
Change in federal spending during term:  +17%     Change in national debt during term:  -99%
Fiscal fact:  A fiscal conservative worthy of the name, Jackson is the only U.S. president to have essentially paid off the national debt. It didn't last long, as his stand against the National Bank led to the Panic of 1837.

8th -  Martin Van Buren,  1837-1841   (Democrat from New York)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  50.8/57.8
Vice President(s): Richard M. Johnson
Appts. to Supreme Court:  3  (John McKinley, Peter Vivian Daniel)
Happenings:  Panic of 1837-40.

Change in federal spending during term:  +60%     Change in national debt during term:  +3,935%
Fiscal fact:  Van Buren was faced with the financial panic, a crisis over the divesting of the National Bank during the previous administration. And any increase to the national debt was bound to loom large when Jackson had reduced it to a mere $33,000.

9th -  William Henry Harrison,  1841-4/4/1841   (Whig from Ohio)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  52.9/79.6
Vice President(s): John Tyler
Appts. to Supreme Court:  0
Quick fact:  Harrison, hero of the Ohio Valley campaigns early in the century, caught a cold on Inauguration Day and died a month later. He was succeeded by his Veep, Tyler. "Tippecanoe, and Tyler too!"

10th -  John Tyler,  4/4/1841-1845   (Whig from Virginia)    Image
Vice President(s): [None]
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (Samuel Nelson)
Happenings:  Second Seminole War ends (1842); Florida admitted (1845).
Quick fact:  Tyler succeeded Harrison upon the latter's death, but was unable to secure a nomination for his own term in 1844. His efforts to annex Texas as a slave state were beaten down.
Change in federal spending during term:  -30%     Change in national debt during term:  +73%

11th -  James K. Polk,  1845-1849   (Democrat from Tennessee)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  49.5/61.8
Vice President(s): George M. Dallas
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (Levi Woodbury, Robert Cooper Grier)
Happenings:  Mexican War begins and ends, annexing our Southwest; Texas (1845), Iowa (1846), Wisconsin (1849) admitted.
Quick fact:  Polk won on a platform of territorial expansion, including the annexation of Texas. Disputes over its boundary led to the Mexican War.
Change in federal spending during term:  +78%     Change in national debt during term:  +101%

12th -  Zachary Taylor,  1849-7/9/1850   (Whig from Louisiana)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  47.3/56.2
Vice President(s): Millard Fillmore
Appts. to Supreme Court:  0
Quick fact:  A hero of the Mexican War, Taylor died in office in 1850 of "acute indigestion" after polishing off a bowl of cherries. He was succeeded by his Veep, Fillmore.
Change in federal spending during term:  +10%     Change in national debt during term:  +35%

13th -  Millard Fillmore,  7/9/1850-1853   (Whig from New York)    Image
Vice President(s): [None]
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (Benjamin Robbins Curtis)
Happenings:  California admitted (1850).
Quick fact:  Succeeding Zachary Taylor upon his early death, Fillmore, like Tyler before him, was unable to secure the nomination in 1852. His signing of the Compromise of 1850 delayed the Civil War for a decade.
Change in federal spending during term:  +9%     Change in national debt during term:  +4%

14th -  Franklin Pierce,  1853-1857   (Democrat from New Hampshire)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  50.8/85.8
Vice President(s): William R. D. King
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (John Archibald Campbell)

Change in federal spending during term:  +28%     Change in national debt during term:  -52%

15th -  James Buchanan,  1857-1861   (Democrat from Pennsylvania)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  45.3/60.4
Vice President(s): John C. Breckenridge
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (Nathan Clifford)
Happenings:  The South secedes from the Union (1860-61, during lame-duck period); Kansas admitted (1861).
Quick fact:  The argument over slavery was so hot -- factions in Kansas were in open warfare -- that Buchanan gained the edge by having been out of the country and, therefore, untainted by the ugliness.
Change in federal spending during term:  +16%     Change in national debt during term:  +103%

16th -  Abraham Lincoln,  1861-4/15/1865   (Republican from Illinois)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  39.8/59.4 (1860), 55.0/91.0 (1864 -- missing the South's electoral votes)
Vice President(s): Hannibal Hamlin (1861-5), Andrew Johnson (1865)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  5  (Noah Haynes Swayne, Samuel Freeman Miller, David Davis, Stephen Johnson Field, Chiel Justice Salmon P. Chase)
Happenings:  Civil War begins and ends (1861-5); Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and freedom for slaves; West Virginia (1863), Nevada (1864) admitted; assassinated April, 1865.
Quick fact:  Lincoln won a four-way race in 1860 when Democrats split the vote between northern and southern factions. He was the first Republican president, the party having been founded in 1856. His election immediately precipitated Secession.
Change in federal spending during term:  +898%     Change in national debt during term:  +4,030%

17th -  Andrew Johnson,  4/15/1865-1869   (Republican from Tennessee)    Image
Vice President(s): [None]
Appts. to Supreme Court:  0
Happenings:  Reconstruction begins in the South; Nebraska admitted (1867); impeachment fails in Senate by one vote (1868).
Quick fact:  Assuming the presidency upon the assassination of Lincoln, Johnson was the first (and, until 1998, only) president to be impeached. Because of the turmoil, he could not secure a nomination for his own term.
Change in federal spending during term:  -44%     Change in national debt during term:  -4%

18th -  Ulysses S. Grant,  1869-1877   (Republican from Ohio)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  52.7/72.8 (1868), 55.6/81.3 (1872)
Vice President(s): Schuyler Colfax (1869-73), Henry Wilson (1873-77)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  4  (William Strong, Joseph P. Bradley, Ward Hunt, Chief Justice Morrison Waite)
Happenings:  Transcontinental railway completed (1869); First National Park (Yellowstone, 1872); Panic of 1873 in financial markets; Colorado admitted (1876); Centennial celebrations (1876).
Quick fact:  Republicans backed Radical Reconstruction in the South, but hypocrisy over negro suffrage split the party into Liberals and Conservatives in 1872. Grant ran with the latter for his second term and, though an honest man, suffered a corrupt administration.
Change in federal spending during term:  -24%     Change in national debt during term:  -18%

19th -  Rutherford B. Hayes,  1877-1881   (Republican from Ohio)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  48.0/50.1
Vice President(s): William A. Wheeler
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (John Marshall Harlan, William Burnham Woods)
Happenings:  Reconstruction essentially ends.
Quick fact:  Also a Republican, Hayes ran on his integrity and against the corruption of the Grant administration. His opponent, Sam Tilden, ran against the corruption of the Boss Tweed machine in NY. Hayes won by one electoral vote, losing the popular vote.
Change in federal spending during term:  -13%     Change in national debt during term:  -2%

20th -  James A. Garfield,  1881-9/19/1881   (Republican from Ohio)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  48.3/58.0
Vice President(s): Chester A. Arthur
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (Stanley Matthews)
Happenings:  Assassinated by Charles Guiteau; died September 1881.
Quick fact:  Garfield ran against the practice of political patronage, and was assassinated the same year by a disappointed patronage-seeker. Tightest race on record, Garfield beating Civil War General Winfield Hancock by 16,000 popular votes, or 0.02%.

21st -  Chester A. Arthur,  9/19/1881-1885   (Republican from New York)    Image
Vice President(s): [None]
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (Horace Gray, Samuel Blatchford)
Quick fact:  Arthur had been yanked from a mid-level patronage job in New York City to balance Garfield's 1880 ticket, a position he never imagined was in his future. He was unable to secure the nomination for his own term in 1884.
Change in federal spending during term:  +0%     Change in national debt during term:  -20%

22nd -  Grover Cleveland,  1885-1889   (Democrat from New York)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  48.5/54.6
Vice President(s): Thomas A. Hendricks
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, Chief Justice Melville Fuller)
Happenings:  Only president to marry in the White House, to Frances Folsom in 1886.
Quick fact:  One of the first presidential campaigns to sling mud on personal character, Cleveland, accused of fathering a child out of wedlock, defeated Republican James Blaine, who was charged with accepting railroad bribes in return for favors.
Change in federal spending during term:  +2%     Change in national debt during term:  -15%

23rd -  Benjamin Harrison,  1889-1893   (Republican from Indiana)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  47.8/58.1
Vice President(s): Levi P. Morton
Appts. to Supreme Court:  4  (David Josiah Brewer, Henry Billings Brown, George Shiras, Jr., Howell Edmunds Jackson)
Happenings:  Dakotas, Montana, Washington (1889), Wyoming, Idaho (1890) admitted; western frontier officially pronounced closed; Indian Wars end.
Quick fact:  President Cleveland campaigned against import tariffs, while Harrison pushed higher wages through selected tariffs. Grandson of the ninth president, Harrison won with fewer popular votes, and led a busy administration.
Change in federal spending during term:  +28%     Change in national debt during term:  -30%

24th -  Grover Cleveland,  1893-1897   (Democrat from New York)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  46.1/62.4
Vice President(s): Adlai E. Stevenson
Appts. to Supreme Court:  3  (Edward Douglass White, Rufus Wheeler Peckham)
Happenings:  Utah admitted (1896).
Quick fact:  Cleveland became the only president to serve split terms after an election which again hinged on the tariff issue. For the first time since the War, a third party candidate, representing discontented populists, won electoral votes.
Change in federal spending during term:  +10%     Change in national debt during term:  +26%

25th -  William McKinley,  1897-9/14/1901   (Republican from Ohio)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  51.0/60.6 (1896), 51.7/65.3 (1900)
Vice President(s): Garret A. Hobart (1897-1901), Theodore Roosevelt (1901)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (Joseph McKenna)
Happenings:  Spanish-American War begins and ends (1898), U.S. gains territories and Philippine Insurrection. Legations freed in Boxer Rebellion (1900). Assassinated September, 1901.
Quick fact:  Republicans outspent Democrats 12:1 (though McKinley campaigned from his front porch) on a pro-tariff platform. Nonetheless, losing populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan polled more popular votes than any candidate in history.
Change in federal spending during term:  +35%     Change in national debt during term:  -0%

26th -  Theodore Roosevelt,  9/14/1901-1909   (Republican from New York)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  56.4/70.6
Vice President(s): Charles W. Fairbanks (1905-09)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  3  (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., William R. Day)
Happenings:  Oklahoma admitted (1907); "Great White Fleet" projects American stature abroad (1907-9); Ford rolls out its first Model-T (1908).
Quick fact:  Our youngest president assumed the office upon the assassination of McKinley in 1901. Roosevelt was much more populist than his predecessor, stealing the Democrats' thunder in 1904 and forcing them to the right to try to oust him.
Change in federal spending during term:  +15%     Change in national debt during term:  -4%
Fiscal fact:  Roosevelt paid down the full debt from the Spanish-American War without significantly increasing spending -- though he didn't manage to trim back war spending levels.

27th -  William H. Taft,  1909-1913   (Republican from Ohio)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  51.6/66.5
Vice President(s): James S. Sherman
Appts. to Supreme Court:  5  (Horace Harmon Lurton, Charles Evans Hughes, Willis Van Devanter, Joseph Rucker Lamar, Mahlon Pitney)
Happenings:  Last two contiguous states, Arizona and New Mexico, admitted (1912); RMS Titanic goes down (1912).
Quick fact:  Roosevelt declined a third term and backed Taft, who promised to continue his balanced populist policies. As president, Taft tended to favor capital, irking Roosevelt.
Change in federal spending during term:  +22%     Change in national debt during term:  +1%

28th -  Woodrow Wilson,  1913-1921   (Democrat from New Jersey)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  41.8/81.9 (1912), 49.2/52.2 (1916)
Vice President(s): Thomas R. Marshall
Appts. to Supreme Court:  3  (James Clark McReynolds, Louis Brandeis, John Hessin Clarke)
Happenings:  Marines sent to Nicaragua (1913-25); World War I begins and ends (1914-18); Lusitania sunk (1915); U.S. becomes involved in War (1917); Versailles Treaty (1919); great flu epidemic (1918-19); Prohibition begins (1920).
Quick fact:  Unhappy with Taft's swing to capital, Roosevelt ran against him as the Bull Moose candidate, splitting the Republican vote and giving Wilson the win. In 1916, Wilson won on a promise to stay out of WWI.
Change in federal spending during term:  +666%     Change in national debt during term:  +1,935%
Fiscal fact:  Like FDR two decades later, Wilson promised to keep us out of war. Unlike FDR, our entry into World War I was optional and Wilson opted in. The huge bump in spending and debt was long-lasting despite efforts by Harding and Coolidge to rein it in.

29th -  Warren G. Harding,  1921-8/2/1923   (Republican from Ohio)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  60.3/76.1
Vice President(s): Calvin Coolidge
Appts. to Supreme Court:  4  (Chief Justice William Howard Taft, George Sutherland, Pierce Butler, Edward Terry Sanford)
Happenings:  Teapot Dome (oil) scandal breaks (1923); birth of "bathtub gin" and bootlegging. Died in office (1923).
Quick fact:  Voters were running from the progressive internationalism and war of the Wilsonian period, electing lightweight but fun-loving Harding. Though basically honest, he let his friends run rampant in a corrupt administration.
Change in federal spending during term:  -28%     Change in national debt during term:  -8%
Fiscal fact:  Harding's time in office was short and tainted with corruption. But in that time he clearly understood that war debts should be paid, especially in good economic times.

30th -  Calvin Coolidge,  8/2/1923-1929   (Republican from Massachusetts)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  54.0/71.9
Vice President(s): Charles G. Dawes (1925-9)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (Harlan F. Stone)
Happenings:  Stock market surges, and flappers flap through the "Roaring Twenties"; bootleg booze, speak-easies and Al Capone reign; Marines return to Nicaragua (1927-33).
Quick fact:  Inheriting his first term from Harding, "Silent Cal" was a quiet, serious, law-and-order type who was fortunate enough to be presiding over boom times. The Dems couldn't organize behind a good challenge issue in 1924.
Change in federal spending during term:  -24%     Change in national debt during term:  -21%
Fiscal fact:  Perhaps the last of many presidents who understood that war debts should be paid off, and not by throttling the economy. But Coolidge, like Clinton seventy years later, was blessed with booming markets.

31st -  Herbert C. Hoover,  1929-1933   (Republican from California)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  58.2/83.6
Vice President(s): Charles Curtis
Appts. to Supreme Court:  3  (Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, Owen Roberts, Benjamin N. Cardozo)
Happenings:  Stock market crashes (October, 1929), Great Depression begins.
Quick fact:  Like Coolidge, who had declined to run at the peak of his success, Hoover's campaign was bolstered by the booming economy. The Dems ran Al Smith of New York, who had way too much baggage as a machine politician.
Change in federal spending during term:  +26%     Change in national debt during term:  +11%
Fiscal fact:  There is still endless debate on Hoover's response to the economic crisis. Keynesians decry his continued insistence upon balanced budgets and no dole, while fiscal conservatives wag fingers at new tariffs and pro-labor policies.

32nd -  Franklin Delano Roosevelt,  1933-1945   (Democrat from New York)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  57.4/88.9 (1932), 60.8/98.5 (1936), 54.7/84.6 (1940), 53.4/81.4 (1944)
Vice President(s): John Nance Garner (1933-41), Henry A. Wallace (1941-45), Harry S Truman (1945)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  8  (Hugo Black, Stanley Forman Reed, Felix Frankfurter, William O. Douglas, Frank Murphy, James F. Byrnes, Robert H. Jackson, Wiley Blount Rutledge)
Happenings:  Introduces New Deal (1932-3); Prohibition ends (1933); gold standard abandoned (1933); Social Security Act (1935); World War II begins (1939); Depression fades with onset of war; U.S. enters War after Pearl Harbor (December, 1941).
Quick fact:  The first president to gain a third (and fourth) term. Just as boom times helped Coolidge and Hoover, the Crash of '29 gave Roosevelt his issue in 1932. His New Deal policies, and a promise to stay out of WWII, locked him in.
Change in federal spending during term:  +676%     Change in national debt during term:  +1,235%
Fiscal fact:  A convinced Keynesian, FDR confronted both the Great Depression and World War II, and his spending and borrowing policies reflect it. The problem lies in the fact that his spending initiatives did not abate with the emergencies.

33rd -  Harry S Truman,  1945-1953   (Democrat from Missouri)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  49.5/57.1
Vice President(s): Alben W. Barkley
Appts. to Supreme Court:  4  (Harold Hitz Burton, Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, Tom C. Clark, Sherman Minton)
Happenings:  First and only use of atomic bomb (1945); World War II ends (1945); Korean War begins (1950); Cold War begins (late 40's).
Quick fact:  Taking over at Roosevelt's death in April, 1945, Truman not only learned of the Bomb, but had to decide to use it to end WWII. His 1948 victory, when everyone figured to be tired of Democratic rule, was one of the biggest presidential upsets.
Change in federal spending during term:  +58%     Change in national debt during term:  -0%
Fiscal fact:  Truman's spending growth is measured against the very unusual -- and lengthy -- FDR baseline. The key fact here is that Truman's spending levels did not decrease at all from FDR's with the end of both the Depression and the War.

34th -  Dwight D. Eisenhower,  1953-1961   (Republican from Kansas)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  55.1/83.2 (1952), 57.4/86.1 (1956)
Vice President(s): Richard Nixon
Appts. to Supreme Court:  5  (Chief Justice Earl Warren, John Marshal Harlan II, William J. Brennan, Jr., Charles Evans Whittaker, Potter Stewart)
Happenings:  Korean War ends (1953); Marines sent to Lebanon (1957); Space Age begins with Sputnik launch (1957); last two states -- Alaska and Hawaii -- admitted (1959).
Quick fact:  In the end, Truman had been (falsely) viewed as "soft on communism". Ike stormed into office promising to sweep out crooks and communists in government, and end the fighting in Korea. He became the most popular president in history.
Change in federal spending during term:  +75%     Change in national debt during term:  +12%
Fiscal fact:  Ike ran as an avowed fiscal conservative, but was hammered by the demand for military and foreign aid spending and constrained by political realities. He produced the largest peacetime budget deficit to that time -- $266B during the 1959 recession.

35th -  John F. Kennedy,  1961-1963   (Democrat from Massachusetts)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  49.7/56.4
Vice President(s): Lyndon Baines Johnson
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (Byron White, Arthur Goldberg)
Happenings:  First American in space (1961); Cuban missile crisis (1962); military adviser strength in Vietnam raised from 800 to 16,000; assassinated in November, 1963.
Quick fact:  The first president born in the 20th century, and the youngest ever elected. Also the first Catholic to hold the office. Concerns over the truth about his assassination in November, 1963, will never fully die. Won by only 114,673 popular votes.
Change in federal spending during term:  +34%     Change in national debt during term:  +7%
Fiscal fact:  JFK came to office as the late-50's recession ended. His 1961 budget produced the first peacetime non-recession deficit in history. In 1963, he reduced taxes, leading to steady economic growth through the Johnson years.

36th -  Lyndon Baines Johnson,  1963-1969   (Democrat from Texas)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  61.1/90.3
Vice President(s): Hubert Humphrey
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (Abe Fortas, Thurgood Marshall)
Happenings:  Civil Rights Act (1964); Vietnam War begins in earnest with Tonkin Gulf Resolution (1964), troops grow to half million (1965); anti-war violence in U.S. reaches a climax; Medicare founded (1966).
Quick fact:  Assuming the office upon Kennedy's death, LBJ almost immediately broadened the war in Vietnam. Nonetheless his vilification of Goldwater as a warmonger in 1964 was so effective that he won by one of the largest popular margins ever.
Change in federal spending during term:  +34%     Change in national debt during term:  +19%
Fiscal fact:  Though increasing spending considerably, LBJ can be credited with rearranging the budget (and taxes, of course) to avoid the major hit on the national debt that ramping up the Vietnam War and funding the Great Society might suggest.

37th -  Richard M. Nixon,  1969-8/9/1974   (Republican from California)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  43.4/55.9 (1968), 60.7/96.7 (1972)
Vice President(s): Spiro T. Agnew (1969-73), Gerald R. Ford (1973-74)
Appts. to Supreme Court:  4  (Warren E. Burger, Harry Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William Rehnquist)
Happenings:  First moon landing (1969); Congress establishes OSHA, EPA (1970); Vietnam War ends with pullout (1973); Watergate scandal breaks (1973); first presidential resignation (1974).
Quick fact:  LBJ's lack of popularity at the end of his presidency sank Nixon's opponent, Hubert Humphrey. The usually hawkish Nixon promised to end the war that LBJ had bogged America down in. Independent George Wallace took mostly Nixon votes in '68.
Change in federal spending during term:  +57%     Change in national debt during term:  +31%
Fiscal fact:  Seeing the onset of inflation in the last year of his presidency, Nixon tried that old nut -- fixing wages and prices. That drove 6% inflation to 11%, and produced a flat inflation-adjusted GDP.

38th -  Gerald R. Ford,  8/9/1974-1977   (Republican from Michigan)    Image
Vice President(s): [None]
Appts. to Supreme Court:  1  (John Paul Stevens)
Happenings:  Bicentennial celebration (1976)
Quick fact:  Assuming the office upon Nixon's resignation in 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon and thereby doomed his chances to a term of his own. Ford was our only president never elected on a national ticket (he had been appointed as Veep to replace the failed Agnew).
Change in federal spending during term:  +58%     Change in national debt during term:  +30%

39th -  Jimmy Carter,  1977-1981   (Democrat from Georgia)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  50.1/55.3
Vice President(s): Walter F. Mondale
Appts. to Supreme Court:  0
Happenings:  Iranian extremists take U.S. diplomats hostage (1979); military rescue attempt fails miserably (1980); nationwide oil shortage (1979).
Quick fact:  The first deep Southerner elected since Zachary Taylor, Carter successfully ran on his integrity after the shame of Watergate. Though thoroughly honest and morally upright, he did not run a tough enough ship as president.
Change in federal spending during term:  +68%     Change in national debt during term:  +45%
Fiscal fact:  Carter's fiscal policies produced the highest multi-year inflation rates since World War I. It became labeled "stagflation" -- high inflation atypically coupled with low economic growth.

40th -  Ronald Reagan,  1981-1989   (Republican from California)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  50.8/90.9 (1980), 58.8/97.6 (1984)
Vice President(s): George Bush
Appts. to Supreme Court:  3  (Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy)
Happenings:  Iranian hostage crisis ends (1981 -- on Inauguration Day); Grenada rescue mission (1983).
Quick fact:  Reagan ran successfully against the terrible inflation, loose foreign posture and big government of the Carter years. Carter was weakened by a primary fight with Ted Kennedy. Reagan's 1984 run against Walter Mondale was boosted by a recovering econo
Change in federal spending during term:  +80%     Change in national debt during term:  +186%
Fiscal fact:  The legacy of the Reagan national debt still fuels debate. His tax-cut strategy spurred the economy into a boom, but Congress overspent every nickel of it, while Reagan poured bucks into the military. Ending the Cold War may have been worth it. Decide.

41st -  George H. W. Bush,  1989-1993   (Republican from Texas)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  53.4/79.3
Vice President(s): Dan Quayle
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (Clarence Thomas, David Souter)
Happenings:  Cold War officially ends with the fall of European communism (1989-90); Panama police action (1989-90); Gulf War begins and ends quickly (1991).
Quick fact:  Bush successfully painted opponent Michael Dukakis as a liberal soft on crime. He also benefited from Reagan's popularity and the economic recovery during their joint tenure. He was hurt in 1992 because he reneged on his "no new taxes" pledge.
Change in federal spending during term:  +30%     Change in national debt during term:  +42%
Fiscal fact:  Bush (Sr.) caught a minor recessionary cycle, initiated (and won) one war, and kept a loose rein on congressional spending. Resultant debt growth was heavy for a single term.

42nd -  William J. Clinton,  1993-2001   (Democrat from Arkansas)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  43.0/68.8 (1992), 49.2/70.4 (1996)
Vice President(s): Al Gore
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer)
Happenings:  Somalian mission fails (1992); White House sex scandal breaks (1998); Balkan turmoil leads to bombing (1998); impeachment fails in Senate (1998).
Quick fact:  Clinton's plurality victories were helped by Independent Ross Perot, who garnered 19% and 7% of the vote. The people remained fiercely divided over his scandal-plagued administration. Only the second president to be impeached.
Change in federal spending during term:  +30%     Change in national debt during term:  +40%
Fiscal fact:  A social liberal, Clinton was fortunate to enjoy a bull market cycle and the attendant tax revenues. He wisely restrained government interference, adeptly worked with an opposition Congress and, in the end, produced rare budget surpluses.

43rd -  George W. Bush,  2001-2009   (Republican from Texas)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  48.4/50.5 (2000), 51.0/53.2 (2004)
Vice President(s): Dick Cheney
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito)
Happenings:  Responded to the 9/11/01 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with a pronouncement of war against international terrorism, eventually chasing it into Iraq. Approvals spiraled with botched war effort and '08 economic nosedive.
Quick fact:  Son of the 41st president, won the 2000 electoral vote in a squeaker when the Supreme Court stepped into the post-election legal fray. Opponent VP Al Gore suffered from the bad taste of the Clinton administration.
Change in federal spending during term:  +67%     Change in national debt during term:  +76%
Fiscal fact:  Bush abandoned his election-cycle fiscal-conservative credentials to pass an expensive prescription drug benefit and initiate two wars. Both parties in Congress set new records for pork-laden budgets and legislation. A major recession resulted.

44th -  Barack Hussein Obama,  2009-2017   (Democrat from Illinois)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  53.0/67.8 (2008), 51.5/61.7 (2012)
Vice President(s): Joseph R. Biden
Appts. to Supreme Court:  2  (Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan)
Happenings:  Arrived in office faced with the worst recession since the 30's. Bailed out GM, Chrysler; signed national health care; revoked don't-ask-don't-tell; withdrew enforcement of illegal immigration. Charged with politicizing Justice, IRS, EPA, etc.
Quick fact:  Campaigned on his personality and a promise of "change" from the beleaguered Bush. His first term was a left-ish grab-bag, including ObamaCare, while his party held Congress; impasses, fiscal stagnation and rule-by-Executive-Order thereafter.
Change in federal spending during term:  +40%     Change in national debt during term:  +78%
Fiscal fact:  Faced with a major recession, Obama followed Keynesian principles and spent like a drunken sailor, heavily abetted by a pork-laden Congress. Deficits remained around a trillion dollars, real unemployment remained sky-high, and economic growth was anemic.

45th -  Donald J. Trump,  2017-2021   (Republican from New York)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  47.5/56.8
Vice President(s): Mike Pence
Appts. to Supreme Court:  3  (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett)
Happenings:  Polarization produced riots, destruction in progressive cities; twitter produced excessive mouthiness from Trump. His policies yielded a booming economy and job growth -- until the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in 2020.
Quick fact:  A true outsider, defeated presumed shoo-in Hillary Clinton by running a blunt, populist campaign aimed at plain-jeans Americans. Nastiness was record-breaking from both camps. Fifth president elected while losing the popular vote.
Fiscal fact:  As usual, the GOP ran up debt just as well as the Dems. Once Covid hit, everyone spent like they were on LSD. The economy braked to a halt as progressive governors dictated lockdowns and the Feds lacked consistent leadership.

46th -  Joseph R. Biden, Jr.,  2021-Present   (Democrat from Delaware)    Image
% of Popular/Electoral Vote:  51.3/57.2
Vice President(s): Kamala Harris
Appts. to Supreme Court:  0
Happenings:  Biden pulled us out of Afghanistan, very sloppily, leaving the Taliban in charge with billions worth of our materiel.
Quick fact:  Amid charges of vote fraud, mental incapacity and socialism, Dems successfully rallied the base for Biden. Trump's demeanor didn't help him.
Fiscal fact:  Biden's free-spending started immediately and kicked off the worst inflation in fifty years.

Inclusion of the title 'Chief Justice' in the list of Supreme Court nominees indicates a direct appointment to the top slot.
The 'change in federal spending' figure is the difference between the average spending throughout the administration, less that of the previous administration.
This calculation has rough spots, due to different term lengths and the intervention of serious wars and emergencies, but the long average helps to balance it out.
The 'change in national debt' calculation measures the difference in national debt between the final years of contiguous administrations.

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