The president of the United States is the one who is solely responsible for the safety and wellbeing of each citizen at all times, no matter what. Some U.S. presidents took the oath to heart and did everything they could for their country, while others did not perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Here you’ll find all of the best and worst presidents in U.S. history. You may be surprised by some of them!
Ulysses S. Grant – 130
He is considered to be the “least smart” president, yet is IQ is still 15 points above average, so we’ll cut him some slack. First he was a Union Commanding Officer during the civil war, then he was the 18th president of the United States. From 1869 to 1877 while he was president, many people adored him. He graduated from West Point then made a name for himself from his duties during the Mexican-American War. He got elected to be president when he was only 47 years old, which, at the time, made him the youngest president ever! Many thought he had great ideas when it came to equality and justice for all, as he condemned the KKK and tried to make everyone equal. It’s also important to note that he was the first president to choose to elect both African American and Jewish American public officials.
George W. Bush – 138.5
George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, was serving as the Commander-In-Chief at the time of the 9/11 attacked on September 11, 2001. He first got elected in 2000, then he got elected for a second term in 2004. The invasion of Afghanistan and and the second Gulf War both happened while Bush was president. After 9/11, Bush created the Department of Homeland Security. Before he was elected into the presidency, he served as the governor of Texas for five years. Despite the fact that he lost the popular vote, he won the presidency because he won the electoral vote. George W. Bush is another president with a lower-than-average presidential IQ, scoring only 138.5 points.
Bush Hears About 9/11
Everyone who is old enough to remember, remembers the morning of September 11th, 2001 when Al Quaeda attacked th United States. Thousands of civilians died from the attacks where two airplanes were flown directly into the Twin Towers in New York City. When the attack took place, the president was giving a guest reading to a young classroom at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota County, Florida.
James Monroe – 138.6
James Monroe was not only one of America’s founding fathers, but he was also the 5th president of the United States, serving between 1817 and 1825. He actually won the election with flying colors, as most Americans really loved him. It’s no surprise that people call his presidency the “Era of Good Feelings”. After fighting in the American Revolutionary War, he became well-known for the “Monroe Doctrine”, which was his take on foreign policy. Though he has about the same IQ as George W. Bush, many people considered him to be something of a genius.
Andrew Johnson – 138.9
Andrew Johnson initially became president after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, but he also was the first ever president of the United States to be impeached. He quickly became impeached because he planned to return the suceded states to the Union without promising safety for former slaves, which did not sit well with Congress, understandably. His IQ was only 138.9.
William Howard Taft – 139.5
To this day, William Howard Taft is the only president to have served on both the judicial and executive branch of the government. He served as the president for eight years starting in 1909, and then later went on to serve as the 10th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. As the 27th president, he was the only one who went on to serve in the justice system after their presidency. Taft’s main focuses during his presidency were in East Asia and South America to break down or build new governments.
James Buchanan – 139.6
Most people will tell you that James Buchanan tried to bite of more than he could chew with his goals as president of the United States. He promised the country to live up to George Washington’s legacy, but he didn’t really make it that far. James Buchanan, similar to a few other presidents, had an IQ of 139.6.
The Only Bachelor
Out of all 45 presidents, James Buchanan is the only one thus far to never have exchanged vows with a wife. He never went into great detail about why he never tied the knot with anyone, but perhaps it was because he was too zoned in to his political work.
Zachary Taylor – 139.8
With a nickname like “Old Rough and Ready” you’d think that Zachary Taylor would be ready for anything, but we bet he wasn’t ready for his short stay in the White House. Before he was president, he was a war hero with a great nickname. He was the last member of the whig party to ever be elected into presidency. His term, which began in March 1849, focused heavily on slavery. Even though he owned his own slaves, his political views were actually leaning more toward anti-slavery. While he was president, he convinced both New Mexico and California to become their own states. Unfortunately, Taylor died from Cholera in July 1850.
Before the reason behind his untimely death was confirmed, some people were creating rumors about why he could have died. Some people thought maybe he drank contaminated ice water or milk, but others thought the large amount of cherries he ate at a 4th of July celebration were the culprit.
Harry S. Truman – 139.8
Harry S. Truman, 33rd president, was in office for eight years, with his term beginning just as World War II was coming to an end at last. He was in the military during World War I, and he is actually the only president who has really used nuclear weapons. Harry S. Truman was most famously known for how stubborn he was.
Warren G. Harding – 139.9
After the 29th election, Warren G. Harding was officially recognized as the president of the United States. This presidential election was monumental, as it was the first which allowed women to cast their own vote. Harding was the one who declared the end of First World War by stating that that the United States was at peace with Austria, Germany, and Hungary. He established a “return to normalcy” which included improving the economy. His cabinet was inolved in multiple scandals, but the biggest problem was the Harding suffered from a heart attack while in office, but it was not announced right away.
George Washington – 140
George Washington is not only a founding father, but he was also the first president of the United States. While serving as president from 1789 to 1797, George Washington worked tirelessly to establish a government of the United States after leading the United States Army during the Revolutionary War. Were you aware that overall, George Washington was ranked as the second best president of all time (thus far)? With an IQ of 140, it makes sense.
Gerald R. Ford Jr. – 140.4
After Richard Nixon resigned from his presidency, Gerald R. Ford took over as the 38th president and served from 1974 to 1977. Ford is known for his work with the Helsinki Records, where he worked to change the relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Citizens really like Ford for his dedication to the country through horrible economic times. Ford is the only person who became both vice president and president without being elected either time, and he boasts an IQ of 140.4.
Ford’s First Assassination Attempt
On September 5th, 1975, a woman named Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempted to shoot Gerald Ford while he was walking through a cheering crowd in Sacramento, California. She was carrying a Colt M1911 pistol attempted to shoot him, but her gun did not fire properly. She was arrested, and it was later discovered that she was a follower of the cult run by Charles Manson.
Ford’s Second Assassination Attempt
Can you believe that just a little over two weeks after Ford’s first assassination attempt, someone else then tried to shoot at him? This time, Sara Jane Moore was the attempted assassin. She pulled out a pistol and fired one shot at Ford. Her bullet missed him, and before she could fire another one she was tackled by a former marine. Luckily the bullet missed the president, but it hit and injured a taxi driver.
Lyndon B. Johnson – 140.6
After John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson took over as president of the United States, and one of the first things he did was increase U.S. military presence in Vietnam. He served from 1963 until 1969, and he left a great impression during that time. He was known for pushing the country and not going easy on anyone, as well as his implementation of civil rights, gun, welfare, and social security laws.
Herbert Hoover – 141.6
Herbert Hoover endured one of the toughest times in the U.S. during his presidency. After growing up in Iowa and Oregon, he attended Stanford University and went on to marry his college sweetheart, Lou. Did you know he had an IQ of 141.6? For a president, that’s average, but for a normal person, that’s quite high. Before he started his political career he spent a long while in China, and he was taking a trip in Europe during the beginning of the Great War. He helped about 120,000 Americans get out of France and Germany, which earned him some big loyalty. He was president from 1929-1933, which is when the stock market crashed, ending with the Great Depression. Hoover did the best he could during these times, and his perserverence shined through.
Calvin Coolidge – 141.6
After Warren Harding died in 1923, Calvin Coolidge was next in line for the presidency. He then got elected himself the next year, and was president until 1929. His IQ was 141.6, which still was simply average for a president. He was in support of small government, and many loved this and stuck with him through the end of his presidency. Though the White House faced scandal after scandal throughout the years, people saw his presidency as a breath of fresh air. Sometimes he did not win the hearts of other people in office, like when he tried to make lynching a federal offense, but most of the time people loved him. He also passed the Indian Citizenship act, granting citizenship to Native Americans living on reservations.
Ronald Reagan – 141.9
Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the United States 1981-1989. He was best known for “reaganomics” which was his focus on the economy, specifically, lower social spending, domestic markets deregulation, high military spending, and widespread tax cuts. He also also helped end the Cold War and deserves credit for the Iran-Contra. He gave a speech in Berlin, Germany, where he exclaimed to “tear down this wall!”
Reagan’s Assassination Attempt
On March 30th, 1981 John Hinckley Jr. attempted to take Ronald Reagan’s life. The reasoning behind the attempted assassination is much different from what you’d think; the would-be assassin took a shot at Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster. Though he was hit by a ricocheted bullet, he survived, and later joked to his wife, “I forgot to duck.”
Ronald Reagan’s Death
While Ronald Reagan was fighting his battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, he experienced a complication and was diagnosed with pneumonia. On June 5, 2004, Ronald Reagan passed away due to his illnesses. He was 93 when he passed away, 10 years after he started his fight with Alzheimer’s. He is buried at the Ronald Regan National Library in California.
Richard M. Nixon – 142.9
Richard Nixon was known for his skills with foreign affairs negotiations. During his presidency that spanned from 1969-1974, he ended the U.S.’s involvement in Vietnam, as well as started diplomatic relations with China, signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the USSR, and the prisoners of war home. Even while serving as Dwight Eisenhower’s vice president, he was able to accomplish many great tasks. He is the face of desegregation in the Southern states, and he helped fund the Environmental Protection Agency, launched the “War on Cancer”, and signed the anti-crime bill. He tried to run for a second term in office, but lost to John F. Kennedy. Many people believe that had it not been for the Watergate scandal, his ratings would have been much higher.
Nixon’s Watergate Scandal
Every American knows or has at least heard of the Watergate scandal. It was a scandal on such a large scale that Richard Nixon had to resign from his position as president of the United States. He was the first to do this, though Gerald Ford did also.
George H. W. Bush – 143
Unlike his son, George H.W. Bush only served as president for one term. Did you know that George H.W. Bush was Ronald Reagan’s vice president for all eight years of his presidency before serving as president himself? He was a great negotiator, which made him valuable during times of crisis in the country.
H.W. Bush’s Big Accomplishments
During H.W.’s presidency, the Cold War and the first Gulf War ended, and the Berlin Wall was taken down. He is also the one to thank for new things like the Clean Air Act, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Americans With Disabilities Act. He also holds the record for the longest presidential marriage, which was 73 years.
George H.W. Bush’s Death
George H.W. Bush was battling with vascular Parkinson’s disease for many years, but on November 30, 2018, just seven months after his wife, Barbara, passed away, it was announced that had lost his battle. He was the first president to pass away in 12 years; the last one before him was Gerald Ford in 2006.
James K. Polk – 143.4
11th President James K. Polk served from 1845-1849. Did you know his inauguration was the first to be broadcast via telegraph? Polk was president when the U.S. claimed its victory during the Mexican-American war. In addition, Texas officially became a state while he was president, as Mexico succeded the land.
William McKinley Jr. – 143.4
William McKinly Jr. had an IQ of 143.4, which served him well during his 4-year presidency spanning from 1897 until 1901. He helped America win the Spanish-American war and played a role in the civil war, as well. While he was president, Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico all became territories around the world. Despite the fact that he did not put much effort into ensuring equality for all American citizens, he did make big efforts to improve the economy, which struck well with many people in the country.
On September 6, 1901 at the Temple of Music in Bufflo, New York, President William McKinley was shot twice in the abdomen by Leon Czolgosz, a self-proclaimed anarchist. McKinley died eight days after he was shot. This event seemed a bit ironic to some because McKinley’s secretary had convinced him twice before to not move forward with this exact trip, for fear of something like this happening to him.
Grover Cleveland – 144
Grover Cleveland’s IQ of 144 brings him close to being in the top half of the presidents. While Grover Cleveland served as president for two terms, they were not consecutive. He ran for re-election after his first term and lost, but later won again due to conservatives loving his platform. During Cleveland’s second term, he handled the Panic of 1893 as well as the Pullman Strike of 1894, both national-level issues. Cleveland’s biographer said this about him: “He possessed honesty, courage, firmness, independence, and common sense. But he possessed them to a degree other men do not”. Many will say that Cleveland was one of America’s best presidents, despite having a less successful second term in office.
Did you know that Grover Cleveland was the first and only president to ever tie the knot inside of the White House? His new wife was 28 years younger than him, which made people’s heads turn and made everyone very interested in her. The French-speaking woman was simply adored by the public.
Andrew Jackson – 145
Andrew Jackson was the President of the United States from 1829-1837, which means he only served for one term. Do you recognize him from somewhere? Perhaps it’s because his face is on the twenty dollar bill. Many find it ironic that his face is on a bill, as he was a big opponent of the creation of paper bills and wanted all currency to be coins instead. When he was 13 years old, he was held as a prisoner of war in the American Revolutionary War. During his presidency Andrew Jackson not only prevented the secession of South Carolina, but he also managed to pay off all of the United States’ debt at that time.
Andrew Jackson’s Inauguration Party
Something about Andrew Jackson made people feel like he was just any other guy. After his inauguration ceremony, a party began in the executive mansion, but it soon got out of hand when a huge crowd joined the party and rummaged through the kitchen after drinking too much.
Dwight D. Eisenhower – 145.1
Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, the 34th president, was in office from 1953 to 1961. One of the most popular things he did during his presidency was desegregating the army, which was something that Truman put into place and made Eisenhower reverse it. Because of this, he became one of the most respected presidents in history. Did you know his IQ was 145.1?
Benjamin Harrison – 145.4
the 23rd president of the United States served in the union army during the Civil War, and he is still considered to be one of the best presidents because of his great relationship with Congress during his presidency. While he was president, he implimented African-American voting rights and welcomed Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming into the Union. His IQ was 145.4, which was higher than Eisenhower and Jackson, and landed him a spot in the top 50% of presidents. His great-grandfather was founding father Benjamin Harrison, which gave this Benjamin Harrison the nickname “Little Ben”. Not only was his great-grandfather a founding father, but his grandfather was William Henry “Old Tippecanoe” Harrison, who was also a U.S. president.
Martin Van Buren – 146
During Martin “The Little Magician” Van Buren’s one-term presidency, he dealt with the Panic of 1837, which is sometimes referred to as the first great depression, and it started just three months after he was sworn into office. It was Van Buren’s idea for the US Treasury to become independent, so that with the political ups and downs, funds will be separated from it. He had an IQ of 146, which was just in the middle of the presidents. Unfortunately, he was held responsible for closing a large number of businesses and banks while the economy was going downhill, even though after his term people realized he was also responsible for fixing the economy.
Rutherford B. Hayes – 133.9
Rutherford B. Hayes has a similar story to George W. Bush; during his election he won the electoral vote but not the popular vote, and it had to be disputed about whether or not he won the presidency. Before he was president, he served as the governor of Ohio for three terms, where he was a part of the now non-existent Whig party. Hayes was in support of expanding the civil rights of the African American community, but Democratic opponents got in the way. His wife was the first FLOTUS to be a college graduate.
William Henry Harrison – 146.3
William Henry Harrison still holds the record for being president for the shortest amount of time, just 31 days, from March 4- April 4, 1841. He caught pneumonia after being in the rain during inauguration day and passed away from it. It was hard for people to remember him for anything other than tragedy, as he died shortly after beginning his presidency, but he is also remembered as being the last president who was alive during the American Revolution. He led the military to victory during the Battle of Tippecanoe, which is how he got himself the nickname “Old Tippecanoe”. Did you know that he was the first head of state to be photographed? Unfortunately, the photo did not make it very far.
Franklin Pierce – 147.4
Franklin Pierce had plenty of baggage that came hand-in-hand with his political views. For one, he once referred to the abolitionist movement “a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation”. Franklin Pierce is also the same president who signed the Kansas-Nebraska act, which allowed each state to decide for themselves what their opinion on slavery was.
John Tyler – 148
After William Henry Harrison passed away, John Tyler took over the presidency. Did you know that John Tyler was the first president to serve in office who was not formally elected? Instead of deciding for the states how slavery should be handled, as well as multiple other issues, he let each state decide. This was a very passive approach to things as serious as slavery, which made many people in congress despise him. His IQ was 148, so there was no question whether he was intelligent or not, but many felt that he could have handled things differently. He was the first president to have an attempted impeachment against him, though it did not go through.
Among being the first in multiple things during his presidency, John Tyler was also the first president to have as many as 15 children. They were born in a span of 45 years and they were split between two different mothers. He had eight kids with his first wife, Lettia Tyler, and seven were with his second wife, Julia Gardiner.
Millard Fillmore – 149
Millard Fillmore, the last president to be associated with the Whig party, was born into a low-income family, but got a good enough education to be vice president and then president. After Zachary Taylor died of cholera in 1850, Fillmore became the 13th president. When Fillmore became president, every member of the cabinet resigned, so he had to get a whole new one. He created the 1850 Compromise in hopes of dissolving some of the tensions between the north and south, but it didn’t work as he’d hoped. He was the first president to successfully communicate with Japan, as they were not speaking with many other countries at this time.
Abraham Lincoln – 150
While serving as the 16th president, Abraham “Abe” Lincoln achieved many great things. For one, he initiated the abolition of slavery and led the union during the Civil War. He also passed the Emancipation Proclomation in 1863, which helped enslaved people in the south become free people, and he made slavery illegal in the 13th amendment to the constitution. Unfortunately, he was assassinated in 1865 and could not live to see his wok come to fruition. With an IQ of 150, he was one of the most intelligent presidents.
Many people will argue that Abraham Lincoln’s assassination was one of the biggest things to happen in American history. He was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth while watching the performance of Our American Cousin at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C.. He died a few hours later, which was less than a week after the Civil War ended.
Franklin D. Roosevelt – 150.5
Franklin D. Roosevelt, known as FDR, was president of the United States from 1933-1945, and he was so loved by the American people that he was elected into the presidency four times. He was president for what seemed to be some of the biggest events in history: the Great Depression, prohibition, and World War II, as well as launching the New Deal. With an IQ of 150.5, he had one of the highest IQs of a president.
As so many Americans loved him and considered him to be one of the best presidents in history, everyone mourned over the death of FDR. Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, because of an intracerebral hemorrhage, which is an extremely dangerous type of stroke. Unfortunately, FDR would not live to see the end of World War II.
Chester Arthur – 152.3
Chester Arthur was born in Vermont to two parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland. He always wanted to be a president, and those dreams came true when he took over for James Garfield in 1881. He created the Pendleton Act, which ensured that citizens would earn federal government positions through a system based on merit instead of their political affiliations and connections. Arthur also forefronted the first immigration act which tried to keep “paupers, criminals, and lunatics” from entering the country. With an IQ of 152.3, he sure knew what he was doing.
James A. Garfield – 152.3
Fun fact: James A. Garfield was the one and only person to be elected into the presidency while still being a sitting member in the House of Representatives.Prior to this, he was a major general for the Union during the Civil War and he fought in multiple battles.During his six-month term, he was able to get rid of the corruption in the postal service as well as made the navy stronger. He was a strong advocate for universal education and civil rights, and even appointed several African-Americans, like Fredrick Douglass, into high positions. Unfortunately, he was assassinated in 1881.