The Archive

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Presidents in Congress

In John Quincy Adams' term as president (starting 1825), three future presidents were in the Senate: Andrew Jackson (Tennessee), Martin Van Buren (New York), and William Henry Harrison (Ohio). Two more were in the House for the 19th and 20th Congresses: James Polk (Tennessee's 6th) and James Buchanan (Pennsylvania's 4th).

During William Henry Harrison's term (1841/27th Congress), John Tyler was his VP and became president, John Quincy Adams was still in Congress, James Polk was Governor of Tennessee. Millard Fillmore was still in Congress (NY-32), and Pierce and Buchanan were still in the Senate.

One former and five future presidents were in the 23rd Congress and, except for Fillmore, the 24th Congress, from 1833-37.

John Quincy Adams represented Massachusetts' 12th district.
Andrew Jackson was president.
Martin Van Buren was the vice president.
John Tyler was Senator from Virginia.
James K. Polk represented Tennessee's 9th district.
Millard Fillmore represented New York's 32nd district.
Franklin Pierce represented New Hampshire's at-large district.
James Buchanan was Senator from Pennsylvania.

The 30th Congress included John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln's only term (Illinois' 7th), and Andrew Johnson (Tennessee's 1st).

When Lincoln was reelected president, James Garfield won his second term to Congress and Rutherford B. Hayes his first. It was the 39th Congress. Garfield was the only future president in Congress from 1869-1881.

Benjamin Harrison's term as Senator from Ohio began in the 47th Congress in 1881, and he was the only future president in either the House or the Senate until Warren Harding's Senate term for Ohio began in the 64th Congress in 1915.

The next time multiple future presidents were in Congress occurred in the 75th Congress. Harry Truman was a Senator from Missouri, and Lyndon Johnson began representing the 10th district of Texas.

Three future presidents could be found in the House of Representatives of the 80th Congress: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Gerald Ford entered the House in the 81st Congress as Johnson and Nixon moved to the Senate.

During Dwight Eisenhower's term (1953-61, 83rd-86th), Richard Nixon was his VP, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were Senators from Massachusetts and Texas, respectively, and Gerald Ford was the representative of Michigan's fifth district.

Kennedy and Johnson left the Senate to become president and vice president in 1961, leaving Ford as the only future president in Congress. Ford broke Garfield's record for most terms in the House for a future president when he began his tenth term in 1969, the 91st Congress. In the 90th and 91st Congresses, George H. W. Bush represented Texas' 7th district. He did not return for the 92nd in 1971.

When Ford was promoted to VP in 1974, no future president entered Congress until Barack Obama joined the Senate in 2005.

Terms in House
12 - Gerald Ford
9 - James Garfield
9 - John Quincy Adams
7 - James K. Polk
6 - Lyndon B. Johnson
5 - James Buchanan
5 - Andrew Johnson
4 - James Madison
4 - Millard Fillmore
3 - John Tyler
3 - John F. Kennedy
2 - Franklin Pierce
2 - George H. W. Bush
1 - Andrew Jackson
1 - Abraham Lincoln
1 - Rutherford B. Hayes
1 - Richard Nixon

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