How all the United States presidencies have ended

There are lots of ways a United States presidency can come to an end. Let’s look at some of them.

Did not run for re-election

20 presidents have chosen not to run for re-election when their term expired. (I also include cases where a president sought re-election but was not nominated.)

  1. George Washington, 1796
  2. Thomas Jefferson, 1808
  3. James Madison, 1816
  4. James Monroe, 1824
  5. Andrew Jackson, 1836
  6. John Tyler, 1844
  7. James K. Polk, 1848
  8. Millard Fillmore, 1852
  9. Franklin Pierce, 1856
  10. James Buchanan, 1860
  11. Andrew Johnson, 1868
  12. Ulysses S. Grant, 1876
  13. Rutherford B. Hayes, 1880
  14. Chester A. Arthur, 1884
  15. Grover Cleveland (second term,) 1896
  16. Theodore Roosevelt, 1908
  17. Woodrow Wilson, 1920
  18. Calvin Coolidge, 1928
  19. Harry S. Truman, 1952
  20. Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968

Lost re-election

Eleven presidents have run for re-election but lost. Grover Cleveland later ran again and won.

  1. John Adams, 1800
  2. John Quincy Adams, 1828
  3. Martin van Buren, 1840
  4. Grover Cleveland (first term,) 1888
  5. Benjamin Harrison, 1892
  6. William Howard Taft, 1912
  7. Herbert Hoover, 1932
  8. Gerald Ford, 1976
  9. Jimmy Carter, 1980
  10. George H. W. Bush, 1992
  11. Donald Trump, 2020

Died in office

Eight presidents have died while in office.

  1. William Henry Harrison, 1841
  2. Zachary Taylor, 1850
  3. Abraham Lincoln, 1865
  4. James A. Garfield, 1881
  5. William McKinley, 1901
  6. Warren G. Harding, 1923
  7. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1945
  8. John F. Kennedy, 1963

Exhausted term limits

In 1951 the 22nd amendment to the United States Constitution instituted term limits for the presidency. Five presidents have exhausted those term limits.

  1. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960
  2. Ronald Reagan, 1988
  3. Bill Clinton, 2000
  4. George W. Bush, 2008
  5. Barack Obama, 2016

Resigned

One president has resigned.

  1. Richard Nixon, 1974

Impeached and removed

Article I of the Constitution lays out a process for impeachment (by the House) and removal (by the Senate) of a president. Impeachment has happened four times, but removal has not happened:

  1. Andrew Johnson, 1868 (acquitted)
  2. Bill Clinton, 1998 (acquitted)
  3. Donald Trump, 2019 (acquitted); 2021 (term ended prior to trial)

Unable to discharge powers and duties

Article II of the Constitution, as amended in 1967 by the 25th amendment, lays out a process by which the Vice President can become Acting President if the President is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” This has not happened.

EDIT 2021-01-13: Impeachment has happened four times now.

EDIT 2021-01-20: Donald Trump’s term has officially ended via “lost re-election.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s