List of United States Presidential firsts

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This list lists achievements and distinctions of various Presidents of the United States. It includes distinctions achieved in their earlier life and post-presidencies. Due to some confusion surrounding sovereignty of nations during presidential visits, only nations that were independent, sovereign, or recognized by the United States during the presidency are listed here as a precedent.

Contents


George Washington (1789–1797)[edit]

George Washington was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1776, 13 years before becoming President
  • First President of the United States.[1]
  • First President to appear on a postage stamp.[1]
  • First President to be a Freemason.[2]
  • First President to receive votes from every Presidential elector in an election .[a][3]
  • First President to add "So help me God" to the Oath of Office.[4]
  • First President to command a standing field army while in office (during the Whiskey Rebellion).[5]
  • First President to have been a lieutenant general.
  • First President to have a parent live to see him be elected and become President. [b]
  • First President to celebrate his 65th birthday while in office. Washington was born in February 1732 and turned 65 in February 1797. His office term ended in March 1797.
  • First President to be an Episcopalian.[6]
  • First President from Virginia.[7]
  • First President to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
  • First President to be younger than his wife.[c]
  • First President to have signed the United States Constitution.
  • First President to have a ship named after him.
  • First President to have a submarine named after him.[8]
  • First President to appear on a US coin (1900 commemorative).
  • First President who wasn't part of a political party.[9]
  • First President who served in the American Revolution
  • First President who was a slave owner
  • First President to decline to run for a third term
  • First and only President to have a state named after him
  • First President who have a city named after him
  • First President to be a member of the Society of the Cincinnati

John Adams (1797–1801)[edit]

John Adams was the first President to live in the White House
  • First President to live in the White House.[10]
  • First President to have previously served as Vice-President .[d][11]
  • First President to have previously served as an Ambassador to a foreign country.[12]:49
  • First President elected as a Federalist.
  • First President to be a lawyer.[13]
  • First President who had never served in the military.[14][15]
  • First President to not be a slave owner.[16]
  • First President to be a Unitarian.
  • First President to wear a powdered wig.[17] (Washington powdered his own hair.)[18]
  • First President from Massachusetts.[7]
  • First President who attended one of the Ivy League colleges.[12]:49
  • First President to attend Harvard College.
  • First President to have children of his own .[e][19]
  • First President whose son (John Quincy Adams) was also a President.
  • First President to have a post-presidency of more than 25 years .[f]
  • First President to be married for 50 years .[g]
  • First President to begin his presidency on March 4 (In his case, 1797).[20]
  • First President to receive the oath of office from a Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court[21]
  • First President to veto no bills while in office.[22]
  • First President to have a child (Charles Adams) die while in office.[23]
  • First President to be defeated for a second term in office.[24]
  • First President to not attend the inauguration of his successor.[20][h]
  • First President to be over the age of 60 upon entering office .[i]
  • First President to live to the age of 90 .[j][24]
  • First President to have signed the Declaration of Independence.[25]
  • First President to have met a British monarch, having met George III of the United Kingdom while serving as Ambassador to Britain.
  • First President to have had a Secretary of the Navy.
  • First President to be widowed .[k]

Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809)[edit]

  • First President to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C.[21]
  • First President inaugurated in the 19th century.
  • First President whose inauguration was not attended by his immediate predecessor.[26] [l]
  • First President to live a full presidential term in the White House.[27]
  • First President elected as a Democratic-Republican.
  • First President to have previously been a Governor.[14]
  • First President to have been Ambassador to France.
  • First President to have previously served as Secretary of State.[28]
  • First President to defeat the man (Adams) whom he had previously lost to in a Presidential election.[12]:48
  • First President to have been widowed prior to his inauguration .[m][12]:147
  • First President whose election was decided in the House of Representatives.[29]
  • First President to cite the doctrine of executive privilege.[30]
  • First president to have a vice president elected under the 12th Amendment. Originally the runner-up in the presidential election was named vice president.[31]
  • First President to have two Vice Presidents .[n]
  • First President whose vice president was older than him.[o]
  • First President to be a Deist.
  • First President to win election after having been previously defeated.
  • First President who died on Independence Day (Along with his predecessor John Adams).
  • First President to be survived by his predecessor as President .[p]
  • First President to serve as Rector of the University of Virginia.[32]

James Madison (1809–1817)[edit]

James Monroe (1817–1825)[edit]

John Quincy Adams (1825–1829)[edit]

Philip Haas took this daguerrotype of John Quincy Adams in 1843.
  • First President to be the son of another President .[t][41]
  • First President whose father lived to see him become president .[u][37]
  • First President to have a son marry at the White House .[v][39]
  • First President elected despite receiving fewer votes than his opponent.[12]:48
  • First President to not win a majority of electoral votes.
  • First President to have facial hair.[w]
  • First President to have been inaugurated wearing long trousers instead of knee breeches.[42]
  • First President to serve in Congress after serving in the Presidency.[43]
  • First President to be succeeded by a President older than him .[x]
  • First President to have been Ambassador to the Netherlands, Germany, and Russia.

Andrew Jackson (1829–1837)[edit]

  • First President to pay off the entire National Debt.[44]
  • First President born in a log cabin.[45]
  • First President born in the Carolinas (Place of birth disputed between North and South Carolina).
  • First President born to immigrant parents .[y][46]
  • First President born after the death of his father .[z][47]
  • First President to be a Presbyterian.
  • First President elected as Democrat to the Presidency.[48]
  • First President to have been a Major general.
  • First President to be inaugurated at the East Portico of the United States Capitol Building.
  • First President to marry a divorced woman.
  • First President to kill someone in a duel.[49]
  • First President to be targeted by an assassin.[50]
  • First President to be older than his predecessor.
  • First President to ride on a railroad train.[51]
  • First President to appoint a Catholic (Roger Taney) to the Supreme Court.
  • First President to be elected by white men of all classes in 1828 after most laws barring non-land-owners from voting were repealed.
  • First President whose home state was not also his birth state (His birth state is disputed between North and South Carolina, while he resided in Tennessee at the time of his election).
  • First President to be an orphan. .[aa]
  • First President to have had a Vice President resign (John C. Calhoun in 1832).
  • First President to be censured by the US Senate, although it was expunged in 1837.[52]
  • First President to win a plurality of the vote in three consecutive elections (1824, 1828, & 1832).

Martin Van Buren (1837–1841)[edit]

William Henry Harrison (1841)[edit]

  • First President elected as a Whig to the Presidency.[48]
  • First President from Ohio.[54]
  • First President to have 10 or more biological children .[ae][19]
  • First President to be born in the same county as his Vice-President.[55]
  • First President to not appoint anyone to the Supreme Court
  • First President to not issue an Executive order
  • First President to give an inaugural address of more than 5,000 words.[56]
  • First President whose grandson (Benjamin Harrison) was also a President.
  • First President to have his photograph taken while in office.[57]
  • First President to be over the age of 65 upon entering office .[af]
  • First President to die in office.[58]
  • First President to have been a Brigadier general.
  • First President to serve as Ambassador to a South American country, having served as United States Minister to Gran Colombia from 1828 to 1829.

John Tyler (1841–1845)[edit]

James K. Polk (1845–1849)[edit]

Zachary Taylor (1849–1850)[edit]

  • First President who had served in no prior elected office.[71]
  • First President to serve in the Mexican–American War.[7]
  • First President to take office while his party held a minority of seats in the U.S. Senate.[72]
  • First President to win election with his party holding no majority in either house of Congress.[73]
  • First President from Kentucky.
  • First President to be elected while winning the same number of states as his opponent.[ak]
  • First President to win the U.S. presidential election in November.
  • First President to have had a Secretary of the Interior.
  • First President to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal more than once (he was awarded it three times).[74]

Millard Fillmore (1850–1853)[edit]

  • First President to establish a permanent White House library.[49]
  • First President born in the 1800s.[75]
  • First President born after the death of a previous President (Fillmore was born 24 days after the death of George Washington).
  • First President to remarry after leaving office. He remarried in 1858 to Caroline Carmichael McIntosh.
  • First President to leave office while his father was alive.[37] He left office in 1853 and his father Nathaniel Fillmore died in 1863.

Franklin Pierce (1853–1857)[edit]

  • First President born in New Hampshire.
  • First President to install central heating in the White House.[40]
  • First President born in the 19th century (November 23, 1804).[75]
  • First President to deliver his inaugural address from memory.[76]
  • First President who had been elected to actively seek reelection but be defeated for nomination for a second term by his party.[77][78]

James Buchanan (1857–1861)[edit]

Abraham Lincoln (1861–1865)[edit]

Abraham Lincoln was the first President to be assassinated.

Andrew Johnson (1865–1869)[edit]

  • First President to ascend to the Presidency by the assassination of his predecessor.[81]
  • First President to be impeached by the House of Representatives.[82]
  • First President to serve in the United States Senate after being President.[82]
  • First President to have been mayor of a town, having been mayor of Greeneville, Tennessee.
  • First President to issue more than twenty vetoes.[22]
  • First President to have more than ten vetoes overridden.[22]

Ulysses S. Grant (1869–1877)[edit]

Ulysses S. Grant, here shortly before his death, was the first President to write a memoir.

Rutherford B. Hayes (1877–1881)[edit]

James A. Garfield (1881)[edit]

  • First President to be elected to the Presidency directly from the House of Representatives.[92]
  • First President to be left-handed or ambidextrous.[93]
  • First President to die before reaching the age of 50.[94]
  • First President to have served as a University President.[95][96]

Chester A. Arthur (1881–1885)[edit]

  • First President born in Vermont.[97]
  • First President to take the oath of office in his own home.[98]
  • First President to have an elevator installed in the White House.[89]
  • First President to have been appointed to a non-cabinet or ambassadorial federal office, having been appointed Collector of the Port of New York by Ulysses S. Grant in 1871.

Grover Cleveland (1885–1889;1893–1897)[edit]

Grover Cleveland was the first President to serve non-consecutive terms, and the first President to be married (to Frances Folsom) at the White House
  • First President born in New Jersey.
  • First President to get married at the White House.[39]
  • First President to have a child born in the White House.[40][99]
  • First President to serve non-consecutive terms.[58]
  • First President to win two terms without winning a majority of the vote (1884 & 1892).
  • First President to win a plurality of the vote in three consecutive elections without ever winning a majority (1884, 1888, & 1892).
  • First President to be filmed.[100]
  • First President to veto more than 100 bills, with over 500, including over 200 pocket vetos.[22]
  • First President to have had a Secretary of Agriculture.

Benjamin Harrison (1889–1893)[edit]

  • First President to have a lighted Christmas tree at the White House.[12]:48
  • First President to be a grandson of another President (W. H. Harrison)
  • First President to have electric lighting installed in the White House.[89]
  • First President to have his voice recorded.[101]
  • First President from Indiana.

William McKinley (1897–1901)[edit]

Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909)[edit]

Theodore Roosevelt, shown here sitting in a steam shovel along the Panama Canal route in 1906, was the first President to visit a foreign country while in office.

William Howard Taft (1909–1913)[edit]

William Howard Taft was the first President to also serve on the United States Supreme Court

Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921)[edit]

Warren G. Harding (1921–1923)[edit]

Calvin Coolidge (1923–1929)[edit]

Herbert Hoover (1929–1933)[edit]

  • First President born west of the Mississippi River and first born in Iowa.[144]
  • First President to have a telephone on his desk.[113]
  • First President to have a post-presidency of more than 30 years.[145] Hoover left office in 1933, and died in 1964. He died 31 years, 230 days after leaving office.
  • First President who was a Quaker.[146]
  • First President to have served as Secretary of Commerce.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933–1945)[edit]

Harry S Truman (1945–1953)[edit]

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953–1961)[edit]

John F. Kennedy (1961–1963)[edit]

  • First President who was Catholic.[174]
  • First President born in the 20th Century[175] (Kennedy was born in 1917 and took office in 1961).
  • First President (along with future President Richard Nixon) to participate in the first televised Presidential debates.[176] He took part in four televised debates in 1960.
  • First president inaugurated with a living grandparent (Mary Josephine Hannon, his grandmother on his mother's side)
  • First President to have been a Boy Scout.[49]
  • First President to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize, received the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957, for his book Profiles in Courage.[177][178]
  • First President to have previously served in the United States Navy.[179]
  • First President to have a brother serve in the U.S. Senate (Ted Kennedy) while in office.
  • First President to have a brother serve in the Cabinet (Robert Kennedy) while in office.
  • First President to be survived by both his parents. Kennedy died in 1963. His father Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. outlived him by six years, dying in 1969. His mother Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy outlived him by more than 30 years, dying in 1995.[37]
  • First President to be survived by a grandparent. Kennedy died in 1963. His maternal grandmother, Mary Josephine Hannon, died in 1964 at the age of 98.
  • First President to be younger than four of his successors (Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan).
  • First President who died on the same date as his assassination attempt occurred.
  • First President who was a Democrat to be assassinated.
  • First President to use the Situation Room.[180]
  • First President to win fewer states than his opponent while winning a majority of the Electoral vote.
  • First President to visit Austria, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Ireland while in office.[181]
  • First President to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom (awarded posthumously on December 6, 1963).
  • First President to receive the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, awarded for his heroism as commanding officer of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 when the ship was rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri in 1943.[182][183]
  • First President to receive the Purple Heart, awarded in 1943 after he was wounded in action aboard PT-109.[183][184]

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–1969)[edit]

Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson became the first President to be inaugurated on an airplane and the first President to be sworn in by a woman. The inauguration is shown in the photo above.

Richard Nixon (1969–1974)[edit]

Gerald Ford (1974–1977)[edit]

Gerald Ford, here being sworn in by Warren Burger, was the first man to ascend to the Presidency without being elected to either the offices of the President or Vice-President.

Jimmy Carter (1977–1981)[edit]

Ronald Reagan (1981–1989)[edit]

George H. W. Bush (1989–1993)[edit]

Bill Clinton (1993–2001)[edit]

George W. Bush (2001–2009)[edit]

Barack Obama (2009–2017)[edit]

Donald Trump (2017–present)[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  1. ^ In both the 1789 and 1792 elections, each elector voted for Washington and for another candidate.
  2. ^ Washington's mother Mary was still alive when he took office on April 30, 1789. She died four months later in August. Mary did not attend her son's inauguration.
  3. ^ Martha Washington, his wife, was born on June 2, 1731, making her 265 days older than him.
  4. ^ Adams served as Vice President under George Washington, and thus was the first Vice President of the nation.
  5. ^ Adams and his wife Abigail had six children, including John Quincy Adams, the sixth President. Washington did not have any children by his own, and was only a stepfather.
  6. ^ Adams left office in 1801, and died on 4 July 1826, 25 years, 122 days after leaving office.
  7. ^ John and Abigail Adams, were married for 54 years, 3 days
  8. ^ Adams did not attend Thomas Jefferson's inauguration
  9. ^ Adams was born on October 30, 1735, and was 61 years, 125 days old when he took office.
  10. ^ Adams lived 90 years, 247 days, and was the longest-lived President until 2001, when his record was broken by Ronald Reagan.
  11. ^ Abigail Adams died on October 28, 1818. Her husband outlived her for 7 years, 249 days
  12. ^ John Adams did not attend his inauguration.
  13. ^ Jefferson's wife Martha died in 1782, 19 years before he was inaugurated.
  14. ^ Aaron Burr and George Clinton were Jefferson's Vice Presidents, both of them serving one term each with him.
  15. ^ George Clinton was born in 1739, four years earlier than Jefferson.
  16. ^ He was survived by John Adams, who died five hours later.
  17. ^ George Clinton died on April 20, 1812. He was the first Vice Presient to die in office.
  18. ^ Madison left office in 1817 and his mother Nelly Conway Madison died in 1829, only seven years before her son.
  19. ^ Monroe's daughter Mary married in 1820 at the Blue Room on the State Floor of the White House.
  20. ^ Adams was the eldest son of John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams.
  21. ^ Adams' father, former President John Adams, was still alive when he took office, and died in 1826.
  22. ^ Adams' son John Adams II married in the Blue Room on February 25, 1828.
  23. ^ Adams wore long sideburns
  24. ^ Both Adams and his successor Andrew Jackson were born in 1767, but Jackson was born in March, while Adams was born in July.
  25. ^ Jackson's parents and two brothers emigrated from Ireland in 1765, two years before he was born.
  26. ^ Jackson's father, Andrew Jackson, Sr., died in an accident in late February 1767, around three weeks before his son was born.
  27. ^ Jackson's father died in 1767 just before he was born and his mother died in 1781 when he was fourteen.
  28. ^ Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782 6 years, 154 days after the Declaration of Independence.
  29. ^ Dutch was Van Buren's first language.
  30. ^ Van Buren died on July 24, 1862, 21 years, 111 days after the death William Henry Harrison, 13 years, 39 days after the death of James K. Polk, 12 years, 15 days after the death of Zachary Taylor and 187 after the death of John Tyler.
  31. ^ Harrison had 10 children from his wife Anna Harrison, and is allegedly believed to have a daughter from a slave.
  32. ^ Harrison, born of February 9, 1773, was aged 68 years, 23 days when he took office.
  33. ^ Tyler's first wife, First Lady Letitia Christian Tyler, died on September 10, 1842.
  34. ^ Tyler was born during George Washington's administration.
  35. ^ Andrew Jackson's birthplace is disputed between that state and South Carolina.
  36. ^ Polk died in 1849, soon after leaving office. Jane Knox Polk, his mother, died in 1852, having outlived her son by three years.
  37. ^ Both Taylor and his opponent Lewis Cass won 15 states.

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