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The presidents of the United States who came before Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States in 2016. Four years later, Mr Trump lost the race to defeat Democrat Joe Biden to become the tenth one-term president in US history.

On November 7, after a closely run contest, the former vice-president became the 46th president of the United States, finally claim the presidency 32 years after his first run in 1988. 

With the 2020 US election result now called, we look back at the 44 men before Mr Trump who have taken the presidential oath and the major events that marked their presidencies.

1. George Washington

April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797

No party affiliation

Commander-in-chief during the War of Independence

George Washington

George Washington

2. John Adams

March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801

Federalist

Founding Father who sought peace with France and Britain

John Adams

John Adams

Credit:
HULTON ARCHIVE

3. Thomas Jefferson

March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809

Democratic-Republican

Drafted the Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

4. James Madison

March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817

Democratic-Republican

Wrote the Bill of Rights and led US during Anglo-American War

James Madison

James Madison

5. James Monroe

March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825

Democratic-Republican

The Monroe Doctrine barred European powers from interfering in US affairs

James Monroe

James Monroe

Credit:
Getty

6. John Quincy Adams

March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829

Democratic-Republican/National Republican

Son of former President John Adams, attempted to modernise America’s infrastructure

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams

Credit:
Getty Images 

7. Andrew Jackson

March 4, 1829 – March 4, 1837

Democrat

Isolationist who led westward expansion and pushed out Native Americans

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson

Credit:
Getty

8. Martin Van Buren

March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841

Democrat

Economic downturn overshadowed his presidency

Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren

Credit:
Getty

9. William Henry Harrison

March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841

Whig

Died 31 days after giving inaugural address in freezing temperatures with no coat

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison

Credit:
Getty

10. John Tyler

April 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845

Whig

Presided over the annexation of Texas

 John Tyler

 John Tyler

Credit:
Getty

11. James K. Polk

March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849

Democrat

Oversaw large expansion and opened the US Naval Academy

12) Zachary Taylor

March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850

Whig

A slave owner with little political experience, died after 16 months

13) Millard Fillmore

July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1953

Whig

Ordered free states to return runaway slaves to their masters

14. Franklin Pierce

March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857

Democrat

Considered one of the worst presidents, sought to expand slave trade

Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce

Credit:
Getty

15. James Buchanan

March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861

Democrat

Only unmarried president, failed to stop drift to civil war

16. Abraham Lincoln

March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865

Republican

Reunited the country and abolished slavery, then assassinated

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Credit:
Getty

17. Andrew Johnson

April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869

Democrat

First to face impeachment after being accused of abusing office, but survived by one Senate vote

18. Ulysses Grant

March 4, 1869-March 4, 1877

Republican

A civil war union general and initiator of early civil rights policies

He died in July 1885 of throat cancer

Ulysses Grant

Ulysses Grant

Credit:
AP

19. Rutherford Hayes

March 4, 1877-March 4, 1881

Republican

Restored reputation of the presidency after rumours of corruption surrounding previous administrations

He died in 1893 of complications from a heart attack

Rutherford Hayes

Rutherford Hayes

Credit:
AP

20. James Garfield

March 4, 1881-September 19, 1881

Republican

Assassinated after four months by man denied job as Paris consul

James Garfield

James Garfield

Credit:
Getty

21. Chester Arthur

September 19th, 1881-March 4, 1885

Republican

Survived a series of corruption scandals to become a success

He died in November 1886 of ‘convulsions’

22. Grover Cleveland

March 4, 1885-March 4, 1889

Democrat

Only president to serve two non-consecutive terms

Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland

Credit:
AP

23. Benjamin Harrison

March 4, 1889-March 4, 1893

Republican

First to have annual federal spending reach $1 billion

He died in March 1901 of complications from influenza.

24. Grover Cleveland

March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1897

Democrat

Helped ease economic panic leftover from Harrison

He died from a gastric ulcer in June 1908

25. William McKinley

March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901

Republican

Shot by an anarchist and at a fair and died a week later in September 1901

26. Theodore Roosevelt

September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909

Republican

Popular president was the first American to win Nobel Peace Prize

Roosevelt died in his sleep in January 1919, after a blood clot had detached from a vein and travelled to his lungs.

Theodore Roosevelt 

Theodore Roosevelt 

27. William Howard Taft

March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913

Republican

He was famous for his very large size. At six feet tall, he weighed over 350 pounds. There are unfounded rumours that he got stuck in the White House bathtub

Taft died in March 1930 of cardiovascular problems.

28. Woodrow Wilson

March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921

Democrat

Drafted post WWI peace plan, won Nobel Peace Prize

Wilson died from a stroke and heart complications in February, 1924.

Woodrow Wilson 

Woodrow Wilson 

29. Warren Harding

March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923

Republican

Mired in scandal, died of a heart attack in office

30. Calvin Coolidge

August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929

Republican

Major proponent of an unregulated economy

Coolidge died suddenly from coronary thrombosis in January, 1933.

31. Herbert Hoover

March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933

Republican

Failed to stop the Great Depression

Hoover wrote many articles and books, one of which he was working on when he died in October, 1964.

Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover

Credit:
Getty

32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945

Democrat

Wartime president who launched the New Deal and saved the economy

Roosevelt died in office in April, 1945. He collapsed and died as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt 

33. Harry Truman

April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953

Democrat

Gave the order to drop atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

He died on December 26, 1972.

Victorious presidential candidate Harry Truman jubilantly displaying erroneous Chicago Daily Tribune headline which overconfident Republican editors had rushed to print on election night. 

Victorious presidential candidate Harry Truman jubilantly displaying erroneous Chicago Daily Tribune headline which overconfident Republican editors had rushed to print on election night. 

Credit:
Getty Images

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961

Republican

A five-star general in the Army during WW2 who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. Started highway system, ended the Korean War with a ceasefire

He died in March 1969 with congestive heart failure. 

35. John F. Kennedy

January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963

Democrat

First Catholic president and hope of a generation

Shot dead in Dallas.

John F Kennedy and wife Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at San Antonio airport during a campaign tour in Texas in 1963, the day before he was assassinated. 

John F Kennedy and wife Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at San Antonio airport during a campaign tour in Texas in 1963, the day before he was assassinated. 

Credit:
Getty Images/Getty Images

36. Lyndon B. Johnson

November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969

Democrat

Outlawed segregation but massively escalated Vietnam War

He died of a heart attack in January, 1973.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson

Credit:
GETTY IMAGES

37. Richard Nixon

January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974

Republican

Resigned after Watergate bugging scandal before he could be impeached, but opened up China

He died in April 1994, after suffering a stroke four days earlier.

Richard Nixon 

Richard Nixon 

Credit:
AP

38. Gerald Ford

August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977

Republican

Finished Nixon’s term during which he oversaw the end of Vietnam War

He died in December 2006, after suffering from arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease and diffuse arteriosclerosis.

Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford dancing with the Queen

Credit:
Rex

39. Jimmy Carter

January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981

Democrat

Failed to handle petrol shortage or rescue American hostages in Iran

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter

Credit:
REUTERS

40. Ronald Reagan

January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989

Republican

One of the most popular. Ended Cold War, boosted economy

Died in 2004, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Ronald Reagan and the Queen are pictured horse riding together in the grounds of Windsor Castle in June 1982. 

Ronald Reagan and the Queen are pictured horse riding together in the grounds of Windsor Castle in June 1982

Credit:
AP

41. George H. W. Bush

January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993

Republican

Led Gulf War against Saddam Hussein but undermined by economic problems

Formers US presidents George HW Bush (R) and George W Bush (L)

George HW Bush (r) with his son George W Bush 

42. Bill Clinton

January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001

Democrat

Survived impeachment over Monica Lewinsky affair but balanced budget

Bill Clinton 

Bill Clinton 

43. George W. Bush

January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009

Republican

Presidency marked by 9/11, “War on Terror”, the subsequent invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and the opening of Guantanamo Bay detention centre

George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the US presidential retreat, Camp David, in Maryland in 2002. 

George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the US presidential retreat, Camp David, in Maryland in 2002

Credit:
AFP

44. Barack Obama 

January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017

Democrat

First black president of the USA. Made expanding healthcare his biggest campaign issue, ended the Iraq War and eliminated Osama Bin Laden.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Credit:
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

45. Donald Trump

January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021

Republican

Pledged to “Make America Great Again” with divisive policies on immigration and trade. Installed three Supreme Court  Justices. Survived impeachment for abuse of power over dealings with Ukraine.

Mr Trump falsely accused that the 2020 US presidential election was fraudulent after losing to Joe Biden, who takes office on Inauguration Day, January 20.

Banned from Facebook and Twitter due to “risk of inciting violence” after rioting that saw his supporters breaking into the Capitol.

He may face the possibility of a second impeachment trial as a result. 

Read more: The best and worst moments from Donald Trump’s presidency

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Credit:
Carlos Barria/Reuters

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