These Are the Presidents Who Lived the Longest
The U.S. presidents spent their years working to change politics throughout the country before, during, and after their time in office. But some presidents far outlived others. Here are all of the presidents who lived the longest, not including those who are still alive today (specifically George H. Bush who, at 94, is the longest-ever living president).
15. James Monroe
Age at death: 73
James Monroe was the fifth U.S. president. Born in 1758, he was the founder of the Monroe Doctrine, which warned European countries not to further colonize the Western Hemisphere. He also fought in the Revolutionary War and served as president from 1817 until 1825. He was unanimously elected for a second term because he did not have an opponent. Monroe died on July 4, 1831 (a nod to his patriotism, perhaps) from Tuberculosis. He was 73 years old.
Next: This president wasn’t supposed to be president.
14. Millard Fillmore
Age at death: 74
Millard Fillmore wasn’t supposed to become president, but he ended up being No. 13 in the nation’s line. He was Vice President to Zachary Taylor, but Taylor died suddenly in 1850, and Fillmore succeeded him. Fillmore claims to have personally disliked the idea of slavery, but he didn’t do enough to prevent it, which turned the North against him. (Fillmore didn’t want to get involved in abolishing slavery in the South.) He was not reelected. He died from a stroke in 1874.
Next: This president had similar views on slavery.
13. James Buchanan
Age at death: 77
James Buchanan was elected just a few years after Fillmore and served from 1857 to 1861. Buchanan didn’t agree with slavery but believed it was something that should be decided by individual states. But by not abolishing slavery, Americans believed he leaned more toward supporting the South than the North. Buchanan did not seek reelection, so he left the White House in 1861. He died from respiratory complications in 1868 at age 77.
Next: This president also supported states’ rights.
12. Andrew Jackson
Age at death: 78
Jackson wanted to become the sixth U.S. president, but he lost out to John Quincy Adams. However, four years later, he beat Adams to become the seventh U.S. president. He was the Democratic party leader and supported a smaller government (more rights to the states), which in turn led him to support state-decided slavery. Jackson was widely supported by the U.S., despite some questionable decisions including slavery and Native American tribes. He was in office from 1829 to 1837 and died in 1845 from heart failure and tuberculosis.
Next: This president ended the Korean War.
11. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Age at death: 78
Dwight D. Eisenhower was only a few months older than Jackson was when he died at age 78, making him the 11th oldest president. He dealt with Cold War tensions during his term (1953-1961) and ended the Korean War. While he had some praise-worthy accomplishments with foreign nations, some people opposed him for not being strict enough about enforcing desegregation of schools after the Brown v. Board ruling. Eisenhower died in 1969 of heart failure.
Next: This was the first president born as a U.S. citizen.
10. Martin Van Buren
Age at death: 79
Martin Van Buren, who served as the eighth U.S. president from 1837 to1841, was the first president to be born a U.S. citizen. He served as Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson. When Van Buren was president, the U.S. hit a major speed bump in their economy, which ultimately became his biggest challenge while in office. He lost a bid for reelection and tried several times to get back into the White House but was unsuccessful. He died in 1862 from asthma complications.
Next: This president was the son of another.
9. John Quincy Adams
Age at death: 80
For his day, John Quincy Adams lived a very long time. He was outspoken about his dislike for slavery and support for freedom of speech, which helped him win the White House in 1824. However, he only served one term, from 1825-1829. But after his presidency, he was elected to the House of Representatives. He served until his death in 1848; Adams died from a stroke in Washington, D.C.
Next: This president was the most infamous of them all.
8. Richard Nixon
Age at death: 81
Richard Nixon may be the most memorable U.S. president due to the infamous Watergate scandal. Nixon resigned over his implication in trying to cover up his administration’s illegal actions, which included breaking in to the Watergate offices in Washington, D.C. and spying on opponents. Nixon chose to resign rather than face impeachment for his role in the crimes. He died in 1994 from stroke complications.
Next: This U.S. president first served under George Washington.
7. Thomas Jefferson
Age at death: 83
Thomas Jefferson was the third U.S. president. He served from 1801-1809. He was president at a time when the U.S. was still figuring out how to be an independent nation, and he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was a big believer in small government, which helped him win the election in 1800. He served two terms as president and completed the Louisiana Purchase, among other important U.S. advances. He died in 1826 from kidney complications.
Next: This president served right after Thomas Jefferson.
6. James Madison
Age at death: 85
James Madison served right after Thomas Jefferson and was the fourth U.S. president. He served as Jefferson’s Secretary of State and ran for office once Jefferson’s second term was up. The War of 1812 happened under Madison’s watch, which still remains a controversial topic today. Before his presidency, he was responsible for coming up with the three branches of U.S. government and is known as the Father of the Constitution. He died in 1836 from heart failure.
Next: This president succeeded another who passed away.
5. Harry S. Truman
Age at death: 88
Harry S. Truman, the 33rd U.S. president, served from 1945 to 1953. He only became president because Franklin Roosevelt passed away. He took on the presidency at the end of World War II and was forced to make some complex decisions during his term. Truman approved dropping atomic bombs on Japan, a decision that remains controversial. Japan surrendered shortly after, but that decision left the biggest mark on his presidency. He was reelected in 1949 and served until 1953. He died in 1972 from organ failure and cardiovascular disease.
Next: This president had trouble with the U.S. economy.
4. Herbert Hoover
Age at death: 90
Herbert Hoover was president during the country’s worst-ever economic crisis. He served from 1929-1933 and didn’t resonate well with the millions of Americans who were affected by the Great Depression. The American people viewed him as insensitive and claimed he never did enough to bring the U.S. out of the bad economic rut. While he was a very intelligent man, the public didn’t see him as fit to run the country during such a difficult time. He lost a second term to Franklin Roosevelt. He died in 1964 from colon cancer.
Next: This president lived a very long life for his era.
3. John Adams
Age at death: 90
John Adams lived a very long life for his day. He served one term as the second U.S. president from 1797 to 1801. He served as Vice President to George Washington before taking over, but he was beat out by Thomas Jefferson after one term. He dealt mostly with foreign relations during his term, trying to keep the peace between the U.S. and European countries after the American Revolution. Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, which didn’t resonate well with Americans. He died on July 4, 1826 from heart failure.
Next: This president was known as “The Great Communicator.”
2. Ronald Reagan
Age at death: 93
Ronald Reagan wasn’t loved by all, but he is historically regarded as having many successes. Perhaps surviving an assassination attempt is enough to call him successful, but he also was dubbed “The Great Communicator” and well-liked by many Americans. He cut taxes and increased defense spending during his two terms in the 1980s, plus helped kick start an end to the Cold War. While not everyone praises him highly, he kept several of his political promises during his term, and many of today’s public opinion polls rank him highly. He died in 2004 from Alzheimer’s.
Next: This president was never actually elected.
1. Gerald Ford
Age at death: 93
Gerald Ford was just a few months older than Ronald Reagan, making him the president to live the longest. (Again, this list excludes current living presidents.) Ford took office after Nixon resigned, which was a rocky time when the U.S. had developed serious trust issues with political leaders. Nixon’s vice president, Spiro T. Agnew, resigned along with Nixon, so Nixon appointed Ford as president via the 25th amendment. Ford tried to instill trust back in the American people, but he pardoned Nixon for many crimes, which didn’t resonate well with Americans. He died in 2006 from cardiovascular disease.
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