Texas Liberal

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Which States Have Produced The Most Presidents—Here Are The Facts

Which states have our Presidents called home?  Which states have been the home states of the most Presidents?

(Above–John Tyler. He was the last President from Virginia.)

By home state. I mean the place where a President held office before becoming President.  In one case—Dwight Eisenhower—there was really no home state. He did a lot of moving around.  So I’ve made him “stateless.”

Zachary Taylor,a general like Eisenhower, is a close call on this matter. But he did live at a plantation he owned in Louisiana and his regional identity had a role in his election as President. So I’ll count Taylor as from Louisiana.

There are a few ways you could look at the question of what Presidents are from what states. You could list each state and count the number of Presidents from that state. This is what is done on the first list below.

You geta somewhat different picture if you limit the list only to Presidents who were elected, and exclude Vice Presidents who became President, but who never won election on their own.  (These Presidents are Tyler, Fillmore, A. Johnson, Arthur, and Ford.) Doing it this way offers a sense of states and regions of the nation  in the ascendancy at a given time. This is how the second list is complied.

(Below–Gerald Ford, in college here at the U. of Michigan, was not elected to the Presidency.)

Overall, 17 of the 50 states can claim a President.

List #1—-

New York (6) —Van Buren (8), Fillmore (13), Arthur (21), Cleveland (22 & 24), T. Roosevelt (26), F. Roosevelt (32)

Ohio (6) —W.H. Harrison (9), Hayes (19), Garfield (20), McKinley (25), Taft (27), Harding (29)

Virginia (5) — Washington (1) , Jefferson (3) , Madison (4) , Monroe (5), Tyler (10)

Massachusetts (4) — John Adams (2) , J.Q. Adams (6), Coolidge (30), Kennedy (35)

Tennessee (3) —Jackson (7), Polk (11), A. Johnson (17)

Illinois (3) —Lincoln (16), Grant (18),  Obama (44)

California (3)—Hoover (31), Nixon (37), Reagan (40)

Texas (3) — L. Johnson (36), G.H.W. Bush (41), G.W. Bush (43)

Louisiana—Taylor (12)

New Hampshire— Pierce (14)

Pennsylvania—Buchanan (15)

Indiana—B. Harrison (23)

New Jersey—Wilson (28)

(Below–Woodrow Wilson throwing out the first pitch in 1916.)

Missouri—Truman (33)

Michigan–Ford (38)

Georgia—Carter (39)

Arkansas—Clinton (42)

Lsit # 2—-

1789, 1792—Virginia (Washington)

1796—Massachusetts (John Adams)

1800, 1804, 1808, 1812, 1816, 1820—Virginia   ( Jefferson, Madison, Monroe) 

1824—Massachusetts (J.Q.Adams)

1828, 1832—Tennessee (Jackson)

1836—New York (Van Buren)

1840–Ohio (W. Harrison)

1844—Tennessee (Polk)

1848—Louisiana (Taylor)

1852—New Hampshire (Pierce)

1856—Pennsylvania (Buchanan)

1860, 1864, 1868, 1872—Illinois  (Lincoln, Grant)

1876, 1880—Ohio  (Hayes, Garfield)

1884—New York (Cleveland)

(Below–Grover Cleveland in 1905. He left the White House, for a second time, in 1897.) 

1888—Ohio (B.Harrison)

1892—New York (Cleveland)

1896, 1900—Ohio (McKinley)

1904—New York (T.Roosevelt)

1908—Ohio (Taft)

1912, 1916—New Jersey (Wilson)

1920—Ohio (Harding)

1924—Massachusetts (Coolidge)

1928—California (Hoover)

1932, 1936, 1940, 1944—New York (F.Roosevelt)

1948–Missouri (Truman)

1952, 1956—Eisenhower

1960—Massachusetts (Kennedy)

1964—Texas (Johnson)

1968, 1972—California (Nixon)

1976—Georgia (Georgia)

(Below–Jimmy Carter in 1937.)

1980, 1984—California (Reagan)

1988—Texas (G.H.W. Bush)

1992, 1996—Arkansas (Clinton)

2000, 2004—Texas (G.W.Bush)

2008—Illinois (Obama)

Our first six Presidents came from either Virginia or Massachusetts. Then there was a move west and towards the frontier with Jackson and Polk of Tennessee. Between 1860 and 1908 every elected President was from either Illinois, Ohio or New York. Hoover of California was in 1928 the first President from the West Coast. Beginning with Lyndon Johnson in 1964, every President gaining the White House by election was from either the Sunbelt or the South. Barack Obama of Illinois broke that trend in 2008.

Two strong online sources to learn about the Presidents are the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and the C-SPAN President’s web home.

Two good books to learn about the Presidents are The  American Presidency–The Authoritative Reference edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer and The Complete Book Of U.S. Presidents by William Degregorio. These books compliment each other well. The first provides short essays  about each President’s term and the second is more biographical information.

(Below–A bunch of them in one place.)

March 5, 2009 - Posted by | Books, Political History, Politics | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Thanks for this. I think it’s really important to differentiate between where a President was born, and where they were actually elected from.

    Comment by Joel Wassner | June 22, 2009

  2. I find that there is a close corilation between the fact that every president, since J F K till Obama, were from Southern states AND there is a predjudgice against a President from a Northern state now that is more Religious than Racial. I thank you for this web site..

    Comment by Ivan Rusich | October 27, 2009

  3. Mr. Rusch—I think that people did have a hesitancy to vote for a candidate from a northern state for sometime. I’ve thought that John Kerry might have beaten George W. Bush if he had been from somewhere else. Hopefully now with the election of Mr. Obama we have moved past this problem.

    Thanks for your comment and also for Mr. Wassner’s from a few months ago.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 28, 2009


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