Archive for the ‘Buchanan’ Category

What it Takes to Be President

October 13, 2008

Heather Whipps
LiveScience’s History Columnist

Who would make a better president – a man with more than 30 years of experience in Congress or one with about six?

If you chose the latter, congratulations: You’ve elected James Buchanan, one of the least popular presidents in U.S. history, over Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Fan-favorite Abraham Lincoln also had little political experience before running for president, failing both as a businessman and a farmer, but George Washington had plenty.

So what kind of qualifications make for a successful POTUS, or president of the United States?

On Nov. 4, Americans will vote to select their 44th president. The two candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, are both current U.S. senators, but certainly bring different backgrounds to the table. Pundits may have their say and analysts can crunch their numbers to forecast a winner, but history may be just as interesting (and maybe as accurate) as a presidential prognosticator.

There’s no clear pattern, as it turns out, among the 42 men who eventually became president (Grover Cleveland was both our 22nd and 24th). Each took a unique path to the Oval Office.

Educated guess

For starters, George Washington never went to college. In his defense, schools of higher education were in short supply in early 18th-century America.

Eight other presidents besides Washington didn’t get an undergraduate degree…
Gilbert Stuart Williamstown Portrait of George Washington.jpg

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