Who Were The Oldest U.S. Presidents?

The Oldest US President at Inauguration As Of 2016

Official Portrait, President Ronald Reagan
Official Portrait, President Ronald Reagan

What Does the Title "President" Bring to Mind?

I must begin this article at the other end of the age spectrum with the second youngest US President ever inaugurated. This was John Fitzgerald Kennedy at the age of 43 and he was the last US President to wear a top hat and tails to the January Inauguration. Even then, he removed the hat before speaking. It was 1961.

Sadly, he was assassinated near Thanksgiving 1963 and whenever I hear the word president, "JFK" is the first thought attached, because the event was so traumatic to us as youth of the USA. This was the first major disaster many of us had experienced, although Cold War "duck and cover" nuclear bomb drills were also traumatic.

I will dedicate this Hub to my favorite US Presidents in chronological order: George Washington (57 at inauguration), Abraham Lincoln (age 52), Teddy Roosevelt (the youngest inaugurated at age 42), and JFK (age 42, but still older than TR). They are my favorites for what I have learned about them in the world of literature, historical texts, and films.

Oldest US Presidents at Inauguration, By Name and Age

Searching records and notes from American History classes and Information Please Almanac, I find that the following list comprises the Top 10 Oldest Inauguration Day US Presidents.

Many complainers call our history of Presidents and Legislators "old white men", so here are the oldest men to be POTUS - all white, with ages and home states as adults.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Inaugural reception of President Andrew Jackson in March 1829. Inauguration of George H.W. Bush.
Inaugural reception of President Andrew Jackson in March 1829.
Inaugural reception of President Andrew Jackson in March 1829. | Source
Source
Source
Inauguration of George H.W. Bush.
Inauguration of George H.W. Bush. | Source

Ages at Inauguration, Oldest To Youngest Of the Old

  1. Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004) - Previously Governor of California. Age 69 on Inauguration Day. Died of pneumonia, but suffered Alzheimer's disease.
  2. William Henry Harrison (1773 - 1841). Campaign slogan: "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too!" - Virginia. Age 68 at Inaufuration. Died of a severe cold and fever just 30 days after his March 4, 1841 inauguration. He had not dressed warmly for the outdoor inauguration and ignored chills and fever afterwards.
  3. James Buchanan (1791 - 1868) - Pennsylvania. Age 65. Died of respiratory failure and rheumatic gout.
  4. George H.W. Bush (1924 - ) - Texas. Age 65.
  5. Zachary Taylor (1784 - 1850) - Virginia. Age 64, died after four months in office of a fever and infection. Some sources say it was heat stroke. However, a type of Asian flu was spreading through Washington DC at the time, with similar symptoms.
  6. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969) Campaign slogan: "I Like Ike." - Texas. Age 62. Died of intestinal blockages, treated by surgery and followed by fatal blood clots.
  7. Gerald Ford (1913 - 2006) - Michigan. Age 61, Died of cardiovascular disease.
  8. John Adams (1735 - 1826) Massachusetts Colony. Age 61. He died of unknown causes, but some sources mark this as "old age."
  9. Andrew Jackson (1767 - 1845) - Lived the border of North and South Carolina . Age 61. Jackson was responsible for the beginnings of the Indian Removals that moved by forced march, warehoused on reservations, and killed millions of Native North Americans. Died of TB, leg and foot swelling that indicated circulatory problems, and heart failure.
  10. Harry S. Truman (1884 - 1942) Personal slogan: "The Buck Stops Here!" - Missouri - Age 60. Died of pneumonia and multiple organ failure.


After Number 10 in age at inauguration, the age falls to 58. After Number 35, the age falls to 49. The youngest was 42 and the age required to become POTUS is 35 years.


NOTES:

If Joe Biden runs for POTUS in 2016 and wins, he will be inaugurated at age 74 and become the oldest person to be inaugurated.

Hilliary Clinton would be age 69 at inauguration, if elected.

NJ Governor Chris Christie would be 54 (he was not invited to the 2013 Republican's CPAC, because he worked closely with President Barack Obama in the wake of 2012's Hurricane Sandy).

Paul Ryan would be 45 and have a 46th birthday about a week after inauguration.

Some think that Clint Eastwood, another actor and a former mayor of Carmel CA, would be a good POTUS, but he would be inaugurated at age 86 in January 2017.

The Youngest US President at Inauguration, As Of 2016

President Theodore Roosevelt, uncle to Eleanore and Franklin Roosevelt.
President Theodore Roosevelt, uncle to Eleanore and Franklin Roosevelt.

Occupations Of the Top 10 Oldest Presidents

Former occupations of the oldest inaugurated POTUS group include:

  • Attorneys: 4
  • Soldiers: 3 - Harrison, Taylor, and Eisenhower.
  • Businessmen: 2 - Harry S. Truman used to sell hats (and was a farmer) and Bush 41 is/was an oil baron.
  • Actors: 1 - Ronald Reagan. Originally a Democrat. Famous actress and journalist Hedda Hopper, in league with J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI, leaned on him politically to become a Republican. Read about that history from a Hopper grandson at: Hedda Hopper Hats.

Which Presidents lived to be oldest?

Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan both lived to be age 93. Several lived into their 80s.

© 2013 Patty Inglish

More by this Author


Comments 15 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Thank you.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Biden as president, Patty? Bite your tongue! :)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

So very interesting and so well done. I would have never thought to come up with a list of the oldest US presidents for a hub. I loved it! And the dividers are unique and add a perfect touch. (I notice extras like that:)

I had no idea that the one-and-only Hedda Hopper leaned on Reagan politcally to become a republican. Glad you mentioned your favorite Presidents. My all-time fav is Kennedy. Big votes and sharing. Thanks, Patti.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

What an interesting bunch of comments that I appreciate from each of you!

drbj - Mr. Biden sort of got on my nerves with his constant guffawing during his debate with Ryan. Would he laugh down the other leaders of the world instead of go to war, do you think? :)

vocalcoach - Ms. Hopper's grandson is the son of William Hopper, who played Paul Drake on TV's "Perry Mason" during the Cold War and the McCarthy with hunts. He put the info on the web just a few years ago, but it may be buried by now. It's quite a story and it would be great to have ALL the details.


ajwrites57 profile image

ajwrites57 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Thanks for sharing, Patty Inglish, MS! I think the choices you list for potential presidential candidates all cause me to break out in a cold sweat--says volumes about our countries chances... :o(


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

We do need some more choices, don't we!?


ajwrites57 profile image

ajwrites57 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

I'd vote for Clint Eastwood just to see him sworn in and say, "Go ahead, make my day!" Patty Inglish, MS, I'm impressed with the quality of the photographs in your hubs. I've been wanting to ask (or is it a secret) can you share their source--also the separation banners? Thanks so much! :o)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

Presidential photographs are available at the Whitehouse website!


ajwrites57 profile image

ajwrites57 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Ok thanks so much!


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 3 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

This is a very good information, since it gives an interesting and informative update. Very professional.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for reading this Hub, Lastheart! It will be interesting to see in what year America elects its first female or Asian-American President as well.


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Very interesting, especially about Teddy Roosevelt! He looks so young there.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

Hi Fossillady - It's probably a pretty early photo - He does look young, doesn't he? He did a lot for the US, especially in the National Park Service and I hope we can keep those parks open now.


Mr Deltoid 1966 profile image

Mr Deltoid 1966 3 years ago from New Jersey

Nice hub, I remember Reagan's age was a big deal, during his second run. didn't hurt though.....as for the next Pres.?

Ive been saying the same thing for 30 years.....Pat Paulsen.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

This is a very interesting article. I remember when John Kennedy was shot as I was sitting in a physics, class and we all cried. He was such a breath of fresh air. I like all the interesting facts and I also hope we have some candidates at the next election that are not on your list.

I have had a problem with several people I always followed as they just disappeared off my list for unknown reasons, so I am now following you again. I though you were not writing very often on Hubpages until I happened to see your name.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working