Who Were The Oldest U.S. Presidents?
The Oldest US President at Inauguration As Of 2016
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.
Ages at Inauguration, Oldest To Youngest Of the Old
- Ronald Reagan (1911 - 2004) - Previously Governor of California. Age 69 on Inauguration Day. Died of pneumonia, but suffered Alzheimer's disease.
- 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.
- James Buchanan (1791 - 1868) - Pennsylvania. Age 65. Died of respiratory failure and rheumatic gout.
- George H.W. Bush (1924 - ) - Texas. Age 65.
- 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.
- 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.
- Gerald Ford (1913 - 2006) - Michigan. Age 61, Died of cardiovascular disease.
- John Adams (1735 - 1826) Massachusetts Colony. Age 61. He died of unknown causes, but some sources mark this as "old age."
- 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.
- 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.
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
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 MS