Some of the most capable leaders in American history served as the President of the United States during the 20th century. These individuals led the country through World War I, World War II and other crises. They also ensured that United States continued to rise and ultimately made the country into a global superpower. Following is a list of all the 20th century Presidents of United States.
Theodore Roosevelt served as the 26th American President from 1901 to 1909. He championed a modern ideal of masculinity and encouraged young men to embody a robust lifestyle. Roosevelt famously took part as a volunteer in the Spanish-American War. As president, he especially focused on the establishment of various parks, forests and natural reserves. He also mediated peace in the Russo-Japanese War and won a Nobel Peace Prize. He served for two consecutive terms and remained immensely popular. Today, Roosevelt is regarded as among the greatest presidents in American history.
William Howard Taft served as the 27th President of the United States from 1909 to 1913. He took a conservative approach to politics and most of his presidential term was spent in devising foreign policies related to Latin America. He served for only one term and could not win during the next presidential race. He was defeated by Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 presidential race.
Woodrow Wilson served as the 28th President of the United States. He served as the President for two consecutive terms from 1913 to 1921. He led the country through World War I. When German naval forces started attacking American vessels, Wilson asked the Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. This marked the American entry into World War I. Wilson played an important part not just in securing a victory for the Allied forces but also in forging a post-war policy. His efforts were crucial towards the establishment of a League of Nations. Wilson remains one of the most important figures of American history in the 20th century.
Warren G. Harding served as the 29th President of the United States. His presidential term began in 1921 but he died in 1923 before having completed his term. He was the first sitting senator of the U.S. Senate to have been elected as the President. Although Harding was generally considered a good president, a number of his cabinet members were later tried for corruption in the notorious Teapot Dome scandal. Today, Harding is considered one of the worst presidents of the 20th century America.
Calvin Coolidge served as the 30th President of the United States. He was formerly the Vice President under President Warren G. Harding. He first became the President when President Harding died before completing his presidential term. After completing this term, Coolidge was re-elected and served as a second term as President. His presidential term lasted from 1923 to 1929. After the notorious corruption scandals that hit the Harding presidency, Coolidge played it clean. He kept the White House free of any corruption, spoke little and made sure that the government met the aspirations of the middle class. He favored a small central government with limited interference in state issues. At the time of his retirement, he enjoyed a good degree of popularity.
Herbert Hoover served as the 31st President of the United States from 1929 to 1933. He served in various capacities under the previous presidents and had a prominent position during the Harding presidency. Soon after he became President, the stock market crash of 1929 happened. This ushered in the Great Depression which would plague the American economy for many years to come. Hoover couldn’t take any effective measures to counter the economic decline. He also opposed the direct intervention of the federal government in providing relief to the people. For this reason, his popularity declined rapidly and he lost in his second presidential race.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, also known as FDR, served as the 32nd President of the United States. He served for four consecutive terms from 1933 to 1945 and died before he could complete his fourth term. He remains the only American president to have won and served for four terms. FDR came to the helm of American government at a time when Great Depression was in full swing. He took effective measures to counter the economic decline and improve the financial outlook of the country. He led the nation through World War II. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, he declared war on Japan and its allies. His strategic leadership was instrumental in securing a victory against Germany, Japan and Italy. Today FDR is regarded as among the top 3 American presidents of all time.
Harry S. Truman served as the 33rd President of the United States. He served for two consecutive terms from 1945 to 1953. He became President at a time when the world in general and Europe in particular was still reeling from the after-effects of World War II. At the same time, the Soviet Union was emerging as a major power on the global landscape. Truman played an important role in the establishment of NATO and took various measures to counter the rapid expansion of communism through Southeast Asia. He is today regarded as one of the best U.S. presidents.
Dwight D. Eisenhower served as the 34th President of the United States. He served for two consecutive terms from 1953 to 1961. Before he came into politics, Eisenhower served in the U.S. military. He was the supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War II and was among the key commanders who led the assault on France and Germany in the final phase of World War II. During most of his presidential terms, Eisenhower had to face and counter the rising threat of communism. He oversaw the launch of NASA, meant to counter the space superiority of the Soviet Union. Before Eisenhower became President, the U.S. Constitution had been amended by the Congress so that the maximum number of terms for a President was set at two. So Eisenhower could not run for a third term and he retired after completing his second term.
John F. Kennedy served as the 35th President of the United States. He began his term in 1961 but was assassinated in 1963 before he could complete the term. Most of his brief period as the President was occupied with managing relations with the Soviet Union. The Cold War was at its peak at the time and a global war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy favored civil rights domestically while internationally he sought to curtail the expansion of Soviet influence. He was assassinated in 1963 while he was visiting Texas. The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed before he could be prosecuted, so Kennedy’s assassination remains a hot topic for various conspiracy theories.
Lyndon B. Johnson was the 36th President of the United States. He served for two consecutive terms from 1963 to 1969 and first became President upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Notable events of his presidency include the escalation of the Vietnam War and an expansion of the civil rights, liberties and securities of the citizens.
Richard Nixon became the 37th President of the United States. He served as the President from 1969 to 1974. His reign was marked with a stiff resistance to American involvement in the Vietnam War at home. This ultimately led him to pull out United States from the war. Nixon’s second term as President was marred by the Watergate Scandal, which revealed that his government had been taping and spying on political opponents. This ultimately led him to resign from the Presidency when he was faced with the threat of impeachment in 1974. He is the only American president to have resigned in this manner.
Gerald Ford served as the 38th President of the United States. He remained in this position for a single term from 1974 to 1977 and lost in his second bid for the presidency. He was the Vice President when Nixon resigned over the threat of impeachment. And he assumed Presidency upon Nixon’s resignation. One of his most controversial acts as the President was to grant presidential pardon to Nixon for his role in Watergate scandal.
Jimmy Carter served as the 39th President of the United States. He served a single term from 1977 to 1981. His presidential term was marked by an escalation of the Cold War following Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He imposed new sanctions on the Soviet Union and geared up to counter its expansion. He received the Nobel Peace Prize after his retirement.
Ronald Reagan served as the 40th President of the United States for two consecutive terms from 1981 to 1989. His presidency was marked with an increasingly tussle with the Soviet Union during which United States supported anti-Soviet elements in Afghanistan. He also called upon the Soviet government to tear down the Berlin wall.
George H.W. Bush became the 41st President of the United States. He served in this position from 1989 to 1993. During his term, the Soviet Union collapsed and United States emerged as the sole dominant superpower in the world. He lost his second bid to presidency.
Bill Clinton served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. His term was marked with an increasingly American involvement in Bosnia, Kosovo and several other conflicts around the world. He was impeached by the U.S. Congress over his affair with Monica Lewinsky but was acquitted by the Senate.
The 20th century United States saw some of the best and worst presidents in American history. These individuals led the nation during the times of wars, crises, economic depression and more.