Both Virginia and Ohio can lay claim to producing the most number of presidents. However, going by the birthplace, Virginia is home to the highest number of presidents, with eight of its sons ascending to the country’s highest office. Four of the first five presidents of the US including the founding president were from Virginia. Here are the Virginians who were privileged to serve as presidents of the United States.
Presidents from Virginia
George Washington was the founding president of the United States. He also presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which led to the establishment of the new federal government. Washington was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was brought up in the Tidewaters region. He was inaugurated as president of the US on April 30, 1789, and stepped down in 1797 after serving for two terms.
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the US (1801-1809. He was born in 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia. Before becoming a politician, Jefferson served as a lawyer. He also took part in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and served in several positions such as Virginia’s governor, secretary of states, and vice president.
James Madison succeeded Jefferson as the fourth president of the US from 1809 to 1817. Born in March 1751 in Port Conway, he is often referred to as the “Father of the Constitution” because of his role in drafting the constitution. Madison also served in the Congress and helped found the Democratic-Republican Party. As the president of the US, Madison led the country to the War of 1812.
James Monroe was born and raised in Monroe Hall, Virginia. He was the fourth and the last president in what was called the “Virginia Dynasty” which comprised of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. Monroe served as the fifth president from 1817 to 1825 and his presidency was often referred to as “Era of Good Feeling.” He is well known for “Monroe Doctrine” which disallowed Europeans from further colonizing Americas.
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the 9th president of the US (1841). He holds the record for serving the shortest time in office; only 31 days and was also the first president to die in office. Although Harrison was born in Charles City County, Virginia, he was elected president while living in Ohio. He became ill three weeks into his term and died from pneumonia.
John Tyler was born in March 1790 in Charles City County. He served as the tenth vice president and president of the US. He was elected to the office of the vice president on a Whig ticket alongside President Harrison and ascended to the presidency following the death of Harrison in April 1841. He became the first vice president to succeed a president without an election. Tyler retired to his home in Virginia at the end of his term in 1845.
Zachary Taylor served as the twelfth president of the US from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. He was the first person to win the presidency without previously holding an elected office. Taylor was born in November 1784 in Orange County Virginia and served as an officer in the US Army before becoming president. He died in office from a digestive ailment and fever.
Born in 1856 in Staunton, Virginia, Woodrow Wilson served as the 28th president of the US from 1913 to 1921. Before becoming president, Wilson was served as a lecturer and college president. He was also the governor of New Jersey between 1911 and 1913. As president, he led the country during the World War I. Wilson also played a key role in the Paris Peace Conference where he championed for the establishment of new League of Nations.
Why Early Presidents Came From Virginia
From the list above, six of the first ten presidents of the United States came from Virginia. Virginia dominated the Early Republic because it was the most powerful, populous, and wealthiest state in the country. The Virginians who were elected to the presidency also played key roles in shaping American history before assuming the office, making them even more popular in the country.