Last mainly I provided in a blogpost the the United says has had six periods since 1789 in i beg your pardon there to be no life ex-presidents, and I detailed in mine Washington Examiner column that no one of Donald Trump’s living predecessors as president sustained him in the election.

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There’s one an ext point in this connection I might have made, however didn’t. We have as plenty of living ex-presidents together at any type of time in our history.

Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, bill Clinton, George W. Bush and also Barack Obama space still alive, and also four of the 5 were in ~ the inaugural was standing in Washington Friday. (The elder George Bush, after sending out a gracious keep in mind to the just arrived president, watched native a hospital room in Houston.)

There have actually been three various other periods in i m sorry we have had 5 living ex-presidents, yet so far as I recognize there was no chance on which all five joined in a personal meeting v their successor. The very first such duration was in 1861, once Martin valve Buren, man Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan were all alive. As the outgoing president, Buchanan was present for the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, however apparently nobody of the others was.


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Certainly no Tyler, who on Feb. 13, 3 weeks before the in march 4 inauguration, having left the Washington peace conference in ~ which he was a member, served as the presiding member that the Virginia Secession Convention in Richmond. He was a member of the Confederate Congress till his death on Jan. 17, 1862—which finished the ten-month duration in which over there were five living ex-presidents. Needless come say, that was not a Lincoln supporter. (Footnote: Tyler, born in 1790, has actually two living grandsons. One of them, Harrison Tyler, born in 1928, own his grandfather’s old home, Sherwood Forest; ns recommend a visit.)


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Credit: Reuters


Also not sustaining Lincoln: van Buren, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for president as a complimentary Soiler in 1848. In 1860, that supported north Democrat Stephen Douglas; favor Douglas, he sustained Lincoln’s initiatives to prevent Southern claims from seceding.

The very same for Fillmore, who had actually been a Whig as soon as he was president in 1850-53 and also was the American (Know-Nothing) Party nominee for president in 1856. Not only did he assistance Lincoln’s initiatives to prevent secession, but he likewise hosted Lincoln in Buffalo top top his train journey to Washington.

Pierce and also Buchanan, staunch Democrats whose policies had actually been struck by Lincoln, were absolutely not Lincoln supporters; Pierce attacked Lincoln’s policies repeatedly, while Buchanan endorsed the Southern autonomous nominee, his vice President john C. Breckinridge.

The next period of 5 living ex-presidents was in 1993-94, when Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were every alive. Carter and also Bush were current at Clinton’s inauguration; so much as I know (corrections welcome), Nixon, Ford and also Reagan watched from their dwellings in brand-new Jersey and California. At the time, it struck me that it would be historic to organize a dinner or reception in ~ which all 6 living presidents would be present, and I suggested to White residence Social manager Ann Stock the she try to species one.

I don’t recognize if she did, but in retrospect that seems likely that president Reagan (who announced his Alzheimer’s disease in a letter come the nation in November 1994) would certainly not have accepted such one invitation. Nixon’s fatality on April 22, 1994, decreased the number of living ex-presidents come four and also made together a meeting impossible.

The third such duration (which—mea culpa—I ignored in the first version that this blogpost) remained in 2001-04, once Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and also Bill Clinton were every alive. No usual appearance to be possible, due to the fact that Reagan had already withdrawn from public view. Reagan passed away on June 5, 2004 and all 4 surviving ex-presidents attended his state funeral in ~ the national Cathedral in Washington.

It seems unlikely today as well. George H.W. Bush was also unwell to attend the inauguration, and also it solid seems most likely that Donald Trump, who in his inaugural deal with as in his campaign styled self the scourge of the establishment, will phase a party for five ex-presidents, no one of whom supported him.


The fact that over there were 5 ex-presidents lively in 1861-62 was mainly made possibly by the reality that no one had actually won a 2nd term in the preceding 25 years. In the 1990s, only one president had actually served the end a full second term in the corresponding period, and of course then there are the developments in longevity — both factors also explain the period during the 2000s. This time, ~ the nation has simply gone through just its second experience with 3 consecutive eight-year presidencies, longevity is the key.

Will people living this day last it rotates the following time over there are 5 living ex-presidents? It appears unlikely, at least for those in their later on years. Barack Obama, born in 1961, will likely witness many more inaugurations. It seems unlikely the that will be the instance for Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, both born in 1924.

That is just one of two year that offered birth to 2 presidents — the other was 1767, the bear year of man Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. The year that provided us three presidents is 1946, in which bill Clinton, George W. Bush and also Donald trumped were all born, two months apart, and a little an ext than ripe months after VJ Day.

Clinton and Bush, who concerned the presidency at periods 46 and also 54, visibly aged under the burdens of the office. Trump, who involved the presidency at period 70, might well in time.

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