The average age of the 45 U.S. presidents throughout history is 54 years and 11 months. Below are the top 10 oldest presidents to take office in United States history.
Gerald Ford – 61 years old
- Ford took the oath of office in August of 1974 in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. Notable accomplishments of his administration include: cutting inflation almost by half, decreasing unemployment, and 4 million people acquiring jobs since the recession.
- Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon for his crimes committed during his presidency. This act stunned the country, and his approval ratings dropped.
John Adams – 61 years, 4 months old
- The first Vice President and second president of the United States, John Adams’s greatest contribution to U.S history was his rallying of Americans for independence. He pressed delegates at the Second Continental Congress (1776) to declare war against Britain.
- Other of this president’s major roles in the founding of the United States include bringing a peaceful end to the Quasi-War: Adams sent a peace delegation to France and the signing of the Convention of 1800 is considered a major foreign policy accomplishment of Adams’s presidency.
Andrew Jackson – 61 years,11 months old
- Displacement and deaths of Native Americans cloud Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Americans grew greedy for land in the 19th century, and Jackson took a systematic approach to removing Native Americans with several treaties as president.
- The Trail of Tears was a result of various “Indian removal processes.” Some tribes wanted to stay and fight, others agreed to the treaties; however, Jackson ignored laws and the government and forced Native Americans out of their land through violence or bribery.
Dwight D. Eisenhower – 62 years old
- Eisenhower served two terms as president, and during his presidency, he managed the tensions of the Cold War, strengthened Social Security and signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956.
- Though he was successful in accomplishing many things, Eisenhower wavered in protecting the civil rights of African Americans and desegregating schools.
Zachary Taylor – 64 months, 3 months old
- With military experience and success in expanding the U.S. by taking land from Mexico in the Mexican-American War, Zachary Taylor was regarded as a hero and became president in 1849.
- His administration faced numerous problems, particularly in the expansion of slavery in new western territories and financial scandals. Taylor became the second president to die while in office and was succeeded by Millard Fillmore.
George H.W Bush – 64 years, 7 months old
- As the 41st president of the United States, Bush brought back traditional American values as the world dramatically changed. During his presidency, he faced Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and threat to invade Saudi Arabia. At home, he was unable to combat the increasing discontent of a failing economy, inner city violence increase and the high deficit spending.
James Buchanan – 65 years old
- As the 15th president of the United States, Buchanan experienced the continuous conflict between Native Americans and the U.S. His presidency also witnessed the Panic of 1857 as a result of poor trade. The Dred Scott decision where an African American slave sued for his freedom occurred, which unfortunately was refused.
William H. Harrison – 68 years old
- Out of the top 10 oldest presidents to hold office, William Henry Harrison served only one month before dying of pneumonia. Prior to becoming president, Harrison was a prominent figure in the fight against Native Americans, particularly in the Battle of Tippecanoe (1811). He won the presidential campaign against unpopular Martin Van Buren.
Ronald Reagan – 69 years old
- Previously the oldest president to hold office in the United States, Ronald Reagan became one of the most revered figures in political history.
- Ronald Reagan’s presidency was marked by several scandals – one, in particular, was the Iran-Contra Affair. The U.S. sold weapons to the Islamic Republic of Iran as part of an unsuccessful attempt at releasing six U.S. hostages.
Donald Trump – 70 years old
- The oldest president to date
- In an unprecedented political campaign, Republican nominee Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016. He was outspoken and unfiltered, and his controversial political remarks mark his presidency.
- With an ongoing administration, Trump’s executive actions include:
- Advancing the Dakota Access Pipeline and XL Pipeline
- Increasing border security and promoting the development of the wall
- Reversing the travel ban, suspending and banning travel from six countries
Youth is often associated with fresh ideas and renewed energy, but these top 10 oldest presidents have brought in their own decisive and controversial ideas.
– Jennifer Serrato