Thirteen presidents have served two full terms, but who were America’s one-term presidents?
If a US president does not die in office or resign they usually go on to run for a second term. There are also presidents who have taken over from a previous president due to death or resignation and go on to run for re-election. This most recently happened when Gerald Ford took over following Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal. Presidents who served one full term are included on this list.
Here are seven from American political history.
1. John Quincy Adams
Adams served as the country’s 6th president of the United States between 1825 and 1829. He beat Andrew Jackson to become president at the 1824 election – but lost the popular vote – however, Jackson made a comeback four years later, beating Adams and ensuring his legacy was that of a one-term president.
2. Martin Van Buren
Van Buren served as president between 1837 and 1841. This Democrat won the 1836 election, but went on to lose to Whig challenger William H. Harrison in 1840. Harrison is known for being the shortest-serving US president, having died just one month into his first and only term.
3. Benjamin Harrison
This Harrison has the unique opportunity of being sandwiched by just one US president. Grover Cleveland won the 1884 US presidential election and subsequently became the country’s 22nd president. Four years later, Harrison won the 1888 election and became the 23rd US president. He sought a second term in 1892, but lost out to Cleveland who also became the country’s 24th president.
4. William Howard Taft
This Republican from Ohio won the 1908 election against another William – Democrat William Jennings Bryan. He then went on to lose in 1912 to Democrat Woodrow Wilson, and to make matter worse came in third place behind Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party.
Taft won just two states this time around.
5. Herbert Hoover
This Republican followed his time as the US Secretary of Commerce to become the 31st President of the United States. He won more than six million votes more than his Democrat opponent Al Smith in 1928 before going on to lose to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. FDR’s win was his first of four, making him the longest-serving US president of all time.
Hoover’s second election was not helped by the Great Depression.
6. Jimmy Carter
This still-alive Democrat won the 1976 election against incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. Four years later, he took a stunning defeat against Republican challenger, and former California governor, Ronald Reagan, who won two of America’s biggest modern electoral college landslides.
7. George W. H. Bush
Father of two-term president George W. Bush, Bush senior is the country’s most recent one-term president. After serving eight years as Ronald Reagan’s Vice President, Bush clinched the 1988 nomination and won the presidential election later that year. Four years later, his time was cut short by the Democrats’ Bill Clinton who won the 1992 presidential election in a striking victory for his party. The result made Bush the most recent one-term president.
If Trump remains president until the end of this term, the question is: will he win re-election? It’s possible that he could lose to a Democratic opponent come November 2020 or that a moderate Republican could challenge him for his party’s nomination. He could even be forced to resign “for the sake of the party”.
Donald Trump could well go on to win a second term, but it is a real possibility that he could well become the first one-term president since the early nineties.
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