U.S. History Timeline: From Washington to Tyler

by cmoneyspinner

Ever have a significant event occur in your life and wonder what might be happening in someone else's life at the same time?

The holiday we now know as Presidents' Day which is celebrated the third Monday of February was at one time called George Washington’s Birthday.

Honored in American history as the “Father of His country” and remembered through legend as “the man who could not tell a lie”. Everyone knows the first President of the United States: George Washington.

He served from 1789 to 1797 and his political party was Federalist. He supported a strong central government and neutrality in foreign affairs.

In his very first year in office he authorized the collection of duties on imported goods and set up the U.S. Customs Service as the agency for responsible administering tariffs. But he didn't stop there.

George Washington unanimously elected as the 1st POTUS in 1789.

Duration of Washington's period in office: 1789 -1797 (almost 10 years).

In 1789, George Washington was unanimously elected as the 1st President of the United States, and for the next decade or so his timeline would be filled up with definitive marks he left for historical records.  During his administration the federal court system was established, the first tax laws were adopted, a nationwide banking system was put into place, the government was granted the power to mint coins, and (in my mind) the most significant accomplishment of all – the Bill of Rights became law. 


turkeyWashington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation: October 3, 1789* turkey


Thursday, Nov 26, 1789 proclaimed a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer”.

But what were the other future nine presidents up to in that year (or at some point during Washington’s term)?  Surely they must have known they’d be elected eventually.  Weren’t they preparing themselves?  The years these men served as president and their political persuasion are included as parenthetical notes.

* SOURCE:  The Heritage Foundation

A Guide to George Washington

In 1789 (or somewhere close to it):

  • (2nd) John Adams (1797-1801; Federalist) was serving as the nation’s first VEEP (Vice President). [Some say along with his wife Abigail, as she seemed to have greatly influenced her husband’s political endeavors. They only say that because they have her words preserved in writing.].
  • (3rd) Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809; Democratic-Republican) was serving as the minister to France, supporting those in favor of the French Revolution. He had every intention of eventually of leading this country in the right direction – whether as president or in some other sphere of influence.
  • (4th) James Madison (1809-1817; Democratic-Republican) was serving in the House of Representatives.
  • (5th) James Monroe (1817-1825; Democratic-Republican) started practicing law in Virginia and settling into married life and raising his family.
  • (6th) John Quincy Adams (1825-1829; Democratic-Republican) – It was the year before he started practicing law in Boston, having received a degree from Harvard College* two years earlier. [It's possible he was preparing himself because his mother probably had decided he’d do what his father did.]
  • (7th) Andrew Jackson (1829-1837; Democratic) – It appears he was wooing a married woman and waiting for the divorce from her first husband to be finalized. [If he was preparing himself for a career in public politics, he certainly gave no thought to whether his personal life would create a scandal. In later years, he killed a man over that woman! In a duel, of course. Duels used to be a proper and legitimate mean of settling a matter. Sure glad that sort of prearranged combat is no longer sanctioned.]
  • (8th) Martin Van Buren (1837-1841; Democratic) – He was just 6 or 7 years old; born December 5th, 1782.
  • (9th) William Henry Harrison (1841 – Only served for one month; Whig) – in 1789, he was a teenager about 16 or 17 years of age; he was studying medicine but in 1791 decided to enlist in the army.
  • (10th) John Tyler (1841-1845; Whig) – He wasn’t born yet. His date of birth is March 29, 1790.

One Can Always Make Time For Love

No matter how ambitious one's life's goals, few can resist Cupid's arrow

Jackson and Monroe were not the only ones who made time for romance. All of the others had romantic involvements that resulted in marriages. The first names of the First Ladies from Washington to Tyler are as follows (with husband's initals and the wedding date):

  • Martha (G.W. - January 6, 1759);
  • Abigail (J.A. - October 25, 1764);
  • Martha (T.J. - January 1, 1772);
  • Dolley (J.M. - September 15, 1794);
  • Elizabeth (J.M. - February 16, 1786);
  • Louisa (J.Q.A. - July 26, 1797);
  • Rachel (A.J. - official wedding date January 17, 1794; the first union was not recognized or accepted as a legitimate union because the woman's divorce had not been finalized);
  • Hannah (M.V.B. - February 21, 1807);
  • Anna (W.H.H. - November 1795); and
  • Leticia (J.T. - March 29, 1813).

Out of all of these ladies, Ms. Abigail left her mark on history as being the wife and the mother of a U.S. President.  It was said that she practically directed her husband’s political career.  They have written letters where she brought to her husband’s attention matters the government should address such as women’s rights.  Incredulous!  Well if she had her husband’s ear (as most wives do); one can assume she might have offered a few suggestions to her son as well.

Just a Quick Glimpse

A few more interesting facts.

To conclude this article, below are facts or details that might be a "need to know" if you enjoy games like Trivia or Jeopardy. 



 Did you know that:

  • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 4th of July in 1826.  Adams at his home in Braintree (now Quincy), MA; and Jefferson at his beloved Monticello.  James Monroe died July 4, 1831, in New York City.
  • Abigail and Elizabeth were included in the list of The Top 10 Names for Baby Girls in 2012 published by the Social Security Administration.  Abigail was #7 on the list and Elizabeth was #10.
  • William Henry Harrison gave the longest inaugural address on record and died a month later of pneumonia.
  • The words and writing of Thomas Jefferson have universal appeal.  He is often quoted by both Americans and non-Americans and is considered as the most impressive and influential of our nation's founding fathers in spreading the concepts of liberty and equality.

I like that final fact.  Don't you?  Just a glimpse at the everyday lives of everyday people. Hope you enjoyed it.

Image credit: glitter-graphics.com

Other History Links You Might Find Interesting

If You Liked This Article

No More Whigs (cmoneyspinner1tf.hubpages.com)
At one time the Whigs were a political party of influence. One of their members was Daniel Webster. Four U.S. Presidents were Whigs: Harrison, Tyler, Taylor and Fillmore.

The Founding Fathers Were (Mostly) Entrepreneurs (inc.com)
Jefferson, Franklin and others - the men behind the Declaration of Independence were savvy entrepreneurs in every sense of the word.  Perfect marriage of business/government relations.

8 U.S. Presidents Who Started and Ran Businesses (smallbusiness.com)
Plenty of governors and members of Congress come from a small business background, but only 8 U.S. presidents have family businesses in their background.

U.S. Presidents (us-history.com) ~ Shining the spotlight on a few good men.




Do You Know American Presidents and Vice-Presidents?

Updated: 07/06/2023, cmoneyspinner
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cmoneyspinner on 11/07/2013

@humma - Thanks for visiting.

humma on 11/07/2013

These are indeed interesting facts on US History.

cmoneyspinner on 06/03/2013

@MikeRobbers - You always encourage me. Thanks!

MikeRobbers on 06/02/2013

Well written and researched article and a wealth of information!

JoHarrington on 06/01/2013

Do it! Do it! Do it! (Peer pressure for the win!) <3

cmoneyspinner on 06/01/2013

@JoHarrington - I value your opinion and your faith in me. I'll think it over. You may be leading me in the right direction. I'm thinking! :)

JoHarrington on 06/01/2013

Awww! I was thinking more of you doing it. You have a gift for uncovering great facts. :)

cmoneyspinner on 06/01/2013

@JoHarrington - Whoa! That's an ambitious project. Can't wait to read them. You write so well! I don't think I will undertake such an endeavor. I don't have that kind of confidence as an online writer. Maybe later. Definitely not now.

JoHarrington on 06/01/2013

I'm hoping for a whole series about those early presidents. :)

cmoneyspinner on 06/01/2013

@ologsinquito AND @JoHarrington - Thanks for commenting. You are both very supportive. Still getting my feet wet here at Wizzley. Trying to think of what my next article should be about. :)

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