Despite the fact that most presidents have a college degree, there have been some who did not. Let’s take a look at them.
Martin Van Buren
During the early years of the United States, Martin Van Buren was the most prominent figure in New York politics. His political philosophy influenced the development of the political party system. He is also remembered for his role in slavery battles.
Van Buren’s career began at age 14. He apprenticed to local lawyer William Peter van Ness. He was later admitted to the New York State Bar. In 1803 he opened his own law practice. In 1821, he won a seat in the United States Senate.
As the rechartering of the Bank of the United States was underway, Van Buren, who was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, opposed the proposal. He believed that the party’s support for Jeffersonian principles was essential to its success. He believed that the party should support the establishment of an independent treasury system. He also opposed the grant of universal male suffrage. He also opposed placing the Government’s funds in state banks. He supported the formation of national political committees.
During the election in 1840, Van Buren won a very close popular vote, but lost to William Henry Harrison in the electoral college. He was also criticized for his deviousness and unprincipled conduct. He had been a member of the Free Soil Party, an antislavery faction. He also opposed the annexation of Texas. The annexation would have added slave territory and strained relations with Mexico.
Van Buren’s position on annexation was supported by the Democrats. The South Carolina delegations, led by John Calhoun, were nullifiers. The state’s defiance was deemed unconstitutional by the administration. The resurgent Federalist party was threatening to overtake the Democratic-Republican party’s majority.
Van Buren was also a strong supporter of the Free Soil Party. He hoped to unite Jackson’s followers and Crawford’s supporters. He believed that mass meetings and stump speaking could provide political power.
Known for his long and successful military career, Zachary Taylor is the twelfth president of the United States. He was a military leader, a statesman, and a national hero. His victories in the Mexican War led to his nomination as President. But his brief tenure in office was overshadowed by the debates on slavery in territories under U.S. control after the Mexican War.
During his four decades in the Army, Taylor served as a brigadier general, major general, and lieutenant general. In 1841, he assumed command of the entire United States Army, which included the southern part of the country. He was the last Whig president. His top priority was to maintain the Union, and he vowed to protect it with armed force.
During his long career, Taylor was involved in several Native American wars. He fought in the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) and the Black Hawk War (1832).
Taylor served as president of the United States from 1849 until 1850. He died sixteen months into his term. The cause of his death was food poisoning. His doctors used ipecac, calomel, and quinine to treat him.
Taylor’s body was examined by the Office of Kentucky Chief Medical Examiner. Tissue samples were analyzed by a team of specialists. Several assassination theories have been cited, including the possibility that Taylor was killed by poison. His body was exhumed in June 1991.
Zachary Taylor’s son also served in the Civil War. He fought in the Battle of Buena Vista. He fought against a coalition of six hundred American Indians. He was awarded a brevet of major. His father was a lieutenant colonel in George Washington’s Revolutionary War staff. He also served as collector of customs.
During his early life, George Washington did not attend any formal educational institution. He was not interested in getting a classical education. He wanted practical knowledge. He eventually became a farmer and plantation owner. He developed his surveying skills and was awarded a surveyor’s certificate.
His education included reading and experimentation. He was taught mathematics by the Fairfax family. The Fairfax family also exposed him to the high social class of Virginia. He became known for his physical bravery.
He later became governor of the Indiana Territory and served in the US Army for seven years. When his father died, he left his studies. He never earned a college degree.
During his second term, he became vice president of the United States. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He also studied at Albany Law School and Spalding’s Commercial College.
During his years in office, he became an expert in many areas of law. He also developed a reputation as a public servant. He also promoted the idea of establishing a national university in the capital.
The Constitution did not require presidents to have college degrees. However, most presidents did take college seriously. Many also had tutors and mentors. They also filled their libraries with good books.
Presidents also sought out expert sources. Most presidents have received advanced degrees from Ivy League schools. Some even went to law school without a degree. The United States has elected nine presidents who did not attend college.
Another president who did not attend college was Andrew Johnson. He was the 17th president of the United States. He became vice president when Lincoln was assassinated. He never earned a degree in law.
During his time as president, Harry Truman pushed for a sweeping liberal agenda that included an expansion of social security, minimum wage hikes, and the creation of more community colleges. He also countered conservative programs and served as a spokesman for civil rights for African Americans.
Although Harry Truman never obtained a college degree, he was well educated and had a strong understanding of history. He often sought to learn about the lives of historical figures.
As a young boy, Harry Truman studied every book in his hometown library. He also read his family Bible three times. He was very interested in history, and he wanted to be a great soldier. He joined the Missouri National Guard in 1905. He also dreamed of going to West Point, but his poor eyesight prevented him from attending.
After Truman’s father died, he took over management of the family farm. He also ran a small mining business and an oil business. He began attending night classes at Kansas City School of Law in 1923. Then, he opened a men’s furnishings store that sold socks, coats, and underwear. The store failed during the early 1920s recession.
Truman also served as senator and as a member of the “Truman Committee” investigating government defense spending. He also authored the Wheeler-Truman Transportation Act of 1940.
As president, Truman had to face accusations of corruption and being too “soft on communism.” He tried to reshape the national tenor of American politics by promoting anti-communism. He was successful at countering conservative programs, but the American public rejected much of his liberal agenda.
Truman also established a basic foreign policy. He pushed for an expansive liberal agenda that grew out of the New Deal. He won passage of some of the most important legislation of his era. He also lobbied for the continued role of government in the postwar economy.
Despite his lack of education, Millard Fillmore became the 13th President of the United States. He served in the White House from 1850 to 1853. He was the last President to be born in the nineteenth century. He was also the last President not affiliated with either of the two major parties.
Millard Fillmore was born into an impoverished farming family in upstate New York. He was the second of nine children. His father was a farmer in Vermont, and his mother was a farmer in Cayuga County, New York. He was raised in a log cabin. He was a tall, stately man. He attended one-room schools in the countryside. In 1822, Fillmore began a career as a teacher. He then apprenticed in a cloth making business. In 1823, he gained admission to the bar. He went on to become a successful lawyer in Buffalo, New York.
Fillmore was one of the founders of the University of New York at Buffalo. His accomplishments included the establishment of a library and the development of a natural history museum. He was the first president of the Buffalo Historical Society. He also played a pivotal role in raising money for the Society of Natural Sciences.
Fillmore also served as a New York State legislator and was elected to the United States House of Representatives. He was unsuccessful in his bid to become governor of New York in 1844. He was a member of the Anti-Masonic Party, which supported the abolition of slavery. He served as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. He also helped pass the Tariff of 1842, which dealt with taxation and financial issues.
Fillmore ran for President of the United States in 1856. He was a strong supporter of the preservation of the Union. He opposed the secession crisis after the election of Abraham Lincoln. He also supported Andrew Johnson’s policies on Reconstruction.
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