Millard Fillmore, who succeeded Zachary Taylor, was the last president to be elected without a college degree. The former congressman and law student had fallen in love with a teacher when he was a teenager. He later became a lawyer and married her.
Barry Goldwater was born in 1909 and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. His family was well-off, and he went on to complete high school in Virginia. After graduation from high school, Goldwater enrolled in the University of Arizona at Tucson, but dropped out after a few months, and eventually joined the Air Force. While there, he flew missions out of China and India. After the war, Goldwater returned home and became a member of the Phoenix city council.
In 1968, Goldwater lost the presidential election. The media focused on Johnson’s victory over Goldwater, but the media missed important underlying trends. This would eventually lead to conservative victories in 1970 and 1980. After his defeat, Goldwater returned to the Senate. He remained active in the politics of his time, and the conservative movement was in full swing.
Goldwater never tried to quell the Southern appetite for language, and his speeches were often sophomoric. They were often centered around statistics on crime in the South and arguments about defense contractors. While Goldwater’s speech delivery may have been insipid, his crowd enthusiasm was unmatched. The crowd’s enthusiasm wasn’t primarily political; it was often filled with revelry, pageantry, and celebration.
If you are thinking about applying for a Goldwater Scholarship, be sure to read about the requirements. The minimum grade point average is a “B” grade point average, and you must be in the top four of your class. To get the scholarship, you must also be enrolled in a science program, and have a research emphasis in mathematics or science. You can combine a non-Goldwater major with a Goldwater major, but you must clearly explain how your non-science major will enhance your career in science.
While having a college degree is important, where it came from is even more important. Goldwater attended the University of Arizona for one year before dropping out and working in his family’s business. Al Smith, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee in 1928, also did not earn a college degree.
Harry Truman is the most recent US President to have not received a college degree. His family was poor and he had to drop out of college after one semester. He then found work in the mail room of the Kansas City Star newspaper. In addition, he spent more than ten years working on his father’s farm, overseeing finances and performing manual labor.
While he may have lacked a college degree, Harry Truman was still a well-educated person. He did not have a degree in law, but he recognized the value of an education. In contrast, the majority of US presidents have college degrees or have attended law school. In fact, Bill Clinton has a law degree. There are only three US presidents who have no college degree.
During his first year as president, Truman faced a number of unprecedented international challenges. In addition to the Korean War, the relationship with the Soviet Union had already deteriorated. While American leaders supported democratic institutions and a market economy, Soviet leaders were totalitarian and operated a command economy. These divergent interests led to tensions between the two countries.
As president, Truman presided over the difficult transition from the war economy to a postwar peace economy. While he was successful in his goal of establishing a healthy peacetime economy, he was unable to implement many of his liberal policies. Despite these obstacles, his administration did result in significant domestic achievements. Truman was able to protect the gains of the New Deal, which had been put into effect during his predecessor’s presidency. He also pushed for the advancement of civil rights for African Americans.
After returning from his tour in Europe, Harry Truman began searching for a business opportunity. He lived in Independence, MO, with his wife Bess. At thirty-five, Truman partnered with Eddie Jacobson to open a haberdashery in Kansas City. Truman worked in the accounting department and Jacobson was the buyer. Both men took out several loans to get the business up and running. The business soon began to produce profits.
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1857. He grew up in a prominent family. His father was an attorney and state judge. His father later served as attorney general and secretary of war under President Ulysses S. Grant. His father also served as ambassador to Austria-Hungary. Taft went on to study law and become a lawyer. He married Helen Herron in 1886.
Taft’s judicial career reflects his conservatism. He upheld the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce and sided with conservatives. In his term as president, he made six appointments to the Supreme Court, transforming the Court into a strong defender of private property rights. He also supported the addition of two amendments to the Constitution.
Taft began his career as an assistant prosecutor in Hamilton County, Ohio, and was elected to a five-year term as judge in Cincinnati’s superior court. By his mid-30s, he was considered for the U.S. Supreme Court, and in February 1890 he was appointed solicitor general under President Benjamin Harrison. During his term as solicitor general, Taft won 15 of his 18 cases argued before the court. The next year, he served as federal circuit judge for the 6th circuit, where he served until 1900.
Although Taft didn’t have a college degree when he was elected president, he exhibited other leadership qualities. He established a civil service, a judicial system, and English-language public schools in the Philippines. He also helped develop a national transportation network and health care facilities in the Philippines. He also negotiated with the Vatican for the purchase of 390,000 acres of church property in the Philippines, and then distributed the land to Filipino peasants through low-cost mortgages.
Martin Van Buren
Before becoming president, Van Buren served in the New York Senate for two terms. He then became attorney general of the state of New York, and served until 1819. After leaving office, he moved to Hudson, New York, and then Albany, where he lived for the remainder of his life.
Though he did not attend college, Van Buren had a fine mind and a strong ambition. At fourteen, he apprenticed at an attorney’s office. He worked as a clerk for seven years, and studied law at night. He moved to New York City to work for a year as a lawyer, and gained admission to the New York State bar at age twenty-one.
Jackson wanted Van Buren to become president, but his nomination was rejected by the U.S. Senate. He was then appointed Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson. However, Van Buren did not complete the requisite education for the presidency. He later became the minister to the Court of St. James in Great Britain. In 1832, he visited the Netherlands, home to his forebears, and met Queen Elizabeth II. In 1837, he received an invitation to run for president, and he did so. The next year, he ran as a Republican.
While Martin Van Buren was not the most intelligent person in history, he had a bright mind and a great political mind. He was up against Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Thomas Hart Benton, and others in the race to become president. Van Buren was an effective politician and understood the art of deal making. He was also a master of hardball politics. He knew how to deal with opposition and how to cut his losses. Nevertheless, he made his decisions based on his own opinions.
During his presidency, Van Buren made some controversial decisions. He completed the transfer of 20,000 Cherokee Indians to Oklahoma in 1838 and expelled three thousand Seminole Indians from Florida. These two actions resulted in approximately 1500 deaths for U.S. troops.
Taylor was born in Virginia and grew up on a tobacco plantation in Kentucky. He went on to serve in the army and became a brigadier general. He went on to command troops during the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War, and even won a battle in the Mexican War. While his formal education was limited, he excelled in frontier skills.
After Taylor, another president was elected without a college degree, Millard Fillmore. The second president without a college degree was Andrew Johnson, who did not attend college or law school. He was appointed vice president during Abraham Lincoln’s second term, and then became president after Lincoln’s assassination. Fillmore’s first term as president was marked by many scandals.
Since George Washington, there have only been four presidents who did not have a college degree. Of those, only one of them earned a PhD. There were others who had only one year of college education. But most of these presidents were educated outside of the classroom, through books and external expert sources.
Although college education is not a prerequisite for a presidential position, it is highly recommended that candidates have a bachelor’s degree. Generally, presidents with bachelor’s degrees attended college or law school. However, the latest president without a college degree is Joe Biden, who attended Syracuse University. While most presidents have at least a college degree, there are a few presidents who never finished high school.
Although there are some presidents without a college degree, it is highly unlikely that any of them are able to hold a high office. Some of them have law degrees from prestigious institutions.
- What Degree Do You Need to Be a Zoologist? - 2 February, 2023
- Which Global Entry Strategy Has the Highest Degree of Risk? - 2 February, 2023
- Which Algebraic Expression is a Polynomial With a Degree of 4? - 2 February, 2023