There have been a few presidents who have not earned a college degree. Some of them were Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor and Harry Truman. Another one was Grover Cleveland. But what are the qualifications that make a president worthy of the office? Let’s take a look. The following are the qualifications of presidents who have not earned a college degree.
Martin Van Buren was the most recent u.s. president without a college degree
- 1 Martin Van Buren was the most recent u.s. president without a college degree
- 2 Zachary Taylor was the most recent u.s. president without a college degree
- 3 Harry Truman was the most recent u.s. president without a college degree
- 4 Grover Cleveland was the only u.s. president without a college degree
- 5 Andrew Johnson was the shortest-serving u.s. president without a college degree
- 6 William Henry Harrison studied medicine but never completed his degree
- 7 William McKinley
In 1857, Martin Van Buren was elected president of the United States. He was an excellent politician, but had to face competition from the likes of Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and John C. Calhoun. He learned that the politics of power required being decisive, which made him a brilliant president. He knew the tricks of the trade, including hardball politics, deal making, and vote counting. He was also pragmatic, and made his decisions based on his own personal opinions.
Born in Kinderhook, New York, Martin Van Buren was the fourth child of a farmer and tavern keeper. He was educated at a local village school and then attended Kinderhook Academy. His parents were Dutch descent and raised four children. One of his children would become a lawyer. Van Buren was active in politics and eventually joined the Democratic-Republican Party. He eventually became the leader of the Bucktails faction, opposing DeWitt Clinton and his fellow Democratic-Republicans.
Andrew Jackson appointed Martin Van Buren to his cabinet. Van Buren served as Jackson’s secretary of state and subsequently served as the president’s minister to Great Britain. He was criticized for expanding his political patronage, which some historians found unfair. In 1830, he became the secretary of state, and briefly served as minister to Great Britain.
Zachary Taylor was the most recent u.s. president without a college degree
Presidents typically have a college degree, but Taylor was the most recent president to not possess one. Taylor was born in Virginia and raised on a tobacco plantation near Louisville, Kentucky. Despite not having a college degree, he became a career officer in the army and rose to the rank of Colonel. He was very well-versed in frontier skills and never sought to pursue a higher education.
Taylor became famous for his long military career and victories in the Mexican-American War. While he never earned a college degree, his military service earned him national honor. As the 12th president of the United States, he led the nation during debates on slavery and Southern secession. His death occurred sixteen months after taking office, but he was widely regarded as a hero.
Taylor did not serve his full term as president, but his military career made him a good candidate for the office. He married Margaret Mackall Smith in 1810 and they had six children. His second daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor, married Jefferson Davis in 1835. The marriage was short-lived, as Sarah Knox Taylor died three months later. Taylor owned two plantations in Louisiana. Despite his high-ranking military position, Taylor did not vote for a presidential election until he was elected. He later explained that he did not want to vote against a potential commander-in-chief.
Harry Truman was the most recent u.s. president without a college degree
Harry Truman was born in 1884 and grew up in rural Missouri. He missed the second grade due to diphtheria and had to attend summer school. Later, he married Bess and moved into a house on Delaware Street, where he tried to make ends meet while caring for his ailing mother. Although he hoped to attend West Point, Truman was unable to afford the cost. Instead, he worked in clerical jobs in Kansas City. After graduating from high school, he moved to Grandview, Missouri, to help his father run the family farm. There, he met Bess, and the two began a nine-year courtship.
Truman’s lack of college education did not prevent him from becoming president. In fact, he helped to design the Civil Aeronautics Act, which laid the groundwork for the growth of the airline industry. Truman was also a great public servant. He also helped to make history by appointing a woman as secretary of state.
In 1940, Truman faced a tough re-election campaign. His re-election bid was complicated by the fact that the Democratic machine that had propelled him to the presidency in 1934 had collapsed. But, as the election cycle approached, Truman had the chance to pursue higher office, and accepted the offer to run in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate. He won by a plurality of votes and then went on to win the election in solidly Democratic Missouri. He was sworn in as a junior senator by Vice Pres. John Nance Garner.
Grover Cleveland was the only u.s. president without a college degree
Cleveland attended school from the age of eleven until he dropped out at age sixteen. He then studied law independently, becoming a practicing attorney and admitted to the bar. Despite the lack of a formal education, Cleveland went on to become an attorney and became mayor of Buffalo in 1870. He later went to Harvard University and Columbia Law School, but dropped out to enter politics.
The president served two terms and was considered a political reformer. As president, he set many records. For example, he vetoed hundreds of pension bills and canceled fraudulent grants of public lands. These actions helped endeared him to the citizenry.
Cleveland also became a trustee at Princeton University. In 1906, he spoke at the dedication of Nassau Hall’s Faculty Room. Later, his son Richard attended Princeton and played center for a championship football team. In later years, despite his failing health, he continued to be active in the university. The museum at the house features personal artifacts and family stories.
Another interesting fact about Cleveland is that he married while in office. Frances Folsom, his wife, was the youngest first lady in history. She was 21 years old and the daughter of Cleveland’s former Buffalo law partner. The two became married in 1886 and had 5 children together. Three of these children were born during Cleveland’s first and second terms.
Andrew Johnson was the shortest-serving u.s. president without a college degree
Andrew Johnson was the 17th president of the United States, the only president who did not have a college degree or law degree. Born into a family that was poor and illiterate, Johnson received most of his education through friends and hard work. When he was just 10 years old, he was sent to work as a tailor’s apprentice. There, a fellow employee taught him basic reading and writing skills. He also developed his speech skills during this period.
Andrew Johnson became president after Lincoln’s assassination and clashed with fellow Republicans over Reconstruction. He also faced the threat of impeachment over the dismissal of his secretary of war and was criticized for trying to sidestep Congress. His poor leadership, communication, and court appointments drew widespread criticism. He also failed to grasp the magnitude of slavery and allowed it to fester and lead to the Civil War.
The 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson was a Southern Democrat who had been the vice president under Lincoln. His policies towards the South were lenient, despite Republican-controlled Congress’s wishes for more strict terms during Reconstruction. Andrew Johnson’s pardoning of Confederate officials led to his nickname ‘The Veto President’.
William Henry Harrison studied medicine but never completed his degree
William Henry Harrison, born in 1773, was the son of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence and former governor of Virginia. He studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania before dropping out in 1791 to join the military. While he was in the Army, he lived at the mansion known as Grouseland, which was built to protect the Harrison family from Indian raids. The mansion has now been turned into a museum.
Although he studied medicine in Philadelphia and Richmond, he never completed his degree. He decided to pursue a military career instead, and was soon commissioned an officer in the first infantry. At the age of 18, he was in charge of an army platoon of 80 men. He was responsible for recruiting men and organizing campaigns against Indians in the Western frontier.
Harrison fought in many territorial conflicts and was promoted to captain. His victory in the Battle of Fallen Timbers opened up the Ohio area to white settlement. He later became the commander of Fort Washington in Ohio, which is near present-day Cincinnati.
William McKinley, the twentieth president of the United States, did not have a college degree when he took office. He attended Allegheny College for one year and later attended the Albany Law School, where he was admitted to the bar without a degree. In 1867, McKinley returned to Ohio. While attending Albany Law School, McKinley studied the law, particularly in areas where he perceived a lack of expertise.
After being elected, McKinley traveled to Spain to investigate Spanish claims. His tour of the country helped him detect the presence of imperialist sentiment. McKinley’s second term began auspiciously but ended tragically in September 1901. He was shot twice by an anarchist at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. He died a few days later.
William McKinley was born January 29, 1843, in Niles, Ohio. He served in the Union Army and the Republican Party. When the Civil War broke out, he was just 18 years old. As a Second Lieutenant, McKinley served on Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes’ staff, and Hayes was his mentor. McKinley’s Army service lasted four years, and he ended his time as a brevet major. The brevet major title he earned during his time in the army remained with him for the rest of his life.