What do you associate each U.S. President with?

I was thinking about President Truman, and how basically his whole presidency is dominated by his decision to use atomic bombs on Japan. That led me to trying to come up with one event that defined each President’s time in office. A few of them are easy - Lincoln with the Civil War/abolishing slavery, Hoover and the Great Depression - but some are pretty hard.
So, which Presidents do you closely connect with particular events in your mind?

It’d take a bloody book! There are so many! Washington alone is associated with a whole book’s worth of events. Which one could possibly be most significant?

I’ll go with “He could have made himself King, and didn’t.” George Washington was one of the very few people in history who had absolute power, and wasn’t corrupted absolutely. (He was corrupted a little…)

Just off the top of my head -

Washington - American Revolution.

Jefferson - Louisiana Purchase.

Jackson - Trail of Tears.

McKinley - got shot.

Taft - was fat.

Wilson - League of Nations.

Lincoln - saved the Union.

Harding - Teapot Dome.

Andrew Johnson - impeached.

T. Roosevelt - Pure Food and Drug Act.

FDR - New Deal.

Truman - Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Eisenhower - embodiment of the 50s, if that counts.

Kennedy - Cuban Missile Crisis, and getting shot.

Johnson - Great Society, especially civil rights. And Viet Nam.

Nixon - Watergate (duh).

Ford - Whip Inflation Now.

Carter - malaise, general incompetence.

Reagan - the economic boom of the 80s.

Bush Sr. - First Gulf War.

Clinton - lying, lying, more lying, and getting impeached.

Bush - war on terror.

Obama - Obamacare, and being black.

I’m sure the others had significant events associated with them, but nothing that leaps to mind.


FDR: Depression/WWII
Madison: Father of the Constitution
Buchanan: Gay, or bachelor, you decide
Monroe: The Doctrine
Grant: Alcoholic, also the guy who put down the rebellion, but that was before his election.
Clinton: BJ
Bush: Iraq
Jackson: Indian killer, hillbilly
Jefferson: Louisiana Purchase, also writing the Declaration of Independence
McKinley: Shot
Garfield: Shot
JFK: Adultery
Nixon: A crook
Wilson:WWI, PhD, His wife was the first female president.
Johnson: Vietnam, Civil Rights
Eisenhower: Also civil rights, “I Like Ike”, the poodle skirt, sock hop era, and also, unpresidentially, D-Day

Just throwing some ideas out there.

A few additions:

Truman: Integration of armed forces
Teddy Roosevelt: Panama Canal
Nixon: Trip to China, EPA
G. W. Bush: General and complete incompetence
Carter: hostage crisis
W. H. Harrison, died after 32 days in office
Clinton: peace and prosperity
Polk: Mexican-American War
Reagan: drawing a blank
Andrew Johnson: Impeached. Screwed up reconstruction
Ford: Pardon of Nixon

Up through Grant:

Washington - loved a good barbeque
Adams - wanted more fireworks
Jefferson - invented the Lazy Susan
Madison - probably epileptic
Monroe - wounded in the Battle of Trenton
Adams II - as a teenager, traveled as an interpreter to Russia, then made his way back on his own to his father in Paris
Jackson - killed a man in a duel
Van Buren - O.K.!
Wm Henry Harrison - Tippecanoe
John Tyler - only President buried without U.S. national honors (he was in the Confederacy at the time)
Polk - only President to keep all of his campaign promises
Taylor - only president whose 1st name starts with Z
Fillmore - the Do-Nothing president
Pierce - died from cirrhosis of the liver
Buchanan - ancestor of my last long-term employer
Lincoln - made Carl Sandburg swoon
Johnson - was drunk when he took the oath of office
Grant - was sober when he took the oath of office

Eisenhower - started the interstate highway system

Kennedy - We’re going to the moon!

Johnson - picked up his beagle by the ears - there was outrage

Nixon - not only EPA, but OSHA, too.

Ford - flu shots

Carter - wear a sweater

Reagan - Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Washington - father of the country
Jefferson – Louisiana Purchase
Madison – War of 1812
Monroe – Era of Good Feelings
Jackson – Shutting down the Bank of the US
Van Buren – OK
Harrison – dying
Tyler – First VP to become P
Polk – Mexican War
Taylor – Cherries and milk
Pierce – death of his son
Lincoln – obvious
Johnson – worst president ever/impeachment
Grant – scandals
Hayes – Paraguay
Garfield – dying
Arthur – my alma mater/civil service reform
Cleveland – “Ma, Ma, where’s my pa?”
Mckinley – Spanish American War
Teddy – Conservation
Wilson – keeping us out of the war
Harding – “If you were a girl, you’d be in the family way all the time. You can’t say no.”
Coolidge – wonderful, dry sense of humor.
Hoover – The Depression
FDR – The New Deal
Truman – Give 'em hell, Harry
Eisenhower – sending the troops to Little Rock
JFK – Assassination
LJB – Great society
Nixon – Watergate, opening China
Ford – the pardon
Carter – Tehran
Reagan – the beginning of the death of the middle class
GHWBush – Gulf War
Clinton – Lewinsky
GWBush – 9/11
Obama – Health care reform

Washington-- The Revolution
Jefferson-- Sally Hemmings
Lincoln-- Emancipation
Polk-- Kept his campaign promises
W. H. Harrison-- Too stupid to put on a coat
Cleveland-- Non-consecutive terms
T. Roosevelt-- General badassery
Taft-- Fat
Wilson-- The League of Nations
Hoover-- Sucked
FDR-- Four terms
Eisenhower-- Nuts!
JFK-- the Moon
L. B. Johnson-- Vietnam
Nixon-- Watergate
Ford-- His Accidency
Carter-- Habitat for Humanity
Reagan-- Trickling on the poor
G. H. W. Bush-- Iraq
Clinton-- Lewinsky
G. W. Bush-- Iraq
Obama-- ACA

There are some holes in there towards the beginning, since I don’t know much about most of those guys beyond “they were there”. And several of the things I associate most with presidents weren’t from their presidency per se.

Franklin Pierce,James Buchanan, Rutherford B. Hayes, William Harding and George W. Bush - Incompetence

John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt - Progressive domestic social policies.

Jimmy Carter - Human rights

Dwight Eisenhower - The Interstate Highway system

Andrew Johnson,US Grant, Millard Fillmore and Richard Nixon - Failure

Harry Truman - Th A-bomb

Thomas Jefferson,James Madison,Andrew Jackson,Zachary Taylor,Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan - Slavery and/or racism (the first four were slave owners. Wilson fired all Black civil service in Washington when he came to office. Coolidge signed the Asian Exclusion Act when he didn’t need to. Ronald Reagan was an opportunist who used the GOP’s Southern Strategy to get elected)

Teddy Roosevelt - The Panama Canal

William Taft - Fat, Supreme Court Justice

Bill Clinton - Monica Lewinsky and NAFTA

George Washington - First President

The rest are a mixed bag

Carter–made me register for the draft.
Reagan–spent Social Security.
Bush, Sr.–didn’t get Saddam.
Clinton–played the saxophone.
Bush, Jr.–got Saddam.
Obama–got Bin Laden.

Without looking at the rest of the thread:

(I strayed slightly from the OP’s intent: Some of these are about the man himself, not events that occurred during his time in office).

Washington: Father of our country; crossed the Delaware.
Adams: Alien and Sedition Acts; Boston Massacre.
Lincoln: Civil War; freed the slaves; his own assassination.
FDR: World War II.
Kennedy: Bay of Pigs; his own assassination.
Nixon: Watergate.
Carter: Attacked by giant swimming rabbit. (The world must never forget).
Reagan: Iran-Contra.
Clinton: Boned an intern; lied about it.
George W. Bush: 9/11, Second Iraq War.
Obama: Killing of bin Laden.

For now, I’ll stick to Presidents who ONLY Make me think of one or two things

John Adams- Alein and Sedition Acts

James Monroe- Monroe Doctrine

William Henry Harrison- dying after just 30 days in office

James Polk - Mexican War

Millard Fillmore- Compromiuse of 1850

James Buchanan- only bachelor President

Andrew Johnson- impeachment

Rutherford B. Hayes- dirty dealings in electoral college

James Garfield- was ambidextrous, and got shot

Grover Cleveland- served two non-consecutive terms

Warren Harding- Teapot Dome

Herbert Hoover- the Great Depression

Jimmy Carter- Iran hostage affair

George H.W. Bush- First Iraq War

You’re probably thinking of Anthony “Nuts” McAulife

help a reader out.

put in chronological order.

Some dopers seem to have pretty weird definitions of “one event”.

Anyways I’ll do a few:

Obama: obamacare

Bush: Iraq

Clinton: success of the DLC

Bush: iraq

Reagan: cold war rhetoric

Carter: energy crisis

Nixon Watergate

Johnson: civil rights

Kennedy: shot in the head

Eisenhower: interstate system

FDR: new deal

Hoover: depression

Coolidge: compared sex life to a chickens

Harding: teapot dome. I don’t even really know what that scandal is. Just that it happened on his watch.

Wilson: WWI

Taft: fat

Teddy: rise of progressivism