To celebrate Presidents’ Day, news editor Zoë Hill ranked the top 10 presidents solely based on their presidential profiles.
Zoë Hill | News Editor
The American presidency has put 45 men in power who have been described as everything from noble to despicable. They are known for the wars they fought, the legislation they signed into law and the scandals they brought to the Oval Office. Rarely is the commander in chief recognized for his steel-blue eyes, romance novel smirk and fluffy dark hair.
This is the definitive list of the 10 hottest U.S. presidents, ranked solely on their presidential pouts and none of their politics.
#10 James A. Garfield: 20th President (1881-1881)
Garfield narrowly made the list just as he narrowly won the presidential election of 1880. He never intended to run for president but was in the right place at the right time. He attended the 1880 Republican National Convention to speak on behalf of a potential candidate for the Republican Party. Delegates from Wisconsin suggested Garfield as a compromise candidate when the party could not choose between the three other options, including former president Ulysses S. Grant. Garfield was shot just five months into office by a disgruntled office-seeker Charles Guiteau. The president died two and a half months later from an infection caused by his doctors who treated his gunshot wound.
#9 Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt: 26th President (1901-1909)
At age 42, Roosevelt became (and remains) the youngest president to take office when his predecessor, William McKinley was assassinated. He was the first American and first U.S. president to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. According to the History Channel, Roosevelt was also known to go skinny dipping in the Potomac River after hikes and trips out on the presidential yacht. The late Robin Williams famously portrayed the president in the film series “Night at the Museum” in which the president charmed everyone on horseback, solidifying his spot on the list.
#8 James Monroe: 5th President (1817-1825)
According to historians John Whitcomb and Claire Whitcomb, Monroe was considered old-fashioned in his style and was the last president to wear a powdered wig. He also was the last president to not be photographed. Instead, his presidential portrait was painted by Samuel Morse, the inventor of the Morse code. Morse’s ability to make Monroe’s hair look flowy and his jaw look sharp may be why he landed on this list. Eerily, Monroe was the third and final founding father to coincidentally die on the Fourth of July.
#7 Abraham Lincoln: 16th President (1861-1865)
Honest Abe is one of the most well-known presidents, but many do not know that Lincoln was incredibly strong. He participated in wrestling matches throughout his life, losing only one out of 300. Witness accounts claim the then-candidate picked up and threw multiple townsmen, one reportedly flying 12 feet through the air, according to The Lehrman Institute. His physical strength matched with his enormous height— the tallest president in U.S. history— makes him solid on the list.
#6 Harry S. Truman: 33rd President (1945-1953)
After dropping an atomic bomb minutes after being sworn in following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, American media groups didn’t anticipate Truman would win his own term years later in 1948. The Chicago Tribune was so sure New York Governor Thomas Dewey would win, they printed the paper with the front-page headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.” Truman smiled for a picture with the inaccurate paper. Dewey wouldn’t have made this list.
#5 Ulysses S. Grant: 18th President (1869-1877)
When applying for West Point, a paperwork error turned Hiram Ulysses Grant into Ulysses S. Grant, according to the Constitution Center. Just like Truman, the “S” in his name doesn’t stand for anything, but he was often called Uncle Sam due to his new initials being “U.S.” The national mint found his face nice enough to put him on the $50 bill, so he appropriately lands in the top half of this list.
#4 Ronald Reagan: 40th President (1981-1989)
Reagan had a long career in Hollywood before starting down the political path. In both jobs, he came very close to dying. In 1951, Reagan was nearly strangled to death by his chimpanzee co-star on set of the film “Bedtime for Bonzo.” The chimp grabbed onto his necktie and pulled the knot until it was the size of a fingernail. Reagan had to be cut out of the tie by on-set medics. In his presidential years, John Hinckley Jr. shot at the president in an attempt to woo actress Jodi Foster. Reagan was hit with one of six bullets fired, but he survived. The president believed he was spared by God to fulfill a larger purpose, such as making fourth on this list.
#3 Barack Obama: 44th President (2009-2017)
Although his former vice president is known for his love of ice cream, Obama hasn’t liked the stuff since he ate too much at his first job as a scooper at Baskin Robbins, according to the president. One of the president’s nicknames was “No Drama Obama,” but his fashion often was the talk of the Rose Garden. From the tan suit scandal to his mom jeans, memes popped up everywhere. If you actually look at the questionable jean photos, you’ll see why Obama ranks so high.
#2 John F. Kennedy: 35th President (1961-1963)
It’s no surprise that JFK made it this far up the list. He is one of the most memorable presidents, if only because he was the youngest man elected into the office at just 43 years old and because of his untimely death by assassination in 1963. Not only was JFK young and handsome, but he also was the richest man to become president, and he donated his entire salary to charity throughout his term as a senator and as the commander in chief, according to the History Channel. Those are all very attractive qualities for second place.
#1 Franklin Pierce: 14th President (1853-1857)
Pierce tops the list as the most attractive president, but he doesn’t have much else going for him. His presidential portrait paints a strikingly good picture of the pre-Civil War president, but, according to a study by researcher Henry L. Roediger, Pierce is tied for the least memorable president in U.S. history. He is also ranked in the bottom three worst presidents by historians. Even Pierce saw the clouds forming over his term when he declined to swear the oath of office on a Bible at his inauguration due to his son dying in a horrific train accident weeks before. His wife refused to attend the event, with both of them believing the accident was a punishment from God.
While not president for various reasons, a few notable men deserve a mention on this list for their good looks.
Al Gore- Vice President to President Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Phillip Hamilton- the famously dueled-to-death son of Alexander Hamilton
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex- the royal family’s rebel son
History can be a bleak and contentious topic, but if you set all of the politics aside, you might have a semi-decent season of the “Bachelor” on your hands. One thing is for sure, though: The American people are really good at picking less-than-gorgeous men to run the country. If Pierce’s term and JFK’s fate are any indication, maybe the United States should keep up with electing unsightly presidents. Happy Presidents’ Day!
All images retrieve from WikiCommons.