Former State Legislators in Congress and White House

11/13/2019

U.S. Capitol

 
Former State Legislators in the White House

President Obama was the first former state legislator to serve in America’s highest office since Jimmy Carter, joining him as the only two since World War II. He is the 22nd overall, meaning that just under half of U.S. presidents served in colonial/state legislatures. 

 

Presidents Who Served as State Legislators 

1. President George Washington (1789-1797) 
    Virginia House of Burgesses (1758-1774)

2. President John Adams (1797-1801) 
    Massachusetts General Court (1768-1774)

3. President Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) 
    Virginia House of Burgesses (1769-1774)

4. President James Madison (1809-1817) 
    Virginia House of Delegates (1776-1777)

5. President James Monroe (1817-1825) 
    Virginia Assembly (1782-1783)

6. President John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) 
    Massachusetts Senate (1802-1803)

8. President Martin Van Buren (1837-1841) 
    New York Senate (1813-1820)

9. President William Henry Harrison (1841) 
    Ohio Senate (1819-1821)

10. President John Tyler (1841-1845) 
      Virginia House of Delegates (1811-1816)

11. President James Polk (1845-1849) 
      Tennessee House of Representatives (1823-1825)

13. President Millard Fillmore (1850-1853) 
      New York Assembly (1829-1831)

14. President Franklin Pierce (1853-1857) 
      New Hampshire House of Representatives (1829-1833)

15. President James Buchanan (1857-1861) 
      Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1814-1816)

16. President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) 
      Illinois House of Representatives (1834-1842)

17. President Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) 
      Tennessee House of Representatives (1835-1837, 1839-1841), Tennessee Senate (1841-1843)

20. President James Garfield (1881) 
      Ohio Senate (1859-1861)

26. President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) 
      New York Assembly (1882-1884)

29. President Warren G. Harding (1921-1923) 
      Ohio Senate (1899-1903)

30. President Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) 
      Massachusetts House of Representatives (1907-1908), Massachusetts Senate (1912-1915)

32. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945) 
      New York Senate (1911-1913)

39. President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) 
      Georgia Senate (1963-1966)

44. President Barack Obama (2009-2017) 
      Illinois Senate (1997-2004)

Vice Presidents Who Served as State Legislators 

1. Vice President John Adams (1789-1797) 
    Massachusetts General Court (1768-1774)

2. Vice President Thomas Jefferson (1797-1801) 
     Virginia House of Burgesses (1969-1774)

3. Vice President Aaron Burr (1801-1805) 
    New York State Assembly (1784-1785, 1798-1799)

4. Vice President George Clinton (1805-1812) 
    New York Provincial Assembly (1768-1776)

5. Vice President Elbridge Gerry (1813-1814) 
    Massachusetts General Court (1772-1776)

6. Vice President Daniel Tompkins (1817-1825) 
    
New York State Assembly (1803-1804)

7. Vice President John C. Calhoun (1825-1832) 
    South Carolina House of Representatives (1808-1809)

8. Vice President Martin Van Buren (1833-1837) 
    New York State Senate (1812-1820)

9. Vice President Richard Mentor Johnson (1837-1841) 
    Kentucky House of Representatives (1804-1806)

10. Vice President John Tyler (1841) 
      Virginia House of Delegates (1811-1816, 1823-1825)

11. Vice President Millard Fillmore (1849-1850) 
      New York State Assembly (1829-1831)

12. Vice President William R. King (1853) 
      North Carolina House of Commons (1807-1809)

13. Vice President John C. Breckinridge (1857-1861) 
      Kentucky House of Representatives (1849-1850)

14. Vice President Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865) 
      Maine House of Representatives (1836-1841)

15. Vice President Andrew Johnson (1865)
      
Tennessee House (1835-1836, 1839-1840) Tennessee Senate (1841-1843)

16. Vice President Henry Wilson (1873-1875)
      
Massachusetts House of Representatives (1841-1852)

17. Vice President William A. Wheeler (1877-1881)
      
New York Assembly (1850-1851) New York Senate (1858-1860)

18. Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks (1885)
      
Indiana House of Representatives (1848-1850)

19. Vice President Garret Hobart (1897-1899)
      
New Jersey General Assembly (1873-1875) New Jersey Senate (1876-1883)

20. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt (1901)
      
New York State Assembly (1882-1884)

21. Vice President Calvin Coolidge (1921-1923)
      
Massachusetts House (1907-1908) Massachusetts Senate (1912-1915)

22. Vice President John Nance Garner (1933-1941)
      
Texas House of Representatives (1898-1902) 

*State legislative term dates do not reflect original research and may be marginally inaccurate.

Former State Legislators in Previous Congresses