20 Tallest and Shortest American Presidents and Their Actual Heights

Heights of American Presidents are often scrutinized, primarily because of the belief that the taller of the two major candidates tend to emerge the winner in an election. While it’s easy for one to regard this as a silly sentiment, facts suggest it is true. Most of the presidents the country has had were taller than their opponents at the presidential elections. In recent history, from 1900 to 2020, the United States has had a total of 31 presidential elections, with the taller candidate prevailing 20 times.

Several studies have also confirmed that taller candidates are most likely to be elected into office because height is correlated with public image, and taller electoral candidates are often considered to have more communication and leadership skills. The 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, stands at 5 feet 11½ inches tall. He shares the same height with four past presidents of the country, is taller than 21, and 19 of them are taller than him. Abraham Lincoln is the tallest of all the 45 individuals who have served as the country’s president, and James Madison is the shortest thus far.

The Heights Of The Top 10 Tallest American Presidents

1. Abraham Lincoln

  • Height: 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm)
  • Date of Birth: February 12, 1809
  • Died On: April 15, 1865
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln remains one of the most prominent presidents of the United States and he’s equally the tallest of them all. Outraged by his emergence as the leader of the country, states in the south; Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and South Carolina, declared themselves a sovereign nation. This culminated in the American Civil War and Lincoln had to lead the country through it.

Among other things, he modernized the U.S. economy and took significant steps towards abolishing slavery. Lincoln was assassinated on the 14th of April 1865 towards the end of the civil war. The assassination carried out by a famous stage actor, John Wilkes Booth, was the last effort by the unrecognized breakaway states to gain recognition. Lincoln died on the 15th of April at 7:22 a.m.

2. Lyndon B. Johnson

  • Height: 6 feet 3½ inches (192 cm)
  • Date of Birth: August 27, 1908
  • Died On: January 22, 1973
  • Time In Office: November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969

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Lyndon Baines Johnson, or LBJ as he was often referred to, was the 36th president of the United States. Before he became president, he served as the vice president of the country under John F. Kennedy, the 35th president, from 1961 to 1963. LBJ became president after the assassination of Kennedy on the 22nd of November 1963. It is said that he was hastily sworn in two hours after Kennedy was assassinated as it was suspected that there was a conspiracy against the government.

Even though his presidency saw the United States become seriously involved in the Vietnam War, he is mostly regarded as a fine president. LBJ appointed the first African-American cabinet secretary in the presidential administration, Robert C. Weaver, and also nominated the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall.

3. Donald Trump

  • Height: 6 feet 3 inches (191 cm)
  • Date of Birth: June 14, 1946
  • Age: 75 Years Old
  • Time In Office: January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021

Donald Trump
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Many people never took Donald Trump seriously when he expressed his intent to become America’s president; it was just something that seemed impossible, even when he emerged as the Republican party flagbearer. As fate would have it and to the shock of many, he became the 45th president of the United States. In terms of the heights of American presidents, he is the third tallest.

A media personality and a businessman before he was elected into office, Donald Trump is probably the most controversial president the country has ever had. He was frequently accused of false and misleading claims that threatened the unity of the country. In addition to that, most of his policies were deemed to be regressive and counter-productive. His tenure came to an end with an insurrection that ridiculed the democratic values the country holds in high esteem.

4. Thomas Jefferson

  • Height: 6 feet 2½ inches (189 cm)
  • Date of Birth: April 13, 1743
  • Died On: July 4, 1826
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States; this means he is among the revolutionary leaders that championed the war for independence from Great Britain. He later became the third president of the country and served from 1801 to 1809. Before this, he was vice president: the second vice president of the North American nation under John Adams, the second president of the United States.

Jefferson was known to be against the slave trade. He signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807 which stipulated a severe punishment for international slave traders. Jefferson was also known to denounce racism, especially against American Indians, although it is held in some quarters that his policies designed to assimilate Indians were a pretext to seize lands.

5. George Washington

  • Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)
  • Date of Birth: February 22, 1732
  • Died On: December 14, 1799
  • Time In Office: April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797

George Washington is only one of several presidents who stood at 6 feet 2 inches. Also a Founding Father, he is the first president of the United States. History has it that he led the Patriot forces in the American War of Independence. Following the end of the war, he was appointed president of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that brought about the Constitution of the United States.

Often regarded as the “Father of the Nation”, Washington laid the foundation for most of the structures that now exist as the U.S. system of government. While he is celebrated for his enormous contributions towards the birth of America as a nation, he owned as many as 300 slaves for which historians often bash him. He even supported policies that Congress implemented to protect slavery; nonetheless, it has been claimed that he only did this to preserve unity and freed all of his slaves after his death through his will.

6. Chester A. Arthur

  • Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)
  • Date of Birth: October 5th, 1829
  • Died On: November 18, 1886
  • Time In Office: 20 September 1881 – 4 March 1885

Chester Alan Arthur is among those listed as the fifth tallest when the heights of American presidents are being compared. He is also one of those that became president following the assassination of a sitting president. Arthur was the 20th vice president of the country, a position he held from the 4th of March 1881 to September 19th of the same year. It was on the later date that he became the 21st president of the United States, this was after the assassination of James A. Garfield, the 20th president of the country. James had been shot by an assassin in Washington, D.C., less than four months into his presidency. He passed 79 days later and Arthur was sworn in as president. Arthur was widely distrusted when he assumed office but was generally admired when he retired.

7. Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)
  • Date of Birth: January 30, 1882
  • Died On: April 12, 1945
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945

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Franklin D. Roosevelt, popularly known as FDA, was a member of the Democratic party and the 32nd president of the United States. He led the country through the Great Depression, introducing measures to alleviate what is considered to be the worst economic crisis the United States has ever faced. When he was reelected in 1940, he became the first U.S president to serve for more than two terms, and this remains so to date.

Roosevelt’s efforts to revitalize the American economy were very productive and he is counted alongside Abraham Lincoln and George Washington as the greatest presidents of the country. Nevertheless, he is often criticized for holding on to power, opposing legislation meant to protect Black Americans from extrajudicial killing, and failing to help the Jews during the Holocaust: it is said that he restricted their immigration into the United States.

8. George H. W. Bush

  • Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)
  • Date of Birth: June 12, 1924
  • Died On: November 30, 2018
  • Time In Office: January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993

George H.W. Bush
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Only when the heights of American presidents are being compared is when most people wouldn’t mind placing George H. W. Bush and Franklin D. Roosevelt on the same pedestal. While the latter is widely regarded as one of the greatest presidents of the United States, people have found several reasons to criticize the former.

Nonetheless, Bush’s approval ratings were majorly on the high side and he had several significant accomplishments like facilitating the reunification of Germany, ending the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, and signing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which forbids the discrimination of Americans based on disability. Bush was the 41st president of the United States; before this, he served as the 43rd vice president of the country under Ronald Regan, the 40th president.

9. Bill Clinton

  • Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)
  • Date of Birth: August 19, 1946
  • Age: 74 Years Old
  • Time In Office: January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001

Bill Clinton
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Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, are the most prominent couple in American politics. Hillary was the Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 and vied for the office of the president in 2008 and 2016. Her husband became the 42nd president of America in January 1993. Before this, he served as the Governor of Arkansas from 1983 to 1992.

As president, Bill Clinton generally had good ratings and enjoyed massive support from the African American community. But then, he became the second president of the United States to be impeached. He was impeached by the House of Representatives for committing perjury and obstructing justice to conceal his affair with a 22-year-old White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. Lucky for him, he got to complete his term as he was acquitted by the Senate.

10. Barack Obama

  • Height: 6 feet 1½ inches (187 cm)
  • Date of Birth: August 4, 1961
  • Age: 59 Years Old
  • Time In Office: January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017

What Is Obama Doing Now
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Barack Hussein Obama II was the leader of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Before his historic emergence as the 44th president of the country, he served as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2003 and then as a U.S. senator from the aforementioned state; this was from 2005 to 2008. He is the first United States president of African-American extraction and his presidency is considered to be favorable.

Among other accomplishments, he oversaw the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden, facilitated the legalization of same-sex marriage, and steered the economy of the country towards significant growth. Like every other president, he faced criticism for several reasons, including the nuclear deal he made with Iran.

The Heights Of The Top 10 Shortest American Presidents

As stated earlier, the heights of American presidents range from 6 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 4 inches. In between the ten tallest and the ten shortest are 25 presidents whose height range from 6 feet 1 inch (185 cm) to 5 feet 8½ inches (172 cm).

1. James Madison

  • Height: 5 feet 4 inches (163 cm)
  • Date of Birth: March 16, 1751
  • Died On: June 28, 1836
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817

While there have been 41 presidents since James Madison led the country, he remains the shortest president the United States ever had. Often celebrated as the Father of the Consitution, Madison is one of the Founding Fathers of the country. Before he became president, he served as the Secretary of State, this was from 1801 to 1809.

Historians count him among the presidents that made significant contributions towards the establishment of America as a strong and independent nation. This is mostly because of the role he played in drafting the constitution of the country and the Bill of Rights.

2. Benjamin Harrison

  • Height: 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm)
  • Date of Birth: August 20, 1833
  • Died On: March 13, 1901
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1889 – March 4, 1893

At 5 feet 6 inches, Benjamin Harrison is one of the shortest when comparing the heights of American presidents. The late American lawyer and politician came from a prestigious family. His great-grandfather was Benjamin Harrison V, a Founding Father of the United States who was a legislator in colonial Virginia. Also, Benjamin Harrison’s grandfather, William Henry Harrison, is the ninth president of the country. Benjamin is the 23rd president of the United States and a member of the Republican party. He graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and thereafter moved to Indianapolis where he became known as a prominent politician and attorney.

A colonel of the Union Army during the American Civil War, Benjamin Harrison tried to become the governor of Indiana in 1876 but failed. He was later elected to serve in the U.S. Senate and it was after his six years of service in that capacity that he became president. Based on what records documented, Harrison was a great leader who desired to carry everyone along. It is said that he made moves to secure voting rights for African Americans but was unable to make it happen. Amongst other accomplishments, he is often credited for modernizing the U.S. Navy, creating the national forest reserves, and enacting positive economic legislation.

3. Martin Van Buren

  • Height: 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm)
  • Date of Birth: December 5, 1782
  • Died On: July 24, 1862
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841

Buren was the eighth president of the United States. He was a lawyer remembered as one of the founders of the Democratic Party and for championing a campaign against slavery. Of Dutch descent, Martain Van Buren who was often described as the first president born after the American Revolution was born in Kinderhook, New York. History has it that his father was one of the patriots that rejected British rule and declared America an independent nation. His political career began in 1813 when he became a member of the New York Senate from the Middle District. Between 1815 and 1819, he served as the 14th Attorney General of New York.

1821 came and Buren became a United States Senator from New York; this lasted until 1828. The next office he held was as the 9th Governor of New York. As fate would have it, he only held the office from January to March of 1829 as he became the 10th United States Secretary of State on the 28th of March 1829. Buren later served as the 13th United States Minister to the United Kingdom and the eighth Vice President of the country before he was elected as president at the 1836 presidential election. His performance as president is mostly rated as average because of the financial crisis called the Panic of 1837. It is held that he could have done a better job in managing the crisis.

4. William McKinley

  • Height: 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm)
  • Date of Birth: January 29, 1843
  • Died On: September 14, 1901
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901

William McKinley was the 25th president of the United States, one of the shortest, and one of the leaders of the North American nation that were assassinated while in office. McKinley became the third president to be assassinated on the 14th of September 1901. Six months into his second term, a steelworker and anarchist named Leon Czolgosz shot the president twice in the abdomen at a World’s Fair, the Pan-American Exposition, which was taking place at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York. It is said that Leon who had lost his job during the Panic of 1893 became an anarchist and concluded to eliminate the president who for him, represented oppression.

Amid hopes that McKinley might survive the incident that happened on the 6th of September 1901, he passed a week later and Theodore Roosevelt who was the vice president became the president. A Brevet Major of the United States Army (Union Army), William McKinley served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio and later became the 38th Governor of Ohio before he was elected as president of the country. The Republican was the last president that participated in the American Civil War and his presidency had remarkable policies that fostered rapid economic growth for the country.

5. John Adams

  • Height: 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm)
  • Date of Birth: October 30, 1735
  • Died On: July 4, 1826
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801

One thing you are bound to discover while examining the heights of American presidents is that William McKinley and John Adams are the only presidents thus far who stood at 5 feet 7 inches. The second president of the United States, Adams was a Founding Father, a writer, attorney, diplomat, and of course a politician. He was a leader of the revolution that gained independence from Britain and his political career dates back to 1774 when he served as a delegate from Massachusetts to the Continental Congress. A year after America gained independence, he became the United States Envoy to France and later, the first United States Minister to the Netherlands and the first United States Minister to the United Kingdom.

Appointed by the Congress of the Confederation which was the governing body of the country after it gained independence, John Adams became the first vice president of the United States on the 21st of April 1789. He served in that capacity until March 1797 under George Washington, the first president of the country. He later became president and was also the father of John Quincy Adams, the 6th president of the country. History remembers John and his son as the only presidents who never owned slaves amongst the first twelve leaders of the nation. John Adams faced a lot of criticisms for despotism and is still bashed in recent times for signing the Alien and Sedition Acts.

6. John Quincy Adams

  • Height: 5 feet 7½ inches (171 cm)
  • Date of Birth: July 11, 1767
  • Died On: February 23, 1848
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829

As stated earlier, John Quincy Adams was the son of the second president, John Adams, and he stood taller than his father by only 1/2 an inch (1 cm). The sixth president of the United States was born in Braintree, Massachusetts. Nonetheless, he spent most of his early life living in European countries where his father was stationed as a diplomat. Before he became president, Adam served in several high-ranking diplomatic positions. He was the third United States Minister to the Netherlands, seventh Minister to the United Kingdom, first Minister to Russia, and also the first United States Minister to Prussia.

In addition to that, John Quincy Adams was a member of the Massachusetts Senate, a United States Senator from Massachusetts, and a member of the U.S House of Representatives from the same state. Right before he became president, he was the 8th Secretary of State, a position he held from September 1817 to March 1825. Succeeding James Monroe as president, Adams endeavored to have an inclusive government that represented much of the population. Records have it that he owned no slaves and championed the abolition of a rule that forbade representatives from debating on abolishing slavery.

7. Ulysses S. Grant

  • Height: 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)
  • Date of Birth: April 27, 1822
  • Died On: July 23, 1885
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877

Here’s another fun fact about the heights of American presidents – four presidents so far stood at 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm) and Ulysses S. Grant was one of them. A General of the Army, Grant was the 18th president of the United States. He was a Commanding General of the Union Army during the American Civil War and at some point served as the Acting United States Secretary of War. He was a respected war hero that unanimously earned the Republican Party nomination for the 1868 presidential election which brought him into power at the age of 46: the youngest president ever elected as of then. Grant was also the first president elected after the United States of America outlawed slavery.

Like most of the presidents before him, he faced several challenges and a lot of criticisms, especially for the corruption that was rampant during his administration. It is said that he defended some of the corrupt officials in his administration just because they were his friends. Because of this, his presidency was poorly rated but has improved over time for reasons that range from prosecuting KKK members to stabilizing the economy and facilitating the ratification of the 15th Amendment. Grant appointed several Jewish and African Americans into public offices and is credited to have created the first Civil Service Commission which ensures that the federal government employs people based on merit. Grant also adopted innovative policies that favored Native Americans; all of these made many regard him as a symbol of national unity.

8. Zachary Taylor

  • Height: 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)
  • Date of Birth: November 24, 1784
  • Died On: July 9, 1850
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850

Heights of American Presidents
Zachary Taylor: Image Source

Zachary Taylor was the 12th president of the United States and the second that died while in office: the first was William Henry Harrison, the ninth president who died on his 31st day in office and became the shortest-serving president in U.S. history.

Taylor was the third of the four presidents elected from the Whig Party which was one of the major parties in the country between the 1830s and the 1850s. Also remembered as the last president of the United States to own slaves while in office, Taylor didn’t get the support of most abolitionists but it didn’t stop him from prevailing over his opponents at the polls. He was a military leader, a Major General who commanded the Army of Occupation during the Mexican-American War. Given the victories he recorded during the war, he became a national hero and it afforded him the clout to run for the presidency in the 1848 presidential election.

According to historians, Taylor had no interest in politics and it was reflected in his unclear political postulations. This wasn’t a surprise for many as he was the first president of the country who had not served in any political office before he became president. It is widely held that his presidency had no notable significance until his death which brought his presidency to a total of 16 months. The forgettable president died at the age of 65 on the 9th of July 1850. Records have it that he was diagnosed with infectious diarrhea after he fell ill a few days earlier. Following his death, Millard Fillmore who was vice president became president, the 13th president of the country.

9. James K. Polk

  • Height: 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)
  • Date of Birth: November 2, 1795
  • Died On: June 15, 1849
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849

Heights of American Presidents
James K. Polk: Image Source

James K. Polk was the 11th president of the United States and a member of the Democratic party. The first of 10 children born into a family whose members were majorly farmers, this president’s place of birth was in Pineville, North Carolina, and his journey to the presidency began as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee. He first represented the 9th district from 1825 to 1833 and then the 6th district from 1833 to 1839. Between 1833 and 1835, he chaired the House Ways and Mean Committee. In December of the latter year, Polk became the 13th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Thereafter, he served as the 9th Governor of Tennessee from 1839 to 1841 before becoming president of the U.S. in 1845.

Polk owned slaves before he became president and even acquired more while he was president. For him, the politics that revolved around slavery was not important compared to things like implementing better economic policies and expanding the territory of the country. In addition to that, he is also criticized for leading America into an aggressive war with Mexico. However, his presidency saw significant infrastructural and technological development. Also, he is known as one of the presidents who attained almost all the goals he set out to accomplish.

10. William Henry Harrison

  • Height: 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)
  • Date of Birth: February 9, 1773
  • Died On: April 4, 1841
  • Time In Office: March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841

Heights of American Presidents
William Henry Harrison: Image Source

William Henry Harrison is the ninth president of the United States and the first to die in office. He’s remembered as the shortest-serving U.S. president in history as he spent only 31 days in office. Born in Charles City County, Virginia, William was the son of Benjamin Harrison V, a Founding Father of the country. Harrison was also the grandfather of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison.

From what we uncovered, his political career began with an appointment as the Secretary of the Northwest Territory in 1798. Thereafter, he became a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives and then the first governor of the Indiana Territory. William was also a member of the Ohio Senate, a U.S. Senator from Ohio, and the third United States Minister of Gran Colombia before he became president.

Recap Of The Heights of The Top Tallest and Shortest American Presidents 

Tallest

1. Abraham Lincoln – Height: 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm)

2. Lyndon B. Johnson – Height: 6 feet 3½ inches (192 cm)

3. Donald Trump – Height: 6 feet 3 inches (191 cm)

4. Thomas Jefferson – Height: 6 feet 2½ inches (189 cm)

5. George Washington – Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)

6. Chester A. Arthur – Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)

7. Franklin D. Roosevelt – Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)

8. George H. W. Bush – Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)

9. Bill Clinton – Height: 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)

10. Barack Obama – Height: 6 feet 1½ inches (187 cm)

Shortest

1. James Madison – Height: 5 feet 4 inches (163 cm)

2. Benjamin Harrison – Height: 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm)

3. Martin Van Buren – Height: 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm)

4. William McKinley – Height: 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm)

5. John Adams – Height: 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm)

6. John Quincy Adams – Height: 5 feet 7½ inches (171 cm)

7. Ulysses S. Grant – Height: 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)

8. Zachary Taylor – Height: 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)

9. James K. Polk – Height: 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)

10. William Henry Harrison – Height: 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm)

Chinedu Ndubueze
Chinedu holds a B.SC in Mass Communications with several years of writing and editing experience. He is an advocate of closed-back headphones, horror movies, and dark humor; He believes that Peter Griffin and Stan Smith should be real people. Outside of having to write, edit, and work on other forms of content, Chinedu may keep up with the EPL or listen to everything Eminem and Jon Bellion.
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