17 U.S. Presidents that were Senators

The United States Constitution, which was ratified in 1788, created a system of checks and balances that divided the power among the three branches of government. This includes the executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch. One important part of this division of power is that members of different branches cannot be “members” or “officers” within another branch at the same time. The following article will discuss U.S Presidents who had served as Senators before they were elected to their post as President.

There are 17 U.S. presidents that were senators in the history of the United States. Being a senator was not always an important part of getting elected to the Presidency. The post of senator has many responsibilities and it is not an easy job. However, the importance of being a senator has changed over time and now most presidents are senators before they become president (or at least served in some other important role within government).

Check out: The 4 U.S. Presidents who were Assassinated in History

The first U.S President that had previously been a member of the Senate was James Monroe who served as Vice-President under George Washington. He later went on to become the fifth President of the United States from 1817-1825.

The most recent president that was a senator before becoming President is Joe Biden who served as Senator from Delaware. Joe Biden also has experience in politics having spent 36 years as an elected official (12 years in the US Senate and 24 years as a member of the US House of Representatives).

Biden was elected vice-president under Barack Obama on November 08, 2008. He then went on to serve two terms before being succeeded by President Donald Trump that served from 2017 to 2020.

The table below presents a full list of U.S. Presidents that were senators:

NameStateYears as SenatorYears as President
James MonroeVirginia1790-17941817-1825
John Quincy AdamsMassachusetts1803-18081825-1829
Andrew JacksonTennessee1797-1798;1823-18251829-1837
Martin Van BurenNew York1821-18281837-1841
William H. HarrisonOhio1825-18281841
John TylerVirginia1827-18361841-1845
Franklin PierceNew Hampshire1837-18421853-1857
James BuchananPennsylvania1834-18451857-1861
Andrew Johnson Tennessee1857-1862;18751865-1869
Benjamin HarrisonIndiana1881-18871889-1893
Warren G. HardingOhio1915-19211921-1923
Harry S. TrumanMissouri1935-19451945-1953
John F. Kennedy Massachusetts1953-19601961-1963
Lyndon B. JohnsonTexas1949-19611963-1969
Richard M. NixonCalifornia1950-19531969-1974
Barack ObamaIllinois2005-20082009-2017
Joe BidenDelaware1973-20092021-present
U.S. Presidents that were Senators