Ranking the Tallest and Shortest U.S. Presidents

By | Small Business

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At 6 feet 1 inch, President Obama is currently one of the tallest world leaders. But how does he stack up to other U.S. presidents?

The average height for presidents is roughly 5 foot, 11 inches, making Obama taller than average. Interestingly, the average height of U.S. males is currently 5 feet 9 inches, below the presidential average. Keep in mind that the average height in the U.S. has also increased over time.

While height may seem like an irrelevant part of political success, studies have shown that taller candidates have historically been more successful in president elections. Does the extra confidence and self-esteem that comes with an imposing height also translate to a more successful presidency?

With that question in mind, InsideGov ranked the 10 shortest and tallest presidents in U.S. history. We’ll start with the most vertically challenged POTUS and work our way up to the tallest.

#10. James Madison

Height: 5 feet, 4 inches

The Father of the Constitution was also the shortest president in U.S. history. What Madison lacked in height, he made up for in his immense contributions to the early U.S. government.

#9. Benjamin Harrison

Height: 5 feet, 6 inches

Like his grandfather, Benjamin Harrison was one of the shortest U.S. presidents. He was also one of the most active campaigners, delivering 140 separate speeches over a thirty-day period.

#8. Martin Van Buren

Height: 5 feet, 6 inches

As an up-and-coming politician, Van Buren was nicknamed the “Little Magician” because of his short stature and smooth political dealings. As president, he earned the nickname “Martin Van Ruin,” which was less flattering.

#7. William McKinley

Height: 5 feet, 7 inches

Widely considered to be a mediocre president, McKinley is often left in the shadow of his vice president and successor, Teddy Roosevelt.

#6. John Adams

Height: 5 feet, 7 inches

Although Adams would be short by today’s standards, he was closer to average during the time of his presidency.

#5. John Quincy Adams

Height: 5 feet, 7.5 inches

John Quincy Adams barely edges out his father in terms of height by a mere half inch.

#4. Ulysses S. Grant

Height: 5 feet, 8 inches

Grant may be one of the shortest presidents, but he was a formidable presence nonetheless on the battlefield and in the White House.

#3. Zachary Taylor

Height: 5 feet, 8 inches

Previously an army general, Zachary Taylor would have been around average height for his time. However, he is still in the bottom 10 compared to other presidents.

#2. James K. Polk

Height: 5 feet, 8 inches

Polk was often called “Napoleon of the Stump” for his powerful speeches and fiery oratory. Like Napoleon, Polk was also relatively short.

#1. William Henry Harrison

Height: 5 feet, 8 inches

Rounding out the 10 shortest presidents is William Henry Harrison, who tragically died in office after only one month.

#11. Barack Obama

Height: 6 feet, 1 inch

The current commander-in-chief is one of the tallest presidents in history.

#10. Ronald Reagan

Height: 6 feet, 1 inch

Reagan’s height likely contributed to his success as a movie star before his career in politics.

#9. Andrew Jackson

Height: 6 feet, 1 inch

A feared general and marksman, Jackson didn’t need his above-average height to be seen as an imposing figure.

#8. Bill Clinton

Height: 6 feet, 2 inches

Clinton ties with Bush Sr. for being the tallest living U.S. president.

#7. George H. W. Bush

Height: 6 feet, 2 inches

In terms of height, Bush Sr. falls between his two sons W. (6 feet) and Jeb (6 feet, 3 inches).

#6. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Height: 6 feet, 2 inches

Before succumbing to polio in 1921, FDR was active in sports, playing football in high school and rowing in college. He was also a full four inches taller than his older cousin Teddy Roosevelt.

#5. Chester A. Arthur

Height: 6 feet, 2 inches

Chester Arthur might be the most forgotten president in U.S. history, but he was also one of the tallest.

#4. George Washington

Height: 6 feet, 2 inches

Washington’s height is especially impressive given the time period. The first president was taller than all the other Founding Fathers, with one key exception.

#3. Thomas Jefferson

Height: 6 feet, 2.5 inches

Jefferson narrowly beats Washington in the height game. Historians estimate that he was roughly six inches taller than the average male of the day.

#2. Lyndon B. Johnson

Height: 6 feet, 3.5 inches

LBJ’s large stature was complimented by a similarly big personality. The Texas-born president was sometimes referred to as “Bull Johnson.”

#1. Abraham Lincoln

Height: 6 feet, 4 inches

Lincoln didn’t need his top hat to appear tall. He was a naturally imposing figure, standing a full foot taller than the shortest president James Madison.

Research U.S. Presidents on InsideGov

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Ranking the Tallest and Shortest U.S. Presidents

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