ABSTRACT

Since the inauguration of George Washington in 1789, the United States of America has seen the governance of some 44 individual presidents. Although such presidents share a variety of attributes, they still differ from one another on many others. Significantly, these traits may be used to construct distinct sets of “families” of presidents throughout American history. By comparatively analyzing data from experts on the U.S. presidency – in this case, the C-SPAN Presidential Historians Surveys from 2000, 2009, and 2017 – this article identifies a consistent set of six presidential families: the All Stars; the Conservative Visionaries; the Postwar Progressives; the Average Joes; the Forgettables; and the Regrettables. In situating these categories in history, this article argues that U.S. presidents can be accurately organized into cohesive, like-performing families whose constituents share a common set of criteria.

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