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Who Was the Tallest President?

tallest presidents
There have been a number of towering presidents in the White House.

According to official records, Abraham Lincoln holds the record for being the United States’ tallest president. Honest Abe carried a considerable 6’4 frame, meaning it will take a well-built soul to strip the title of the tallest US president in the future.

But what about the other 45 Presidents? How do they stack up? Here, we will discuss the five tallest and shortest leaders in the country’s history.

Who Were the Top 5 Tallest Presidents?

The five tallest presidents in United States history are a broad mix of Republicans and Democrats. But they also come to us from a range of periods, from the very first president, George Washington, up to President Donald Trump, one of the latest to hold the office.

So, who is in the top five when we look at presidents by height?

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. Lyndon B. Johnson
  3. Donald Trump
  4. Thomas Jefferson
  5. George Washington – 5-way tie

1. Abraham Lincoln

Portraits of honest Abe have always implied that the 16th president was of tall and slender stature. Now we know the iconic leader stood at an incredibly tall 193cm.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was determined to end slavery in the United States.

In addition to being the tallest president on record, Lincoln is also well-known for his iconic look, which featured dominating facial hair and a stovepipe hat. 

Away from his memorable appearance, though, the towering commander-in-chief also played a pivotal role in the abolition of slavery in the United States through his Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln’s history also paints him as a keen military strategist. He all but led the unionist forces to victory in the American Civil War before his assassination by John Wilkes-Booth in 1865.

Abraham Lincoln was the tallest US President

2. Lyndon B. Johnson

Number two on our list of tall presidents comes almost 100 years after Lincoln. Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democratic vice presidential candidate of 1960, stood 192cm tall (6’3 & 1/2). Johnson eventually took office after serving as Vice President under John F. Kennedy for two years.

Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in as President following JFK’s assassination.

Following Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson entered the White House and saw out his term to 1969. During that time, the 36th president brought in sweeping reforms across taxes, social security, and the environment before introducing the federal-run healthcare systems Medicare and Medicaid.

3. Donald Trump

Next in line is our 45th President Donald Trump. Trump stood at 191cm (6′ 3) when he took office in 2017. The former businessman moved into politics and became the 19th Republican president after beating Hilary Clinton to the top job in the 2016 election.

Donald J. Trump
President Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office at the White House.

However, Trump’s presidency was mired in controversy and ended in similarly contentious scenes as he refused to accept the outcome of the 2020 election.

4. Thomas Jefferson

For our fourth tallest president we have to go back to the early 1800s. Thomas Jefferson was one of the United States Founding Fathers, whose signature is on the Declaration of Independence.

Jefferson Memorial
Sage of Monticello,” Thomas Jefferson.

Standing 189cm tall (6′ 2), Jefferson was known as the “Sage of Monticello,” and as the 3rd President of the United States, he played a pivotal role in stabilizing the country financially.

Jefferson then went on to defeat vicious North African pirates in the Barbary War before doubling the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase.

5. George Washington

At 188cm (6′ 2), number five on our list is another founding father and the United States’ first-ever president, George Washington. There is a five-way tie for fifth place between Washington, Chester A. Arthur, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. But Washington came first in history.

President George Washington
1st President of the United States, George Washington.

Credited as the “Father of the Nation,” facts about Washington showed him to be a brilliant leader. From commanding troops at the Whisky Rebellion to signing revolutionary Copyright Laws, the first president was something of an all-round manager.

Who Were the Top 5 Shortest Presidents

Now we know which five Presidents top the list in terms of their stature. Who are the United States shortest leaders?

  1. James Madison
  2. Benjamin Harrison
  3. Martin Van Buren
  4. William McKinley
  5. John Adams

1. James Madison

At just 163cm (5′ 4), the country’s fourth leader is the shortest president on record and a whopping 30cm off Abraham Lincoln at the summit of the tall president’s list. 

Portrait of James Madison
Founding Father James Madison

Despite his diminutive frame, James Madison is credited as one of the most influential people in American history. Another Founding Father, he was nicknamed the “Father of the Constitution” due to his formative role in drawing drafting that seminal document.

Madison was celebrated for the role he completed when serving as Secretary of State under Jefferson before taking up office in 1809. However, many historians believe him to be a sub-par president.

After signing a Declaration of War against Great Britain as one of his first presidential acts in 1812, Madison bungled his leadership at the start of the conflict.

His concessions led to the war ending in a stalemate. Although, Native Americans were hit hardest by the bloodshed. Some now regard Madison as one of the most forgetful presidents.

The shortest presidents

After Madison comes a list of names whose presidential reputations are varied. 

John Adams and William McKinley are widely regarded as strong leaders. The former was America’s second president and was widely referred to as the “Father of the American Navy.” Meanwhile, William McKinley is an underrated leader. 

Portrait of John Adams
John Adams was the 1st vice president of the United States.

During his tenure from 1897 – 1901, McKinley won the Mexican-American War and led the nation out of recession.

On the other hand, Martin Van Buren and Benjamin Harrison are regarded as sub-par chiefs.

Standing five centimeters taller than Madison, Benjamin Harrison was committed to African American voting rights. However, his signing of the Mckinley Tariff in 1893 caused one of the worst downturns in American economic history. 

Elsewhere, financial management also meant Van Buren’s presidential record remained chequered. He was largely blamed for creating the economic troubles which dogged Harrison’s tenure.

Lincoln and Madison Stand Out

While Abraham Lincoln and James Madison hold the titles of tallest and shortest Presidents, the average height for United States Presidents is around 180cm. However, we’re sure that all will be remembered for their policy creation rather than their physical stature.

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