Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Which Presidents were also Generals?

The July 14th issue of Newsweek has a quiz on page 6 titled "Take Your Brain for a Spin." Question 1 asks, "How many presidents achieved the rank of general or higher?" Much to my surprise, the quiz answer was 3! It listed Washington, Grant, and Ike.

Well, that is wrong! I think the answer is 7. Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison were both a general in the War of 1812. Zachary Taylor was a general in the Mexican War. And James Garfield was a general in the American Civil War.

I am not quite sure how Newsweek got their answer. I think Newsweek is plain wrong.


It looks like the answer is actually 12.

1. George Washington, Revolutionary War
2. Andrew Jackson, War of 1812
3. William Henry Harrison, War of 1812
4. Zachary Taylor, Mexican War
5. Franklin Pierce, Mexican War
6. Andrew Johnson, Civil War
7. Ulysses Simpson Grant, Civil War
8. Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Civil War
9. James Abram Garfield, Civil War
10. Chester Allan Arthur, Civil War
11. Benjamin Harrison, Civil War
12. Dwight David Eisenhower, World War II


Jennie W said...

That is terrible! Andy Jackson definitely can't be forgotten!

schiller1979 said...

I went on Newsweek's website. There are a flurry of comments on this issue.

Technically, a "General" is a four-star general. The lesser ranks are Brigadier General, Major General and Lieutenant General. So, while there seems to be widespread agreement that the question wasn't clearly asked, they apparently did not intend to exclude anyone's favorite presidents.

Purpleslog said...

Wasn't Grant a Lt. General? Did the US even have a 4-star General then?

Anonymous said...

Yes but which president/general had the most front line experience? This website argues Hayes was the soldier-president with the most frontline experience, and one of the toughest.