These 14 American Presidents Didn't Serve Full Terms. Will Trump Be the 15th?

Ever since President-elect Donald Trump was elected on November 8th, many people have been wondering if-and-when he will be impeached. In fact, so many people are betting on The Donald getting turfed, the British gambling company Ladbrokes has had to cut the odds from 3-1 to 9-4 as wagers have piled up over the last couple weeks.

If Trump does resign or get impeached, he'll join a long line of presidents who didn't serve full terms in office. Here they are in chronological order.

1. William Henry Harrison

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Term: Mar. 4, 1841 - Apr. 4, 1841

The former War of 1812 general died of pneumonia on his 32nd day in office, making him the first president to die in office and the shortest-serving commander-in-chief.

2. John Tyler

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Term: Apr. 4, 1841 - Mar. 4, 1845

Harrison's death made his successor - John Tyler - the shortest serving vice president in U.S. history and the first VP to succeed a commander-in-chief. Tyler served the rest of Harrison's term and did not run for re-election in 1844.

3. Zachary Taylor

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Term: Mar. 4, 1849 - July 9, 1850

The Mexican-American War general served just under a year-and-a-half as president before dying of a mysterious stomach ailment. One theory is that he overdid it on Independence Day by bingeing on milk and cherries, which caused a toxic chemical reaction. As Ron Burgundy would say...


4. Millard Fillmore

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Term: Jul. 9, 1850 - Mar. 4, 1853

Vice President (and Alec Baldwin doppelgänger) Millard Fillmore served out the rest of Taylor's term in office. And he considered running for a full term of his own, but his party had other idea. The Whigs dumped their incumbent leader in favor of General Winfield Scott, a Mexican-American War hero nicknamed "Old Fuss and Feathers" because he was a stickler for propriety and formality.

Winfield lost the election to Franklin Pierce by a landslide of 254 electoral votes to 42. Guess the American people didn't see what all the fuss was about.

5. Abraham Lincoln

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Term: Mar. 4, 1861 - Apr. 15, 1865

The first Republican president was just six weeks into his second term when he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., where a performance of the farce Our American Cousin ended in national tragedy in April 1865.

6. Andrew Johnson

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Term: Apr. 15, 1865 - Mar. 4, 1869

Vice President Andrew Johnson barely finished Honest Abe's term in office. In 1867,  he became the first impeached by the House of Representatives, but the Senate acquitted him by the narrowest of narrow margins. He was spared the disgrace of being forced from office by a single Senate vote.

Afterward, he lost his party's presidential nomination to New York Governor Horatio Seymour.

7. James Garfield

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Term: Mar. 4, 1881 - Sept. 19, 1881

Less than a year into his term, President Garfield was mortally wounded by Charles J. Guiteau, an embittered lawyer who vented his frustrations over being overlooked for a consular post by shooting Garfield on Jul. 2, 1881.  The president clung to life for more than two months before succumbing to infection and internal hemorrhaging on Sept. 19 of the same year.

8. Chester A. Arthur

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Term: Sept. 19, 1881 - Mar. 4, 1885

Vice President Chester A. Arthur succeeded Garfield with serious doubts about whether he would be able to finish his predecessor's term. Less than a year into his administration, Arthur was diagnosed with fatal kidney disease. But he managed to fulfill the obligations of his post before leaving public office in 1885 and dying a year later.

9. William McKinley

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Term: Mar. 4, 1897 - Sept. 14, 1901

The Civil War veteran was less than six months into his second presidential term when anarchist Leon Frank Czolgosz shot him at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York on Sept. 6, 1901. He died of his wounds just over a week later. Ironically, the first x-ray machine was on display at the expo but doctors didn't use it to find the bullet lodged in the president. 

10. Warren G. Harding

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Term: Mar. 21, 1921 - Aug. 2, 1923

Ironically, the sudden heart attack that claimed Harding's life midway through his presidential term might have been a blessing in disguise. President Harding's untimely death spared him from having to endure the political scandals that would forever tarnish his legacy after his administration's corruption was exposed.

11. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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Term: Mar. 4, 1933 - Apr. 12, 1945

The longest serving president in America history was just a few months into his fourth term when he died of a stroke. It's hard to believe that he still had unfinished business after over a dozen years in the White House, but had Roosevelt lived a month longer, he would have seen his World War II strategy come to fruition with the defeat of Nazi Germany. 

12. John F. Kennedy

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Term: Jan. 20, 1961 - Nov. 22, 1963

Sadly, the youngest man ever elected to the Oval Office also became the youngest assassinated president when he was shot during a visit to Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963.

13. Richard Nixon

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Term: Jan. 20, 1969 - Aug. 9, 1974

Tricky Dick cut his second term in the White House short on Aug. 9, 1974 when he became the first American president to resign from his post. And he was the first and only to resign on live television. 

"We saw the president of America cry and then quit being the president. That shit was crazy," comedian Louis C.K. later recalled in a standup set. "Our president wept like an insane person and then got in a helicopter and flew away."


14. Gerald Ford

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Term: Aug. 9, 1974 - Jan. 20, 1977

The truncated presidency of Gerald Ford remains an American anomaly. Ford is the only commander-in-chief who was never elected to the office of president or vice president. As House Speaker, Ford stepped up when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned from office in 1973 over charges of political corruption and tax evasion.

Then Ford became president following Nixon's resignation. He tried to win a term in his own right during the 1976 election but lost to Jimmy Carter, whose path to the White House was helped by hostility toward Ford for pardoning Nixon and Chevy Chase's portrayal of Ford as a bumbling idiot on Saturday Night Live.

But Ford got the last laugh.

Banner image: Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on July 16, 2016 in New York. (JStone /


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