Special Report

22 US Presidents With Irish Heritage

Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)
> Birthplace: Waxhaws region, South Carolina
> Party: Democrat
> Term: 1829-37 (7th president)

Andrew Jackson was born in the Waxhaws region of South Carolina, two years after his parents left the village of Boneybefore, in County Antrim in the northern part of Ireland. The seventh president was a hero during the War of 1812 and helped found the Democratic Party.

Source: iip-photo-archive / Flickr

2. James Polk (1795-1849)
> Birthplace: Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
> Party: Democrat
> Term: 1845-49 (11th president)

The 11th president traced his Irish lineage to his great-grandfather Robert Bruce Polk, who was born in Scotland and lived in Lifford in County Donegal, in the province of Ulster, before coming to Maryland in 1680, and then moving to North Carolina. The United States expanded west and southwest during Polk’s presidency, eventually adding Texas and California as states, and territories in the Southwest that would become the states of New Mexico and Arizona. The country also fixed its current border with Canada through negotiations with Great Britain.

Source: iip-photo-archive / Flickr

3. James Buchanan (1791-1868)
> Birthplace: Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
> Party: Democrat
> Term: 1857-61 (15th president)

James Buchanan, the last president to serve the United States before the Civil War, had grandparents who came from The Cairn, Ramelton, in County Donegal. Buchanan considered the issue of slavery a states’ rights issue. He also said that while states had no right to secede, the federal government did not have the right to intervene either.

Source: 37467370@N08 / Flickr

4. Andrew Johnson (1808-1875)
> Birthplace: Raleigh, North Carolina
> Party: Democrat
> Term: 1865-69 (17th president)

Andrew Johnson, who became president after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, traced his Irish roots to the village of Mounthill in County Antrim. His grandfather left Mounthill in 1750 and came to North Carolina. Johnson, a Democrat from Tennessee, ran afoul of the Republicans in Congress who opposed his leniency toward the former Confederate states after the Civil War. He was the first president impeached by the House of Representatives but was acquitted.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

5. Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)
> Birthplace: Point Pleasant, Ohio
> Party: Republican
> Term: 1869-77 (18th president)

Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant became the first American president to visit Ireland in 1879 as part of his world trip after he left office. Grant’s Irish heritage came from his mother’s side. His maternal great-grandfather, John Simpson, came from Dergenagh, in County Tyrone in Ulster. As the nation’s 18th president, Grant ended Reconstruction, however, his administration was also marred by financial scandal.

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