Special Report

22 US Presidents With Irish Heritage

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

11. William Howard Taft (1857-1930)
> Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio
> Party: Republican
> Term: 1909-13 (27th president)

William Howard Taft’s Irish roots went back to Richard Robert Taft, who died in County Louth in 1700. His son, Robert, emigrated to Massachusetts in the 18th century. William Howard Taft, the 27th president, came from a prominent Republican family in Ohio. Taft succeeded Theodore Roosevelt as president and supported more liberal immigration laws and opposed a literacy test for unskilled workers.

Source: Tony Essex / Getty Images

12. Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
> Birthplace: Staunton, Virginia
> Party: Democrat
> Term: 1913-21 (28th president)

Woodrow Wilson’s paternal grandparents emigrated to the United States from County Tyrone in the early 19th century. His grandfather, James Wilson, came from the town of Strabane. Wilson visited Ireland in 1899 while he was teaching at Princeton University. As president, Wilson helped forge the Treaty of Versailles that ended WWI and championed the League of Nations as arbiter of international disputes.

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

13. Harry Truman (1884-1972)
> Birthplace: Lamar, Missouri
> Party: Democrat
> Term: 1945-53 (33rd president)

Harry Truman assumed the presidency following the death of Franklin Roosevelt in 1945 and led America’s efforts to rebuild Europe after WWII and halt communism in South Korea. Truman’s Irish heritage came from his mother’s side. His maternal grandfather, Solomon Young, was of Scots-Irish extraction; he was from Kentucky and moved to Missouri in the 1840s.

Source: National Archives / Getty Images

14. John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)
> Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts
> Party: Democrat
> Term: 1961-63 (35th president)

John F. Kennedy is the first president on the list of Irish ancestry not from the north of Ireland and was the first Catholic president of the United States. All of JFK’s great-grandparents came from counties Limerick, Cavan, and Cork. Kennedy made a memorable trip to Ireland in 1963 — the first sitting president to do so — five months before he was assassinated.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

15. Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973)
> Birthplace: Stonewall, Texas
> Party: Democrat
> Term: 1963-69 (36th president)

Lyndon B. Johnson, who became the 36th president after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, had one Irish connection — his great-great-great-great-great grandfather John Jameson was born in Galway about 1680. Johnson, a very skilled political negotiator, helped shepherd through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but his presidency was overshadowed by the divisiveness of the Vietnam War.

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