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President Obama’s Final Campaign Rally

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Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW

Last night in Iowa President Barack Obama made his final speech as a candidate. Regardless of how the election turns (fingers crossed he will be reelected tonight) President Obama will, in all likelihood, never seek elected office after today.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZHKZPMkx0A[/youtube]

This got me thinking of former presidents post White House careers.  The presidency is term limited to two four year terms, but there is nothing preventing a former president from running for another elected office, yet so few have gone down this road.  Most will leave public office and head out on to the lecture circuit while also carrying out humanitarian work.  They may from time to time be called upon by the sitting president to act as an unofficial ambassador, delivering messages to foreign heads of state or performing ceremonial duties such as attending state funerals. In the entire history of of the United States ten former presidents have ran for public office with only two of  them winning their respective races.

John Quincy Adams, was elected to the  House a year after leaving the presidency. He remained there until his death. Literally.  He suffered a stroke in 1848 while on the house floor and died two days later in the Speakers Room of the Capital Building. (Michael Beschloss & Huge Sidny (2009). Biography of John Quincy Adams. [ONLINE] Available at: whitehouse.gov/about/president/johnquincyadams. [Last Accessed 11/6/2012].)

Then there was John Tyler who, after the south ceded from the union, helped establish the Confederate government.  He was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives where he served until his death.  This also made him the only US president to hold an elected position for a foreign government. (Unknown (2012). List of Former United States Presidents Who Ran for Office After Leaving the Presidency. [ONLINE] Available at: e.g. . [Last Accessed 11/6/2012].)

William Howard Taft did not run in another election but he was appointed to the US Supreme Court where he served as Chief Justice. According to Beschloss & Sidny he relished this position so much that he later claimed he scarcely recalled being president.

Resources

Michael Beschloss & Huge Sidny (2009). Biography of John Quincy Adams. [ONLINE] Available at: whitehouse.gov/about/president/johnquincyadams. [Last Accessed 11/6/2012].

Unknown (2012). List of Former United States Presidents Who Ran for Office After Leaving the Presidency. [ONLINE] Available at: e.g. . [Last Accessed 11/6/2012].

Rachel L. West is the Founder of the Political Social Worker, a blog dedicated to macro social work and politics. She holds a BA in History from SUNY Stony Brook and an MSW from Adelphi University. She is a community outreach and engagement specialist. Rachel resides in New York State, and she is available as a consultant and coach. You can find out more about Rachel at The Political Social Worker at (politicalsocialworker.org).

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