A Civil War Result

A Civil War Result: Yankee Presidents

If you aren’t sure if the Yankees won the Civil War, all you have to do is dig around some genealogical data. Here is what I found on the Presidents who were elected or came to the office on the death of a President from 1869 until 1929, a stretch of some 60 years. Except for Wilson (1913-21) all were Northerners and even he had been President of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey before becoming President. I’ll even toss in one name of a person who could have been President* almost any time he had wished.

  State  Yankee or Yankee ancestry
Gen. Grant (1869-77)  OH Yes MA 1630
Gen. Sherman (*) OH Yes CT
Hayes (1877-81)   OH Yes born VT
Garfield (1881) OH Yes MA/NH
Arthur (1881-85)    NY Yes born VT
Cleveland (1885-89,1893-97) NY Yes CT/NJ
Harrison (1889-93)  IN No
McKinley (1893-1901) OH Poss. Grew up in Western Reserve**
T. Roosevelt (1901-09) NY No
Taft (1909-13)   OH Yes MA
Wilson (1913-21) NJ No
Harding (1921-23) OH Yes CT/’Pennamite’ PA***
Coolidge (1923-29) MA-VT Yes born VT

So, there we are. Nine out of 12 Presidents over the period after the Civil War ended could be said to have Yankee roots. This was a period of great growth in the United States in both economy and population. It is pretty easy to draw the connection between whose values controlled Washington and what cultural values the millions of immigrants took from the ‘melting pot’.


** The Western Reserve in northwest Ohio was given to CT by Congress as property to sell in compensation for Revolutionary War destruction by the British. Mostly settled from CT.

*** The territory along the Susquehanna River and the Wyoming Valley was contested by CT and PA, resulting in a ‘war’ in the 1770s. PA was eventually given the territory, but the land claims by individual CT residents were legitimized.

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