Commander in Chief | Chief Executive | Chief Diplomat | Ceremonial Head of State | Manager of the Economy | Party Leader | National Leader
Military Heroes

Summer uniform worn by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Beginning with George Washington, Americans have often chosen military leaders as presidents. These soldiers are viewed as national heroes whose leadership skills have been tested under the pressure of combat and who are prepared to preserve national security. Adding to their appeal, as soldiers they seem to be above partisan self-interest.

Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower probably would have been elected regardless of their party affiliations. But mastering the political process is key to a successful presidency, where persuasion is more effective than commands, even for a hero.



Andrew Jackson carried this sword during the southern campaign of the War of 1812. His national fame as the hero of the Battle of New Orleans helped launch his political career. He was the second battlefield leader, after George Washington, to become president, and his success confirmed the electoral appeal of military heroes.

Andrew Jackson as the "Hero of New Orleans"

Courtesy of Winterthur Museum

Next >


                 Home | Press | Site Map | Help | Credits
National Museum of American History