George Washington | John Quincy Adams | James Buchanan | Ulysses S. Grant | Theodore Roosevelt | William H. Taft | Dwight D. Eisenhower | Lyndon B. Johnson | Richard M. Nixon | Jimmy Carter

Sheet music for "African Hunter," by Edwin F. Kendall, honoring Teddy Roosevelt's game hunting exploits

There is no prescribed role for presidents after leaving office. Their activities often depend on their standing in the eyes of the American people, stature within their party, or desire to continue in the public realm.

The retiring president does not want his prestige used in a manner he feels is inappropriate, nor does the incumbent want to be upstaged by the previous officeholder. Each former chief executive must approach the challenge in his own way. There are no universal answers, only individual attempts to find a level of contentment after having held the most powerful job in the nation.

President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, with former presidents and first ladies, at the funeral of Richard M. Nixon, April 1994: (left to right) Bill and Hillary Clinton, George and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, Gerald and Betty Ford.

Courtesy of Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace

Next >