There’s a long standing theory that stressful jobs make people age faster. In no profession does this theory feel more like fact than for the President of the United States. On day one they look well-rested, youthful almost. By the end, whether it’s four years down the road or eight, they look worn. If anyone in this life deserves a long nap, it’s a former president. On this list, we’ll take a look at the most memorable presidential transformations from the leader of the country’s first day in office to his last.
Bill Clinton Aged Like A Fine Wine
Despite serving a scandal filled two terms in office, Bill Clinton emerged victorious in the looks department. His hair is whiter, and his face has a few extra lines, but overall he looked remarkably similar leaving the White House as he did moving in.
Physically he might look great, but mentally he took some scars, saying this, “being President is like being the groundskeeper in a cemetery: there are a lot of people under you, but none of them are listening.” They must have all just been too lost in his eyes to pay attention.
George W. Bush Is Older And Wiser
During his time in office, George W. Bush was criticized by liberal analysts for the way he worded some things. Quotes like, “It’s a time of sorrow and sadness when we lose a loss of life” didn’t do him any favors. Let’s not forget, however, how he helped heal the country after the September 11th attacks.
Literally following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, Bush’s transformation over eight years isn’t drastic. He looks older for sure, maybe a little worse for wear, but nothing too scary.
Jimmy Carter Barely Survived His Time In Office
Jimmy Carter once said, “I can’t deny I’m a better ex-president than I was a President.” For four years Carter lived in the White House, getting criticized for every decision he made. From the look of it, those four years didn’t do him any favors. Don’t worry, though, he still alive today at 94-years-old!
After he left he became one of the world’s great humanitarians and even won the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his decades of work with The Carter Center.
Gerald Ford Said Goodbye To The Last Of The Hair On His Head
Taking over the Presidency after Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, Gerald Ford left the Oval Office in 1977 with all the wear and tear you would expect for someone serving in the most important position in the nation.
If you ask him though, he didn’t work too hard, “tell the truth, work hard, and come to dinner on time.” Three simple rules to leading a perfect life both during and after the presidency. He had one more rule, too, actually, “whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio.”
Barack Obama’s Hair Paid The Price For His Two Stress Filled Terms
The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama spent eight years in office. As you can see, those eight years took a toll on his hair. You probably didn’t notice it while he was serving, but looking at the side by side, it’s a start contrast from black to gray.
Of course, serving as President at the start of the social media era couldn’t have been easy of Obama. For eight years he was attacked online by everyone. The power Twitter gave the average person to have their opinion heard was unprecedented at the time, even though it feels normal today.
Richard Nixon Lost A Lot Of Sleep In Office
The biggest difference Richard Nixon experienced during his first year as President and his last day in office are the bags under his eyes. You can really see what effect being the leader of the nation, while also getting caught up in the Watergate scandal, took on ole “Tricky Dick.”
Being President weighed heavy on Nixon, who said, “a man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.” As you’re well aware, Nixon quit, and knows the taste of defeat far too well.
Ronald Reagan Never Lost His Acting Charm
Ronald Reagan, as seen on the right, might have been more grizzled after leaving office, but he never lost his movie star charm. While instituting “Reaganomics,” the man stuck firmly to his beliefs amidst an ocean of doubt around him.
He also firmly believed it was not the job of the government to meddle in the lives of its people. He once said on the topic, “the most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” Moreover, he tried to prove that the government’s job was to protect first. We’ll let you decide if you think he’s right.
Lyndon Johnson Spoke About The Pressure
Lyndon Johnson was the President from 1963 until 1969. During that time he oversaw the nation go through massive changes. The civil rights movement was reaching an apex and national security was a top concern. We’re surprised he didn’t pull out his hair from the stress!
More than any other President, Johnson was open about how much pressure his job demanded, “I’m tired of feeling rejected by the American people. I’m tired of waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the war.”
Calvin Coolidge Really Needed A Nap During His Run
As soon as he entered office, Calvin Coolidge began fighting for civil rights. Well, not so much fighting for civil rights as much as saying he believed in equality, but never doing anything to advance the notion. Perhaps that’s why he looks so tired in the picture on the right. His heart was heavy.
Coolidge did push forward with the idea that, “the business of America is business,” and spent years working on taxation and government spending as well as better trade policies between the United States and its allies.
Dwight Eisenhower Aged Rapidly In Office
There’s no right way to put this; Dwight Eisenhower looks like he aged rapidly while in office for eight years. It’s not surprising to see when your remember he served during the Cold War and the Korean War. Eisenhower was also responsible for Alaska and Hawaii becoming states.
If anyone was prepared to handle all that responsibility, it was Dwight Eisenhower. We’ll never forget when he said, “what counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
Was Harry S. Truman Weighed Down By The Guilt Of Ending WWII?
Another President who served an incredibly stressful eight years in office was Harry S. Truman. One of Truman’s first acts was to drop two nuclear bombs on Japan. The horrific move ended WWII, but having the weight of hundreds of thousands of deaths on his hands couldn’t have been easy. Truman looked much worse for wear leaving office in 1953.
After ending the war, Truman defended his actions, “the atom bomb was no ‘great decision.’ It was merely another powerful weapon in the arsenal of righteousness.” Looking at him eight years later, we’re not sure he really believed that statement.
Theodore Roosevelt Never Shaved His Mustache While In Office
For two terms in office, it really looks like Theodore Roosevelt rarely, if ever, shaved his mustache. It makes sense that he would opt to keep his mustache. After all, the teddy bear is named after him. How’s that for a fun pub time trivia fact?
Of course, Teddy wasn’t as soft as everyone liked to think, famously saying, “speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” After his Presidency was over, Roosevelt went very far, taking a year-long safari trip in South Africa.
Franklin Roosevelt LOOKS Like He Spent 12 Years In Office
Of course we couldn’t talk about Theodore Roosevelt without also bringing up Franklin. For three terms, Franklin Roosevelt was President. He was the only person to serve more than eight years. A law was even passed after he left office to prevent another candidate from pulling the same trick!
With 12 years served, you know Roosevelt has some famous quotes. We think he has the most famous Presidential quote of all-time with these wise words, “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!”
The Office Took It’s Toll On Woodrow Wilson
From 1913 to 1921, Woodrow Wilson was the head of the country. Looking at the above pictures, it sure looks like he became a James Bond villain by the end of it. In fact, it looks like he went from head of MI6, to the made up organization worst enemy.
In reality, Wilson was a man of morals and ethics, “if a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” So, has a dog ever avoided you after you looked it in the face?
Herbert Hoover Never Changed
Before we get to Warren Harding, let’s talk about Herbert Hoover. Has any President changed so little during his time in office? Hoover served one term in office, which should have aged him about ten years according to our math. If only he let everyone know where the fountain of youth is!
If you asked Hoover how he stayed so youthful, he’d probably tell you it was from fishing. The man loved fishing, “fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.”
Warren Harding’s Health Rapidly Declined While In Office
Elected as the President in 1921, Warren Harding died while in office in 1923 after falling ill during a speech at the University of Washington. In the two pictures above, you can see how much Harding’s health affected him during his two years in office.
While in office, Harding was one of the most popular President’s of all-time. After his death, however, his reputation was smeared by the Teapot Dome scandal as well as his mistress coming forward. Today, he is regarded as one of the nation’s worst presidents.
William Howard Taft Found Happiness With Age
Is it just us, or does William Howard Taft look happier in the picture on the right than the one on the left? The picture on the right came at the end of his presidency, just before Warren Harding took over the office of the President. Taft hated being president, and was ecstatic to go back to his old life as a lawyer.
Taft hated his presidency so much he once said, “politics make me sick!” He also felt he could make the most positive change by practicing law and believed President’s had very little power, “the world is not going to be saved by legislation.”
William McKinley Somehow Never Looked Happy
Perhaps he was trying to look noble and dignified when pictures were taken of him. In reality, William McKinley looked angry. And while he clearly aged during his four years in office, we’re not sure he ever cracked a smile. Some things change, some always stay the same.
Reading some of his quotes, like this one, “the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation,” prove that he was the exact opposite of Theodore Roosevelt. He never hid his rough edges, but wore them proudly as a part of who he was.
Grover Cleveland Became An Old Man In Front Of America’s Eyes
Grover Cleveland served two terms as President of the United States. His first term began in 1885 and ended in 1889. His second term began in 1893 and ended in 1897. He is the only politician to ever serve two non-consecutive terms as President.
You can see in the picture on the right the effect 12 years and two separate terms in office took on the man. He’s older and has more lines on his face. His mustache is also longer, looking more like cobwebs than what he was no doubt going for.
Benjamin Harrison Is The Eldest Looking Of The Presidents
The greatest accomplishment Benjamin Harrison achieved while in office was to sign the Land Revision Act of 1891. The act helped form the country’s national park system, which is still a vital part of our infrastructure today. He also left office looking like everyone’s favorite grandpa!
Sadly, by the end of his first term in office, the United States had fallen into debt and was on the brink of recession. Looking for stability, the country rejected his run at a second term, instead re-electing Grover Cleveland to help lead the country out of crisis.