The Most Intelligent US Presidents Ranked By IQ Score
The time when you had to have the highest IQ to be successful is long gone. Traditional methods of measuring IQ have only proved that the system is outdated and that it doesn’t work the best in real life. To be successful beyond books and traditional knowledge, you have to be practical, solution-oriented, know global trends, manage your life and finances well, and know your strengths and weaknesses.
Many successful people of today proved that you don’t need a certain IQ to be a real-life success story. You don’t even need over-the-roof IQ to be a Commander in Chief. Yes, that’s right; you can have an average IQ level and still get to run the country. Let’s see how Presidents of the States did on their IQ testing. Read on to see if President IQ affected any major decision on the global scene.
25. Ulysses S. Grant
IQ Score: 120
Ulysses Grant is known as a triumphant general in the Civil War, and later on as a president. He had a significant influence on building the United States brand globally and had a peace policy with Native Americans, which was very unusual for the time.
When he was a boy, Grant had the nickname ‘Useless,’ and he seemed uninterested in school. However, he was interested in West Point, where he graduated and served in the Army. Rumors of corruption dogged his presidency, and he couldn’t do anything to stop a horrible depression that ended in bankruptcy.
24. Warren G. Harding
IQ Score: 124.3
Before Harding decided to step into politics, he was the manager of a moneymaking newspaper. It was clear from day one that he was destined for success – he made many popular moves.
Harding is responsible for reducing tax at lower incomes and pushing more government spending. It took him only one year to turn the country’s economy after the post-world War I depression. After his death, it was discovered that hand-chosen cabinet members were highly corrupted. This is the main reason why historians rank his presidency as one of the worst.
23. George W. Bush
IQ score: 124.88
Just like many from his family, Bush was sent to a boarding school. He had a really bumpy experience with educational institutions. However, he did manage to show everyone how a straight-C student can be successful.
This modern POTUS drew strong criticism over the Iraq War, his administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, and other major controversies. There are still unflattering memes, endless jokes, and terrible press about his decision. Kudos to him for trying to bear it all with humor. We don’t know how well he managed to deal with it.
22. Andrew Johnson
IQ score: 125.65
Andrew johnson was the 17th president, who got to this position after President Lincoln was assassinated. The most shocking thing about Johnson was that his politics was utterly opposite to Lincolns. Johnson was born in a low-income family. They were so poor that Johnson never received a formal education. However, his wife Eliza was the daughter of successful shoemakers, well-educated, so she taught his mathematics and refined his writing skills.
Soon after, he started climbing the political ladder and eventually become the commander in chief. As the president, he allowed southern states to form their own civil governments, which led to freed slaves losing many civil liberties. He was also against guaranteeing rights for African-Americans. All in, he is still considered to be one of the worst presidents ever.
21. Zachary Taylor
IQ score: 125.65
According to his peers, Zachary Taylor was observant and a quick study. In history, Zachary is mostly known for leading a militia against Native Americans. He studied them by exploring how they fight, their strengths and weaknesses, so he can defeat them faster.
He also commanded troops in five winning battles in the Mexican-American War. His military success is what pushed him through his political career. However, he was in office only 16 months before he died of a sudden illness. In that short time, Taylor has his best to keep slavery out of the developing states of California, Utah, and New Mexico.
20. Andrew Jackson
IQ score: 126.25
Jackson lives in the early 1800s, a period that was very rough in American history. Even today, his story serves as a teachable moment on how bad decisions can hunt us long after we’re gone. Jacksons was a slave-oner who had a large plantation and was keen on the military. He even commanded troops in many conflicts that later on served him when he entered politics.
He was the seventh president, mostly remembered for his support for slavery and his strong opposition to the abolitionist movement. On the other hand, he promoted democratic principles and paid off completely the national debt – this is something that no president has ever achieved.
19. William Howard Taft
IQ score: 126.9
Taft and excellent work ethic go hand in hand. During his school days, he wasn’t considered brilliant, or at least that’s not how his teachers saw him. However, his parents pushed him to make his path of success. Eventually, he was at the top of his class in law school, finishing second out of 121 students.
He had a prosperous career within the law area, working as a lawyer, a local judge, the solicitor general of the U.S., a federal judge, and the U.S. Secretary of War. Taft served only one term as the nation’s 27th president. Later on, he was given a role as America’s chief justice, which gave him even greater honor than being a President.
18. Gerald Ford
IQ score: 127.08
Did you know that Gerald Ford was a fantastic college football player? Once he completed his bachelor’s degree, Ford had to make a serious decision. He was either to go to law school or choose one of many lucrative NFL contracts from talent scouts. However, he decided to go to law school while working as an assistant football coach. Ford was a safe choice in politics: he stepped in when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned, and he stepped up to the presidency when Richard Nixon also quit.
Ford inherited high inflation, enormous unemployment percent, and the Vietnam War. He also survived two assassination attempts. Regardless of all challenges, he is remembered as an honest and straight-speaking president who supported equal rights and education for special needs children. He was also a proud owner of dog Liberty.
17. Calvin Coolidge
IQ score: 127.1
Coolidge served as America’s 30th president. During his political career, Calvin was known as a man of few words. He even wrote once, “The words of a president have an enormous weight and ought not to be used indiscriminately.” His nickname was ‘Silent Cal,’ although his actions spoke loud and clear.
Silent Cal made massive tax changes that helped people go through the Roaring ’20s, and people welcomed his support of racial equality. His presidency isn’t ranked highly among historians, but he did prove that leaders come in different forms.
16. Harry Truman
IQ score: 127.55
Harry Truman was President No. 33, and he never obtained a college degree – so he one of many who took a nontraditional path of education and career up to presidency level. Since he was blind in one eye, he lied on a vision test to get into the military.
Luckily for him, he was more than a good soldier. He ran as Franklin Roosevelt’s VP in 1945 and served in that role for only 82 days until Roosevelt died. Truman took over the office, thanks to the superb leadership skills, and he managed to over his lack of political and foreign relations experience. Did you know that Truman was a founder of the united nations? Or that he made civil rights a priority of his administration? It seems that formal education isn’t for everyone and that learning by doing pays off.
15. Lyndon B. Johnson
IQ score: 127.83
Legend has it that Johnson was only 12 years old when he first said that he would be president one day. Johnson witnessed firsthand how inflation affected farmer’sfarmers’ livelihood, so he decided that he won’t struggle to live his parent didi. He dreamed big and pushed aggressively to reach his goals.
His dream to become President came under tragic circumstances – he was sworn in as the 36-th president when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Johnson was criticized for his handling of the Vietnam war. At the same time, historians praised his presidency for passing major laws that improved civil rights, protected the environment, launched Medicare and Medicaid, and removed some immigration barriers.
14. Herbert Hoover
IQ score: 129.78
Hoover studied geology at the school and showed enormous interest in business management. During his study days, Hoover launched a successful gig doing laundry for other students. He even managed the baseball and football teams. That all was during his time at Stanford.
After college, he spent some time working as a mining engineer in Australia. From there, he tested investing and even had some lectures at universities. Hispresidnetal time is marked by the Great Depression, making him one of the most unpopular presidents, although he was a successful businessman. After leaving office, he developed strong relationships with Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.
13. Ronald Reagan
IQ score: 130
Before he moved with his wife to the White House, Reagan was known to the world as a popular actor. He was also president of the Screen Actors Guild and then continues to work as a motivational speaker for General Motors. He served as governor of California for two terms and ran several times for the presidency before winning office.
His politics was controversial, but he claimed that his parents tough him to have faith, be impartial, and give priority to doing good for others – something that he tried to deliver through his presidency. Still, he left the office with a 68% approval rating, the highest for a departing president in modern times.
12. George H.W. Bush
IQ score: 130.13
First President Bush had a very long and rich in politics before becoming the 41st president. He was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, served in Congress, and was chairman of the Republican National Committee. Bush Sr. was known for continually working on business relationships. He was kind of a networking master.
As president, George is remembered for overseeing military operations that ended in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union’s dissolution. He was also respected by his bodyguards, and upon his death, the Secret Service tweeted, “You will be missed by all of us.” George’s secret code name was Timberwolf.
11. James K. Polk
IQ score: 130.2
James K. Polk served as the 11th president, and during his presidency, he was widely praised for his intense work ethic. On the other hand, he was judged for neglecting his health and social for political success. Polk’s hard work made him one of the most effective presidents of his time. He is one of the rare presidents who managed to achieve every significant policy promise he made.
On top of that, he extended the country’s borders to the Pacific, enabling America to become a world power. He dies three months after leaving the White House. Up to this date, Polk serves as an example of how vital a good work-life balance is.
10. Richard Nixon
IQ score: 131
Unlike many of the former presidents, Nixon was an exceptional student, earning even stellar grades. He was also very active in extracurricular activities. Did you know that after his studies, Nixon applied for work at the FBI? He was rejected.
Richard joined a small law firm and worked his way up to partner. He also received two commendations for his military service in world war ii. Did you know that he had to run twice before he was selected as a president? Massive foreign policy accomplishments shaped his presidency — but all of that was overshadowed by scandal. Nixon is the only president to resign from office in disgrace.
9. Dwight Eisenhower
IQ score: 131.9
Dwight Eisenhower attended West Point, where he had a gigantic interest in athletics and a questionable disciplinary record. Still, Eisenhower graduated in 1915, after which he joined the Army and impressed his generals. Following the WWII attack on Pearl Harbor, Eisenhower was called to Washington, where he was responsible for drafting war plants to take down Germany and Japan.
After that, he served as the first Supreme Commander of NATO. Eisenhower will always be remembered as a controversial president. However, historians describe him as an underachieving student but a highly-achieving president.
8. Benjamin Harrison
IQ score: 132.15
Harrison was a lawyer by trade who ran a successful practice and was a prominent church leader and politician in Indiana before being elected as the 23rd president. As president, Harrison created the national forest reserves, added six western states to the Union, and built up the Navy.
Benjamin wasn’t successful in winning educational funding and the enforcement of voting rights for African-Americans. Eventually, he ended his presidency with low approval. The reason? During his term, there was a significant increase in federal spending.
7. George Washington
IQ score: 132.5
Washington is probably one of the most respected presidents, even today. He had only an elementary school-level education, but he is a constant reminder that a person can make a significant history move without a long or good education. His family’s poverty and the untimely death of his father forced him out of school, so he was forced to use his math knowledge and put it into practice. Therefore, at the age of 17, he becomes a colonial surveyor.
He spent six years working in the colonial military during the French and Indian War. Witnessing this and after achieving some military success, Washington decided to step in and start creating a strong national government.
6. Franklin Roosevelt
IQ score: 139.6
Did you know that Franklin Roosevelt was the only President to serve three full terms? Up to date, he is one of the most influential U.S. presidents in modern times. Franklin took office in the middle of the Great Depression as 32nd president and launched several programs under the New Deal to provide economic relief to Americans. He is responsible for the Social Security program we still have today.
Roosevelt declared war on Japan after the Pearl Harbor attack, oversaw the development of the atomic bomb, and helped lay the groundwork for postwar Europe. Roosevelt also worked on a framework for the United Nations. Roosevelt was also known as a huge dog lover, and his dog -Fala, followed his every step and even traveled with him all the time. Today, you can see Fala next to her owner as a statue in the National Mall in Washington, DC.
5. Abraham Lincoln
IQ score: 140
America’s legendary 16th president came from humble beginnings and used his brain, experience, and vision of better times to make history. He did try running a business first, but soon after, he decided to try politics.
He was a great speaker and a respected captain during the Black Hawk War, but he lost out on getting elected to the Illinois General Assembly. So, he served as a postmaster and a country surveyor when he decided to master the law, and he eventually became a successful practicing attorney. Lincoln was a passionate opponent of slavery and firmly believed that slavery violates the founding fathers’ principles that all men are created equal. As president, he signed the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery in America.
4. Theodore Roosevelt
IQ score: 142.28
Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest man ever to hold the job. When President William McKinley was assassinated, Roosevelt had to assume the higher office. At the time, he was only 42-year-old. To everyone’s surprise, he showed that age has nothing to do with organizational and leadership skills.
Theodore showed that he is more than capable and organized for the job. He helped Americans to have clean food and medicine, expanded the Nacy, began constructing the Panama Canal, and established many national parks. For his work, visions, and commitment, Teodore received many honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906.
3. Jimmy Carter
IQ score: 145.1
Jimmy Carter is from Georgia. He was born and raised in a wealthy family, where he inherited a failing peanut-growing business that forced him and his family to move into public housing. Carter can be best described as resourceful. Together with his wife, Rosalynn, he studied up agriculture and accounting. Eventually, they manage to rebuild the business.
After being elected the governor of Georgia in 1971, Carter decided to go national. He became the 39th president in a tough time when the Cold War was raging when the economy was slow, and an ongoing conflict in the Middle East was present. He was voted out of office after a single term, but his post-presidency has been filled with humanitarian work and writing. He wrote numerous books since leaving the White House.
2. John F. Kennedy
IQ score: 150.65
Some presidents will live forever in people’s hearts and minds, and JFK is one of them. From a very young age, he showed interest in both history and politics. He had a particular interest in political philosophy at Harvard, then served with distinction in the Naval Reserve in World War II. During his abbreviated presidency (1961-1963), he faced some intense political situations.
JFK managed to steer the States through the Cold War, struggles with Cuba and the Middle East, and the rising civil rights and women’s equality movements. He pushed the country forward by signing the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
1. John Quincy Adams
IQ score: 168.75
While studying law at Harvard University, Adams fell in love with a local woman, but his parents advised him to establish his career before marrying her. He listened to their advice and became one of the most successful and respected presidents ever.
He’s remembered for his diplomatic skills: he settled the Treaty of Ghent and ended the War of 1812, negotiated with Britain over the location of the U.S. border with Canada; and purchased Florida from Spain.