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17 American Political Dynasties

By Edited May 31, 2016 0 0

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Several families have included a number of members who would become successful politicians. Here are a few who have reached some of the highest levels and some of their offices.

The Adamses

John Adams was one of America's Founding Fathers, as was his second cousin, Samuel Adams. Samuel was a legislator in Massachusetts prior to the country's independence and was a Delegate to the Continental Congress before serving as Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Massachusetts. John was also a Delegate to the Continental Congress. He then became a distinguished diplomat and eventually the 1st Vice President and 2nd President of the United States.

John's eldest son, John Quincy Adams, followed in his father's footsteps. He held a number of diplomatic posts, eventually U.S. Secretary of State, and later became President. Additionally, he was a member of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. Another of John's sons, Thomas Boylston Adams, was a legislator in Massachusetts.

John Quincy's children included George Washington Adams, a Massachusetts legislator and Boston City Councilman and Charles Francis Adams, a Massachusetts legislator, diplomat and U.S. Representative.

Later generations include John Quincy Adams II (son of Charles Francis), a Massachusetts legislator and frequent political candidate and Charles Francis Adams III (son of John Quincy III and great-grandson of U.S. Secretary of the Navy and U.S. Representative Benjamin Williams Crowninshield), Mayor of Quincy, Massachusetts and U.S. Secretary of the Navy. The family's other connections include ones to Presidents Millard Fillmore and Calvin Coolidge and Vice President Dick Cheney.[1]

The Barbours

James Barbour was a legislator and Governor of Virginia. He later served in the U.S. Senate, eventually becoming the Senate's President Pro Tempore, and was U.S. Secretary of War and U.S. Minister to the United Kingdom. His brother, Philip Pendleton Barbour, was a U.S. Representative who would serve as Speaker of the House and later a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Their father, Thomas, had been a Virginia legislator prior to U.S. independence.

Other family members include John S. Barbour (nephew of Thomas), a Virginia legislator and U.S. Representative, John S. Barbour Jr. (son of John S. Barbour), who was also a Virginia legislator and U.S. Representative prior to serving in the U.S. Senate, John Strode Barbour (grandson of John S. Barbour), Mayor of Culpepper, Virginia and U.S. Representative John Franklin Rixey (grandsonson-in-law of John S. Barbour).

The Bayards

James A. Bayard was a nephew of Continental Congressman, New Brunswick, New Jersey Mayor and Pennsylvania politician John Bayard and a more distant descendant of Nicholas Bayard, Mayor of New York City prior to America's founding, and William Bayard, a Delegate to the Stamp Act Congress. James became a son-in-law of Richard Bassett, a U.S. Senator, Delaware Governor and judge. He himself became a member of the Senate and of the U.S. House of Representatives from Delaware. His son Richard H. Bayard became a U.S. Senator and Chief Justice of the Delaware Superior Court. Another son, James A. Bayard Jr., was a U.S. Attorney and U.S. Senator.

Thomas F. Bayard, son of James Jr., served in the Senate, ultimately becoming President Pro Tempore, before becoming U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. His son, Thomas F. Bayard, Jr., was a Senator and his grandson, Alexis I. du Pont Bayard, was Lieutenant Governor of Delaware. Others connected to the family include Andrew Kirkpatrick, eventual Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.[2]

The Breckinridges

Robert Breckenridge (the original spelling) was a Kentucky legislator. His half-brother, John, was also a Kentucky legislator, along with Attorney General of Kentucky, Virginia legislator, U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General. Another half-brother, James, was a Virginia legislator and U.S. Representative. John and James began spelling the name as 'Breckinridge'.

Joseph 'Cabell' Breckinridge, son of John, was a legislator and Secretary of State of Kentucky. Another of John's sons, Robert Jefferson, was a legislator and the commonwealth's Superintendent of Public Instruction. Cabell's son, John C. Breckinridge, was Kentucky legislator and U.S. Representative before becoming U.S. Vice President. Afterwards, he was a U.S. Senator and was later Confederate Secretary of War. His son, Clifton R. Breckinridge, was a U.S. Representative from Arkansas and U.S. Minister to Russia. Robert Jefferson's son, William Campbell Preston Breckinridge, was a U.S. Representative.

Others of the family include James D. Breckinridge (nephew of Robert, John and James), a Kentucky legislator and U.S. Representative and his stepbrother, John Floyd, a Virginia legislator and Governor and U.S. Representative; John B. Breckinridge (grandson of Robert Jefferson), a Kentucky legislator and Attorney General and U.S. Representative and L. Irving Handy (nephew of William Campbell Preston), a U.S. Representative from Delaware.

The Bushes

Prescott Bush was a member of the U.S. Senate from Connecticut. His second son, George, would become a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, a diplomat, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Vice President and President of the United States. George's eldest son, George Walker, was Governor of Texas before also becoming President.

Another of George Herbert Walker's sons, John Ellis Bush ('Jeb'), would serve as Secretary of Commerce and Governor of Florida. Jeb's eldest son, George P. Bush, would be Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office. The family's other connections include ones to U.S. President Franklin Pierce.[3]

The Gerrys

Prior to the American Revolution, Elbridge Gerry was a member of the General Court of the Province of Massachusetts Bay and of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and a Delegate to the Continental Congress. He was also a Continental Congressman after independence. Later, he was a U.S. Representative and Governor of Massachusetts before becoming Vice President. While in office, Gerry passed away in 1814. His son-in-law, James T. Austin, was Attorney General of Massachusetts.[4]

Gerry's grandson, also named Elbridge, was a U.S. Representative from Maine. His great-grandson, Peter G. Gerry, was a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Rhode Island. Others connected to the family include W. Averell Harriman, a diplomat, Governor of New York and U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

The Harrisons

Benjamin Harrison III and Benjamin Harrison IV had been politicians in pre-revolutionary Virginia. Later, Benjamin Harrison V was also a Virginia politician and Continental Congressman prior to American independence. Afterwards, he was again a member of the Continental Congress and Governor of Virginia. One of his sons, Carter Bassett Harrison, was a Virginia legislator and U.S. Representative. His youngest son, William Henry Harrison, served as Secretary and U.S. Congressional Delegate from the Northwest Territory and Governor of the Indiana Territory. Later, he was a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Ohio before becoming U.S. Minister to Gran Colombia and eventually President of the United States before dying in office.[5]

John Scott Harrison, William Henry's son, was a U.S. Representative from Ohio. His son, Benjamin, was a U.S. Senator from Indiana before serving as U.S. President. Benjamin's son, Russell Benjamin, was an Indiana legislator and his grandson, William H. Harrison, was an Indiana and Wyoming legislator prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Other successful Harrisons include Carter Harrison, Sr. (great-nephew of Benjamin Harrison V), a U.S. Representative from Illinois and Mayor of Chicago and his son, Carter, Jr., who was also Mayor of Chicago.

Additional families connections include ones to Edmund Jennings Randolph, a Continental Congressman, Virginia Attorney General, Governor and legislator and U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of State and Burwell Bassett, a Virginia legislator and U.S. Representative.

The Kennedys

Patrick Joseph Kennedy ('P. J.') was a Massachusetts legislator. His eldest child, Joseph P. Kennedy, would go on to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Joseph's second son, John F. Kennedy, was a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator before becoming President of the United States. Another of his sons, Robert F. Kennedy, was Attorney General of the United States before being a U.S. Senator from New York. Joseph's youngest son, Edward Moore Kennedy ('Ted'), was also a U.S. Senator. All three held office until their deaths. In addition, Joseph's youngest daughter, Jean Kennedy Smith, was U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and one of his sons-in-law, Sargent Shriver, was U.S. Ambassador to France prior to being an unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1972.

Later generations have crossed party lines. Younger family members include Caroline Kennedy (daughter of John), U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Robert Sargent Shriver III ('Bobby', son of Sargent), Mayor and City Councilman of Santa Monica, California; Maryland legislator Mark Shriver (son of Sargent), California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (son-in-law of Sargent), Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (daughter of Robert F.), U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II (son of Robert F.), Connecticut legislator Edward M. Kennedy, Jr. (son of Edward), Rhode Island legislator and U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy (son of Edward) and U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III (son of Joseph II).

The Lees

Brothers Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee were Continental Congressmen prior to the country's founding and Virginia legislators afterwards. Richard also became a U.S. Senator and became President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Another brother, Arthur, was a post-independence Continental Congressman and Virginia legislator. Their father, Thomas, had been Governor of the Virginia Colony. Charles Lee, nephew of Thomas, became U.S. Attorney General. 

Other family members include Maryland legislator and Governor Blair Lee (great-grandson of Richard Henry), Maryland Comptroller, Secretary of State and legislator E. Brooke Lee (son of Blair) and Maryland legislator, Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor and Governor Blair Lee III (son of E. Brooke). Other connections include ones to U.S. President Zachary Taylor.

The Livermores

Samuel Livermore was a New Hampshire legislator and Attorney General prior to becoming Chief Justice of the state's Superior Court. He also served in the Continental Congress and the U.S. House of Representatives and became a member of the U.S. Senate, eventually becoming its President Pro Tempore.[6] His son, Arthur, was a New Hampshire legislator, Associate and Chief Justice of the Superior Court and a U.S. Representative. Another son, Edward St. Loe Livermore, was a U.S. District Attorney, Associate Justice of the Superior Court and a U.S. Representative.

The Lodges

Henry Cabot Lodge was a Massachusetts legislator before joining the U.S. House of Representatives and later the U.S. Senate. He would become the Senate's President Pro Tempore and late its Majority Leader. His grandson, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., was a U.S. Senator, diplomat and the Republican candidate for U.S. Vice President in 1960. Another grandson, John Davis Lodge, was a U.S. Representative, Governor of Connecticut and diplomat.

Other familial connections include ones to Massachusetts legislator, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator Elijah H. Mills and U.S. Representative, Massachusetts Governor and U.S. Senator John Davis.

The Muhlenbergs

Peter Muhlenberg was Vice-President of Pennsylvania prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. His brother, Frederick Muhlenberg, was a Continental Congressman and Pennsylvania legislator before also serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the 1st Speaker of the House. Their brother-in-law, Matthias Richards, was also a U.S. Representative.

Other members include Ohio legislator and U.S. Representative Francis Swaine Muhlenberg (son of Peter), U.S. Representative and U.S. Minister to Austria Henry A. P. Muhlenberg (nephew of Peter, Frederick and Matthias), Pennsylvania Governor John Andrew Shulze (nephew of Peter, Frederick and Matthias) and U.S. Representative Henry Augustus Muhlenberg (son of Henry A. P.).

The Rockefellers

Nelson Rockefeller was Governor of New York and Vice President of the United States. His brother, Winthrop Rockefeller, was Governor of Arkansas. Winthrop's son, Winthrop Paul, was Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas, serving until his death. Additionally, Nelson and Winthrop's nephew, John Davison Rockefeller IV ('Jay'), was a West Virginia legislator, Secretary of State, Governor and U.S. Senator.

Other connections to the family include those to Rhode Island legislator, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich and his son, Rhode Island legislator and U.S. Representative Richard S. Aldrich.

The Roosevelts

The first Roosevelts to hold elected office in America did it before the creation of the United States. Nicholas Roosevelt was a New York City alderman, as were his sons, Johannes and James Roosevelt. James was also a state legislator.

Theodore Roosevelt was a four-times great-grandson of Nicholas. He was a New York legislator and Governor before serving as U.S. Vice President and President. In 1912, he was an unsuccessful nominee from the Progressive Party for President before re-joining the Republican Party. His son, Theodore Roosevelt III, was a New York legislator before serving as Governor of Puerto Rico and Governor General of the Philippines. Nicholas Longworth, son-in-law of the elder Theodore, was U.S. Representative from Ohio until his death, serving for a time as Speaker of the House.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, also a four-times great-grandson of Nicholas, was a New York legislator before being the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1920. Later, he was Governor of New York before he became President of the United States. His eldest son, James, was a U.S. Representative from California. Additional sons were, Elliott, Mayor of Miami Beach, Florida and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr., U.S. Representative from New York.

Other family members include New York legislator Clinton Roosevelt (grandson of Johannes), U.S. Representative James I. Roosevelt (great-grandson of Johannes), U.S. Representative and diplomat Robert Roosevelt (great-grandson of Johannes), Connecticut legislator and Farmington, Connecticut Mayor William Sheffield Cowles, Jr. (nephew of Theodore) and Connecticut legislator Corinne Alsop (niece of Theodore). The family also has connections to several other U.S. Presidents.[7]

The Southards

Henry Southard was a New Jersey legislator and U.S. Representative. His son, Isaac, was a U.S. Representative and later State Treasurer of New Jersey. Another son, Samuel L. Southard was a New Jersey legislature and Justice of the state's Supreme Court. After serving for a first time in the U.S. Senate, he became Governor of New York and U.S. Secretary of the Navy. Later, he re-joined the Senate, eventually serving as its President Pro Tempore until his death.

The Stevensons

Adlai Stevenson has been a U.S. Representative from Illinois and later U.S. Vice President. His son, Lewis, was Secretary of State of Illinois. Adlai Stevenson II, son of Lewis, was Governor of Illinois before he was the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 1952 and 1956. Later, he was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations until his death. Adlai Stevenson III, son of Adlai, was an Illinois legislator and Treasurer before joining the U.S. Senate.

The Tafts

Peter Rawson Taft was a Vermont legislator. His son, Alphonso Taft, was U.S. Secretary of War, U.S. Attorney General and a diplomat. Charles Phelps Taft, son of Alphonso, was a U.S. Representative from Ohio. William Howard Taft, another son of Alphonso, was Governor-General of the Philippines, U.S. Secretary of War and Provision Governor of Cuba prior to serving as President of the United States and later Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Robert A. Taft, son of William Howard, was an Ohio legislator before serving in the U.S. Senate, eventually serving as its Majority Leader until his death. His other son, was a Mayor and City Councilman of Cincinnati, Ohio.

William Howard Taft III, son of Robert, was U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. Robert Taft, Jr., also a son of Robert, was an Ohio legislator, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator. Robert Alphonso Taft III ('Bob'), son of Robert, Jr., was an Ohio legislator, Secretary of State and Governor.

Others connected to the family include Kingsley A. Taft, an Ohio legislator, U.S. Senator, Associate Justice and Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court; Royal C. Taft, Rhode Island legislator and Governor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson.

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Bibliography

  1. "The 10 Most Powerful Political Family Dynasties In American History." SoCawlege. 11/05/2016 <Web >
  2. "Bayard family." Wikipedia. 11/05/2016 <Web >
  3. "George H.W. Bush Genealogy." Archives. 11/05/2016 <Web >
  4. "James T. Austin." Wikipedia. 12/05/2016 <Web >
  5. "Harrison Family Legacy." Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. 12/05/2016 <Web >
  6. "Samuel Livermore." Wikipedia. 13/05/2016 <Web >
  7. Barbara Maranzani "10 Things You May Not Know About the Roosevelts." History.com. 20/12/2012. 13/05/2016 <Web >

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