Refused to run for a third term in 1796, establishing two terms as an unofficial practice until the enactment of the 22nd Amendment in 1951 made the practice law.
Lost a rematch against Thomas Jefferson (and Aaron Burr) in 1800. (Jefferson was officially elected President over Burr by vote of the House of Representatives.)
Lost the 1796 election to John Adams (making him Vice President under the laws at that time), then won in 1800 and 1804. Retired after his second term.
Retired after his second term.
Retired after his second term.
John Quincy Adams
Adams lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson in 1824, but neither candidate received enough electoral votes to be elected and the House elected Adams. In the 1828 rematch, Jackson handily defeated Adams.
Jackson retired after two terms and threw his support behind his VP, Van Buren.
Martin Van Buren
Lost the 1840 election to Harrison, then lost the 1848 election as a third party candidate. Van Buren received 10% of the vote in 1848, possibly taking enough of Democrat Lewis Cass's support to swing the election for Taylor.
William Henry Harrison
Died of pneumonia 32 days into his Presidency, Harrison was the oldest President to take office until Reagan in 1981.
Served the remainder of Harrison's term and didn't run again.
James K. Polk
Polk, in declining health, didn't seek reelection, and died three months after leaving office.
Died in office in 1850 after becoming seriously ill with an unknown digestive ailment.
The Whig Party did not nominate Fillmore after he finished Taylor's term, instead choosing Gen. Winfield Scott, who later briefly led the Union Army during the Civil War.
Served one term and was not renominated by the Democratic Party.
Served one term and didn't run again in 1860 when the Democratic Party split into factions over slavery immediately before the Civil War.
Shot by John Wilkes Booth in 1865 in Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. while watching a production of Our American Cousin.
Johnson was impeached in 1868, nominally for attempting to remove Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War (he sided with Congress over Johnson on Reconstruction in the South), but was acquitted by the Senate and did not run for reelection.
Ulysses S. Grant
Was not renominated by Republicans in 1876 as scandals within his administration were brought to light.
Rutherford B. Hayes
In 1876, neither candidate (Hayes or Tilden) won enough votes in the electoral college to be elected, and Hayes was declared the winner on a party-line vote by a specially appointed Electoral Commission consisting of Congressmen and Supreme Court Justices. Hayes didn't run again in 1880.
In 1881, just four months into his term, Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau in a train station in Washington, D.C., remained bedridden, and died two and a half months later from his injuries.
Arthur finished Garfield's term and did not run for reelection in 1884.
Cleveland won the popular vote when seeking reelection in 1888, but lost in the electoral college when New York and Indiana closely went to Harrison after Cleveland won these states in 1884.
Reason for Leaving Office
Cleveland won the popular vote for the third straight election, this time defeating Harrison when third party candidate James Weaver won several western states.
Cleveland's Democratic Party nominated William Jennings Bryan in 1896, but Cleveland declined the opportunity to run as a third party candidate.
Shortly into his second term, McKinley was shot twice in Buffalo, NY by anarchist Leon Czolgosz and died a week later of gangrene from the wounds.
Later ran as a 3rd party candidate for the Bull Moose Party in 1912 against his former Secretary of War, Taft, and lost
William Howard Taft
Taft finished third in the 1912 election, behind Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt (running as a 3rd party candidate), but later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, nominated by President Harding in 1921.
Served two terms and did not run again in 1920, although a serious stroke suffered in 1919 almost certainly made him incapable of running or serving a third term.
Warren G. Harding
Died suddenly in 1923 in San Francisco while on a speaking tour in the West.
Coolidge served as President for more than 5 years after finishing Harding's term, and chose not to run in 1928.
Great Depression, 'Hoovervilles'
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR was elected four times and died in the first year of his fourth term, leading to the adoption of the 22nd Amendment limiting Presidents to two terms (or one full term and 24 months or more of the predecessor's term).
Harry S Truman
Exempted from the new 22nd Amendment's restrictions, he decided not to run in 1952 after losing the New Hampshire primary to Estes Kefauver.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Shot in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963.
Lyndon B. Johnson
While eligible to run for reelection in 1968, LBJ didn't run because of unpopularity stemming from the Vietnam War, announcing he would not seek reelection after a poor showing in the initial primaries.
As the House approached impeachment charges against Nixon stemming from Watergate, he resigned in 1974.
Ford is the only President never elected to either the Presidency or the Vice Presidency, having been appointed to replace Spiro Agnew as Nixon's second-term VP following Agnew's resignation after being charged with accepting bribes.
Between 'malaise,' a gas crisis, a recession and the Iranian hostage crisis, Carter was defeated in a landslide in 1980.
George H.W. Bush
'Read my lips'; third party candidate Ross Perot gets 19% of the vote in 1992.
Although impeached by the House of Representatives, Clinton was acquitted by the Senate and finished his second term.