Throughout American history, nearly a dozen one-term presidents who ran for reelection have lost. Is four years enough time for new presidents to prove themselves to be commanders in chief worthy of being elected to a second term? Considering the complexity of the congressional legislative process, it can be hard for a president to enact real, visible changes or programs in only four years. As a result, it is easy for challengers in defeating incumbents.
Here are the US presidents who lost their reelection bid after one term in office.
George H.W. Bush
William Howard Taft
Martin Van Buren
John Quincy Adams
*Democrat Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, having served from 1885 to 1889, and 1893 to 1897. So, he doesn’t technically qualify as a one-term president. But, because Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive four-year terms, he holds an important place in U.S. history, having lost his initial bid for reelection in 1888 to Republican Benjamin Harrison.