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Dwight D. Eisenhower. Photograph by Louis Fabian Bachrach. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-117123 DLC).

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Eisenhower, Dwight David (14 October 1890–28 March 1969), U.S. Army general and thirty-fourth president of the United States, was born in Denison, Texas, the son of David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Elizabeth Stover, shopkeepers and laborers. When Eisenhower was a year old, the family moved to Abilene, Kansas. He was a bright, competitive, ambitious, and athletic boy, a bit above average as a student. In 1911 he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In 1915, after graduating in the middle of his class, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. There he met Marie Geneva “Mamie” Doud ( ...

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Ulysses S. Grant In uniform with the rank of major general. Photograph from the Brady National Photographic Art Gallery, c. 1862. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-6371 DLC).

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Ulysses S. Grant. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-13018 DLC).

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Grant, Ulysses S. (27 April 1822–23 July 1885), Union army general and president of the United States, was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, the son of Jesse Root Grant, a tanner and farmer, and Hannah Simpson. Baptized as Hiram Ulysses Grant, he was called Ulysses from infancy. When he was a year old, the family moved to Georgetown, Ohio, where Ulysses attended local schools and worked in his father’s tannery, a job he hated, and on the farm. Shy and reticent with people, Ulysses loved horses and developed extraordinary skills of gentle discipline and command over them. At the age of seven he was driving a team; soon he took over much of the hauling for the tannery and plowing on the farm....

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Jackson, Andrew (15 March 1767–08 June 1845), soldier and seventh president of the United States, was born in the Waxhaw Settlement, South Carolina, the son of Andrew Jackson and Elizabeth Hutchinson, farmers. Like many other Scotch-Irish at the time, Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson migrated to this country from the port of Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland in 1765, landing most probably in Philadelphia and then journeying southward to join relatives living in the Waxhaw Settlement along the northwestern boundary separating North and South Carolina. They settled with their two sons, Hugh and Robert, on a stretch of land on the south side of Twelve Mile Creek, a branch of the Catawba River, and for two years tried to scratch a living from this acid soil. Then, early in March 1767, Andrew died suddenly. Approximately two weeks later, on 15 March, Elizabeth gave birth to her third son and named him after her deceased husband. Later a dispute arose over the exact location of the birthplace of the future president—whether he was born in North or South Carolina—but Jackson himself always believed and repeatedly stated that he was born in South Carolina....

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Andrew Jackson. From an engraving by James Barton Longacre. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-117120).

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Taylor, Zachary (24 November 1784–09 July 1850), army hero and twelfth U.S. president, was born in Orange County, Virginia, the son of Richard Taylor, a revolutionary war officer and pioneer political leader, and Sarah Strother, a cousin of James Madison and Robert E. Lee...

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Zachary Taylor. Photograph by Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-13012 DLC).

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Washington, George (11 February 1732–14 December 1799), first president of the United States, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the son of Augustine Washington and Mary Ball. His father, a prosperous planter and entrepreneur, died when George was eleven, leaving most of his considerable estate to George’s half brother Lawrence. Despite his limited means and fewer than eight years of schooling, George was determined to improve himself and to earn a place in the highly cultivated plantation gentry. He was stimulated by the example of Lawrence, who had been educated in England, and by regular exposure to the aristocratic Fairfax family into which Lawrence married....