Only two states can claim the title "the Mother of U.S. Presidents", Ohio and Virginia. Fifteen presidents have hailed from either Ohio or Virginia, though one of those men, William Henry Harrison is attributed to both states. The other seven men from Ohio who have piloted the United States from the White House are Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding. The presidents associated with Ohio and Virginia led the United States during two critical eras. During the nation's formative periods (1780-1850), more than half of the presidents were from Virginia; in the six decades following the end of the Civil War, seven of the nation's twelve leaders were Ohioans. During their presidencies, the country was transformed from a rural, agrarian, diplomatically isolationist society into a wealthy and powerful commercial and industrial nation. Ohio's dominance in politics from the Civil War through World War I was particularly evident in the 1920 presidential election, in which the two candidates were Republican Warren G. Harding and Democrat James Cox both Ohio natives. Drawing on recent scholarship, the essays place each president squarely in the context of his time.
Dr. Philip Weeks is Professor Emeritus of History at Kent State University, where, as a Distinguished Teaching Award recipient, he taught American Indian studies, United States, Ohio, and modern world history for many years. He and his wife Jeanette reside in Green, Ohio.