The United States of America has had 45 presidents from 1732 to 2020, a span of 288 years. In its existence as a conglomeration of red and blue states, it has gained its independence from Britain, fought a gruesome civil war, and it ultimately did away with slavery. These 45 statesmen have been the most instrumental in shaping America into the leader of the free world that it is today. And they have done this with first and foremost, sheer wit.
So how witty were they? Here a list of US Presidents’ IQs ranked from highest to lowest. To be fair, we will explore 5 of the smartest and 5 of the dumbest.
1. John Quincy Adams (IQ. 168.5)
John Quincy Adams is undeniable the smartest president in the history of US presidents with an estimated IQ score of 168.5. He was a trained lawyer with a legal practice in Boston. On top of his impressive skills, is that he could speak 6 languages fluently! He must have gathered a liking for foreign languages and culture in his long-running career as a diplomat. He was an ambassador to Netherlands, Portugal, and Prussia before he was elected to the Senate to represent Massachusetts in 1802. He was later appointed Secretary of state from 1817 to 1825 by President James Monroe.
He was a republican, the 6th president of the United States serving from 1825 to 1829 and guess what? The eldest son of the 2nd president of the United States, John Adams. Modeled after him his father must have been the figurehead that inspired him into political service.
2. Thomas Jefferson (IQ, 160)
As if to prove how smart he was, Jefferson wore many intellectual hats, he studied surveying, mathematics, horticulture, and mechanics and he was later a diplomat, a lawyer, an architect, and a philosopher. He had an estimated IQ of 160. He was the 3rd president of the United States serving from 1801 to 1809. A Republican, a firm believer in democracy and individual rights.
He is known as one of the most influential founding fathers of America since he was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. The 4th of July document, which launched a quest for freedom and equality, and hence birthed a new independent self-governing nation. Whenever you think of Thomas Jefferson, these are the words that should come to mind, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, which among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
3. John F. Kennedy (IQ, 160)
Kennedy famously known by his initials JFK has an estimated IQ of 160 backed up with a long impressive profile. He graduated from Havard University as a government and International Relations student, joined the navy serving as a commanding officer in the Pacific during World War II, then began his political career as a senate representative of the state of Massachusetts. He was a Democrat who served as the 35th president of the United States from 1961 to 1963.
Kennedy’s smarts came into play in managing relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba at the height of the cold war. His diplomacy was able to avert a full-blown nuclear war when his administration discovered a Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba in October of 1962.
Sadly, what he is best known for is his assassination in November 1963 while traveling through Dallas Texas on an open-top convertible. He was fell by a sniper’s bullet from a 6th-floor window about 81 meters away.
4. Bill Clinton (IQ, 159)
Clinton served as president from 1992 to 2001 with a Democratic Party ticket at age of only 46. He was by then third-youngest president in US history.
With an estimated IQ of 159, his intelligence helped America advance into economic prosperity during a long peacetime period. He enacted the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that allowed the US, Mexico and Canada to trade freely to date. He initiated several financial deregulation measures that led to a budget surplus by the time he was leaving office.
He used his wits for peace through active participation in the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the Northern Ireland peace process and Iraqi Liberation in opposition to Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein.
He was however impeached (later acquitted by the senate) for allegedly concealing an affair with a 22-year old Whitehouse intern. Despite this. He left office with the highest approval rating since World War II.
5. Jimmy Carter (IQ, 156.8)
He was the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981 with an estimated IQ of 156.8. Prior to that, he was in the United States Navy, a career ripe for him after he had graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree.
During his presidency, he had the insight to establish the Department of Energy and the Department of Education; two new cabinet departments. He also enacted a national energy policy that pursued new technology to conserve energy and mitigate energy prices.
Carter just as JFK served during the cold war era when there was a lot of confusion in the world stage and endless confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union. He was faced with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Iran hostage crisis. He signed many treaties to calm many conflicts but instead, the cold war escalated leading to his election loss to Ronald Regan in 1980.