Who Was the Youngest President of the United States?

Theodore Roosevelt, Twenty-Sixth President of the United States
Theodore Roosevelt, Twenty-Sixth President of the United States. Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-13026 DLC

While many mistakenly say that John F. Kennedy was the youngest president of the United States, this is in error. He was the youngest president ever elected to the presidency at the age of 43. However, Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest man to serve as president when he took over after William McKinley's assassination. He was 42. 

The founders of the Constitution decided that the age requirement to become a member of the House of Representatives should be 25, to become a Senator should be 30, and to become the president to be 35.

One reason why this was the case was to make sure that individuals had the time to gain real world experience before leading the nation. In addition, there were no term limits set on the presidency until the passage of the 22nd amendment in 1947. Older presidents would not be able to stay in office quite as long, avoiding the appearance of a monarchical president. Finally, there was a belief that by the age of 35 individuals would have created a reputation for themselves on the national stage so that voters and electors would know ore about who they were electing as president. 

Some question whether this age limit could be considered age discrimination. However, this issue is moot in that individuals who are even 40 years of age are often cited as being too young when they run for president. When President Obama ran for the presidency in 2008, he was 46 years old. Articles such as one written by one of John McCain's justice advisory committee members, Steven Calabresi, argued that he was still too young to serve as president.

This despite the fact that he was 11 years old than he minimum required by the Constitution. However, in a poll taken during 2008, 13% of those polled stated that they thought he was too young to be president. The point of this is that in the United States, there is a perception that age is important in terms of gaining experience and reputation when being considered for the presidency.

 

Here are the ages of the ten youngest presidents to have served in the United States since its founding:

Now check out who was the oldest president of the United States?

Learn more about the US Presidents: