Have you ever wondered what presidents did once they retired from the White House? Do they join a pickleball league, perfect their golf or tennis swing, or do they stay involved in politics? While most presidents transitioned into a quiet and relatively normal retirement where they spent their free time writing memoirs, others remained active in the spotlight or in politics throughout their Golden Years. Check out what these presidents did in retirement below.
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams, the 6th president of the U.S., had one of the most politically charged careers in retirement. After his presidency, he ran for Congress in 1830 to represent his home state of Massachusetts and went on to serve the House of Representatives for 17 years. He was popular in Congress for having long and eloquent speeches as well as eliminating the “gag rule” while in Congress, which prohibited debate on slavery. He spent his congressional career involved in the Amistad case as well as trying to abolish slavery. John Quincy Adams is more famous for his political career in Congress than he is from his years in the Oval Office. On February 21, 1848, he suffered a stroke on the floor of the House of Representatives and died two days later.
After the 26th President of the United States retired from office, Theodore Roosevelt traveled across the continents of Africa and Europe. After his traveling adventures, Teddy Roosevelt made an attempt to run for president again after seeing President Taft’s policies. Although he lost the Republican nomination in 1912, this event propelled Roosevelt to create and introduce a new political party called “Bull Moose” Party. This progressive party allowed him to finish second in the national elections. After surviving an attempted assassination while campaigning in Milwaukee, Teddy Roosevelt became an active supporter of the Allied cause during World War I. Before his death in 1919, Roosevelt was able to foster positive relationships with the Republican party, which may have lead to a nomination for the 1920 election.
William Taft did not leave politics or get out of the public eye after his term in the White House was over. In 1921, President Harding appointed William Taft as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It has been known that Taft preferred the judicial branch to the executive and remained in this position until he retired from the court in 1930.
Jimmy Carter has been one of the most active former presidents in retirement. He established the Carter Center, a human rights organization, and also became involved with Habitat for Humanity. Carter has also served as a freelance ambassador for international groups and has advised presidents on international and human rights issues. In addition to his political activism, Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 and a list of published works include his memoirs, a book of poetry, and a collection of essays on politics and faith.
Bill Clinton was the 42nd President of the U.S. from 1993 to 2001. After serving his term in office, he founded the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, which focuses on supporting economic growth and job creation as well as reduce childhood obesity and increase opportunities for girls and women. Bill Clinton remains active in the public eye by publishing his memoirs, giving lectures, and making appearances at various political events. He has also made appearances alongside his wife, Hillary Clinton throughout her political career as a New York Senator as well as during her run for president. They reside in suburban Chappaqua, NY.
As the first African American president in history and the most recent to depart the White House, Barack Obama plans to stay in Washington after his term is over. Although he hasn’t confirmed what his post-presidency plans will be exactly, he has stated that he is interested in finding ways to help people and tackling issues that matter to him the most such as race relations, criminal justice reform, gun control, and nuclear non-proliferation.