“The Presidents (The Presidents in Rhyme)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1939 (Randolph)
Keywords: nonballad political derivative
Found in: US(So)


To the tune of "Yankee Doodle": "George Washington, first President, by Adams was succeeded, And Thomas Jefferson was next, For the people's cause he pleaded...." And so on, through as many presidents as the teacher can think up rhymes for


This song probably originated some time in the nineteenth century, and has been periodically extended. Randolph's version, for instance, extends into the second administration of Cleveland, but it has been extended at least as far as Franklin Roosevelt. - RBW

It's been further extended, by Oscar Brand (up through Eisenhower) and yours truly (through Bush [Senior]). No doubt the Clinton verse will be, er, interesting. - PJS

Given the political tendencies of most folk singers, I suspect Bush Junior will get some interesting verses of his own....

Another anonymous poem on this general theme, "Our Presidents" (which runs through Wilson) is found on p. 603 of Hazel Felleman's _The Best Loved Poems of the American People_. - RBW

Historical references

Cross references


  1. Randolph 877, "The Presidents" (1 text)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 390-391, "The Presidents" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 877)
  3. Roud #7542
  4. BI, R877