The Virginia Dynasty

I had always known that Virginia had been of great importance in the early American republic, but while reading Madison and Jefferson it struck me that I had underestimated its dominance: Out of the first thirty-six years of the American presidency, Virginians occupied the office for thirty-two years.

How did this union hold together with one state so dominant? Can you imagine if today some state, say, Texas, similarly dominated the political scene? New England and the Pacific Northwest surely would have seceded by year thirty or so!


  1. Well, Obama is related to both Bush and Cheney, and we've had two Bush's, plus many of the past candidates have been inter-related, as well. Clinton is related to the Kennedy's. Let's also not forget how many presidents are related to past presidents from longer ago. Nobody makes much a fuss about all of this.

  2. Shoot, the Bush's alone are related to over twenty past presidents. If you include both Bush's and their relatives, that means one family has ruled for 24 of 44 presidencies!

  3. Excellent point. Note also that each succeeding Virginian president served as Secretary of State in the prior Virginian's administration (they could not serve as their Vice President, as the Constitution precludes both offices being held by citizens of the same state).

    Finally, though, America had had enough of dynasties and elected a non-Virginian... who was the son of the prior non-Virginian president.

  4. the Bush's alone are related to over twenty past presidents.

    Given that all human beings share a common ancestor, this is not so surprising. You, also, are related to over twenty past presidents.

    1. Well, we could of course take this to an extreme and say that we are all related. But then, we could also say that Virginia is just a part of the Earth or the United States of America, and thus it is no big deal that a lot of Earthlings or Americans have been the president at some time.

      Of course, I am talking of close relation (i.e. relationships that fall within dyadic kinship terms).

  5. I am talking of close relation

    In that case, it's not true that the Bushes are closely related to over twenty presidents. For example, you say that Obama and Bush are related. In fact they are eleventh cousins. Eleventh cousins are not closely related.


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