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Original photos of the politicians and political events throughout the past few centuries. Read more >>

Democracies, republics, monarchies, communism, fascism, dictatorships . . . there are, and have been, all forms of governments in the world - and all sorts of men and women who have been a part of those governments. "Politics" is defined as "the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power." Wherever there are governments, then, there are politics. And whether it was a primitive village or clan or a modern country, there are people who have been involved in the political process. Those not in power always have an opposition, comprised of those who want that power.

This has lead to a lot of interesting personalities in world history. Some "good" and some "bad" (depending on your point of view), all fascinating because of their principles and ideas - or lack thereof.

Some interesting - and often fun - facts about politics and politicians:

  • The word “politics” - the title of a book by Aristotle, translated around 1460 - was the first known time that the word appeared in English.
  • Aristotle - in the same book "Politics" - suggested that those in government “have their friends for a great number of eyes, ears, hands and legs,” because one man cannot "see and hear everything or be everywhere".
  • Bolivia may have the highest rate of political turnover of any country - around 200 governments since 1825.
  • Plato wrote that "one of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”.
  • The world "politician" originally meant “a schemer or plotter; a shrewd, sagacious or crafty person”. Many people believe that this is still the meaning!
  • P.J. O'Rourke wrote that “since problems are the only excuse for government, solving them is out of the question." Cynical?
  • Theodore Roosevelt read at least one book a day.
  • The world’s largest democracy, with around 700 million registered voters, is India.
  • Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) was the first woman to run for office of US President - in 1872 at age 34. Not that she could have won - she was too young (the Constitution says that you have to be 35), women couldn't vote, and she was in jail at the time - on obscenity charges for publishing a story about the alleged adulterous affair between minister Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Tilton.
  • The youngest active government type is communism, introduced in 1848 by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.
  • U.S. President William Henry Harrison served the shortest term of office as president. He served for 32 days, from 4 March to 4 April 1841, dying of pneumonia.

These are the pictures of those who participated in many forms of government and politics over the last several centuries. << Read less
Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, served from 1969 to 1974. Mr. Nixon was the only president to resign from the White House.
People in this photo:
A photo of Nelson Mandela, taken in 1958. He was born July 18, 1918 in Mvezo in Cape Province, now a part of South Africa. Given the name Rolihlahla ("troublemaker"), some would say that he lived up to the name in the best way. Actively working against apartheid in his native South Africa, he was jailed in 1962 and remained in jail (under very poor conditions) until February, 1990. From 1994 through 1999, Mandela was President of South Africa and presided over the move from apartheid to a multi-cultural democracy in South Africa. While retiring in "active" politics in 1999, he continued to be active for causes internationally. Certainly, the "troublemaker" hasn't caused trouble for the poor and downtrodden.
People in this photo:
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Jul 18, 1918 - Dec 5, 2013
Shaking hands: A photo of Newsman Thomas L. Dycus Jr. - aka Charlie Brown - shaking hands with then actor Ronald Reagan.
People in this photo:
Thomas L Dycus, Jr
Sep 19, 1930 - Jun 19, 1998
Richmond, VA
Shared on Mar 31, 2013 by:
Thomas L Dycus Jr aka Charlie Brown interview Robert Kennedy.
People in this photo:
Thomas L Dycus, Jr
Sep 19, 1930 - Jun 19, 1998
Richmond, VA
Shared on Mar 25, 2013 by:
16th President of The United States of America
People in this photo:
Abraham Lincoln and His Son Tad Lincoln.
People in this photo:
The first televised United States presidential debate was held in Chicago on September 26th, 1960 between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon. There were a total of four televised debates between these two candidates however the first debate gathered the most attention with upwards of 70 million viewers. Most Americans believed that Kennedy had won the first presidential debate. Nixon did not prepare well for the televised event. He had campaigned until a few hours before the debate, refused makeup, and was still recovering from a hospital stay, resulting in his appearing ill. In contrast, Kennedy was well rested, prepared and appeared confident and healthy. While the Kennedy / Nixon presidential debate was the first televised debate, there were previous political debates, most notably the 1858 Senate debates between Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen A. Douglas.
People in this photo:
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy
May 29, 1917 - Nov 22, 1963
A photo of President William Howard Taft - his trip to Hutchinson, KS (from the Hutchinson Newspaper) in which he placed a time capsule in the cornerstone of memorial hall.
People in this photo:
William Howard Taft
Sep 15, 1857 - Mar 8, 1930
Washington, DC, United States
Michael Collins was born on October 16th 1890, and died August 22nd 1922. Michael "Mick" Collins was an Irish revolutionary leader who played various leadership roles in Irish government including Minister for Finance, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, Commander-in-chief for the National Army and President of the Irish Republic. Michael Collins was killed on 22 August 1922 during an ambush while he was still engaged to Kitty Kiernan.
People in this photo:
Michael Collins
Born: Oct 16, 1890
Shared on Mar 17, 2012 by:
Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd President of the United States, serving in the presidential office from March 4th, 1801 - March 4th, 1909. Thomas Jefferson was preceded by John Adams and was succeeded by James Madison. Thomas Jefferson was a founding father of the United States of America, and was a main author of the United States Declaration of Independence. This portrait of Thomas Jefferson was done by Rembrandt in 1800.
People in this photo:
Thomas Jefferson
Born: Apr 13, 1743
A photo of Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin in Yalta for the conference in which they discussed splitting up Germany after its defeat in World War Two. Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Franklin D Roosevelt was the President of the United States, and Joseph Staliin was the Premier of the Soviet Union. The Yalta Conference was held February 4–11, 1945. "The Big Three" discussed how to reorganize Europe after the end of World War Two. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
People in this photo:
Image of Governor Simon Bradstreet, born March 18th 1603, and died March 27th 1697, was a powerful businessman and magistrate, in addition to being the last governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
People in this photo:
Governor Simon Bradstreet, Jr.
around Mar 18, 1602 - Mar 27, 1697
A photo of a socialist group at the White House, 1920
A photo of Benjamin Rosenthal
People in this photo:
Benjamin S. Rosenthal
Jun 8, 1923 - Jan 4, 1983
A photo of Ross Perot in 1949 when he was President of his class at Texarkana Junior College. Henry Ray Perot was born to Lula May and Gabriel Ross Perot (a commodity broker) in Texarkana TX in 1930. (He later changed his middle name to Ross to honor his father.) He went to Patty Hill (a private school), Texas High School, and Texarkana Junior College (where this picture was taken). An Eagle Scout, he then graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. In 1956, he married his wife, Margot. (They had 5 children.) After 5 years as a salesman for IBM, Perot founded his own company - Electronic Data Systems, EDS - in Dallas. A large contract was the computerizing of Medicare records for the government. In 1984, he sold controlling interest of the company to General Motors for $2.4 billion. In 1988, he founded Perot Systems Corporation, Inc. and later sold it to Dell for $3.9 billion. Perot is best known for his 3rd party Presidential runs in 1992 and 1996. While not winning any electoral votes in his 1992 run, he received almost 20 million votes - the largest share of votes by any 3rd party candidate (a record which still stands). His policies: "balancing the federal budget, [in] opposition to gun control, ending the outsourcing of jobs and enacting electronic direct democracy via electronic town halls". He was also "pro-choice, supported gay rights, stricter gun controls such as an assault rifle ban and increased research in AIDS" as well as a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood. In 2019, Perot was named the 167th richest person in America by Forbes and was worth an estimated $4.1 billion. He died on July 9th, 2019 of leukemia and is survived by his wife, 5 children, and 16 grandchildren.
People in this photo:
Ross Perot
Jun 27, 1930 - Jul 9, 2019
A photo of Bella Abzug
People in this photo:
Bella Abzug
Jul 24, 1920 - Mar 31, 1998
New York, NY
A photo of John Sidney McCain III - son and grandson of 4 star admirals in the U.S. Navy. He attended the United States Naval Academy (graduating, as he joked, 5th from the bottom in his class in 1958 - he was a bit of a rebel) and after graduation became a naval aviator. In 1967, he requested combat duty and was assigned to an aircraft carrier in the Gulf in Tonkin. On October 26, 1967 his plane was shot down and he became a prisoner of war. After 5 and a half years as a prisoner of war and being severely tortured, John was released. The physical effects of his torture lasted the rest of his life. In the early 1980s, he entered politics in the state of Arizona, eventually becoming a U.S. Senator. While he was nominated for President by the Republican Party in 2008, he lost the race to Democrat Barack Obama. He remained the senior Senator from Arizona until his death from brain cancer in 2018.
People in this photo:
John Sidney McCain III
Aug 29, 1936 - Aug 25, 2018
A photo of James G Jr Bosang
People in this photo:
James G Jr Bosang
Born: around 1920
Virginia, United States
A photo of caricatures of Mayors of Birzai, Lithuania. These are in the Museum Sela, Krisius is standing 3rd from the left.
People in this photo:
A photo of Krisius Wagner and his staff while mayor - Krisius is 3rd from the left
People in this photo:
A photo of Krisius Wagner, who was mayor of Birzai Lithuania in 1932, with his staff
People in this photo:
Krisius E. Vagneris Wagner was mayor/burogmeister of Birzai Lithuania in 1932.
People in this photo:
A photo of Ciil War hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, taken when he was Governor of Maine (January 2, 1867 – January 4, 1871)
People in this photo:
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Sep 8, 1828 - Feb 24, 1914
A photo of Robert Kennedy, just after he was shot. He had just won the Democratic primary for President in California.
People in this photo:
Robert Francis Kennedy
Nov 20, 1925 - 1968
A photo of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, taken after their nomination for President and Vice-President at the Republican convention in 1968.
People in this photo:
A photo taken just after the shooting of Martin Luther King, Jr. The men on the balcony are pointing to where the shot originated - which was not the location of the accused shooter.
A photo of President Lyndon Johnson, announcing on tv that he would not be running for re-election. His decision was based on the trajectory of the Vietnam War.
People in this photo:
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Aug 27, 1908 - Jan 22, 1973
A photo of Kathleen Ann Horizon with retired senator Leon Panetta.
People in this photo:
Kathleen Ann Horizon
Sep 13, 1959 - Jan 22, 2004
sacramento, ca, us
A photo of Colonel Serge Obolensky at El Morocco with Jackie Kennedy. Serge Obolensky was a Prince and was very popular.
People in this photo:
Serge Obolensky
Oct 3, 1890 - September 1978
New York, NY
A photo of Jack Kennedy with Jackie (Bouvier) Kennedy when he was a Senator.
People in this photo:
Jacqueline "Jackie" Lee (Bouvier) Kennedy
Jul 28, 1929 - May 19, 1994
A photo of James Smith Bush, great-grandfather of George H. W. Bush. He was an Episcopal priest, religious writer, and attorney.
People in this photo:
James Smith Bush
1825 - 1889
A photo of Thomas Stewart "Tom" Udall, U.S. Senator from New Mexico and a member of the Udall political dynasty.
People in this photo:
A photo of David King Udall, representative to the Arizona Territorial Legislature and an early member of the Mormon church.
People in this photo:
David King Udall
Sep 7, 1851 - Feb 18, 1938
A portrait of John Adams, Second President of the United States, and his wife Abagail Adams.
People in this photo:
John Adams
Oct 30, 1735 - Jul 4, 1826
A photo of Gerry Kerr
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A photo Max Scruggs and Al Gore
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A photo of Greg Lannes, Sr. - Justice of the Peace, Democratic Primary, December 5, 1959
People in this photo:
A photo of Senator Thomas H Baker (1817- 1883)
People in this photo:
Thomas H Baker
Aug 13, 1817 - Mar 1, 1883
A photo of a newspaper article about Louis Brescia and friends (River Heights Democratic Club)
People in this photo:
Louis Brescia
Aug 5, 1916 - April 1977
Cleveland, Ohio
A photo of Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, and Elizabeth Sperline
People in this photo:
Elizabeth Sperline
Dec 16, 1934 - Mar 14, 2006
A photo of Gen. Joseph "Fightin' Joe" Wheeler - Civil War Confederate Lieutenant General, United States Army General, US Congressman. A statue of him represents the state of Alabama in Statuary Hall of the United States Congress. A professional soldier, he attended the United States Military Academy after being appointed from New York, graduating with the Class of 1859. He was the 1843rd graduate of USMA, with a class rank of 19 out of 22. Wheeler was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of the Mounted Rifles (forerunner of the Cavalry), and assigned to New Mexico territory, to enforce peace with the Indians. On February 27, 1861, with the Civil War about to start, he resigned his United States Army commission, and requested a commission with the Confederate States Army. He was appointed Lieutenant of Artillery on April 3, 1861. Subsequently, he was appointed Colonel and commander the 19th Alabama Infantry Regiment, and was commended for his actions at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. In addition to Shiloh, he fought in the Kentucky Campaign, at Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, and Knoxville, and was appointed Cavalry General of the Confederate Armies on May 11, 1864, where he opposed General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea until the war's end. In October 1862, he was promoted to Brigadier General, PACS, and promoted again to Major General, in January 1863. He was promoted to Lieutenant General, in February 1865. At the end of the Civil War, he studied law, was admitted to the bar, and opened a law practice in Wheeler, Alabama. From 1881 to 1900, he served as a Democratic Congressman from Alabama in the United States House of Representatives. In 1898, when the Spanish American War broke out, he was appointed Major General, US Volunteers, and commanded the Cavalry Division of the Cuban Expeditionary Force, which gave him command over the Rough Riders of Teddy Roosevelt fame. He was head of the committee that negotiated the surrender of Santiago and the Spanish Army in Cuba. Following that war, he remained in the United States Army, and from September 1899 to January 1900, he was the commanding General in the field, with the rank of Brigadier General, during the Philippine Insurrection, commanding the First Brigade, Second Division, in the Tarlac Campaign and in the central Luzon. He was commissioned a Brigadier General, Regular Army on June 16, 1900, and retired on September 10, 1900. He died in Brooklyn, New York in 1906. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)
People in this photo:
Joseph Wheeler
Died: 1906
A photo of a portrait of Thomas Mayhew, Governor and owner of Martha's Vineyard. He is my direct ancestor through his daughter, Hannah (Mayhew) Daggett.
People in this photo:
Great uncle & aunt with President Reagan: Great uncle (ambassador) with aunt , Nancy and Ronald Reagan in a reception to the Italian embassy 1987.Picture taken in the blue room of the White House.
People in this photo:
Publicist and political activist imprisoned in 1897 and exiled in 1899.
People in this photo:
Andrius Matulaitis
1872 - 1958
He was a diplomat and presidential candidate, son of Marija Vaisnyte-Aseviciene 1883-1924 (grandmother of Peter Asevich).
People in this photo:
Stasys Lozoraitis
1924 - 1994
Diplomat and presidential candidate Stasys Lozoraitis in the White House with President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary: Stasys was a son of Marija Vaisnyte-Aseviciene 1883-1924 (grandmother of Peter Asevich).
People in this photo:
A photo of Wyman Frank Auerhamer and George W. Bush
People in this photo:
Wyman Frank Auerhamer
Apr 5, 1938 - Feb 12, 2009
Batesburg, South Carolina
A photo of Richard E Knorr
People in this photo:
Richard E Knorr
Aug 5, 1916 - Jun 1, 1996
The Shah of Iran in New York city in 1950, accompanied by Princess Ghodsee (wife of a diplomat) and a bevy of beauty queens.
People in this photo:
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Oct 26, 1919 - Jul 27, 1980
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