Who Was The Shortest U.S. President?

The public has pretty much always been interested in aspects of world leaders that have nothing to do with the leader's plans for their respective countries. Think Queen Elizabeth II's corgis or Julius Caesar's epilepsy. The United States has had 46 presidents throughout its nearly 250 year history. As times changed, so did the public's relationship with the president and what they knew about each one. Each president also came with his own set of ideas, personal life, challenges, and sometimes scandals. However, there are lighter topics surrounding U.S. presidents as well, such as fun or interesting facts.

Some of the most well-known tidbits about former presidents are things like George Washington's fake teeth, John F. Kennedy's young age, Ronald Regan's acting career, and Franklin D. Roosevelt's battle with polio. There are even more physical attributes that make each president memorable for centuries to come, as well as serving as fun trivia knowledge.

James Madison was the fourth president

Height has nothing to do with a world leader's policies, or their ability to better the country, yet it is still an interesting detail for many. At only five feet four inches tall, James Madison was the shortest president of the United States (per MentalFloss), serving from 1809 to 1817. He was an entire foot shorter than the tallest president, Abraham Lincoln, and six inches shorter than the average height of all past presidents.

Though he did not serve as president until 1809, he is often called "the Father of the Constitution." He was not the sole author, but played a key role in getting support for the new document as representatives of each state began reviewing it. Those who opposed of the Constitution when it was signed at the Constitutional Convention in September of 1787, did so because it had no "enumeration of basic civil rights." Some states ratified the Constitution, but others did so only if the delegates at the Convention added a bill of rights. The states sent recommendations, and Madison put pen to paper.

James Madison's wife was taller than him

James Madison was responsible for the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. These were all included in his Bill of Rights, which satisfied delegates who still wished for a clearly-defined list of rights for citizens of the new country. Most of these amendments are foundational to American society even today, such as freedom of speech. freedom of religion, and freedom of right to trial by jury. Madison was also a co-author of The Federalist Papers, which were largely written to explain and defend the Constitution. By 1790, all 13 existing states ratified the Constitution.

Madison was President of the United States at the same time as another world leader took center stage (who was also known for his short statue). Napoleon Bonaparte of France was likely around five foot six inches tall. This was actually not far off from the average height for men of the time, yet we still use the term "Napoleon complex" to refer to a shorter-than-average person (via History).

Madison retired to his home state of Virginia with First Lady Dolley (who was three inches taller than him) after his time as president. He continued to contribute to political discourse until his death in 1836.