Ex-Presidents Who Shun Retirement


John Quincy Adams (AP Photo).

Like Candace mentioned, she and I are attending a press conference at the Carter Center today. When we got this invitation, it got us talking about what former presidents choose to do with themselves when retirement is awkwardly thrust upon them, despite being just barely past their prime.

After they leave office, most presidents have historically been content to accept retirement and recede from the spotlight gracefully. Candace and I recently recorded a Stuff You Missed In History Class podcast about her beloved "T.J." (Thomas Jefferson) and how he returned to his private project of editing the Bible during retirement.

One famous historical example of an ex-president who returned to public life is John Quincy Adams. A couple years after losing reelection to the Oval Office, Adams was elected to the U.S. Congress as a Representative for Massachusetts. According to his White House Bio, Adams kept this position until his death from a stroke on the House floor 18 years later. During his time as a Representative, he is most known for fighting the notorious "gag rule" -- a rule that prohibited Congress from addressing the issue of slavery.

But, today, Jimmy Carter is seen as the quintessential example of a former U.S. president who refused to sit back and fade into obscurity. Rather, he insists on dedicating his time, power and influence to promote good causes. Hence, he gave us the Carter Center, an organization that "wages peace," fights for human rights and combats disease all over the world.

Check back with us soon to find out about our first-hand experience at the Carter Center.

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