George H. W. Bush

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Portrait, George Herbert Walker BushGeorge Herbert Walker Bush 41st President of the United States (January 20, 1989 to January 20, 1993) Nickname: “Poppy” Born: June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts Died: November 30, 2018, in Houston, Texas

Father: Prescott Sheldon Bush Mother: Dorothy Walker Bush Married: Barbara Pierce Bush (1925-2018), on January 6, 1945 Children: tiny U.S. flagGeorge Walker Bush (1946- ) [Ran as the Republican candidate in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections and won]; Robin Bush (1949-53); John Ellis “Jeb” Bush (1953- ) [Served as the Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007]; Neil Bush (1955- ); Marvin Bush (1956- ); Dorothy Bush (1959- ) Religion: Episcopalian Education: Graduated from Yale University (1948) Occupation: Businessman, public official Political Party: Republican Other Government Positions:

  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1967-71
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 1971-72
  • Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1976-77
  • Vice President, 1981-89 (under tiny U.S. flagReagan)

Presidential Salary: $200,000/year + $50,000 expense account The beginning of the 1990’s, which aligned with George H W Bush, the 41st presidents tenure in office, were an eventful period on the world stage. The Soviet Union, after the Berlin Wall, was headed towards its own fall, and negotiations for German reunification had already been underway. Alongside these, Bush also launched the US’s involvement in two other military offensives: the Persian Gulf War and the invasion of Panama. These interventions, especially the Gulf War, earned Bush generally high approval ratings from the public. However, his domestic policy angered many. In spite of campaign promises to not raise taxes, he did just that in order to cover budget deficits. It was this legislation in particular that drew the ire of the public as well as members of his own party. Bush’s single term as president felt to some as a continuation of the Reagan-era, with the administration holding similar positions on most major issues. However, it had to begin contending with some of the consequences of that era, including significant budget deficits and an economy that was beginning to slide. The public desire for a change was expressed in the results of the 1992 presidential elections.

Presidential Election Results:
YearPopular VotesElectoral Votes
1988George Bush48,881,278426
Michael S. Dukakis41,805,374111
1992tiny U.S. flagBill Clinton44,909,889370
George Bush39,104,545168
H. Ross Perot19,742,267

Vice President: J. Danforth Quayle (1989-93) Cabinet:

Secretary of State
James A. Baker, III (1989-92)
Lawrence S. Eagleburger (1992-93)
Secretary of the Treasury
Nicholas F. Brady (1989-93)
Secretary of Defense
Richard B. Cheney (1989-93) [Served as the vice president during tiny U.S. flagGeorge Walker Bush’s two-term tenure as president, from 2001-2009]
Attorney General
Dick Thornburgh (1989-91)
William P. Barr (1991-93)
Secretary of the Interior
Manuel Lujan (1989-93)
Secretary of Agriculture
Clayton Yeutter (1989-91)
Edward R. Madigan (1991-93)
Secretary of Commerce
Robert Mosbacher (1989-92)
Barbara H. Franklin (1992-93)
Secretary of Labor
Elizabeth H. Dole (1989-90)
Lynn Morley Martin (1990-93)
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Louis W. Sullivan (1989-93)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Jack Kemp (1989-93)
Secretary of Transportation
Samuel Skinner (1989-91)
Andrew H. Card (1992-93)
Secretary of Energy
James Watkins (1989-93)
Secretary of Education
Lauro F. Cavazos, Jr. (1989-91)
Lamar Alexander (1991-93)
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Edward J. Derwinski (1989-92) [The first US Secretary of Veteran Affairs]

Supreme Court Appointments:

Associate Justice
David H. Souter (1990-2009)
Clarence Thomas (1991- ) [The longest serving member of the US Supreme Court]

Notable Events:

  • 1989
  • 1990
  • 1991
  • 1992

Internet Biographies:

George Bush — from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
George Bush — from American Presidents: Life Portraits — C-SPAN
Biographical information, trivia, key events, video, and other reference materials. Website created to accompany C-SPAN’s 20th Anniversary Television Series, American Presidents: Life Portraits.
George Bush — from U.S. Presidents
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
Biography of President George Bush — from the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Bush’s biography with photographs.
George Bush — from Character Above All
From a PBS broadcast of the same name, this essay excerpt by Michael R. Beschloss discusses some of the issues and events that molded Bush.
George Herbert Walker Bush — from Naval History and Heritage Command
Focusing on Bush’s naval career, this site explains why Bush earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, where he was stationed, and gives a short bibliography.

Historical Documents:

Inaugural Address (1989)

Media Resources:

From his first State of the Union address in January of 1990. “…the beginning of a new era in the world’s affairs.” (0:46)
MP3 (369K)
From the Vincent Voice Library at Michigan State University.
Audio & Video
The American Presidency Project’s Presidential Audio/Video Archive for George Bush site

Other Internet Resources:

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Located in College Station, Texas, this facility is scheduled to open in 1997. This site contains biographies, photographs, speeches, museum pieces and more.

Points of Interest:

  • Bush was the sixth left-handed president of the United States.
  • Bush received a Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in World War II.
  • He had served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee during the Watergate scandal.
  • George H. W. Bush was president in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez spill took place, which is still counted among the worst man made disasters. It prompted the passage of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which required oil companies to be more careful or risk increased penalties.
  • George H. W. Bush was president in 1991 when four Los Angeles policemen were caught on a bystander’s camera brutalizing Rodney King, an African-American. The beating followed a car chase during which King was driving under the influence. While they were charged for excessive use of force, the police officers were acquitted the next year, triggering massive riots in the city. 
  • His two eldest sons tiny U.S. flag George W. Bush and Jeb Bush have held political office as well; as the President of the United States and the Governor of Florida, respectively.
  • At the time of his death, Bush had been the oldest-living president. Currently tiny U.S. flag Jimmy Carter holds that distinction.


  • Who was the US president from 1989 to 1993?

George H W Bush was the US president from 1989 to 1993. He had previously served as the vice president under tiny U.S. flagRonald Reagan, and is the first incumbent VP to be elected to the White House since the 8th president, tiny U.S. flagMartin Van Buren.

  • Why did the US invade Panama in 1989?

Manuel Noriega had been Panama’s military dictator since 1983. Although involved in drug trafficking, he received support from the US because of the assistance he provided in Central America against the spread of communism. However, he was disowned in 1988 when his drug trafficking was made known to the public, and when he annulled the results of a presidential election that would have brought a rival, Guillermo Endara, to power, in 1989, President Bush ordered an increase in the number of US troops stationed in the Panama Canal Zone. The shooting of a US Marine by members of the PDF (Panamanian Defense Forces) triggered the full scale US invasion of the country which ended with Endara’s restoration to power and Noriega’s arrest by the DEA.

  • Why did George H W Bush lose in the 1992 elections?

During his term, George H W Bush’s foreign policy was much appreciated by the American public, with the US’s performance in the Gulf War pushing his ratings to almost 90 per cent. However, his domestic policy provoked the opposite reaction from the people. The economy was in recession, and the few measures the government took regarding it didn’t seem to be very effective. Conservative Republicans were also frustrated when Bush broke his campaign promise of not raising taxes.  Bush’s re-election campaign was run by people different from those who had managed his 1988 campaign. This change is also often regarded as having contributed to his loss.  Adding to these factors was the candidacy of Ross Perot, an independent, who drew a significant chunk of votes away from Bush.

Related Resources:

Previous President: tiny U.S. flagRonald Wilson Reagan | Next President: tiny U.S. flagWilliam Jefferson Clinton

©1996-2008. Robert S. Summers. All rights reserved.

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