Top 7 American Political Dynasties

On Tuesday, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) announced that he is actively exploring a 2016 bid for the White House. If he chooses to run, he would be following in the footsteps of his father and older brother - both former Presidents of the United States of America.

The Bush family has established a near unparalleled record of prominent public service for itself, but where do the they rank among the other great, multigenerational political dynasties in American history? 

7. The Rockefellers

Rising to prominence with business tycoon John D. Rockefeller (America's first billionaire) this family would transition into the realm of power politics as grandson Nelson Rockefeller (R) became the Governor of New York and later Vice President of the United States under Gerald Ford. Throughout its history, the Rockefeller family has birthed a number of elected officials including West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller (D) and Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller (R).  

Nelson Rockefeller led the moderate wing of the Republican party in the mid 20th Century.

6. The Roosevelts 

Teddy (R) built the Panama Canal and busted the trusts.  Cousin Franklin (D) helmed the country during the Great Depression and led us to victory during WWII.  Eleanor would represent our interests at the United Nations. Need I go on?  

"My family is kind of a big deal."

5. The Tafts

Our 27th President and 10th Chief Justice, William Howard Taft (R), is known to history for his corpulence but he would also inaugurate a proud line of Ohio based politicians continuing with both his son & grandson who were each named Robert and would both serve in the United States Senate.  Other family notables include Cincinnati Mayor Charles Phelps Taft II (R) and former Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R).

William Howard Taft (seated) and son Robert (standing left) would leave their mark on American politics. 

4. The Harrisons

Originating in the Old Dominion and eventually migrating to Indiana, the Harrison family was involved in public service all the way back to Virginia's House of Burgesses. A military hero turned politician, our 9th President, William Henry Harrison (Whig), would serve only 32 days in office before dying of pneumonia. His father was a Governor of Virginia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, while his grandson, Benjamin Harrison (R), would become our 23rd President. The unrelated (yet hard-hitting) former defensive back Rodney Harrison currently co-hosts Football Night in America.   

Standing only 5 feet 6 inches tall, Benjamin Harrison was playfully knick named "Little Ben".

3. The Kennedys 

If ever there has been an American royal family, surely it is the Kennedys. During their time in the public eye, they've managed to produce a Shakespearean level of drama, tragedy and personality. Family scion and former ambassador to Great Britain Joe Kennedy (D) had a pile of kids. Three of his boys you might remember:  President John F. Kennedy (D), Attorney General and Senator Robert Kennedy (D) and long-time Massachusetts Senator Edward "Teddy" Kennedy (D). Successive generations have continued to yield House Members (i.e. Joe Kennedy) and media personalities (Maria Shriver & JFK Junior) while a number of aspiring Kennedy clan members hope to carry the torch forward in the present day. 

Oh how they've fascinated us!

2. The Bushes

Prescott Bush (R) was a Connecticut Senator whose son, George H.W. Bush, would serve as our Ambassador to China, CIA Director and finally 41st President. Grandsons George W. Bush and brother Jeb would eventually become Governors of Texas and Florida (respectively) with George ultimately rising to the Oval Office. Jeb's boy George P. Bush looks to carry on the mantle. Could a third Bush presidency be in the offing? According to Jeb's mom Barbara, "Let someone else have a chance!"       

Might this photo eventually contain three US Presidents?

1. The Adamses

Beginning with our 2nd President and founding father John Adams and continuing with his son John Quincy Adams (who would serve as our 6th President, Secretary of State and as a multi-term congressman from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) the Adams family is often referred to as the nation's first dynasty. Quincy's son, Massachusetts Congressman Charles Francis Adams, would mount an unsuccessful bid for the Vice Presidency in 1848 but go on to serve America with distinction during the Civil War as the nation's ambassador to Great Britain - a critically important role in which he successfully prevented a British alliance with the Confederacy. Charles' son Henry would later become a preeminent historian, journalist, and national political writer. As-of-yet, distant cousins Gomez, Morticia and Uncle Fester remain uninvolved in politics.

John Adams' wife Abigail was one of our founding mothers and often chided her husband to, "...remember the ladies" as the new American government established a remarkable set of rights and privileges for its citizenry.