Starting when his father became a U.S. Senator, George H.W. Bush and his family have been politically active. The 41st President has been heavily involved in U.S. history and politics since he first joined the Navy at the young age of 18. Since he is the oldest living President and Vice President, there are a lot of important facts about George H.W. Bush to cover in today’s presidential unit study supplement.

Would you like to know all the different political positions that Bush Sr. held before he became president? Have you ever wondered, “What is George H.W. Bush known for?” Or perhaps you have heard the rumors that the 41st president became close friends with his rival, Ronald Reagan? Read on to discover these George H.W. Bush facts and many more!

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George H.W. Bush Fast Facts

Presidential Order 41st president
Political Party Republican
Born June 12th, 1924
State of Birth Massachusetts
Name of Spouse Barbara Bush
Served as President 1989-1993
Age When Elected to Office 64 years old
Vice Presidents Dan Quayle

We are a nation of communities… a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.

George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush Timeline

1924

George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Massachusetts to Prescott and Dorothy Bush.

1941

Turned 18 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy after hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor, becoming a naval aviator on the USS Sable.

1943

Relocated to the U.S. Naval Reserve at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

1944

  • Task force aboard the USS San Jacinto won one of the largest air battles of World War II, the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
  • September – Aircraft was hit and his engine caught fire, but still completed his mission. He had to parachute out of the aircraft and waited four hours to be rescued, almost dying.

1945

  • January – Married Barbara Pierce while he was still in the Navy
  • September – Honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy, one month after Japan surrendered and the war ended.

1946

  • Enrolled at Yale University on an accelerated track to get his bachelor’s degree.
  • July – Son George W. Bush, future 43rd president, was born.

1948

Graduated from Yale University, obtaining his bachelor’s degree in economics.

1951

Moved to Texas, working for several oil companies. Started his own oil company called Bush-Overbey Oil Development.

1953

  • Co-founded Zapata Petroleum Corporation
  • February – Son Jeb Bush, 43rd governor of Florida, was born

1954

Became president of Zapata Offshore Company.

1963

Elected chairman of the Harris County, Texas Republican Party.

1964

Attempted to run for U.S. Senate against Democrat Ralph W. Yarborough, but lost by 44%.

1966

Elected to U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican, winning by 57%.

1970

With President Nixon’s support, tried to run for the Senate again, but was still defeated by the Democratic party.

1971

President Nixon appointed Bush as Ambassador to the United Nations, after seeing his loss in the Senate election.

1973

Became chairman of the Republican National Committee, eventually asking Nixon to resign for the good of the Republican Party during the Watergate scandal.

1974

President Gerald Ford appoints Bush to be Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China.

1976

Under serious consideration for the Vice Presidential nomination under President Ford’s ticket, but was passed over.

1979

Begins to campaign for President, attending over 850 political events. He focused on winning over Iowa, which he did.

1980

Despite his initial win, lost most other states in the primary, eventually dropping out. His rival, Ronald Reagan, won instead and chose Bush as his Vice President.

1984

Reagan and Bush realized that they worked best together, so they ran for re-election and won by a landslide.

1985

Made it clear he was running for President for the 1988 term, and a committee was established. Over two million dollars were raised for him.

1988

  • Dan Quayle, U.S. Senator of Indiana, is chosen to run with Bush as his vice president. Bush also makes his speech about his vision of America, pledging for “no new taxes.”
  • November- Defeats Democrat Michael Dukakis to become the 41st President.

1990

Created the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. He also had to increase taxes because of leftover deficits, leading to a fall in his support.

1992

Tried to run for re-election, but lost because of his “no new taxes” broken promise. He then retired with his wife in Texas.

1997

The George Bush Presidential Library was created, and is the nation’s tenth presidential library. It holds his presidential and vice presidential papers.

2011

Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama for his service during World War II.

2017

Became the oldest living President and Vice President, and longest-lived President.

Interesting Facts About George H.W. Bush

Naturally, a George H.W. Bush unit study should include his main personal, political, and historical accomplishments. However, homeschoolers will also enjoy discovering some of the lesser known facts about the 41st President of the United States.

  • George H.W.  Bush was quite an athlete; he was the captain of the Yale baseball team and was a member of the cheerleading squad. He even met Babe Ruth during the College World Series.
  • Bush is one of only two presidents to be the father of another President.
  • He has gone skydiving eight times; four of those since his 75th birthday.
  • The 41st President hates broccoli and made a point to state during his presidency that he would never eat any more broccoli.
  • Bush had a family springer spaniel named Millie that was considered the most famous dog in White House history. Her room used to be Nancy Reagan’s beauty parlor.
  • He is known for wearing spunky and colorful socks. Bill Clinton actually gifted Bush a pair of socks.
  • Bush is one of eight presidents who are left-handed.
  • The 41st President was referred to as “Skin” during his time in the Navy because of his lanky figure.
  • When his son became President, Bush got the nicknames “Bush Senior,” “Bush the Elder,” and “Bush 41” to tell the two apart.
  • Bush was the third President to ever be awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Before Bush was elected President, he acted as a President for eight hours while President Reagan was in surgery.
  • Bush shaved his head clean once, to honor the son of one of his Service Agents who had leukemia.
  • For a very short period of time, George H.W. Bush was a professor of Administrative Science at Rice University.
  • The 41st President was able to complete his bachelor’s degree in just two and a half years.

Hands-On Activities for George H.W. Bush Unit Study

Now that you’ve learned about George H. W. Bush’s accomplishments, try out some of these  ideas, which we’ve organized by grade level, to enhance your George H.W. Bush Presidency Facts study.

Elementary George H.W. Bush Activities

  • While George H.W. Bush fought in World War II, he had to parachute out of his plane. Have your homeschooler try to construct a parachute out of different materials, and see which one works best for a toy soldier.
  • Using a printable map of the United States, locate the state that George H.W. Bush was able to win during the 1980 election. His downfall was when his competitor, Ronald Reagan, won the state of New Hampshire. Can your homeschooler locate this state on the map, too?

Middle School George H.W. Bush Activities

  • What would you do with $2,000,000? That’s how much campaign money President Bush had! Write a short story about how you would use that money to run a successful presidential campaign.
  • Most of George H.W. Bush’s life and even political career were centered in the state of Texas. Use this Texas vocabulary list and games to practice spelling, vocabulary, and writing activities.

High School George H.W. Bush Activities

  • After George H.W. Bush tried running for President the first time, he ended up becoming his competitor’s Vice President. Would he have been better off if he had not taken that position? Explain why or why not. Have your high schooler practice revising sentences with these free writing resources.
  • Only 10% of people in the entire world are left handed – yet quite a few presidents have also been left handed, including George H.W. Bush! If Bush is one of eight presidents who are left-handed, what percentage of the total number of presidents is that? Calculate the percentage difference between left-handed presidents and left-handed people as a whole of the population.

Quick List of George H.W. Bush Vocabulary Words

presidency tumultuous
nomination Panamanian
challenger oil
political republican
family distinguished

Additional Learning Links for George H.W. Bush

Want to extend your American presidents unit study even further? The following learning resources offer even more interesting facts about George H.W. Bush’s life and times, and will also give your homeschoolers the opportunity to test their knowledge of what they’ve learned so far.

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