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George H. W. Bush

A descendant of six Mayflower Passengers, John Howland, Elizabeth Tilley, Francis Cooke, Mary Chilton and her parents, Mr. and Mrs James Chilton

Francis Cooke m. Hester Mahieu
  Jane Cooke m. Experience Mitchell
    Elizabeth Mitchell m. John Washburn
      Mary Washburn m. Samuel Kingsley
        Samuel Kingsley m. Mary Packard

Mary Chilton m. John Winslow
  John Winslow m. Judith Smith
    Judith Winslow m. John Packard
      Mary Packard m. Samuel Kingsley
        Silence Kingsley m. Samuel Herrick
          Sarah Herrick m. Rev. Nathaniel Butler
            Samuel Herrick Butler m. Judith Livingston
              Courtland Philip Livingston Butler m. Elizabeth Slade Pierce

John Howland m. Elizabeth Tilley
  Hope Howland m. John Chipman
    Hope Chipman m. John Huckins
      Hope Huckins m. Thomas Nelson
        Hannah Nelson m. Jabez Wood
          Rev Jabez Wood m. Joanna Short
            Joanna Wood m. Comfort Horton
              Sarah Horton m. Jarvis Wheeler
                Betsey S. Wheeler m. Levi Pierce
                  Elizabeth Slade Pierce m. Courtland Philip Livingston Butler
                    Mary Elizabeth Butler m. Robert Emmet Sheldon
                      Flora Sheldon m. Samuel Prescott Bush
                        Prescott Sheldon Bush m. Dorothy Walker
                          George Herbert Walker Bush


Bush, George

George Herbert Walker Bush was elected the 41st president of the United States on Nov. 8, 1988, and was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1989. He had held an array of senior public positions and served (1981 - 1989) as Ronald Reagan's vice-president, becoming the first sitting vice-president to be elected in his own right since Martin Van Buren in 1836.

Early Life and Career

Born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Mass., to Dorothy Walker Bush, daughter of a wealthy investor, and Prescott Sheldon Bush, a banker and later Republican U.S. senator from Connecticut, George Bush grew up in the New York City suburb of Greenwich, Conn., and attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. During World War II he became the navy's youngest pilot. Shot down over the Pacific island of Chichi Jima and rescued by a submarine, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. In 1945 he married Barbara Pierce and then matriculated at Yale, where he majored in economics, was captain of the baseball team, and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1948.

After Yale, "Poppy," as Bush was called, went to work for Dresser Industries in the west Texas oil fields. Two years later he and a partner established the Bush-Overby Development Company to trade oil leases and royalties, and in 1954 he became president of the Zapata Offshore Company, developing new oil-drilling equipment. Within a decade he had amassed about $2 million and began dabbling in local Republican party politics in Houston. Defeated when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1964, Bush became the first Republican to represent Houston in the U.S. House of Representatives, in 1966. Known as one of the new breed of centrist Republicans in the modern South, he voted for the 1968 Civil Rights Act despite its unpopularity with his constituents.

After a second unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 1970, Bush served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (1971 - 1972) and in 1972 was named chairman of the Republican National Committee by President Richard M. Nixon. He traveled the country for 20 months defending Nixon and the GOP against the widening Watergate scandal, which brought the president close to impeachment. Staunchly loyal almost to the end, Bush urged Nixon to step down on Aug. 7, 1974. Nixon announced his resignation the next day. His successor, Gerald Ford, chose New York governor Nelson Rockefeller over Bush for the vice-presidency, and Bush departed for China to head the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing. In December 1975, Ford suddenly recalled him to Washington to take over the Central Intelligence Agency.

Bush resigned from the CIA after Jimmy Carter became president in 1976 and began his quest for the 1980 GOP presidential nomination. His victory in the Iowa caucuses of 1980 gave Bush an early lead, but his attacks on Ronald Reagan's ultraconservatism failed to attract a majority of Republican voters. After losing the Texas primary he withdrew from the race and asked his delegates to support Reagan. The GOP convention in July conferred on Bush the vice-presidential nomination after Ford declined to accept the position.


In spite of their earlier political rivalry and policy differences, Reagan and Bush worked harmoniously for eight years in the White House. Bush traveled more than a million and a half kilometers and visited some 75 nations as a special emissary for the president, and headed the National Security Council's "crisis management team." He also chaired presidential task forces on deregulation, on combating terrorism, and on coordinating government efforts to stop drug smuggling in southern Florida.

The Presidential Election

After faltering in the Republican caucuses in Iowa in February 1988, Bush gained momentum with a victory in New Hampshire a week later and never relinquished the lead. He won the presidential nomination overwhelmingly on the first ballot at the Republican convention and picked Indiana senator Dan Quayle as his running mate. Immediately, doubts were raised about Quayle's qualifications. This cast a shadow over the Bush candidacy, and the late summer polls pointed to a landslide for his Democratic opponent, Michael Dukakis. Bush relentlessly attacked Dukakis as a soft-on-crime-and-defense liberal and as the candidate of unpatriotic marginal groups. Benefiting from the popularity and active assistance of President Reagan, and from public contentment with the peace and prosperity of the Reagan era, Bush surged ahead in the polls in the last several weeks of the campaign. He won the election with 54% of the popular vote and 426 of the 538 electoral votes.


During the first two-and-a-half years of his administration Bush acted decisively abroad and cautiously in domestic affairs. The beneficiary of the crumbling of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 - 1990 and the worsening chaos and economic crisis in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Bush negotiated a treaty with the USSR to reduce nuclear and conventional arms (see arms control), and in 1989 he intervened militarily in Panama to depose its president, Manuel Noriega. In August 1990, following Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait, Bush won widespread support throughout the world for an economic embargo of Iraq and stationed more than 400,000 American troops in the Persian Gulf region to defend Saudi Arabia. Having secured congressional approval for the use of force if Iraq defied his ultimatum to withdraw from Kuwait by mid-January 1991, Bush ordered a massive bombing attack on Iraq and its forces in Kuwait to begin on January 16, followed by a swift ground assault on February 24. Four days later Iraq capitulated. (See Persian Gulf War.)

Consistently gaining high ratings for his conduct of foreign affairs, including major reciprocal arms cuts with the USSR, and Russia, Bush shied from divisive domestic matters. Forced to deal with the pressing problem of a mounting federal deficit, he and moderates of both parties agreed to a compromise that increased taxes, reduced spending, and provided growth incentives for business. Nevertheless, persistent economic stagnation, which began when the nation's output fell to recession levels in July 1990, dogged the remainder of his term in office. Attacks on the cautious fiscal policies of his economic advisors and criticism of his optimistic assessments of future prospects fueled popular discontent. In the Republican presidential primaries of 1992, Bush faced a strong but unsuccessful challenge by conservative columnist Pat Buchanan. The Democrats nominated Bill Clinton, a centrist, in 1992. Bush appeared to move to the right in the campaign, focusing on so-called value issues, apologizing for breaking a no-new-taxes pledge, and allowing conservatives to dominate his party's convention. After weeks of lackluster campaigning, Bush resorted to strident attacks in the end. In the election, Clinton won with a plurality of 43% to Bush's 38%. A month later Bush ordered U.S. troops to strife-torn Somalia to ensure famine relief.

In 1998, Bush published A World Transformed, a book written with his former national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft, in which he defended his foreign policy as president. In the elections of that year two of his sons were elected governors: George W. Bush, for the second time, of Texas; and Jeb (John), of Florida. In 2000, George W. Bush was the Republican candidate for president. He ultimately won that election, but only after a month-long legal contest over the votes cast in his brother's state, which he won with the help of a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. A collection of the senior Bush's letters, All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings, was published in 1999.

Biography from The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia