A political family
(also referred to as political dynasty
) is a family
in which several members are involved in politics
— particularly electoral politics
. Members may be related by blood or marriage; often several generations
or multiple siblings
may be involved.
In the United States, many political dynasties (having at least two generations serving in political office) have arisen since the country's founding:
Four noted U.S. political families — Adams, Harrison, Roosevelt, Bush — have had two members that served as President of the United States
Four U.S. political families — Adams, Harrison, Roosevelt, Bush — have each had two members that served as President of the United States.
- The Adams family: John Adams served as the second President (after serving as the first vice president), and his son John Quincy Adams served as the sixth president. John Quincy's son Charles served as U.S. ambassador (then called minister) to the United Kingdom and as a U.S. congressman. A fourth-generation member of the family (John Quincy Adams II) served as a state representative in Massachusetts, and his son Charles was mayor of Quincy, Massachusetts, and secretary of the Navy in the Hoover administration.
- The Harrison family: Six generations served in public office from the late-18th through mid-20th centuries. Benjamin Harrison V was one of the early governors of Virginia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His son William Henry Harrison was the ninth U.S. president. William's son John Scott Harrison served in the U.S. House of Representatives, while his son Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd President (marking the first and only grandfather and grandson to serve as president). Benjamin's son Russell Benjamin Harrison served as a state representative and state senator from Indiana in the 1920s, and Russell's son William III served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1950s and '60s.
- The Taft family: Alphonso Taft served as attorney general and Secretary of War in President Ulysses S. Grant's administration. Two of his sons followed him into public service: Charles Phelps Taft served in the U.S. House of Representatives, and William Howard Taft was the 27th President and later U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice (the only one to hold both offices). William Howard's sons: Robert A. Taft was a long-serving U.S. senator (and for a time Senate Majority Leader), and Charles Phelps Taft II served as mayor of Cincinnati. The fourth generation of Tafts includes Robert Taft Jr., who served as a U.S. congressman and senator, and Seth Taft, who was commissioner of Cuyahoga County (Cleveland area). Robert III (better known as Bob) served as governor of Ohio at the turn of the 21st century.
- The Roosevelt family: Theodore (#26), and Franklin (#32, aka FDR, the only president elected to more than two terms), were fifth cousins by blood and uncle and nephew by marriage — FDR was married to Theodore's niece Eleanor Roosevelt, daughter of Theodore's younger brother Elliott. Eleanor served as an informal adviser to her husband during his presidency, served as U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, and chaired the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women during the Kennedy administration. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. served as governor of Puerto Rico and the Philippines and as a New York state assemblyman. Theodore III served as Pennsylvania's secretary of Commerce. FDR and Eleanor's sons, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. and James Roosevelt served in the U.S. House of Representatives; and Elliott Roosevelt served as mayor of Miami Beach, Florida.
- The Kennedy family: Patriarch Patrick Joseph Kennedy served as a Massachusetts state representative and state senator in the 1880s and 1890s. His son Joseph P. Kennedy served as chairman of the U.S. Maritime Commission, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and as U.S. ambassador to the Great Britain during the Franklin Roosevelt administration. The children of Joseph P. Kennedy include John F. Kennedy (aka JFK, 35th President of the United States), Robert F. Kennedy (aka RFK, U.S. Attorney General and Senator), Ted Kennedy (U.S. Senator), and Jean Kennedy Smith, U.S. ambassador to Ireland. The next generation includes former U.S. congressmen Joseph Patrick Kennedy II and Patrick Joseph Kennedy II, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Maryland House of Delegates member Mark Shriver, Connecticut state Sen. Edward Kennedy Jr., and former Santa Monica, California mayor Bobby Shriver. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who at the time was married to Maria Shriver (niece of JFK, RFK, and Ted), served as governor of California (Maria Shriver served as First Lady and founded the California Museum) throughout most of the 2000s. The fifth generation includes U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III
- The Bush family: Peter Schweizer describes the Connecticut- and, later, Texas-based Bush family as "the most successful political dynasty in American history." Four generations have served in elective office: Prescott Bush served in the U.S. Senate. His son George H.W. Bush served as the 41st U.S. president. George H.W.'s oldest son George W. was the 43rd President. Another of George H.W.'s sons, Jeb Bush, served as governor of Florida, and Jeb's son George P. Bush serves as Texas Land Commissioner.
- Bill Clinton served as the 42nd U.S. president, after having served as attorney general and governor of Arkansas. His uncle, Roy Clinton, served in the Arkansas state legislature in the 1950s. President Clinton's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, served as U.S. senator from New York from 2001 to 2009 and U.S. Secretary of State in the Obama administration, and was the 2016 Democratic nominee for President of the United States.
Other notable U.S. political dynasties include:
- The Ashcrofts: John Ashcroft served as a U.S. senator and later U.S. attorney general during the George W. Bush administration; his son Jay serves as the secretary of state of Missouri
- The Bayh family: Birch Bayh was a three-term U.S. senator representing Indiana. His son Evan served two terms each as governor of Indiana, and as a U.S. senator (holding his father's former seat).
- The Beshears: Steve Beshear was a two-term governor of Kentucky, and before that was lieutenant governor and state attorney general. His son Andy is a former state attorney general and current governor.
- The Blunts: Roy Blunt is a former U.S. congressman and current U.S. Senator representing Missouri, while his son Matt served one term as governor of Missouri.
- The Browns: Edmund "Pat" Brown and his son, Jerry Brown, both served as governor of California. Jerry's sister, Kathleen, was a member of the Los Angeles Board of Education and later California State Treasurer. Jerry and Kathleen's cousin, Hal Brown, served on the Marin County Board of Supervisors.
- The Celebrezze family: Frank D. Celebrezze served as safety director for the City of Cleveland and as a municipal court judge. His younger brother Anthony served as mayor of Cleveland, was a JFK/LBJ cabinet official, and a federal judge. Frank's sons: Frank Jr. (who went by simply "Frank") was chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, and James was a municipal court judge. Anthony's son Anthony Jr. (more commonly called "Tony") served as an Ohio state senator, Ohio secretary of state, and state attorney general. Third generation: Frank III (more commonly called "Frank Jr.") is an appeals court judge and former Ohio Supreme Court justice. James Celebrezze's daughter Leslie is a municipal court judge in Cleveland, and her younger brother Nicholas was an Ohio state representative.
- The Cheneys: Dick Cheney served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, as a cabinet official for Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush, and vice president under George W. Bush. His daughter Liz is currently a U.S. House member representing Wyoming (holding her father's former congressional seat).
- The Cuomos: Mario Cuomo was a three-term governor of New York in the 1980s and '90s. His son Andrew was a Clinton administration cabinet official and is the current (and like his father a three-term) governor of New York.
- The D'Alesandro/Pelosi family: Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. served three terms as mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, and five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. His daughter Nancy (Pelosi) has served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is a two-time and current Speaker of the House (the highest political office a woman has held in U.S. history). Her brother Thomas III served a term as mayor of Baltimore. Nancy's brother-in-law Ron Pelosi served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and Ron's nephew Gavin Newsom is a former mayor of San Francisco, former lieutenant governor, and current governor of California
- The Daleys: Richard J. Daley served as Mayor of Chicago from 1955 to 1976, and was considered one of the nation's most powerful mayors. Three of his sons followed in his political footsteps - eldest son Richard M. was the longest-tenured Chicago mayor, serving from 1989 to 2011, middle son John was an Illinois state representative and state senator, and was Cook County commissioner, and youngest son Bill served as a cabinet official for Bill Clinton, and Chief of Staff for Barack Obama.
- The DeWines: Mike DeWine is the current governor of Ohio and was previously a U.S. senator and congressman, as well as an Ohio state senator, lieutenant governor, and state attorney general. His son Pat is a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court.
- The Dingells: John Dingell Sr. served 11 terms as a U.S. congressman representing Michigan, his son John then served 30 terms in the same seat following his father's death (the longest tenure in the history of the House of Representatives). John's wife Debbie was then elected to her husband's seat following his retirement (all totaled, the same seat has been held by a member of the Dingell family continuously since 1933), and his son Christopher served four terms as a Michigan state senator, then becoming a Michigan circuit court judge.
- The Ellisons: Keith Ellison is a former U.S. congressman, and current Minnesota attorney general. His son Jeremiah is a member of the Minneapolis City Council.
- The Gilligans: John J. Gilligan served as a U.S. congressman in the 1960s and governor of Ohio in the early 1970s. His daughter Kathleen (Sebelius) served as governor of Kansas in the 2000s, and as an Obama administration cabinet official.
- The Gores: Albert Gore Sr. was a U.S. congressman and U.S. senator, his son Al was a congressman, senator, Vice President under Bill Clinton, and the Democratic nominee for president in 2000.
- The Hannas: Mark Hanna was chairman of the Republican National Committee and a U.S. senator. His daughter Ruth Hanna McCormick was a U.S. congresswoman.
- The Huckabees: Mike Huckabee is a former governor of Arkansas, and twice ran for President (2008, 2016). His daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders was White House press secretary for President Trump.
- The Jones family: Walter B. Jones Sr. (a Democrat) served as a U.S. congressman representing North Carolina from 1966 until his death in 1992. His namesake son (a Republican) was also a U.S. congressman representing North Carolina, serving from 1995 until his death in 2019.
- Annie L. Key was an Ohio state representative, and her daughter Stephanie Howse currently serves in the Ohio House, holding her mother's former seat.
- The Kyl family: John Henry Kyl served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1960s and 1970s; his son, Jon, is a former U.S. House member and U.S. senator.
- The LaTourettes: Steve LaTourette was a nine-term U.S. congressman representing the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. His daughter Sarah was an Ohio state representative.
- The Levin family: Sander Levin was an 18-term U.S. congressman representing Michigan. His brother Carl was a six-term U.S. senator. Sander's son Andy is a current U.S. congressman, holding his father's longtime seat.
- The Lippitt/Chafee family: Henry Lippitt was Governor of Rhode Island from 1875 to 1877. Two of his sons followed in his political footsteps - Charles served as Rhode Island Governor from 1895 to 1897, and Henry F., who served a term as a U.S. Senator in the 1910s. Henry F's son Frederick was an 11-term Rhode Island State Representative. The elder Henry's great-grandson John Chafee served as Rhode Island Governor in the 1960s, and was a five-term U.S. Senator. John's son Lincoln was a U.S. Senator (filling his father's seat upon his death), served a term as Governor of Rhode Island, and has twice run for President (2016, 2020)
- The Lodge family: Henry Cabot Lodge was a U.S. congressman and later Senate Majority Leader. His grandson, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., was a senator from Massachusetts and an ambassador to Germany, South Vietnam, and the United Nations. Another grandson, John Davis Lodge, was Governor of Connecticut.
- The Long Family: Huey Long served as the 40th governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a member of the U.S. Senate from 1932. His widow, Rose McConnell Long, was appointed to replace him in the Senate after he was assassinated. His brother Earl Long was elected lieutenant-governor of Louisiana in 1936, and governor in 1948 and 1956. Other brothers included Julius Long, who was a Winn Parish District Attorney, and George S. Long, who was elected to Congress in 1952. Huey Long's son Russell B. Long was a U.S. senator from 1948 to 1987. Gillis William Long and Speedy O. Long, nephew and cousin of Huey Long respectively, also represented Louisiana in the U.S. Congress. Another cousin, Gerald Long, was elected to the Louisiana State Senate. Yet another cousin, Jimmy D. Long, served in the Louisiana House of Representatives.
- The Mack Family: While more primarily known for their connections to baseball — Connie Mack won five World Series as owner/manager of the Philadelphia Athletics and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and his son Earle won two World Series as a coach/assistant manager on his father's team — the Macks also have political ties: Connie Mack III (Connie's grandson and Earle's nephew) was a U.S. congressman and U.S. senator, while Connie IV (Connie III's son, Connie's great-grandson, and Earle's great-nephew) was a Florida state representative and U.S. congressman
- The Mathews family: George Mathews was a governor of Georgia. His son George Mathews Jr. was a presiding judge of the Louisiana Supreme Court, and his son John Mathews was Supervisor of Revenue for Georgia. George Sr.'s brothers Sampson Mathews and Archer Mathews were Virginia state legislators. Sampson's son, Sampson Mathews Jr., and two of his nephews, John and James William Mathews, were Virginia state legislators. Their nephew, Mason Mathews, was a Virginia state legislator. Mason's son, Henry M. Mathews, was a governor of West Virginia. Mason's grandson, Maj. Gen. Mason Patrick, was Chief of U.S. Army Air Service and Air Corps.
- The Murkowskis: Frank Murkowski is a former U.S. senator and governor of Alaska, his daughter Lisa is a former congresswoman and current U.S. senator from Alaska (holding her father's old seat).
- The O'Neills: Thomas O'Neill was a city councilman in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His son Thomas Jr. (more famously known as "Tip") served 17 terms as a U.S. congressman, and was Speaker of the House from 1977 to 1987. Tip's son Thomas III served two terms as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts.
- The Pauls: Ron Paul served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives; his son Rand is a U.S. senator. Both also ran for President (Ron in 2008 and 2012, Rand in 2016).
- The Payne/Bolton family: Henry B. Payne was an Ohio state senator and later a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. His son Nathan P. Payne served as mayor of Cleveland. Henry's granddaughter Frances P. Bolton, her husband Chester C. Bolton, and their son Oliver P. Bolton - all served in congress as representatives from Ohio
- The Pence family: Mike Pence served as vice president under Donald Trump, is a former six-term U.S. congressman and served as governor of Indiana. His older brother Greg is a current U.S. congressman (holding his brother's old seat). Greg's son John served as a campaign manager/adviser for both his father and President Trump.
- The Rockefeller family: Nelson Rockefeller was Governor of New York and later Vice President of the United States. His brother, Winthrop, was Governor of Arkansas. Their nephew, Jay Rockefeller, was a U.S. senator from West Virginia. Winthrop's son, "Win" Rockefeller, was lieutenant governor of Arkansas.
- The Romneys: George W. Romney was a former Michigan governor and Nixon administration cabinet official. His son Mitt was governor of Massachusetts and a current U.S. senator (as well as the 2012 Republican nominee for president). Mitt's niece Ronna Romney McDaniel currently serves as chair of the Republican National Committee.
- The Rooneys: While more prominently known as the owners of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, they also have served in public office: Dan Rooney — who won six Super Bowls as an owner/executive of the team, and is a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee — served as U.S. ambassador to Ireland during the Obama administration. His nephews also held office - Tom Rooney served five terms as a U.S. congressman, while Patrick served as a state representative in Florida.
- The Scalia family: Antonin Scalia served as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice from 1986 until his death in 2016. His son Eugene served as Secretary of Labor under President Trump.
- The Sununu family: John H. Sununu is a former governor of New Hampshire and was chief of staff for President George H.W. Bush. His oldest son John E. is a former congressman and U.S. senator; his younger son Chris is the current governor of New Hampshire.
- The Sykes family: Vernon Sykes is a current Ohio state senator and former state representative and city councilman in Akron. His wife Barbara is also a former Ohio state representative and Akron City Council member. Their daughter Emilia is an Ohio state representative and current Ohio House Minority Leader (all totaled, the same Ohio House seat has been held by a member of the Sykes family continuously since 1983).
- The Udall family: David King Udall Sr. was a representative to the Arizona Territorial Legislature. Four of his sons served in public office: Jesse Addison Udall was a member of the Arizona House of Representatives and later served as chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court; John Hunt Udall and Don Taylor Udall served in the Arizona State Legislature; Levi Stewart Udall served on the Arizona Supreme Court. Stewart Udall, son of Levi, was a U.S. congressman from Arizona and later Secretary of the Interior. Mo Udall, another son of Levi, was also a U.S. congressman from Arizona. John Nicholas Udall, son of John Hunt Udall, was mayor of Phoenix, Arizona. Tom Udall, son of Stewart Udall, is a U.S. senator from New Mexico. Mark Udall, son of Mo Udall, was a U.S. congressman and senator from Colorado.
- The Zone family: Michael Zone was a Cleveland City Council member from 1960 until his death in 1974. his wife Mary was then appointed to fill his seat, and was elected to three full terms in her own right. Their son Matt has been a councilman since 2001, representing the same area as his parents. Matt's cousin Joseph is a Cleveland Municipal Court judge.
- The Chamberlain family: Joseph Chamberlain served as President of the Board of Trade, Secretary of State for the Colonies, and (briefly in 1906) Leader of the Opposition. He had two sons by different wives, who both served in public office: the elder, Austen Chamberlain, served first as Chancellor of the Exchequer and later as Foreign Secretary; while the younger, Neville Chamberlain, was Prime Minister from 1937 to 1940.
- The Churchill family: Lord Randolph Churchill served as Leader of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1886–87. His son Winston Churchill held numerous political posts including President of the Board of Trade, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary before finally becoming Prime Minister (1940–1945 and 1951–1955). Winston's son Randolph and grandson Winston were also politicians.
- The Foot family: Isaac Foot was an MP from 1922 to 1935. Three of his sons also followed him into politics: the eldest son, Dingle, was Solicitor General for England and Wales under Harold Wilson; the third son, John, stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal candidate; and the fourth son, Michael, was Leader of the Opposition from 1979 to 1983,
- The Hogg family: Both Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham and his son Quintin Hogg, 2nd Viscount Hailsham & Baron Hailsham of St Marylebone served as Lord Chancellor. Quintin's son Douglas Hogg, 3rd Viscount Hailsham is a politician and he is married to the political advisor Sarah Hogg, Baroness Hogg.
- The Kinnock family: Current Labour MP Stephen Kinnock is the son of Neil Kinnock, Leader of the Opposition from 1983 to 1992. Stephen is also married to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark.
- The Paisley family: Reverend Ian Paisley and his wife Eileen Paisley were both Democratic Unionist MPs, as is their son, Ian Paisley Jr..
- The Johnson family: Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson is the son of Stanley Johnson, a former Member of the European Parliament. Boris's younger brother Jo Johnson also served as an MP.
- In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the son of the late Pierre Trudeau, who also served as prime minister.
- In Greece, the Papandreou family has been a predominant figure in Greek politics since the Metapolitefsi. Former Prime Minister George Papandreou who served as Prime Minister from 2009 to 2011, is the son of Andreas Papandreou who served three terms as prime minister of Greece, and is frequently regarded as one of the greatest modern Prime Ministers of the country. Subsequently, Andreas Papandreou is the son of Former Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou (George's grandfather), who served three terms on a political career that spanned five decades. The current PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the son of former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis.
- The French Front National Party is led by Marine Le Pen, who succeeded her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in early 2011.
- Uhuru Kenyatta has been president of Kenya since 2013. He is the son of Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of the Republic of Kenya, who left office in 1978.
- In Latvia, Guntis Ulmanis, who served as president from 1993 to 1999, is the grandnephew of Kārlis Ulmanis, who also served as president.
- Landsbergis of Lithuania: Vytautas Landsbergis, leader of the State in 1990–1992, is the son of Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis, a member of the government in the 1940s. Grandson Gabrielius Landsbergis is current leader of the Conservative Party. Another ancestor, Jonas Jablonskis, was an independence activist.
- In India, three members of the Nehru–Gandhi family (Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi) have served as Prime Minister of India. Rajiv's wife Sonia Gandhi and son, Rahul Gandhi served as the President of Congress(I).
- In Nigeria, members of the Ransome-Kuti family have been prominent. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti served as the health minister under President Ibrahim Babangida while his brother, Fela Kuti, founded and led the Movement of the People political party. Their mother, Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, was a founding mother of Nigeria who served as a lawmaker and party leader in the country's colonial era.
- In Palau, former President Thomas Remengesau Jr. is the son of the 2nd President Thomas Remengesau Sr.
- In the Philippines, two members of the Aquino family (originating from Tarlac) had served as president, Corazon Aquino (who served from 1986 - 1992) and her son Benigno Aquino III (who served from 2010 - 2016).
- In Portugal: the minister of welfare state is married with a member of parliament involved in a scandal related with an ONG financed by the welfare state; The daughter of the same minister is the presidency minister; The interior minister is married with the sea minister; the justice minister husband was nominated for a public commission by a co-minister.
- In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the son of the first Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew.
- In South Africa, the last State President, F. W. de Klerk, is the son of Jan de Klerk who served as acting State President in April 1975.
- In South Korea, both Park Geun-hye and her father, Park Chung-hee, were Presidents of South Korea.
- In Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa family has had 2 presidents and 1 prime minister. Also, the family has many of their extended relatives in the parliament.
Hoping to prevent political dynasties, the Indonesian parliament
, who represent the third largest democracy in the world, passed a law barring anyone holding a major office within five years of a relative.
- ^ KQED, General Article: The Kennedys in Politics, <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/kennedys-politics/>
- ^ Joseph Curl (January 20, 2005). "Rise of 'dynasty' quick, far-reaching". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on 2006-03-19.
- ^ Feldmann, Linda. "Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush? Why Political Dynasties Might Make Sense. (+video)." The Christian Science Monitor 23 July 2014
- ^ Solomon, Andrew (2015-07-18). "What's Wrong with Dynastic Politics?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
Last edited on 24 April 2021, at 18:53
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