Business Politics

From Military to Government

There are a number of politicians who have transitioned from their career in military service. In fact, fifteen of the forty-two Presidents of the United States had served in the military. These men who formerly served in the military and became Presidents of the United States include: Franklin Pierce, who volunteered during the Mexican-American War and eventually rose up to the rank of a colonel; Ulysses Simpson Grant, who served as a U.S. Army General; Rutherford Birchard Hayes, who became Brigadier General and later Major General; James Abram Garfield, who was a Secretary of the Navy; Benjamin Harrison who became colonel of the 70th Volunteer Infantry; William McKinley, a brevet major; Theodore Roosevelt, who was colonel of the Rough Riders; Harry Truman, who became a captain in the Field Artillery in France during World War I; Dwight Eisenhower who served as a supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe and a chief of staff in the U.S. Army; Lyndon Johnson, who was a Navy lieutenant commander; and George Herbert Walker Bush who served as a Lieutenant, Junior Grade and later became the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Other military men who became presidents are James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor. Not only did military men serve as presidents but there are also some who served in other levels of the government.

What could have led them to enter the world of politics can be associated with the kind of thinking and honed skills that that they have learned during their military service.

Military men have different skills and characteristics that they are adept at compared to businessmen or lawyers. The values of sacrifice, self-discipline, teamwork, perseverance, loyalty, excellence, courage, and unity have all been deeply inculcated into military personnel during their training. When one holds these values, one largely tends to aspire to attain recognition and honor and at the same time defend equality and liberty. It is for this reason that influential personnel in the military sometimes seek a position in public office — having one guarantees them a rank where they can better develop and enact policies that work toward peace and security.

The characteristics of military men do aid them immensely in succeeding in the political field. Accumulated in their military career, these men have gained sufficient knowledge through experience and generally deeper insight into the potential implications of variables commonly encountered in matters of state. They also have been trained to have a strong and serious commitment to service. These men are also used to having autonomy in making decisions; they can make choices within fairly unrestrained borders and they have the authority and freedom to choose specific goals and strategies without intervention. These military professionals have the capacity to decisively apply sound and reasonable judgment about indispensable matters in conditions of doubt.