Presidents, Interment of

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PRESIDENTS, INTERMENT OF. Beginning with George Washington, presidents have traditionally decided their own places of interment. When Washington died in 1799, Congress attempted to have him buried beneath the Capitol Rotunda, but before his death, Washington directed his family to bury him at his estate at Mount Vernon, Virginia, a wish with which the family complied. In death, as in life, Washington set a precedent that his successors would follow. From John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1826 to Richard Nixon in 1994, the great majority of presidents have chosen to be buried in their home states, and, in many cases, on their own family property or on the grounds of their presidential library. The handful of exceptions include Ulysses Grant, who is buried in Manhattan, New York; Woodrow Wilson, who is buried at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; and John Kennedy, who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Although several presidents have lain in state at the Capitol, none has been buried there. Washington's National Cathedral, completed in the early twentieth century, was originally intended as a final resting place for American leaders on the model of Westminster Abbey in London. As of the beginning of the twenty-first century, however, Wilson is the only president interred there.


Hyland, Pat. Presidential Libraries and Museums: An Illustrated Guide. Washington D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1995.

Lamb, Brian, and C-SPAN Staff. Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb? A Tour of Presidential Gravesites. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Anthony J.Gaughan

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Presidents, Interment of

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