Political family

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A political family (also referred to as political dynasty) is a family in which several members are involved in politics and businesses, particularly electoral politics. Members may be related by blood or marriage; often several generations or multiple siblings may be involved.

A royal family or dynasty in a monarchy is generally considered to not be a "political family," although the later descendants of a royal family have played political roles in a republic (such as the Arslan Family of Lebanon would be). A family dictatorship is a form of dictatorship that operates much like an absolute monarchy, yet occurs in a nominally republican state.

United States

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 noted U.S. political families — Adams, Harrison, Roosevelt, Bush — have had two members that served as President of the United States.

  • The first dynasty with presidential connections was 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.
  • Another early political dynasty was the Harrison family, of which 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 served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1950s and '60s.
Theodore Roosevelt and family
The Kennedys
The Trumps


Other notable U.S. political dynasties include:

  • 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 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 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 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 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.
  • 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 is an Ohio state representative.
  • 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 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 Paynes: Henry B. Payne was an Ohio state senator and later a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. His son Nathan P. Payne served as mayor of Cleveland.
  • 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; and younger son, Chris, is 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 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.


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.[4]

See also


  1. ^ KQED, General Article: The Kennedys in Politics, <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/kennedys-politics/>
  2. ^ Joseph Curl (January 20, 2005). "Rise of 'dynasty' quick, far-reaching". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on 2006-03-19.
  3. ^ Feldmann, Linda. "Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush? Why Political Dynasties Might Make Sense. (+video)." The Christian Science Monitor 23 July 2014
  4. ^ Solomon, Andrew (2015-07-18). "What's Wrong with Dynastic Politics?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
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