In 2001, an email circulated among Internet users on the alleged IQ scores of US presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt all the way to George W. Bush. It showed Bill Clinton having an IQ of 182, much higher than current estimates. That particular email was found to be a hoax and that the Lovenstein Institute, the supposed agency who did the estimation, did not even exist! Further, the methods used to estimate the IQs of the presidents were not recognized means. Remember that formal IQ testing has not been fully developed until 1904.

Why the obsession, though, with presidential IQ? It is an open secret that running a country is no easy task, and you have to be a genius to understand the ramifications of the job. That is why in many countries, there are stringent requirements to be a president. In Singapore, for example, a candidate must have been the CEO of a company with a certain level of investment money and stock portfolio, if not already a government official of at least a permanent secretary rank. No such requirement exists under the US Constitution, hence the need to know how they rank against others.

John Quincy Adams | 175

As the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams was faced with the difficult task of steering the country through a difficult period. Despite that, his goals were bold and even bordered on unconstitutional. Backed by the General Welfare Act, Adams pursued his plans and called for businesses to invest in internal improvements, including a national university, a national astronomical observatory, and a naval academy.

While many of his projects were widely opposed, he was able to use two things to his advantage: the healthy treasury, which allowed for greater spending, and his high IQ of 175. Did you know he became a lawyer even without formally studying for it? He was also fluent in seven languages, so facing diplomat was an easy task for him. Adams was instrumental in ending the War of 1812. The president was eloquent and was even said to be among the fittest presidents of the country.