❝ In a triumph of the middling, a nod to mediocrity, and with gorge rising... ❞

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Toby Ziegler

Dr. Josiah Edward Bartlet, Ph.D., D.Hum.Litt., was President of the United States from 1999 to 2007. He was a popular politician, having never lost an election, and winning a second term as President in a landslide, despite the MS scandal.

Biographical Information

Early Life

Josiah Edward Bartlet, known as "Jed," was born in the early 1940s in New Hampshire, the younger of two sons. His great-great-great-great grandfather was Dr. Josiah Bartlett, who signed the Declaration of Independence. [1] While his father was a Protestant, his mother was a devout Roman Catholic. Jed was brought up in the Catholic faith and it would always remain a part of his life.

As a child, his brother Jon locked him in a steamer trunk. The steamers in the trunk were working and young Jed remembered being surrounded by seafood.[2]


Every morning Jed would walk to his school from his house a short distance away.[3]

His father was the headmaster of a prestigious preparatory school. Dr. Bartlet used his position as headmaster to allow his son to enter the lucrative school.[4]

While attending school in 1960, Bartlet got in trouble with his father for a stunt he pulled on Professor Loomis, the professor of literature at the school. Bartlet and a group of friends wrote an article condemning Loomis for banning books such as "Farenheit 451," and works by D.H. Lawrence and Henry Miller. This was one of the many times Bartlet received a slap from his father.[5] Their relationship would always be strained (or as Jed later categorized it, "complicated").

Bartlet received a 1590 (ten less than a perfect 1600) on his SATs. After retaking the test, he once again received a 1590.[6]

After high school, Bartlet was accepted to Harvard University, Yale University, Williams College, and the University of Notre Dame. He decided on Notre Dame because he was considering entering the priesthood.[7]

According to Abbey, Bartlet speaks four languages; none of them, however, is French. [8]

University of Notre Dame

Bartlet did his undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame.[9]

Bartlet's consideration about becoming a priest ended when he met his future wife, Abigail, and changed his studies.[10]

Bartlet might have attempted to play baseball for Notre Dame, but would be noted by Toby Ziegler and Charlie Young years later as being a bad pitcher.[11]

Bartlet graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame with a degree in American Studies. He minored in theology.[12]

London School of Economics

After Notre Dame, Bartlet was accepted into the prestigious London School of Economics. This was one of his major goals in life.[13]

When he was 26 years old, he wrote a paper supporting the deregulation of Far East trade barriers. This created an uproar in his school and he was "nearly thrown out."[14]

Regardless of this paper, Bartlet would go on to receive a masters degree and eventually a doctorate from the school.[15]

Economics Career

Bartlet became a tenured economics professor[16] at Dartmouth University, which was another major goal in his life.[17]

While at Dartmouth, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.[18]

As a professor and researcher, Bartlet became world famous, eventually winning the Nobel Prize in Economics.[19] He actually "tied" with another economist from Japan for that year, a point that always annoyed him.

He also wrote the book Theory and Design of Macroeconomics in Developing Nations (which judging from Toby Ziegler's reaction to the President's less-than-serious suggestion he talk about the book on live television, it was not a major page-turner).[20]

It is likely he won the Nobel Prize while he was a politician, as he references his daughter Ellie being in third grade at the time of his award (presumably the late 1970s), and he entered politics presumably in the early 1970s.

Early Political Career

By 1971, Josiah Bartlet had been elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.[21]

From the New Hampshire State House, Bartlet started his political career, and learned the basics of politics.[22]

Bartlet ran against Republican Elliot Roush for United States House of Representatives and won.[23] Despite the win, Bartlet seemed to harbor resentment towards Roush.

Bartlet would go on to serve three terms in the House.[24]

Governor of New Hampshire

Bartlet served two terms as the Governor of New Hampshire.[25] He served his first term as Governor from 1991 to 1995 and his second term from 1995 to 1999.[26]

As Governor, Bartlet was very popular with the people of New Hampshire. [27] He was so popular, in fact, that when he decided to later run for President of the United States, his staff encouraged him to all but ignore the New Hampshire primary as he had no chance of losing it.

Governor Bartlet was for strict state seatbelt laws, but failed to act on it, because it would waste time in the state legislature.[28]

Bartlet also signed into state law the Historic Barn and Bridges Preservation Act, an act that he later regretted when it interfered with his plans for his Presidential Library. The law provided that certain barns, bridges, and other buildings more than a century old needed to be preserved. [29]

As Governor, Bartlet had to deal with several state lawsuits.[30]

One of his primary concerns as governor was tourism. During his terms, he approved the use of the slogan "New Hampshire, It's what's new" and increases in snowmobile and "fall foliage" tourism.[31]

He appointed Robert Nolan to the New Hampshire State Medical Board, possibly because he was a colleague of Bartlet's wife, Abbey.[32]


See the Bartlet Administration for more information.

1998 election

See United States presidential election, 1998 and Bartlet for America for more information.

It was during the end of his governorship that Bartlet's friend, Leo McGarry, suggested a run for the Presidency.[33]

Governor Bartlet used his popularity to run for President, with help from Leo McGarry and Josh Lyman.

He began as a "dark horse" candidate, and surprisingly gained momentum, eventually winning several important primaries.[34]

One of the most crucial victories was in Illinois, which allowed him to go and win on Super Tuesday.

Following the concession by Senator John Hoynes, the one-time front runner, Bartlet offered him the position of running mate.

As he lacked a lot of knowledge about certain areas of the the presidency, and he set up a "Bartlet college" in his mansion's dining room to learn about foreign and military affairs every morning.[35]

Governor Bartlet won the 1998 election with 303 electoral votes.[36]

As President-Elect, Bartlet was angered that the Republican President seemed to be sticking him with a military conflict in the Philippines.[37] He remarked that he would have to remember to "fire Fitzwallace," but thankfully this never came to pass.


Jed Bartlet's mother was a Roman Catholic and his father was a religious Protestent. Due to the malnature of the relationship between Bartlet and his father, Jed chose to follow the faith of his loving mother. To this day, Bartlet remains a devout Roman Catholic, attending church every Sunday.


Education History

Work History

  • Professor of Economics at Dartmouth University
  • 1971: Nobel Laurete in Economics
  • Author: Theory and Design of Macroeconomics in Developing Nations

Political History

Background Information

"Jed" Bartlet was played by Martin Sheen. Although the show had an ensemble cast, the main character in the series became President Bartlet. Bartlet represents, in many ways, an "ideal liberal president," endowed with a fierce intellect, great (though not infallible) personal integrity and toughness, but tempered with essential compassion for the less fortunate and a sense of humor.

Bartlet was not originally intended to be a key member of the cast. He was only meant to make occasional appearances. Alan Alda (who would play Senator Arnold Vinick), George C. Scott (the star of Patton) and Sidney Poitier were also considered for the role of President Bartlet.


  1. "My great grandfather's great-grandfather was Dr. Josiah Bartlett, who was the New Hampshire delegate to the second Continental Congress" from What Kind of Day Has It Been?
  2. "Yes. I remember being locked in a steamer trunk." "There were actual steamers in there with me, Charlie. I was in there with seafood." from Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail
  3. "I walked to school every morning in weather colder than this." from Inauguration: Over There (Part II)
  4. "You're at the school because I'm the headmaster." from Two Cathedrals
  5. From a scene in Two Cathedrals
  6. "I got 800/790. For the life of me, I can't imagine what I got wrong. Then I took them again, and got 800/790. I mean, is it possible there was some sort of number-two pencil anomaly that could've...?" from Holy Night
  7. "You were accepted at Harvard, Yale, and Williams." from The Portland Trip
  8. The Indians in the Lobby
  9. Bartlet is seen wearing a Notre Dame sweatshirt in Five Votes Down
  10. From a conversation with C.J. Cregg in The Portland Trip
  11. From a conversation in Memorial Day, paraphrasing that the Notre Dame Athletic department would agree to make Bartlet wear a special pitching vest, instead of attempting pitching by himself.
  12. "For the record, the President graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with a major in American Studies and a minor in theology." from The U.S. Poet Laureate
  13. According to Stanley Keyworth in Night Five
  14. "When I was 26, I wrote a paper supporting the deregulation of Far East trade barriers. Nearly got thrown out of the London School of Economics. I was young and stupid, and trying to make some noise." from The Short List
  15. "He received a Masters and a Doctorate at the London School of Economics" from The U.S. Poet Laureate
  16. "I am an economics professor..." from The Crackpots and These Women
  17. According to Stanley Keyworth in Night Five
  18. "...a Doctorate at the London School of Economics and an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Dartmouth University where he was a tenured professor." from The U.S. Poet Laureate
  19. "Jed Bartlet, Nobel Laureate in Economics..." from Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
  20. According to Josh Lyman in The U.S. Poet Laureate
  21. "28 years ago, I come home from a very bad day at the State House." from Pilot
  22. "What about state legislature? It's the place to learn. The President started there..." from Abu El Banat
  23. "I don't know who Elliot Roush is..." "I beat him in my first Congressional campaign." from The Midterms
  24. "Jed Bartlet, Nobel Laureate in Economics, three-term congressman..." from Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
  25. "...three-term congressman, two-term Governor" from Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc
  26. "I remember a time in the Governor's mansion. It was about ten years ago..." from In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part I
  27. "I was saying, what I don't understand is you guys were such fans of the President, you loved him when he was governor." from Hartsfield's Landing
  28. "And I was for it then. Never did anything about it because nobody wanted it." from The Women of Qumar
  29. "What plaid flannel-wearing, cheese eating, yahoo of a milkman governor signed that idiot bill into state law? It was me, wasn't it?" from Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail
  30. "Have I ever been party to a lawsuit? I was governor of New Hampshire. Anybody who..." from Bad Moon Rising
  31. From a scene in Bartlet For America
  32. "Yeah, they worked together for 20 years, and I was the governor who appointed him to the Board." from Dead Irish Writers
  33. "I was thinking about the White House. I wasn't thinking about me." from Bartlet For America
  34. From scenes in In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part II
  35. "When I was running as a governor, I didn't know anything. I made them start Bartlet college in my dining room. Two hours every morning on foreign affairs and the military." from Posse Comitatus
  36. "You got 303 electoral votes; I think you're stuck with them." from Memorial Day
  37. "The President and Admiral Fitzwallace are going to saddle me with a war in the Philippines." from Memorial Day

New Hampshire
Englemann (D) | Gillis (R)
Bartlet (D) | Bartlett | Campbell (D)

Governor of New Hampshire
eventually Wilkins
Owen Lassiter
President of the United States
Acting: Glen Allen Walken

1999 - 2007
Matt Santos
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