Interesting and Little-Known Facts About American Presidents

Presidential Seal

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Why Should We Study the Presidents?

Most history texts do a poor job of truly capturing what our country is and why it was formed. Instead, texts tend to focus on wars, times of economic prosperity or dispair, and broad, general themes such as Native Americans or the Industrial Revolution. This does little to enlighten the average student; it tends to bore them and make them despise history. History, by its very definition, should be the most interesting of sujects. After all, it’s the study of ourselves!

I’m a teacher, and I love history. My students love history, because I teach it in a different way. I don’t do chapter after chapter of history. Instead, I focus on the American presidents. This makes the history come alive, because it makes it personal. By studying the presidents, we end up covering all of the major themes in American history through a more personal approach, one that seemlessly flows into government and politics while thoroughly covering all of the major themes in any history text. Instead of reading secondary sources, we focus on quotes, speeches, and statements that our presidents made, first-person sources. This is what history should be. Join me by clicking on one of these presidents, and you’ll unlock an amazing journey through our American history!


The Presidential Oath

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

There is historical debate over which president first added "so help me God." Though George Washington is often credited with adding this line after he finished the oath at his first inauguration, historical records are incomplete. We do know that it was common procedure to add the phrase at least until the early 20th century. For example, we do know that Abraham Lincoln, according to an 1865 article in the Sacramento Daily Union, did in fact finish his oath with "so help me God," and he kissed the bible. Theodore Roosevelt ended his oath with "and thus I swear." For a great article on presidential inaugurations, see 10 Interesting Things You Should Know About Inauguration Day.



Mount Rushmore

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Lincoln Memorial

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Jefferson Memorial

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White House

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Washington Monument

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The American Presidents

  1. George Washington

  2. John Adams

  3. Thomas Jefferson

  4. James Madison

  5. James Monroe

  6. John Quincy Adams

  7. Andrew Jackson

  8. Martin Van Buren

  9. William Henry Harrison

  10. John Tyler

  11. James Knox Polk

  12. Zachary Taylor

  13. Millard Fillmore

  14. Franklin Pierce

  15. James Buchanan

  16. Abraham Lincoln

  17. Andrew Johnson

  18. Ulysses S. Grant

  19. Rutherford Birchard Hayes

  20. James Abram Garfield

  21. Chester Alan Arthur

  22. Grover Cleveland

  23. Benjamin Harrison

  24. Grover Cleveland

  25. William McKinley

  26. Theodore Roosevelt

  27. William Howard Taft

  28. Woodrow Wilson

  29. Warren Gamaliel Harding

  30. Calvin Coolidge

  31. Herbert Clark Hoover

  32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

  33. Harry S. Truman

  34. Dwight David Eisenhower

  35. John Fitzgerald Kennedy

  36. Lyndon Baines Johnson

  37. Richard Milhous Nixon

  38. Gerald Rudolph Ford

  39. James Earl Carter

  40. Ronald Wilson Reagan

  41. George Herbert Walker Bush

  42. William Jefferson Clinton

  43. George Walker Bush

  44. Barack Hussein Obama


Don't forget to take the Presidential Quiz below!


Lists of Interesting and Little-Known Presidential Facts

African-American United States presidential and vice presidential candidates

Presidents of the United States by age

American Presidents: Life Portraits

United States presidential assassination attempts and plots

Children of the Presidents of the United States

Presidents of the United States by education

Presidents of the United States by date of death

Presidents of the United States who died in office

Presidents of the United States by other elected offices held

Candidates for President of the United States who received at least one electoral vote

Female United States presidential and vice-presidential candidates

Genealogical relationships of Presidents of the United States

Presidents of the United States by date of birth

Heights of Presidents of the United States and presidential candidates

Historical rankings of Presidents of the United States

Meetings between the President of the United States and the Pope

United States Presidents by military rank

Presidents of the United States by military service

Nicknames of United States presidents

The Accidental President (disambiguation)

United States political parties by time holding the presidency

United States presidential pets

Presidents of the United States by place of birth

Presidents of the United States by place of primary affiliation

Presidents of the United States by political affiliation

Presidents of the United States by other offices held

Presidents of the United States by occupation

Presidents of the United States by previous executive experience

Former United States presidents who ran for office after leaving the presidency

Religious affiliations of Presidents of the United States

Residences of Presidents of the United States

Major-party United States presidential candidates who lost their home state

Presidents of the United States with facial hair

United States presidential vetoes

White House intruders


The Constitution

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Presidential Elegibility and the Constitution

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution of the United States:

1. What eligibility requirements are there to be president?

  • Must be a natural-born citizen of the United States
  • Must have lived in the United States for at least fourteen years
  • Must be thirty-five years of age or older

A natural-born citizen is one who was either born within the United States or one who was born to natural-born citizens while abroad. A perfect example of this would be John McCain. He was born in Panama, yet he was able to run for president. His parents were natural-born citizens who were abroad at the time of his birth.

2. Can a person whose parents were not natural-born citizens run for president?

Yes, he/she could run for president if he/she were a natural-born citizen.

3. Can a woman be president?

There are no limitations with regard to race or gender when it comes to becoming the president. Yes, a woman can be president. Several women have unsuccessfully tried to become president. No woman has secured a nomination from a major party as of yet.

4. Are there any health requirements in order to be president?

No health requirements are necessary. If you can breathe, you’re healthy enough. Realistically, an ill candidate would have a very difficult time securing a nomination and getting elected. In 1984, questions were raised about Ronald Reagan’s health/age. On this occasion, it backfired when Ronald Reagan said, “I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.”



Lincoln Inauguration Bible

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Inauguration Day

1. When does the elected president take office?

According to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, Inauguration Day takes is on the January 20th following the election. Prior to the 20th Amendment, inaugural ceremonies had been held on different calendar dates:

  • April 30
  • March 4 and 5
  • January 20 and 21.

The March 4 date was changed to January 20 by the 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

2. Where is the president sworn in?

Presidents are typically sworn in, at twelve noon, in front of or inside the U.S. Capitol building, but this hasn’t always been the case. George Washington gave his first inaugural address at Federal Hall in New York City. He gave his second address in Congress Hall in Philadelphia, the same place John Adams gave his. Starting with Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address, all addresses since then have been at the U.S. Capitol building. However, there is one exception, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth address. He gave it at the White House.

3. Does the outgoing president have to attend the swearing in?

No, the outgoing president does not have to attend, and in some cases has not done so because of who his replacement has been. See Inaugurals of Presidents of the United States: Some Precedents and Notable Events for an interesting list of events that occurred at presidential inaugurations.

4. Who swears in the new president?

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court usually swears in the president. This is not required by the Constitution, but it is tradition. For an interesting list of who swore in each president, see Presidential Oaths of Office.

5. How long can somebody be president?

The Twenty-Second amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1951. The amendment limits the President to a maximum of two terms. Each term is four years, but a person can be president for up to ten years. That means that someone can become president as the result of the death or resignation of another president and serve up to two years of his/her remaining term. Then, he/she could be elected for two terms, eight years.


The Presidential Quiz

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Comment About a President 4 comments

Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Loved this hub. It taught me a lot more then I ever learned in school, even in college. Had to copy and paste this.

Harry S. Truman and Barack Obama (three times removed)

In terms of Presidents and how they are related to each other.

Very excellent, voted up!


arizonataylor profile image

arizonataylor 4 years ago from Arizona Author

Thank you! I've enjoyed writing it. I am about to finish the "James Madison" hub. It should be pretty good, as Madison was simply amazing.

Best wishes.


Patty Kenyon profile image

Patty Kenyon 4 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

Awesome and Interesting!!!! This is a must read for those learning history!!!


arizonataylor profile image

arizonataylor 4 years ago from Arizona Author

Thank you. I use this information in my classroom, and I thought I would start making hubs so other teachers could use it too.

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