Fun and Interesting Facts About the U.S. Presidents
George Washington (1789-1797) When Washington died on Dec. 12, 1799, Napoleon ordered 10 days of mourning throughout France. In 1831 there was an unsuccessful attempt made to steal Washington's remains. He was moved to a new tomb on Mount Vernon. After the ceremony, the door to the vault was locked and the key was thrown into the Potomac river.
John Adams (1797-1801) John Adams was the father of John Quincy Adams, the 6th president. He was vice president to George Washington. Adams was the first president to live in the White House.
Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) Was chosen as the main author to draft the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. He was the 3rd of 10 children.
James Madison (1809-1817) Nicknamed "Father of the Constitution," "Father of the Bill of Rights," among others. Madison was the smallest president at 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed 100 pounds.
James Monroe (1817-1825) Monroe was the last Revolutionary War veteran to serve as president. He was the first president to live in the White House after it had been painted white. Prior to this, the White House was painted gray.
John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) Served until his death at 80 years old. Was the cousin of Samuel Adams.
Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) Jackson joined the army when he was 13 to serve in the Revolutionary War as a courier. He suffered from several illnesses including small pox, dysentery, and malaria.
Martin Van Buren (1837-1841) Was the first president to be born an official American citizen because he became president after the Declaration of Independence was signed. Previous to this, the presidents were British or Irish citizens. Asthma was the cause of his death.
William Henry Harrison (1841-1841) Was the first president to die in office. He died from pneumonia just one month after his inauguration.
John Tyler (1841-1845) Had 15 children. He was the first vice president to take office after the death of president William Henry Harrison. Was nicknamed the "Accidental President" and "His Accidency."
James K. Polk (1845-1849) Was the first president in office to have his picture taken. Although the Liberty Bell cracked in 1835, the crack widened during Polk's presidency in 1846 and the bell was no longer able to be rung.
Zachary Taylor (1849-1850) Died from cholera after having eaten a bowl of cherries and drink a pitcher of iced milk. He is buried in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
Millard Fillmore (1850-1853) Was born in a log cabin in Moravia, New York State and died in Buffalo after having co-founded the University of Buffalo. He also helped to found the Buffalo Historical Society and Buffalo General Hospital. He passed away from a stroke.
Franklin Pierce (1853-1857) Was born in a log cabin in Hillsboro, New Hampshire. Lost three of his children to death. His one son, Benjamin ("Bennie") was killed in a train accident in which he was decapitated in front of his father.
James Buchanan (1857-1861) Was the only single man (bachelor) to be president. He was engaged but his fiancee called off the wedding and died a week later. Was nicknamed "old Buck."
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) Was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, having died the morning after being shot in the Ford's Theater in Washington. Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated. He was shot in the head with a single bullet. He helped to abolish slavery with his Emancipation Proclamation and his help with pushing through Congress the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution which ultimately put an end to slavery in December 1865. Three of Lincoln's four children died early in their lives. He was 6 feet, 4 inches tall. A 60 foot sculpture of his head is carved into Mount Rushmore. Lincoln reportedly had visions and dreams of his possible upcoming death.
Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) Was born in a log cabin in North Carolina. Johnson had a stroke on July 28, 1869, another one the following day, then passed away two days after. He was illiterate until he was about 17 years old when he met Eliza McCardle, his future wife. She taught him how to read, write, and count.
Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877) Grant was invited to attend the Ford's Theater the same night Lincoln was assassinated. His wife had other engagements so they did not attend. He is buried next to his wife in Grant's Tomb which is the largest mausoleum in North America. The "S" in his name does not stand for anything. His real name is Hiram Ulysses Grant. His name was changed when he was entering the military academy by his congressman Thomas Hamer, and he kept it that way since.
Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881) His wife, Lucy Ware Webb Hayes, was the first of the president's wives to be called the "First Lady of the Land." Hayes and his wife had eight children together. His father passed away shortly before he was born and Hayes was raised by his widowed mother.
James A. Garfield (1881-1881) Was the last president to be born in a log cabin. His mother was the first president's mother to attend an inauguration. Garfield was the second president to be assassinated. Although he survived the initial shooting, he died just a couple months later from infections and illness. He was the first left-handed president and was also ambidextrous.
Chester Alan Arthur (1881-1885) Was the third president in office in the year 1881 (Hayes and Garfield were the others). He was not elected into presidency but succeeded to the office after Garfield's assassination. Chester Arthur and his wife, Ellen Lewis Herndon, had three children together, two of which survived into adulthood. She died before he took office as president.
Grover Cleveland (1885-1889) Cleveland was president during several important historical events including the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886, the Chicago's World Fair in 1897, and the Presidential Succession Act in 1886. He served two, non-consecutive terms as president and was the only president to ever have done so. He was involved in a sex scandal in which he was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock. He was 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed about 250 pounds.
Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893) Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison. He was the first president to use electricity in the White House. A 36-second speech by Benjamin Harrison was recorded on a wax phonograph cylinder, making him the first president to have his voice recorded and preserved.
Grover Cleveland (1893-1897) Cleveland lost the election in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison but was victorious against Harrison in the following election in which he became president for the second time.
William McKinley (1897-1901) McKinley was the third president to be assassinated. He was elected for two terms and was killed shortly after starting his second term as president. After McKinley was shot by Leon Frank Czolgosz, the crowd began to beat the assassin. McKinley then shouted "boys, don't let them hurt him!" McKinley was featured on the $500 bill which was last printed in 1934. McKinley's inauguration was the first to ever be filmed.
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) Was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize which he received for his role as negotiator in the Russo-Japanese War. Theodore Roosevelt was blind in his left eye, the result of a boxing injury. In 1910, he became the first president to fly in an aircraft which was built by the Wright brothers. He was the youngest president having begun his term at 42.
William Howard Taft (1909-1913) Is one of only two presidents buried at Arlington Cemetery. The other is John F. Kennedy. He was the largest of all the presidents st 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 350 pounds. He once became stuck in a bath tub at the White House. He died of heart disease, high blood pressure, and inflammation of the bladder.
Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) Wilson was president during a number of important events including the Treaty of Versailles, the women's the right to vote in 1920, and the ratification of the eighteenth amendment which instituted prohibition. Woodrow Wilson was there when Babe Ruth made his debut. His portrait is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation. Wilson didn't learn to read until he was 11 years old.
Warren G. Harding (1921-1923) Harding was married to Florence Kling but they did not have any children. He had affairs with at least two women. Harding used to host weekly poker nights at the White House and once gambled away all of the White House's valuable china. He died from a heart attack while in office.
Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) Coolidge finished serving Harding's term after Hrding's death and then was re-elected to serve out another full term. His wife was a close friend to Helen Keller. Important events that occurred during his residency include Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight, the Immigration Act of 1924, and the Revenue Acts of 1924 and 1926.
Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) Was a Quaker born in West Branch, Iowa. The great stock market crash of 1929, followed by the Great Depression occurred during Hoover's presidency. The Hoover's spoke in Chinese while in the White House so that the staff could not understand what they were saying. He died of internal bleeding at the age of 90.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) He was elected in for four terms and died during his 4th term in office. He married Eleanor Roosevelt, his fifth cousin once removed. FDR was involved in the repeal of prohibition (the Twenty-First Amendment) and was president during other important events including the attack on Pearl Harbor, the introduction of the Social Security Act (1935), and the New Deal policies.
Harry S Truman (1945-1953) After serving less than 3 months as vice president, Truman was sworn in as president following the death of FDR. Truman founded the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, and the Truman Doctrine. He is also known for defeating Nazi Germany.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) Both Alaska and Hawaii entered the union in 1959 during Eisenhower's presidency. He became the first president of 50 states. He was a golf lover and had a putting green installed on the White House lawn. Eisenhower suffered from Crohn's disease and also had a stroke, mild heart attack, and aneurysm during his presidency.
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) John F. Kennedy was the fourth president to be assassinated. Two of his children, John Jr. and Caroline, survived infancy. Another son, Patrick, died in August of 1963, and he had a stillborn daught named Arabella. Kennedy was president during many important historical events including the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the Bay of Pigs in 1961, the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961, the launch of the first American in space (Alan Shephard), and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969) Johnson was only two cars behind Kennedy when Kennedy was assassinated, and he became president when he was sworn in aboard Air Force One. Events that occurred during Johnson's presidency include the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, and the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968. He was buried under an oak tree at the LBJ ranch.
Richard Nixon (1969-1974) Nixon was one of five children. Sadly, his younger brother died in 1925 from a short illness his older brother died of tuberculosis in 1933. Nixon resigned during his second term because of the Watergate Scandal. He passed away from a stroke in 1994.
Gerald Ford (1974-1977) Ford was sworn in as president following Nixon's resignation. While in the Boy Scouts, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. There were two assassination attempts made on Ford by two women. One was a follower of Charles Manson and the other was a previous FBI informer.
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) Jimmy Carter was a distant cousin of June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash's wife. The hospital in which Carter was born is now a mental hospital and bears his mother's name. Carter reported witnessing a UFO in 1969 and filed a report in 1973 with the International UFO Bureau.
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) Reagan started out as a democrat but switched to the republican party in 1962. He had an acting career in his early life. The Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, two years after Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech. Reagan set the record for oldest president, starting his term at 69 years old and finishing his second term at 77. He died in 2004 at the age of 93.
George Bush (1989-1993) Was vice president to Ronald Reagan for two terms. His eldest son, George W. Bush, was later elected president in 2001. Major events that occured during his presidency include the Persian Gulf War from 1990-1991, the invasion of Panama in 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, and the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Bill Clinton (1993-2001) Was the first president of the "baby boomer" generation. Clinton is famous for his impeachment in 1998 by the House of Representatives brought on by the Monica Lewinsky scandal in which he lied about having an affair with the 22 year old. He was given the nickname "Bubba" as a child. Clinton's father died in a car accident several months before his birth.
George W. Bush (2001-2009) Was president during the World Trade Center tragedy on Sept 11, 2001. He married his wife Laura three months after they met at a friend's dinner party. George W. Bush had a sister that died at the age of 3 from leukemia. He received a DUI in 1972. George W. Bush is responsible for enabling the No Child Left Behind Act.
Barrack Obama (2009-Present) Is the first African American to hold office as president. Obama is responsible for organizing the operation that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden. He has also been involved in several other important events and initiatives including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and becoming the first president to openly support the legalization of same-sex marriages.
How Do You Feel About President Donald Trump?
The United States has such a rich and interesting history. It has always been a strong nation and it continues to progress.
We can only hope that strong, smart, dedicated presidents lead the country into the future. It's good to learn some things about the past. It's good to learn about mistakes and successes that have come before us, and try to preserve our accomplishments.
Remember that your vote counts! Educate yourself on current politics, with a little bit of old where you can, and make the decisions that you have the right to make. Vote for the president that you believe will make the United States a better country now and in the future.
There are a lot of learning resources available, especially with the internet.