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U.S. Presidents Trivia; Part 1: (1789-1849)
Nowadays, in the U.S.A., we tend to think of our elected leaders (and all politicians—local, state and federal) in a very stereotypical way: thousand dollar haircut, same boring “thumbs up” for after every speech, and the same tired campaign promises. They appear as a carbon-copy that is a dime a dozen.
However, that isn’t how it always has been. America has had many interesting and colorful characters for its president.
I thought it would be fun to share some facts about past presidents that, in today’s hypersensitive political climate and landscape, makes you wonder if they would have been able to handle the ridicule, criticism and scrutiny during their bids the presidency. Some things seem comparable to today while others are seemingly reflections of only their respective eras.
Presidents of the U.S.A (1—11)
The first Sixty years; 1789-1849
1. George Washington (1789-1797) had multiple pairs of teeth made of ivory, metal, and human teeth, but none were wooden. Had different types for different occasions, i.e. eating and sitting for portraits to emphasize his jawline. Only president without a political party.
2. John Adams (1797-1801) spoke with a lisp because he had lost most of his teeth and didn’t wear dentures. As vice-president tried to give the president regal titles such as “His Majesty the President” and “His High Mightiness.” He defended, in court, the British soldiers who were involved in the Boston Massacre.
3. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) took the New Testament of the Bible and cut out everything that he thought was too dogmatic and was left with about 35 pages; oddly enough, was the first president to be sworn in on a Bible.
4. James Madison (1809-1817) stood 5’ 2” and weighed 100 lbs. His wife, Dolley Todd, always had parties and dances even though he himself hated them. She liked to serve ice cream, and her favorite flavors were pink peppermint, apricot, and strawberry.
5. James Monroe (1817-1825) was the last president who wore a powdered wig, knee breeches and a tricorne hat.
6. John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) was the first president who was the son of a previous president. During the 1828 election, the campaigning was bitter and personal. Adams supporters accused rival Andrew Jackson’s wife of bigamy. She supposedly died from the embarrassment and damage it did to her reputation.
7. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) had been in so many duels that he “rattled like a bag of marbles”. He carried a can with a sword in it. He had a musket ball lodged in his lung that made him cough up blood. He was the only president to balance the budget. Ever.
8. Martin Van Buren (1837-1841) was the first president to be born an American Citizen. Before this, all previous presidents were born in America when it was under British rule and thus British citizens.
9. William Henry Harrison (March 4—April 4, 1841) gave the longest inaugural speech, about 2 hours, without a coat, in the rain, to show he wasn’t a feeble old man, caught pneumonia and was dead in a month making him the shortest term president.
10. John Tyler (1841-1845) was the first vice-president to succeed a president who died in office. Because it was unprecedented, and the Constitution was vague about the transfer of power from president to vice president, no political party supported him. People such as John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay didn’t even accept Tyler as a true president.
11. James K. Polk (1845-1849) said that he would only serve as president for one term and true to his word didn’t run for office again. He created the Department of the Interior as one of his last presidential acts. He expanded America by acquiring the Oregon Country, California, and New Mexico.
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