Presidential Trivia

The Presidents

President Barack Obama’s inauguration had the largest attendance of any event in the history of Washington, DC.  He became first African American to hold the office of President of the United States and first citizen born in Hawaii to hold the office. It also marked the highest viewership ever of the swearing-in ceremonies on the Internet.

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were once arrested together for taking a carriage ride in the countryside of Vermont on a Sunday, which violated the laws of that state.

George Washington never lived in the White House. The capital was actually located in Philadelphia and other cities when Washington was president. He is also the only president who didn’t represent a political party.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the first president to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C.

According to John Riley of the White House Historical Association, Harry Truman was a haberdasher. A haberdasher (HAB-er-dash-er) is someone who deals in men’s clothing and accessories, particularly hats.

President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) is the only president to be elected to two non-consecutive terms. He was the 22nd and 24th president.

Six presidents were named James: Madison, Monroe, Polk, Buchanan, Garfield, and Carter.

John Quincy Adams used to get up two hours before sunrise to go skinny dipping in the Potomac River.

George H. W. Bush (1924-) was the first serving vice president to be elected president since Martin Van Buren.

President James Buchanan (1791-1868) quietly but consistently bought slaves in Washington, D.C., and then set them free in Pennsylvania.

Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant, 1822-1885) smoked at least 20 cigars a day and, after a brilliant war victory, a nation of well wishers sent him more than 10,000 cigars. He later died of throat cancer.

John Tyler (1790-1862) had more children than any other president. He had eight by his first wife and seven by his second. He was 70 when his last child, Pearl, was born. He was also the first president to get married in office, though his eight children form his first wife did not approve of the wedding and did not attend.

James Madison (1751-1836) was the shortest president of the United States, standing at only 5’4”. He never weighed more than 100 pounds.

Theodore Roosevelt wasn’t the only President to invent a new expression. Martin Van Buren, the eighth President, is sometimes credited with creating the word “OK.” Van Buren was from Kinderhook, New York. During his campaign, Old Kinderhook (O.K.) clubs formed to support the President. Later, “OK” or “okay,” came to mean “all right.”

William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) holds the record for the longest inauguration speech in history at 8,578 words long and one hour and 40 minutes. Unfortunately, he gave the speech during bad weather and a month later, he was dead from pneumonia, making his the shortest presidency on record.

George Washington, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and Gerald Ford were all Masons, many symbols of which are found on American currency.

The youngest president was Teddy Roosevelt who became president at age 42 when McKinley (1843-1901) was assassinated. JFK was the youngest president elected at the age of 43.

Warren G. Harding once lost all the White House china gambling, on one hand of cards.

Three presidents died on July 4th: Thomas Jefferson (1826), John Adams (1826), and James Monroe (1831). Calvin Coolidge is the only president to have been born on the Fourth (1872).

James Monroe (1758-1831) once chased his Secretary of State from the White House with a pair of fire tongs.

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was reportedly involved in over 100 duels, most to defend the honor of his wife, Rachel. He had a bullet in his chest from an 1806 duel and another bullet in his arm from a barroom fight in 1813 with Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton.

Herbert Hoover was an orphan whose first job was picking bugs off potato plants, for which he was paid a dollar per hundred bugs. He also was a mine worker.

Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre. Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln Limo, which was made by Ford. Lincoln was in Box 7 at Ford’s Theatre, and Kennedy was in Car 7 of the Dallas motorcade.Both assassins had three names with 15 letters (John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald). Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and was captured in a warehouse. Oswald shot Kennedy in a warehouse and was captured in a theater.

An anarchist and lawyer named Charles Guiteau shot James Garfield in the back with a five-barrel, .44-caliber pistol called a British Bulldog in 1881. He said he chose the gun because it would look good on a display in a museum someday. No one currently knows where the gun is.

At 325 pounds, William Howard Taft (1857-1930), who was dubbed “Big Bill,” was the largest president in American history and often got stuck in the White House bathtub. His advisors had to sometimes pull him out.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter, the first Southerner elected to the presidency following the Civil War, restored U.S. citizenship to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America.Washington, Jackson, Van Buren, Taylor, Fillmore, Lincoln, A. Johnson, Cleveland, and Truman did not attend college. Harry Truman is the only twentieth-century president without a college degree.

At his first inauguration, George Washington added the “so help me God” to the end of the oath of office.

The first president to be born outside the original 13 States was Lincoln. And he was also the tallest standing at 6′ 4” and weighing 180 pounds.

Woodrow Wilson was the first to show a motion picture in the White House: The Birth of Nation, which has become the most banned film in American history.The presidential faces on Mount Rushmore are as high as a five-story building, about 60′ from chin to top of the head. The pupils of eyes are 4′ across and the mouths are 18′ wide. The carving took 14 years, from 1927-1941. The total cost was about $990,000. A total 450,000 tons of stone was removed.

JFK was the first Roman Catholic to be president, the first Boy Scout to become president, and the first president to be born in the twentieth century.

Lyndon Baines Johnson used to go through the White House at night turning lights off that were not needed. He did not want to waste the taxpayers money.

Gerald Ford was the first person to be both vice president and president without being elected by the people. He was appointed vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned and he succeeded to the presidency when Nixon resigned.

President Reagan loved jelly beans and used to keep a bowl of them on his desk. His nickname was Dutch.

Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached. He was acquitted by one vote in the Senate. It would be another 131 years before another president, Bill Clinton, would be impeached.

Four of the past five presidents have been southpaws (left-handed): Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Only George W. Bush was a rightie.

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