An Interesting Fact About All 46 American Presidents

An Interesting Fact About All 46 American Presidents

Max Schwartzman

People often debate on who was the worst president or who was the most ignorant president, but what about who was the weirdest president or the most interesting? While studying American history, particularly a test on the presidents, one might ask themselves those questions. Given the idea to write this for the Prowl by a peer, here are forty-six interesting and odd facts about our forty-five American presidents (not a typo).

 

  1. George Washington, 1789-1797
    1. Washington was posthumously awarded the rank of General of the Armies of the United States, becoming the only present and future six star general in American history (Mental Floss)
  2. John Adams, 1797-1801
    1. Adams’ last words were  “Thomas Jefferson survives.” What he didn’t know was that Jefferson had died mere hours prior (Insider)
  3. Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
    1. After the destruction of the Library of Congress in 1812, Jefferson sold most of his private library to the government. Selling almost 6500 books to the Library. (Mental Floss 
  4. James Madison, 1809-1817
    1. Princeton University’s very first graduate student, he would study Hebrew among other subjects during his education (Insider)
  5. James Monroe, 1817-1825
    1. Him and his wife, Elizabeth, attended Napoleon’s coronation at Notre Dame Cathedral in 1804 during his service as the American ambassador to the U.K. (Mental Floss) 
  6. John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
    1. He was a big fan of skinny-dipping. Every morning, Adams dived into the nearby Potomac River for a daily exercise routine (Insider) 
  7. Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837
    1. Andrew Jackson was shot in the chest during a gun duel, he managed to stay standing and shot and killed his opponent. The bullet could not be safely removed and remained in his chest for the rest of his life (Ducksters)
  8. Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841
    1. Van Buren was the first president born in the United States, the previous seven had been born in the British American Colonies (Mental Floss)
  9. William Henry Harrison, 1841
    1. In the longest Inauguration speech of any president, lasting over one hour and forty five minutes, Harrison got sick. He would die of pneumonia about a month later, giving him the shortest presidency in U.S. history (Insider)
  10. John Tyler, 1841-1845
    1. Tyler had fifteen children, which is the most children by any president (Insider) 
  11. James K. Polk, 1845-1849
    1. He was the first president to have his photograph taken (Ducksters) 
  12. Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850
    1. Almost as famous as his war-hero turned politician owner, Taylor’s horse Old Whitney was beloved and believed to be lucky (Mental Floss)
  13. Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853
    1. Fillmore did not have a Vice President during his term (Mental Floss)
  14. Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857
    1. Pierce had the nickname of ‘Young Hickory’, in reference to Andrew Jackson who’s nickname was ‘Old Hickory’ (Insider)
  15. James Buchanan Jr, 1857-1861
    1. Buchanan was the only president to never be married (Insider) 
  16. Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865
    1. Abraham Lincoln would often store items, such as letters, in his stove-pipe hat (Ducksters)
  17. Andrew Johnson, 1865-1869
    1. Johnson never went to school, meaning he had to teach himself to read and write (Insider) 
  18. Hiram Ulysses Grant, 1869-1877
    1. Grant made Christmas a national holiday in the United States in an effort to unite the North and South (Mental Floss)
  19. Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 1877-1881
    1. A gift from the American consul in Bangkok, Thailand, Hayes received the first Siamese cat in America (Mental Floss) 
  20. James Abram Garfield, 1881
    1. At the age of 26, Garfield became the president of his college, Eclectic University (Insider)
  21. Chester Alan Arthur, 1881-1885
    1. During a renovation of the White House, Arthur hired Louis C. Tiffany of Tiffany and Co. to do the work (Mental Floss)
  22. Stephen Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889
    1. He was born Stephen Grover Cleveland, but he dropped Stephen before entering into politics (Mental Floss) 
  23. Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893
    1. The first president to have electricity in the White House, Harrison was however afraid to touch the lights of fear of electric shock (Insider)
  24. Stephen Grover Cleveland, 1893-1897
    1. Cleveland — who served two nonconsecutive terms — won his presidency by the most razor-sharp margins. He won the election thanks to 1,200 votes in New York (Insider) 
  25. William McKinley, 1897-1901
    1. McKinley kept a yellow-headed amazon parrot named Washington Post who could sing ‘Yankee Doodle’ (Mental Floss)
  26. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., 1901-1909
    1. Roosevelt was blind in his left eye because of an injury during a boxing match (Ducksters)
  27. William Howard Taft, 1909-1913
    1. Taft became the first president to attend baseball’s opening day and throw the first pitch, a tradition that has lasted nearly every president since (Mental Floss) 
  28. Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921
    1. During his time in office, Wilson would play golf with black balls in order to play throughout the winter (Mental Floss)
  29. Warren Gamaliel Harding, 1921-1923
    1. Warren G. Harding loved playing poker and held weekly games at the White House. Rumor has it he even bet and lost an entire set of official White House china (Mental Floss)
  30. John Calvin Coolidge Jr., 1923-1929
    1. The only president born on the fourth of July (Mental Floss)
  31. Herbert Clark Hoover, 1929-1933
    1. Hoover was a self-made millionaire. Graduating from Stanford University with a degree in geology, he then globe trotted throughout his 20s, locating valuable mineral deposits (Insider)
  32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt ‘FDR’, 1933-1945
    1. Theodore Roosevelt walked Franklin’s wife down the aisle during their wedding (Mental Floss)
  33. Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953
    1. The ‘S.’ in Harry S. Truman doesn’t stand for anything (Insider)
  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953-1961
    1. Eisenhower is one of only nine men to be promoted to the rank of five star general in the United States (Mental Floss)
  35. John F. Kennedy, 1961-1963
    1. Kennedy donated his entire $100,000 a year salary to charities (Insider)
  36. Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-1969
    1. Lyndon Johnson had 2 beagles named Her and Him. The dogs became celebrities after being frequently photographed with the Johnson; they were heavily featured in a Life magazine profile that wrote, ‘Not many dogs have been privileged to shoo birds off the White House lawn, get underfoot at a Cabinet meeting, or mingle with dignitaries at a state ball.’ (Mental Floss)
  37. Richard Milhous Nixon, 1969-1974
    1. He would be given his middle name of ‘Milhous’ from his mothers maiden name (Insider)
  38. Leslie Lynch King Jr. ‘Gerald R. Ford’, 1974-1977
    1. Ford was offered positions on both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions football teams but turned them down for a coaching job at Yale where he also received a law degree (Mental Floss)
  39. James Earl ‘Jimmy’ Carter Jr., 1977-1981
    1. Carter was hugely frugal, spreading his frugality into his politics through acts such as selling the presidential yacht (Mental Floss)
  40. Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1981-1989
    1. Reagan was a successful actor before he became a politician, his final role was as a villain in The Killers (Mental Floss)
  41. George Herbert Walker ‘H.W.’ Bush, 1989-1993
    1. Bush was one of the youngest pilots in the Navy when he served. He flew for fifty-eight combat missions. (Insider)
  42. William Jefferson Blythe III ‘Bill Clinton’, 1993-2001
    1. Bill Clinton found a hobby in the saxophone and was a member of a band called “Three Blind Mice” during his time in high school (Ducksters)
  43. George Walker Bush, 2001-2009
    1. Bush ran the Houston marathon, finishing with a time of three hours and forty-four minutes. He is the only president to run a marathon. (Mental Floss)
  44. Barack Hussein Obama II, 2009-2016
    1. Obama’s first job was as an ice cream scooper at a Baskin Robbins, during which he ate so much ice cream that he despises it now. (Insider)
  45. Donald John Trump, 2016-2020
    1. Trump is the only American president to be impeached twice (Insider)
  46. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., 2020-Present 
    1. Biden’s had two German Shepherds, Champ and Major, – Major, who was adopted at the Delaware Humane Association is the first rescue dog to live at the White House (Mental Floss)

 

Despite the rather prestigious title of President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the United States Military, most of the American presidents were just average guys who had odd quirks and habits just like the rest of the American people. Whether its skinny-dipping or being stubborn about coats or having an interesting military career, these monumental figures of our history were really no different than anyone else.