Strange but True Facts about Presidents – Road Tickle

June 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm (Uncategorized)

They lead the country, are incredibly famous and have immense power to shape the history of the planet. They are the Presidents of the United States and for all the common facts we know like Lincoln’s iconic hat, Teddy Roosevelt and the teddy bear and George Washington and the cherry tree (which probably didn’t happen), there are plenty of strange, but true, facts about the Presidents of the United States.

1. The First President

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History class tells us that the first president was George Washington, for whom both Washington D.C. and the state of Washington are named after. However, technically George Washington was not the first president of the American colonies; it was John Hanson, who was the third President of the U.S. Constitutional Congress from 1781 to 1782, and the first representative to serve one year in the office of the President of the United States in Congress Assembled. It was also John Hanson who authorized and approved the Great Seal of the United States. There are some thoughts that this is not technically true, and other rumors that Hanson was actually a black man, but that is not true.

After serving as President of Congress for one year, Hanson retired and died a year later in Maryland on November 22, 1783.

2. Breaking the Law

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One of the most famous presidents is Ulysses S. Grant, who led the North to victory in the American Civil War, and while historians rank his presidency as a poor one due to scandals, which has not, stopped him from being one of the most well-known presidents in history. What are not so well-known are two interest facts about Grant, who served as president from 1869 to 1877. First, during his presidency Grant received a speeding ticket for $20 for driving a horse too fast down Washington Street. As well, Grant was the first president to ever face a woman rival candidate. He faced Virginia Woodhull, who was the Equal Rights Party leader, in 1872.

3. Thomas Jefferson

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Arguably one of the best, if not the best, president of all time was Thomas Jefferson. The father of the constitution and one of the founding fathers of the United States, Jefferson was a true renaissance man. First, Jefferson not only wrote the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important documents of the pats 1,000 years, but he was also a very avid inventor.

Just a few of the things that Jefferson invented in his life include the hideaway bed, the dumbwaiter, the coat hanger and even the swivel chair, all this while creating a country and leading it for a time.

While he was an avid inventor and a writer, it may come as a surprise that Jefferson was not known for giving out speeches. During his tenure as president, two in all, he only gave two speeches; on his inaugurations. Also, Thomas Jefferson was a red-head and probably the most famous red head in history (Sorry Ron Howard).

4. Changing Weights and Ages

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No two presidents are the same, and this is shown in the fact that presidents have varied greatly in their age, height and weight.

The lightest of all presidents is also one of the most famous; James Madison. This leader of men weighed as much as some children, coming in at barely 100 pounds during his adulthood. In contrast, William Taft was the heaviest of all presidents, coming in at over 300 pounds. He was so large in fact that he once got stuck in the White House bath and had to be pulled out with the assistance of his aides.

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The oldest of all presidents was a recent one; Ronald Reagan. He was 69 when sworn in as president in 1981 and 78 when he left office. While many think that John F. Kennedy was the youngest man to be president, this is actually not true. Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest to become president, when he was sworn in after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, at a mere 42 years of age.

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The tallest of all presidents, and this should be no surprise, is Abraham Lincoln. Standing at six-foot four inches, he towered over others of the time. The next tallest was Lyndon B. Johnson at six-feet 3 ½ inches, and Thomas Jefferson at six-feet 2 ½ inches. The shortest president was James Madison, who was only five-foot four-inches. The next two shortest were Martin Van Buren and Benjamin Harrison, both of whom measured five-foot six-inches.

In regards to height, since the end of the Second World War, the taller of the main party candidates have won the election three-quarters of the time. Only Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush have beaten a taller candidate since the Second World War. As well, no one since 1900 has been elected and measured less than five-foot nine-inches in height.

5. Drunk as a Skunk

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Andrew Johnson was vice-president to Abraham Lincoln and president from 1865 to 1869 following Lincoln’s assassination. He was also something else; a complete drunk at times. During his inauguration, he was drunk off his heels after drinking whiskey to medicate himself for typhoid fever, or so he says. He was so drunk that he slurred his oat and could not even swear in the new senators.

6. Some More Strange Facts

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There are plenty of strange facts associated with presidents, so here are just a few more that are not only strange, but a bit eerie as well….It is safe to say that the office of the presidency is not always a normal one and there are plenty of strange facts associated with the men who have held office for a time in the past two centuries of United States history.

• Three presidents have died on July 4th: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Adams and Jefferson were two signers of the Declaration of Independence and both died within hours of each other on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration.

• Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States, and he is also apparently related to about 11 other presidents in history.

• Only one president has ever gotten married in the White House. It was Grover Cleveland and in 1886 he married 21-year-old Frances Folsom (28 years his junior), who he was the legal guardian of after her father, a close friend, had died.

Author: Craig Baird — Copyrighted ©


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