Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Presidents' Day!

Odd But True Presidential Facts
A First
If someone asked you, "Who was the first President of the United States of America?", you would probably say that it was George Washington.  It was old George, right?  Wrong. 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.

John Hanson authorized and approved the Great Seal of the United States, although some think that this is not technically true, it is very true.  Rumors that Hanson was actually a black man are untrue.

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

Cat Got Your Tongue?
No Doubt one of the best, if not the best president of all times, was Thomas Jefferson.  Not only was he the father of the constitution and one of the founding fathers of the United States, Jefferson also wrote the Declaration of Independence, and was an avid inventor.

Just a few of the things that Jefferson invented include the hideaway bed, the dumbwaiter, the coat hanger and even the swivel chair, all this while leading and shaping a new country.

What might however come as a surprise, is that Jefferson was not at all known for giving speeches. In fact, during his time as president, two terms in all, he only gave only two speeches; and both were given during his inaugurations!  Also not widely known, is that Thomas Jefferson was a red-head, making him one of the most famous red head in history.

Weights and Measures
James Madison was the lightest of all presidents is also one of the most famous.  Madison weighed only 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 that he once got stuck in the White House bath tub and had to be pulled out with the assistance of his aides.

The oldest of all presidents was Ronald Reagan, at 69 when sworn in as president in 1981 and 78 when he left office.  But who was the youngest?

If you answered John F. Kennedy, you are 100% right wrong. Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest to become president, sworn in after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901.  He was only 42 years of age.

We all know Abraham Lincoln was the tallest President, 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.  But who was the shortest president?  It was James Madison, who was only five-foot four-inches. The next two shortest were Martin Van Buren and Benjamin Harrison, and me all at only five-foot six-inches tall.  Wait just a minute, I'm five-foot seven!

Here's an interesting fact.  Since the end of the Second World War, the taller candidate won the election 75% of the time. Only Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush have beaten a taller candidate since the Second World War.  Since 1900, no one measuring less than five-foot nine-inches tall has been elected.  I guess if you want to be President, you better be tall.

I Shwear to Ufphold da Offish ofda Prizzdent of th Untidied Shtaste of Merica

Andrew Johnson, vice-president to Abraham Lincoln and president from 1865 to 1869 following Lincoln’s assassination, was a drunk.  He was so drunk during his inauguration, he slurred his oath and then couldn't even swear in the new senators.

More Odd Stuff
• Three presidents have died on July 4th: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Adams and Jefferson both signed the Declaration of Independence and oddly enough 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 oddly he is related to 11 other past presidents.
• Only one president has ever tied the knot while in the White House.  It was Grover Cleveland and in 1886.  Cleveland married Frances Folsom (at 21 years old, she was 28 years his junior); she was the the daughter of a close friend who died, and Cleveland was her legal guardian!  Oops.

• While today most presidents have a cat or a dog as their presidential pet, John Quincy Adams and Herbert Hoover both had pet alligators!  Calvin Coolidge had two lions, a wallaby, and a pygmy hippopotamus, while Theodore Roosevelt owned a badger called Josiah who often bit people.

I hope you enjoy Presidents day even more now that you have all the dirt!
-- Mr. G

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