Hail to the Chief


Hello readers! Today, I want to do something different and random…I am thinking we all need a break (albeit a short one) from all the drama, craziness and processing. Last year I blogged about Valentine’s Day (an unofficial February holiday) so this year I thought I would offer up some fun facts on an official February holiday…President’s Day. I know it has come and gone, but still, who could not use some fun facts about what is arguably the most important, prestigious and stressful job in the world? A long, long time ago when I was in elementary school (dinosaurs roamed the earth around the same time), there was no President’s Day: Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12th) and George Washington’s birthday (February 22) were celebrated separately…somewhere along the line, the two birthdays were not only combined, but it became a day to remember and honor all the men who have held this hallowed office. So without further ado, enjoy the fun facts below, come back soon (there is a new post in progress) and as always…enjoy your day!

  • There actually have only been 43 Presidents: Cleveland was elected for two nonconsecutive terms and is counted twice, as our 22nd and 24th President.
  • George Washington’s Birthday was declared a national holiday in 1871
  • Forget Gore versus Bush: The election of 1800 (the first election in which the candidates actually campaigned) pitted Thomas Jefferson versus Aaron Burr and resulted in a tie…each candidate had 73 electoral votes. The tie was finally broken by Congress after 36 votes. Alexander Hamilton broke the tie…he despised Jefferson but LOATHED Burr and went with what he called to be the safer bet
  • Under President Andrew Jackson, the US was completely free and clear of debt…the first and only time that has happened in our country’s history
  • William Henry Harrison was the only President who has studied medicine. He  was the first US President to die in office and gave the longest inaugural speech ever…1 hour and 40 minutes while standing in the cold and rain with no coat, hat or scarf. At 32 days, he also had the shortest term in office
  • Andrew Johnson was the only US President to never spend a day in school….he was self-educated and taught himself to read
  • Millard Fillmore was the 13th President of the United States  and the last member of the Whig Party to hold the office of President
  • Is it just me who did not know that President Grant  was the same Ulysses S. Grant who was a Civil War general and hero?
  • Taft was our most overweight President, and never wanted the Presidency. He had aspirations to become a Supreme Court Judge and 9 years after his Presidency, he became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court
  • Presidents Taft and Kennedy  are the only Presidents buried in Arlington National Cemetery
  • Presidents Adams, Jefferson, and Monroe all died on the 4th of July; President Coolidge was born on that day
  • Theodore Roosevelt was the first President to fly in an airplane and to visit Alaska; Herbert Hoover was the first President to have a telephone in the Oval Office
  • President Lincoln is credited with forming the Republican Party. He also declared the 4th Thursday in November (Thanksgiving) a national holiday as a means to heal the nation from the wounds of the Civil War. He also pardoned the first turkey, which he named “Jack”. Lincoln’s presidency is the only one completely defined by war, and Lincoln was so hated by the country that at his first inauguration, he was smuggled into Washington, DC as if he were a thief or murderer. That must have been a bit difficult as he is the tallest President…he stood at 6’4”. He was assassinated April 14th, 1865, which was Good Friday
  • The oldest elected President was Reagan (age 69); the youngest was Kennedy (age 43). Theodore Roosevelt, however, was the youngest man to become President—he was 42 when he succeeded McKinley, who had been assassinated
  • Count your change: Presidents Lincoln (penny), Jefferson (nickel), Franklin D. Roosevelt (dime), Washington (quarter), Kennedy (50 cent piece) are portrayed on US coins
  • Dead Presidents: The following are on US paper currency…Washington ($1), Jefferson ($2), Lincoln ($5), Jackson ($20), Grant ($50)…even though Ben Franklin is not a President, he is on the $100 bill to honor his achievements and contributions as a revolutionary, statesman and ambassador
  • Woodrow Wilson was portrayed on the $100,000 bill…a denomination used only by the US Treasury and was printed only from 1934-1969
  • Barack Obama is the first African American to be elected President of the United States. He was also born in Hawaii, making him the first President not born in the continental United States

Thirteen Vice Presidents became President while serving in the office of Vice President (or as a direct result of):

  • John Adams, 1796 — Direct election
  • Thomas Jefferson, 1800 — Direct election
  • Martin Van Buren, 1836 — Direct election
  • John Tyler, 1841 — Presidential death
  • Millard Fillmore, 1850 — Presidential death
  • Andrew Johnson, 1865 — Presidential death
  • Chester Arthur, 1881 — Presidential death
  • Theodore Roosevelt, 1901 — Presidential death
  • Calvin Coolidge, 1923 — Presidential death
  • Harry Truman, 1945 — Presidential death
  • Lyndon Johnson, 1963 — Presidential death
  • Gerald Ford, 1974 — Presidential resignation
  • George Bush, 1988 — Direct election
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