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Facts About Presidents of the United States

George Washington, early military and political leader of the United States, was born, according to the Julian calendar in use at the time, on February 11. However, according to the Gregorian calendar, his birthday would be on February 22. In 1752, Great Britain and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, so his birthday is given as February 22 in modern documents. The United States has a holiday to commemorate Washington's Birthday. It is celebrated on the third Monday in February, which always falls between February 15 and February 21 and so can never fall on either February 11 or February 22.

View more facts about: Calendars | Holidays and Observances

While George Washington was the first president of the United States of America, he was not the person to be referred to as the president of the United States. Under the Articles of Confederation that were adopted in 1781, Thomas McKean was the first to be appointed "President of the United States in Congress Assembled." Eight other men presided over the Congress before the Constitution was adopted. Unlike the modern office of President of the United States of America, this office had few executive powers. (source)

In the year 1789, United States President George Washington's salary accounted for 2% of the state budget of the United States. With 300 slaves and a large plantation, it has been estimated that, in inflation-adjusted terms, Washington's net worth was $525 million. (source)

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The place-name Washington, which honours George Washington, can be found as the name of a state, the only state named after an American, the capital of the United States, 29 counties, and 33 towns. (source)

View more facts about: Place Names | United States

While he was President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson sometimes welcomed dignitaries while wearing pajamas and slippers. (source)

The first graduate student in what is now the United States was James Madison, who remained at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) for a year after graduating to study Hebrew in 1771. Madison later became President of the United States.

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John Quincy Adams frequently bathed naked in the Potomac River during his term as president (1825–1829). (source)

Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were born a year apart in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Around 25 years later, both were minor officers in the Black Hawk War. Around 30 years later, Lincoln was the President of the United States, and Davis the President of the Confederacy. (source)

View more facts about: American Civil War

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in the United States for the first time in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last (not the fourth) Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving.

View more facts about: Holidays and Observances

Many U.S. presidents bragged about their allegedly humble beginnings, but, according to research by Edward Pessen, only one president, Andrew Johnson, came from the lower class. Johnson's father, who died when Andrew was three, was a hostler, and his mother was a washerwoman. Johnson never attended school and was apprenticed to a tailor at the age of ten. (source)

The given name of former American President Ulysses Grant was actually Hiram Ulysses Grant. When he enrolled in West Point as a cadet, the congressman who sponsored him for the academy dropped his first name, Hiram, kept Ulysses, and added Simpson, Grant's mother's maiden name.

In the 1860s, Ulysses S. Grant, president of the United States, gave a cigar to philanthropist Horace Norton, founder of Norton College. Norton did not smoke the cigar but kept it as a memento of the meeting. On his death the cigar passed to his son, who didn't smoke it either, and then to his grandson, Winstead. In 1932, Winstead attended a Norton College reunion in Chicago. Delivering a speech, he lit Grant's cigar. The cigar, as it turned out, was an exploding cigar and exploded in Winstead's face. (source)

View more facts about: Hoaxes and Deceptions

The last United States president to be born in a log cabin was James Garfield, born on November 19th, 1831, in Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. (source)

View more facts about: Lasts
Robert Todd Lincoln
Despite Robert Todd Lincoln's resolution to stay away from the president, he is shown here (right) with President Warren Harding (centre) at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and former president William Howard Taft is on the left.

Abraham Lincoln's oldest son, Robert Todd, was at the scene of three presidential assassinations. On April 14th 1865, he rushed to Ford's Theater, where his father had been mortally wounded. In 1881 he was at President James Garfield's side just after he was shot. In 1901, he was about to join President McKinley at the Pan American Exhibit when he learned that McKinley had been shot. After that, Robert resolved to stay away from the president. (source)

View more facts about: American Civil War | Coincidences

In his first term from 1885 to 1889, United States President Grover Cleveland vetoed 414 bills, more than twice as many bills as the 206 vetoed by his 21 predecessors combined.

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson successfully campaigned for re-election as president with slogans such as "He Kept Us Out of War," and "War in Europe—Peace in America." Five months after the election, in April 1917, Wilson led the United States into World War I. (source)

View more facts about: First World War
[Diagram illustrating President Harding's radio broadcast]
Diagram illustrating relay stations for President Harding's radio broadcast.

The first American President to speak over the radio was President Warren Harding in 1923. (source)

In 1936, Literary Digest magazine polled 10 million people using the telephone and its mailing list to try to predict the outcome of the United States presidential election, more people than in any previous presidential election survey. Their results indicated that Alf Landon, the Republican candidate, would defeat Franklin Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate, by a margin of 370 electoral votes to 161; however, in the election, Landon was trounced by Roosevelt by a margin of 523 electoral votes to 8, at the time the largest landslide in a contested presidential election. The problem with the survey was that, during the Great Depression, telephones and magazine subscriptions were luxuries that not everybody could afford. Those who could afford such luxuries tended to vote Republican, but the voting public in general was more inclined to vote Democrat. (source)

On average, Calvin Coolidge slept for ten hours per night.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, president of the United States between 1933 and 1945, noticed that most people whom he greeted at the many functions he attended paid little attention to the brief pleasantries that were exchanged. He once put his theory to the test at a party in the White house. As he shook hands with each guest, he muttered, "I murdered my grandmother this morning." Only one person seemed to notice: a Wall Street banker, who responded, "She certainly had it coming!". (source)

View more facts about: Hoaxes and Deceptions

The "S" in the name of former American President Harry S Truman doesn't stand for anything.

Warren Harding and John F. Kennedy were the only presidents to be survived by their fathers.

The U.S. presidential tradition of pardoning a turkey on the occasion of American Thanksgiving was instituted by President George H. W. Bush in 1989.

View more facts about: Holidays and Observances
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