Some interesting facts and trivia about US presidents:

Eight presidents were born before the founding of the nation

Every president was born in one of only nineteen (arguably twenty) of the fifty states: these states are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Virgina. The arguable one is that some believe Andrew Jackson was born in South Carolina and not North Carolina. Of the nineteen, thirteen states produced a single president – so the remaining six states produced multiple presidents. The most presidents -eight – were born in Virginia. Surprisingly, only one president – Richard Nixon was born in California – despite California’s size, economy and influence.

Eleven presidents – the largest number – were Episcopalian. The next largest group of presidents were Presbyterian. There was only one Roman Catholic – JFK.

Only fifteen presidents DID NOT preside over a war or other hostilities involving US troops. In other words, twenty nine presidents presided over a war or wars while in office – in some instances it may have been a war that started with a predecessor. Jimmy Carter was the last president not to be involved in any war or hostility. Clinton ordered action involving US troops to stop the massacre of Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia. Reagan ordered military strikes/intervention against Libya, Grenada and Lebanon. His administration was actively involved in providing military assistance against the Sandanistas in Nicaragua. Both Bushes went to war with Iraq and George W also took military action against Afghanistan. Obama inherited the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and also intervened militarily in Libya.

Nineteen presidents had been the governor of a state prior to becoming president

Twenty three presidents were lawyers and eight were former teachers

Fourteen presidents had previously served as vice presidents

The only president not elected to that office nor elected as vice president was Gerald Ford who was appointed VP and succeeded Nixon upon his resignation. Nixon was the only president to ever resign from office.

Nine vice presidents became president as a result of the death or resignation of a president

Three presidents lost the popular vote but won the electoral college vote. The most recent was George W. Bush – Al Gore won the popular vote. The electoral college vote was thrown into doubt over the results of the Florida’s election, and the presidential election was finally decided by the Supreme Court when they stopped the recount.

Only ten presidents assumed the office after defeating an incumbent. The last one to do so was Bill Clinton who defeated George HW Bush in 1992. More incumbents would likely have been defeated but in some cases the incumbent decided not to run for re-election. The last president to take himself out of the running was Lyndon Johnson who was very unpopular because of the war in Vietnam.

Thirty four candidates won the office of the presidency in their very first run for the office.

Four presidents were assassinated: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy

There were attempted assassinations against four presidents: Andrew Jackson – would-be assassin: Richard Lawrence (both derringers misfired), Harry Truman – Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola attempted to storm Blair House where Truman resided, Gerald Ford – would be assassins: Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Jane Moore, in two separate incidents and Ronald Reagan – shot and wounded by John W. Hinkley, Jr

Four presidents died of natural causes while in office: William Henry Harrison – died of “bilious pleurisy”, Zachary Taylor – died of cholera, Warren Harding – died of pneumonia or stroke and Franklin Roosevelt – died of cerebral hemorrhage.

Now for a controversial one: Obama was not the first African-American president. Some sources say – although others question the validity of the assertion – that five other presidents had African blood: Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Harding and Dwight Eisenhower. Those who challenge this fact claim that even where this may have been the case, any African blood is likely several generations removed.

Three presidents married while in office one was a bachelor – James Buchanan.

Three presidents had adopted children and three presidents – Thomas Jefferson, Grover Cleveland and Warren Harding – had children out of wedlock. There were also three childless presidents – James Madison, James Polk and James Buchanan.

There has been one divorced president – Ronald Reagan

Seven vice presidents tried to gain the presidency and lost election – the most recent was Al Gore in 2000.

The following presidents are known to have had extra-maritial affairs: Thomas Jefferson, James Garfield, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton

Three presidents had problems with alcohol, not necessarily while in office: Franklin Pierce, Ulysses Grant and George W. Bush

Six presidents owned slaves: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James Polk and Zachary Taylor

Ten presidents had facial hair – the last one to do so was William Taft in early 20th century. So it has been almost a hundred years since we elected a president with a mustache or beard – perhaps, suggestive that the American electorate looks more kindly on those without facial hair?

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One Response to “Facts and trivia about US presidents”

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