Daily Archives: February 15, 2010

Know your Presidents!

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Martin Van Buren

Image by carljohnson via Flickr

In honor of Presidents’ Day, our generation’s way of efficiently ignoring our country’s heritage of leadership by lumping two national heroes together, I thought I’d share with you some little-known presidential facts.

  • James A. Garfield never wore a tie. His assassination, often ascribed to a crazed anarchist, was in fact a calculated commission by the cravat cabal.
  • William Howard Taft was the only William Howard Taft ever to become president.
  • Franklin Pierce, although he came from New Hampshire, was the first future U.S. president to be born in the nineteenth century.
  • Chester Alan Arthur, buried right here in Menands, despised Martin Van Buren for being buried right here in Kinderhook. He also never hugged his mother.
  • Benjamin Franklin was the only president of the United States who was never president of the United States.
  • Millard Fillmore ran a small tailoring shop in the East Wing of the White House to supplement his income and, as he put it, “to keep my hand in.”
  • James Buchanan, who allowed the Confederate secession and the loss of Federal arsenals, forts and troops, often referred to himself as “the worst president in history.”
  • Calvin Coolidge enjoyed riding with the top down.
  • William Henry Harrison had no idea who “Tippecanoe” was, and John Tyler flatly refused to tell him.
  • Although historians and academics rarely acknowledge it, both Washington and Lincoln traditionally bought new bedding on their birthdays. Combining their birhdays into a single Federal holiday was meant to put an end to the Mattress Wars and ease the consciences of loyal Americans who fretted over which president to honor with a new mattress purchase.
  • There was no 24th president.
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