Know your Presidents!

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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