By Sarah Harr
Since the inauguration of President Eisenhower in 1953, inauguration day has taken place on January 20 at the end of every term. On this day, Americans across the country tune their channels to Washington, D.C. in order to watch history in the making; the transition from one power to another. This Friday marked the inauguration of America’s 45th President, Donald J. Trump.
In honor of this patriotic event, here are 44 facts about our 44 previous presidents.
1. George Washington (1789-1797)
Fun Fact: The first president of the United States, Washington is the only president in history to be unanimously elected by Congress. While in office, he initially refused to accept his presidential salary, a whopping $25,000 a year, though eventually he relented.
2. John Adams (1797-1801)
Fun Fact: Republican and Democratic parties arose, there was one such party called the Federalist party. Adams was the only president elected from the Federalist party before it gradually died out.
3. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
Fun Fact: Jefferson spoke six different languages, including English, Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, and Italian.
4. James Madison (1809-1817)
Fun Fact: Madison was Princeton’s first graduate student.
5. James Monroe (1817-1825)
Fun Fact: Monroe died on July 4, 1832, or Independence Day. Coincidentally, two other former presidents, Adams and Jefferson, had previously passed on July 4th, 1826, just hours apart.
6. John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
Fun Fact: The son of John Adams would regularly go skinny dipping in the Potomac River. This gave professional journalist Anne Royall, who had been refused an interview with the president time and time again, the upper hand. She stole his clothes during one of his 5:00 am sessions and sat on them until he complied to her demands. She was the first female able to score an interview with the president.
7. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
Fun Fact: Jackson had a pet parrot, named Poll, whom he taught how to swear. Poll had to be removed from the former president’s funeral on account of his sailor-speech.
8. Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
Fun Fact: Born in the state of New York, Van Buren was the first president able to call himself a true U.S. citizen. The previous seven had been born while the states were still British colonies.
9. William Henry Harrison (1841)
Fun Fact: Despite his inauguration speech being the longest on record, lasting one hour and 40 minute long with 8,578 words, William Harrison only served as President for 31 days, dying of pneumonia in office.
10. John Tyler (1841-1845)
Fun Fact: Tyler had 15 children, eight with his first wife and seven with his second. He was 70 when his last child, Pearl, was born.
11. James Polk (1845-1849)
Fun Fact: Considered one of the best one-term presidents, Polk added a massive portion of land to the modern-day U.S., expanding from Oregon Territory into California and Nevada.
12. Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)
Fun Fact: Taylor didn’t know he was elected the Whig Party nominee until weeks later. He was sent a letter telling him of news but refused to pay the stamp fee. He was unsure about becoming president, lacking interest in politics from the beginning of his campaign.
13. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)
Fun Fact: Fillmore was such an unpopular president among the people who his own Cabinet members resigned in protest during his administration.
14. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)
Fun Fact: Pierce memorized his entire inaugural speech of 3,319 words.
15. James Buchanan (1857-1861)
Fun Fact: Although Lincoln was ‘The Great Emancipator,’ his predecessor led an antislavery lifestyle too. Buchanan would buy slaves from Washington DC, then grant them liberty in the free state of Pennsylvania.
16. Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
Fun Fact: Featured below, Lincoln was the first president to have his picture taken at the inauguration. His future assassin, John Wilkes Booth, makes an eerie cameo up on the railing.
17. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)
Fun Fact: Andrew Johnson is probably best known for being the first impeached president, but he was still respected. When he died, a copy of the Constitution was placed underneath his head, and he was buried under a willow tree he planted himself.
18. Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
Fun Fact: Grant smoked at least 20 cigars a day. It should be no surprise that he died of throat cancer.
19. Rutherford Hayes (1877-1881)
Fun Fact: The first telephone was installed in the White House during Hayes’s term. His phone number was 1.
20. James Garfield (1881)
Fun Fact: Garfield was ambidextrous and could write with both hands at the same time in different languages. For example, he could write Latin in one hand and Greek in the other.
21. Chester Arthur (1881-1885)
Fun Fact: Arthur was known for being a snazzy dresser in his day. He owned over 80 pairs of pants and would change them multiple times a day.
22. & 24. Grover Cleveland (1885-1889 & 1893-1897)
Fun Fact: Cleveland remains the only president to fulfill two non-consecutive terms, fulfilling the position 22nd and 24th President of the US. Besides being president, Cleveland also served as a teacher at the New York Institute for the Blind.
23. Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)
Fun Fact: Benjamin Harrison, grandson to William Henry Harrison, was nicknamed “The Human Iceberg” due to his cold and aloof nature.
25. William McKinley (1897-1901)
Fun Fact: During the 1897 election, McKinley was the first president to campaign via telephone.
26. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
Fun Fact: Theodore Roosevelt was the one to coin the term “White House.” Before that, it was called the Executive Mansion or the President’s House.
27. William Taft (1909-1913)
Fun Fact: Taft was the only president to have served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
Fun Fact: Throughout Wilson’s term, a flock of sheep were raised on the White House lawn in order to sell wool and raise money for the Red Cross during World War I.
29. Warren Harding (1921-1923)
Fun Fact: Harding was an avid gambler and once bet a valuable set of White House china. He lost.
30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
Fun Fact: A man of few words, Coolidge was christened with the nickname “Silent Cal.” A story recounted by his wife tells that a young woman at a dinner party once bet she could get more than two words out of the former president. His response? “You lose.”
31. Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
Fun Fact: On March 3, 1931, Hoover signed a congressional resolution that officially recognized the Star Spangled Banner as the U.S. National Anthem.
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)
Fun Fact: FDR was the only president to serve more than two terms. After his third term, Congress passed a law restricting all future presidents to a two-term limit, believing that more than this could lead to “too much power.”
33. Harry S Truman (1945-1953)
Fun Fact: The ‘S’ In Harry S Truman’s name does not stand for anything.
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
Fun Fact: Despite being a commander in World War II, one of Eisenhower’s most gruesome injuries occurred in high school. A knee injury led to infection, which doctors wanted to amputate before it put him to his grave. Eisenhower, refused to chop it off but somehow miraculously survived.
35. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
Fun Fact: By today’s standards, Kennedy’s Harvard essay was less than impressive. In fact, his own father, a staff member at Harvard, labeled him “careless” and said he “lacked application” in his recommendation.
36. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
Fun Fact: In 1966, LBJ appointed the first African-American, Robert C. Weaver, to Cabinet.
37. Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Fun Fact: Nixon was a master poker player. He paid for his first congressional campaign using $6,000 of hard-earned gambling money. He was also quite the traveler, the first president to visit all 50 states.
38. Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Fun Fact: In 1975, Ford hosted his daughter Susan Ford’s prom in the White House.
39. Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Fun Fact: Carter was the first southern president elected since the Civil War’s end, over 100 years before his time. He definitely showed his southern roots, too, restoring US citizenship to Confederate State’s President Jefferson Davis, and having a peanut-shaped float pass by during his inauguration, alluding to his peanut-farming past.
40. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Fun Fact: One of the more popular Presidents, Ronald Reagan was ranked “Man of the Year” by Time magazine twice. And in 1940, the then actor was awarded the “Most Nearly Perfect Male Figure Award” from the University of California.
41. George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
Fun Fact: As of January 20, 2017, George H. W. Bush is the oldest living former president. He was born June 12, 1924, making him 92 years old.
42. Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
Fun Fact: In 2011, Clinton mastered a series of questions about My Little Pony on the NPR game show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!”
43. George W. Bush (2001-2009)
Fun Fact: In high school, former president George H. W. Bush’s son was not only a baseball player, but a cheerleader; the head cheerleader to be exact.
44. Barack Obama (2009-2017)
Fun Fact: Looking back at his time in office, former president Obama had aged a lot, but he is still a kid at heart. The first African-American president collects comic books, his favorites including Spiderman and Conan the Barbarian.
Friday, January 20th, business man Donald J. Trump was sworn into office, therefore becoming the 45th President of the U.S. Let’s hope President Trump’s next four years in office will truly Make America Great Again.
For more presidential facts: https://www.factretriever.com/us-presidents-facts