Each third Monday in February Presidents’ Day is celebrated in the United States to honor the birthdays of both: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Let’s take this opportunity to learn some interesting and surprising facts about the US Presidents.
America’s Founding Fathers decided that one elected civilian – the U.S. president – would lead the executive branch of the federal government, a governmental structure that has remained in place for more than 200 years.
At the present time, there have been 45 presidencies and 44 different individuals have served as president.
- Grover Cleveland was elected to two nonconsecutive terms (1885-1889 and 1893-1897).
- At the time of his death in 1799, George Washington (1789-1797) owned some 300 slaves. However, before his passing, he had become opposed to slavery, and in his will he ordered that his slaves to be freed after his wife’s death.
- Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) had a giant block of cheese — which weighed 1,400 pounds — that he kept in the White House. He let the public eat the block of cheddar after his time in office was done.
- William Henry Harrison’s (1841) inauguration speech was the longest to date. It went for an hour and 45 minutes and he was out in a snowstorm. He died a month later of pneumonia.
- Zachary Taylor (1849-1850) was nominated for president by the Whig Party, and didn’t even realize that it had happened until he received a letter with the news. He also refused to campaign after accepting.
- Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame because of his skills in the ring. As a young man, he only lost one match out of the 300 he participated in.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) encouraged by his wife, Eleanor, appointed more women to federal posts than any previous president; he also included black Americans in federal job programs. He was the longest-serving President, elected to office for four terms.
- John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) donated his entire White House salary ($100,000 a year) to charity.
- Among the items on display at Ronald Reagan’s (1981-1989) presidential library in California is a 6,000-pound graffiti-covered section of the Berlin Wall, given to him by the people of Berlin.
- George H.W. Bush (1989-1993) was the youngest pilot in the Navy when he served. He flew for 58 combat missions.
- Bill Clinton (1993-2001) has won two Grammys. The first for the album “Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Beintus: Wolf Tracks,” and the second for the reading of his autobiography, “My Life.”
- Not only was Barack Obama (2009-2017) the first African-American president, he was also the first to be born outside the continental United States. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.