Is it President’s Day, Presidents’ Day or Presidents Day? On Presidents’ Day, will the President get presents? What’s the precedent? Me, I’m not that prescient.
We begin our coverage of Presidents’ Day with this amazing Fun Fact:
There IS NO SUCH THING AS PRESIDENTS’ DAY!
Legally, it’s Washington’s Birthday.
Legally, it’s BEEN Washington’s Birthday since February 22 was declared a federal holiday back in 1800. Although America found it convenient to combine Washington’s Birthday with Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12) under the catch-all “Presidents’ Day” back in the 1980s, the holiday’s name was never officially changed. It’s Washington’s Birthday, now always celebrated on a Monday, whether or not it’s really Washington’s Birthday.
Now that we have THAT settled, let’s get into the spirit of this bogus Presidents’ Day holiday by enjoying a Fun Fact about each of our 44 Chief Executives, past and present:
1. George Washington – The only U.S. President not to live in Washington. (That would have been way too meta.)
2. John Adams – Died on the same day as his arch rival, Thomas Jefferson: July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
3. Thomas Jefferson – Died on the same day as his arch rival, John Adams: July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
4. James Madison – Our smallest President, standing just 5’4″ and weighing a mere 100 lbs.
5. James Monroe – Wrote the Monroe Doctrine. It’s true. Look it up.
6. John Quincy Adams – The only American President to remain in national government after leaving office. After being President, he served as a Congressman from his native Massachusetts for 18 years. (His fellow Congressmen had to call him “Mr. President,” which he no doubt enjoyed greatly.)
7. Andrew Jackson – Regularly had huge cheese wheels in the White House foyer to feed the “common people” who came to visit. Reportedly made the White House stink to high heaven. The cheese, not Jackson.
8. Martin Van Buren – The first President actually born in the United States. (All his predecessors had been born in what were then British colonies.)
9. William Henry Harrison – A war hero, gave a stirring inaugural speech in the dead of winter, caught pneumonia and then died less than one month after taking office. Didn’t accomplish much.
10. John Tyler – The first vice-president to become President. Was reportedly playing marbles when he learned he had become President following Harrison’s death. Great start to an equally great administration.
11. James K. Polk – Went to war with Mexico. Grabbed California for the USA. Could have had Baja, too, but decided it was crap. Must have never seen Cabo.
12. Zachary Taylor – When the message telling Taylor he had been elected President arrived at his home, he refused it. It had come “Postage Due” and Taylor was very, very cheap.
13. Millard Fillmore – Had a funny name. It’s true. Look it up.
14. Franklin Pierce – The first President to install a Christmas tree in the White House. His predecessors were obviously godless heathens.
15. James Buchanan – Historically rated our worst President ever. Laid the groundwork for the Civil War. That would do it.
16. Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter. It’s true. Look it up.
17. Andrew Johnson – The first of only two Presidents to be impeached. Can you name the other?
18. Ulysses S. Grant – A great general who reportedly couldn’t stand the sight of blood. Even had his steaks cooked really well done to avoid any signs of juice.
19. Rutherford B. Hayes – The first president to lose the popular vote but win the electoral vote (by one vote). Also the first President to use a telephone.
20. James Garfield – The first left-handed President and the last President to have actually been born in a log cabin.
21. Chester A. Arthur – Although his mother was a U.S. citizen, Arthur may have been born in Canada, which his opponents claimed made him ineligible to be President. Arthur vehemently denied being a Canadian, eh?
22. Grover Cleveland – The only President to serve two non-consecutive terms (1884-1888 and 1892-1896.)
23. Benjamin Harrison – Under Harrison’s presidency, electricity was installed in the White House. However, his wife was reportedly terrified of electric lights and refused to touch a light switch for fear of electrocution.
24. Grover Cleveland – Him again.
25. William McKinley – The first President to ride in both gas- and electric-powered automobiles. The latter happened to be the ambulance that took him to the hospital after he was fatally shot by an assassin.
26. Theodore Roosevelt – Youngest president (42). First to fly in an airplane. First American to win the Nobel Peace Prize (for negotiating peace in the Russo-Japanese War.) First to leave the country as President. (Went to Panama to dig the canal with his own two manly hands.)
27. William Howard Taft – Our fattest President (330 lbs), he famously got stuck in the White House bathtub; it took six aides to pull him free. They were never quite the same again.
28. Woodrow Wilson – For his second term, famously campaigned under the slogan, “He kept us out of war.” Which was true … until he took the U.S. into World War I soon after starting his second term.
29. Warren G. Harding – Led a scandal-ridden administration and then died of suspected food poisoning. It’s now believed he probably had a stroke, which is not nearly as interesting.
30. Calvin Coolidge – Famously said “The business of America is business.”
31. Herbert Hoover – Will forever be linked to the Great Depression. When he took office in 1929, the Dow Jones was at 381. During the 1932 election, it bottomed out at 41. Ouch.
32. Franklin Roosevelt – Our only President to be elected four times. This led to the passage of the 27th Amendment, which limits the President to two terms.
33. Harry S. Truman – The “S” stood for, well, nothing. He had no middle name, just a middle initial.
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower – The only President to serve in both WWI and WWII. Oh, yeah, led the D-Day Invasion and liked the play golf.
35. John F. Kennedy – World-class shtupper. Made Clinton look like McLovin’.
36. Lyndon B. Johnson – Won re-election by a massive landslide against Barry Goldwater by promising to keep us out of Vietnam. See #28 (Woodrow Wilson).
37. Richard M. Nixon – Only President to resign from the office. Insisted he was not a crook.
38. Gerald R. Ford – The only President never to have been elected to national office. (He was appointed Vice President by Nixon after the previous Veep, Spiro Agnew, was indicted for corruption.)
39. Jimmy Carter – The first President to have been born in a hospital. Was a nuclear submarine engineer and a peanut farmer – but did not grow radioactive peanuts.
40. Ronald Reagan – Our first previously divorced President. He had married actress Jane Wyman before marrying actress Nancy Davis.
41. George H.W. Bush – Was never known as “George H.W. Bush” until his son, George W. Bush, was elected President. It was just plain old “George Bush.”
42. Bill Clinton – The second president to be impeached. Can you name the first?
43. George W. Bush – While in office, almost choked to death on a pretzel.
44. Barack Obama – First African-American President. Only President born in Hawaii. Or Kenya, depending on who you talk to.
Have a great three-day weekend!