Presidential Unit Fun Facts

Presidential Facts


George Washington was the first White President. He was the only president who was unanimously elected, and he refused to accept his presidential salary, which was $25,000 a year.

John Adams, who followed Washington in office, was the first President to live in the White House. Adams and his wife moved in on November 1, 1800. (The White House was under construction during Washington's administration.)

At five foot four, James Madison was the shortest President ever and the President with the lowest BMI.

Martin Van Buren, born on December 5, 1782, was the first President to be born a citizen of the United States. Previous Presidents had been born before the Revolution, and thus were born British subjects.

Six presidents were slave owners: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Zachary Taylor

At a White House reception on July 4, 1801, Thomas Jefferson introduced the custom of having male guests shake hands. In previous administrations, men had bowed stiffly.

James Madison, who served from 1809–1817, was the first President to regularly wear long trousers instead of knee breeches.

Three presidents died on July 4th: Thomas Jefferson (1826), John Adams (1826), and James Monroe (1831). Calvin Coolidge is the only president to have been born on the Fourth (1872). John Adam’s dying words were “Thomas Jefferson still survives,” unaware that Jefferson had passed away a few hours earlier.

William Henry Harrison, the ninth President, was the first to die in office. Harrison holds the record for the longest inauguration speech in history at 8,578 words long and one hour and 40 minutes. Unfortunately, he gave the speech during bad weather and a month later, he was dead from pneumonia, making his the shortest presidency on record – 32 days.

John Tyler was the first President to marry while in office. On June 26, 1844, Tyler married Julia Gardner in New York City.

Abraham Lincoln was the first President to be born outside the borders of the thirteen original states. Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809. He was also the only U.S. president who was also a licensed bartender.

Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant) smoked at least 20 cigars a day and, after a brilliant war victory, a nation of well wishers sent him more than 10,000 cigars. He later died of throat cancer.

The first President to have a pet pig was Rutherford B. Hayes. He received the pig on a state visit from the Emperor of Siam in September 1880. He later changed his pig’s name from Yoshi to Rutherford B. Pig.

President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) is the only president to be elected to two nonconsecutive terms. He was the 22nd and 24th president.

The country's 23rd president Benjamin Harrison (who served in between Cleveland’s two terms) was in office when the White House was first wired for electricity.

In 1909, William Howard Taft, the 27th President, was the first to have an automobile at the White House. He was also the largest president at 354 pounds, and the last President who wore a mustache

The first American President to visit a foreign country was Woodrow Wilson. He sailed for France, on December 4, 1918, to negotiate the peace treaty ending World War I. Wilson would paint his golf balls black during the winter so he could continue playing in the snow.

Warren G. Harding was the first president to own a radio, the first to make speech over the radio, and the first to ride to his inauguration in a car. When women got the right to vote, he was the first president they could elect.

Herbert Hoover was also the first President to have a telephone in his office. It was installed on his desk in 1929. Before that, the White House telephone had been located in a booth outside the Executive Office.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first President elected to a third term (in 1940). He was also elected to a fourth term in 1944. Later, in 1951, the Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution was adopted, limiting presidential service to two terms.

Harry S Truman was a member of the KKK. The “S” in Harry S Truman doesn’t stand for anything; therefore, there is no period after his middle initial.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first President of all 50 states. Hawaii, the 50th state, entered the union on August 21, 1959, during the Eishenhower's second term.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic to be president, the first Boy Scout to become president, and the first president to be born in the twentieth century.

Both Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in ’46 (1846/1946), were runners-up for their party’s nomination for vice president in ’56, and were elected president in ’60. Both were assassinated on a Friday seated beside their wives and were then succeeded by southern Democrats named Johnson.

Lyndon Baines Johnson “LBJ”, a notorious playboy, had a buzzer system installed that rang inside the Oval Office so that Secret Service could warn him when his wife was coming.

Richard M. Nixon was the first President to resign (on August 9, 1974).

James Earl “Jimmy” Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital.

After President George Herbert Walker Bush vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister, a new word entered the Japanese language. Bushusuru means “to do the Bush thing,” or to publicly vomit.

No president has ever been an only child.

Barack H. Obama, the nation’s first Black President was also the first President to have a smart phone.


1.     Put a star next to the two facts that are the most interesting/surprising/excellent:

2.     Write a true fact that you know about the presidency that’s not included in this list:

3.     Why do you think no only-child has ever been president?

4.     What first time barrier do you think our next president will break? (first Snapchat?)

5.     Why do you think we had a Black president before we had a female president?

Ap GoPo Unit 4 - Part 2 - The Presidency

All the lessons you'll need for student success with AP GoPo Unit 4 - Part 2 - The Presidency! This unit contains lessons, handouts, review games, and all the ingredients for success in teaching high school students the key concepts of the executive branch. Plus - BONUS FEATURE - with purchase - All Access to interactive Presidency materials on the web. Check out this free preview of the Presidency Unit.

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