Weird History
1.2k voters

Facts About US Presidents We Just Learned That Made Us Say 'Really?'

October 26, 2020 7.1k votes 1.2k voters 66.2k views12 items

List RulesVote up the facts about presidents you wish you'd known long ago.

The office of the president is one of the shining pillars of the United States of America, and the men who have served as president are as intriguing as royalty; their hobbies and lifestyles are constantly on display for the public. But being the leader of the free world is a complicated job that involves tough decisions as well as sacrifices for the greater good of the country. And while most presidents handle the job with great care, willingly giving up some of their personal freedoms, the things that change their lives when they're elected are often surprising. 

Aside from the logistics of the job itself, presidents have had a large impact on the history of America. The decisions they've made over the past couple of centuries have helped shape trends, services, and traditions - all of which make for wonderful presidential trivia. 

Vote up the weird president facts you would have elected to know long ago.

  • From Redditor u/Kurzidon:

    TIL Abraham Lincoln signed the order to create the Secret Service on the same day he was assassinated.

    Context: Lincoln officially signed the bill to instate the Secret Service on the morning of April 14, 1865. That night, he was shot in his booth at Ford's Theatre while enjoying a play. Ironically, John Wilkes Booth was able to get into a position to take out the president because his security detail had left his post.

    Cool president fact?
  • 2

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt Died While Being Painted

    From Redditor u/bluemason:

    TIL President Roosevelt collapsed while being painted. He never regained consciousness before dying. The unfinished painting captures his last waking moment.

    Context: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sitting for a portrait on April 12, 1945, when he felt a sharp pain at the back of his head. When he complained about the sensation, he fainted and a doctor quickly recognized it as a cerebral hemorrhage. Shortly thereafter, following many attempts to save his life, he was ruled deceased. The unfinished painting still hangs in his home in Warm Springs, GA.

    Cool president fact?
  • From Redditor u/IntelligentGuyInRoom:

    TIL President James K. Polk is nicknamed by some historians "the least known consequential president." He promised to serve just one term, and he achieved ALL of the agenda he set at the beginning of his term.

    Context: All presidents who take office come in with specific goals in mind - and often, they promise their constituents that they will achieve them. James K. Polk was no different. He started his presidency with four major goals regarding tariffs, the US Treasury, and the territories of Oregon, California, and New Mexico. At the end of his single term in office, he had accomplished all four of those goals, effectively completing his agenda.

    Cool president fact?
  • 4

    George Washington Refused The 'Highness' Title

    From a former Redditor:

    TIL In order to set a precedent for the future of the office, George Washington chose to be called "Mr. President" instead of the senate proposed titles of "His Excellency" or "His Highness the President"

    Context: When George Washington was first elected to lead the young democracy, a title had not yet been selected for his position. The titles that were considered for the new leader of the free world were "His Exalted Highness," "His Elected Highness," and "His Highness, the President of the United States, and Protector of the Rights of the Same." A congressman had to remind those deciding that the Constitution actually ruled out titles, and so they chose the simpler "Mr. President."

    Cool president fact?