Weird History
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Facts About Presidents We Learned In 2020 That Made Us Say 'Really?'

Updated April 1, 2021 10.2k votes 1.1k voters 23.5k views21 items

List RulesVote up the facts from 2020 that are truly presidential.

Presidents are often in the limelight, both during and after their term(s) in office, and their hobbies and lifestyles are constantly on public display. And since each president is such an influential part of American history, their lives are all thoroughly documented in history books. Not all of their wild and unexpected stories are discussed in classrooms, though.

Decades - and in some cases, centuries - later, we're still learning more new facts about the last 45 presidents the United States has had to date. Vote up the facts about the presidents that you're most excited to have learned.

  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    During WWII, Lieutenant John F. Kennedy held his post on a patrol torpedo boat near the Solomon Islands. When a Japanese destroyer rammed into his boat, he and many of his men were tossed into the water. The group of survivors swam to the nearest island along with JFK, who tugged one of his injured crewmates along by keeping the man's life vest strings in his mouth as he swam.

    Days later, he directed his men through another swim in hopes of finding fresh water and food. While on this island, JFK and a companion set out swimming again to find some sort of hope for survival, and they ran into two men canoeing. Those men transported a message that Kennedy carved into a coconut, and this message ultimately saved the stranded crew.

    The coconut was preserved and was even used as a paperweight when JFK served as president.

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  • Photo: Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    In 1835, for the first time in American history, someone made an attack on a president's life. Andrew Jackson was approached by a man while leaving a funeral. The man to shoot him, but the gun misfired.

    Jackson was so upset by the incident that he ran up to his attacker and began beating him with his cane, prompting the assailant to pull out another gun, which also misfired. By this time, Jackson's aides arrived and wrestled the man away from both the President and the guns.

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  • Photo: Leon A. Perskie / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0
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    FDR Died While Being Painted

    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 ("I have a terrific pain in the back of my head"), he fainted, and a doctor quickly recognized Roosevelt's sensation as a cerebral hemorrhage.

    A few hours later, following many attempts to save his life, he was ruled deceased. The unfinished painting still hangs in his home in Warm Springs, GA.

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    Thomas Jefferson Proposed The Constitution Have An Expiration Date

    Thomas Jefferson did state in a letter to James Madison that the Constitution - and other documents like it - should be reexamined and rewritten every 19 years to ensure that it does not become "an act of force and not of right."

    He went on to explain that he did not believe that future generations should be completely bound to the generations that preceded, and that "the earth belongs always to the living generation."

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