Bet You Didn't Know THIS About the U.S. Presidents!
What was the most bitter, spiteful and discordant presidential campaign in U.S. history? No, it was not the one between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
That dubious honor goes to the campaign of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, which was described as " party divisions that had been growing for a decade burst into acrimonious campaigning, slanderous charges and backroom dealing."
So says historian Kenneth C. Davis in his fascinating book "Don't Know Much About the American Presidents," a tome filled with snippets of speeches, snippets of history and snippets of eye-popping trivia you never knew about the men we admire and honor for leading our country through war and peace.
Bet you didn't know THIS about our U.S. presidents:
- It was during the presidential campaign of William Henry Harrison that liquor became known as "booze." Harrison's critics encouraged him to drop out of the presidential race and instead sit on his log cabin's front porch drinking whiskey. That prompted a Philadelphia distiller named E.C. Booz to sell whiskey in log cabin-shaped bottles called "Old Cabin Whiskey." Harrison took the "Old Cabin Whiskey" produced by Booz and handed it out to voters so they would know who to vote for on Election Day. It worked! Harrison was the 9th president of the United States.
- Although it is not a documented fact, James Buchanan may have been our first gay president. Love letters he wrote to his male friend were destroyed by both of the men's families, so the evidence is circumstantial at best.
- Abraham Lincoln, one of our most revered presidents, was well known for his raunchy and racy jokes.
- Abraham Lincoln had little more than one year of formal schooling, while Andrew Johnson had none.
- Andrew Johnson took the oath of office for vice president while he was totally snockered on whiskey and then gave a rambling, slurred and drunken speech to the Senate.
- It wasn't just Hillary Clinton. There were four other times the winner of the popular vote was not elected president:
Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams (1824)
Samuel J. Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes (1876)
Grover Cleveland lost to Benjamin Harrison (1888)
Al Gore lost to George W. Bush (2000)
- Warren G. Harding created quite the scandal when it was discovered that he had a "love child," the news of which made that presidential campaign much like the tabloid-driven campaigns of today.
- Mary Cleveland was our youngest first lady at just 21 years old. Her husband, Grover Cleveland was the only president to serve two terms nonconsecutively.
- Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to invite a black man--Booker T. Washington--to dine at the White House. Roosevelt took a political hammering for it, too, from Southern voters.
- Two presidents are buried at Arlington National Cemetery: William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy.
- Two presidents were cheerleaders in college: Dwight D. Eisenhower and George W. Bush.
- As a young man, Gerald R. Ford appeared as a model in Cosmopolitan.
--From the Editors at Netscape