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Do we know our presidents?

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Do we know our presidents?
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

Barack Obama became the United States' 44th President last month and, with it, became the first African-American President in history.


But how much do we know about the 42 other men who have taken the Oath of Office. Who was the tallest President? Who was the shortest President? After leaving office, who went on to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Which President was a bachelor during his time in the White House? Which President was believed to be the inspiration for the Teddy Bear? For those answers, along with interesting tidbits about each President or memorable moments during their terms in office, keep reading.

George Washington 1789-1797

Washington had the distinction of being the only President to be unanimously elected by the Electoral College.

Many places are named after Washington, including the nation's capital, the state, 31 counties and 17 communities.

John Adams 1797-1801

The Adams were the first residents of the White House.

Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the only Presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence. They both died on its 50th anniversary, July 4, 1826.

Thomas Jefferson 1801-1809

He is credited with several inventions, including the swivel chair, a pedometer, a letter-copying machine and the lazy Susan.

He wrote his own epitaph without mentioning that he served as President of the United States.

James Madison 1809-1817

Madison was the first President who had prior service as a Congressman.

At five feet, four inches and less than 100 pounds, he was the shortest and lightest President.

James Monroe 1817-1825

The first U.S. President to have been a U.S. Senator.

The U.S. Marine Band played at Monroe's 1821 Inauguration and at every inauguration since.

John Quincy Adams 1825-1829

He is the only President to be elected to the House of Representatives after serving as President (1831-1848).

Son of John Adams, the second President.

Andrew Jackson 1829-1837

Only President who served in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Only President to have been a prisoner of war. He was 13 when he joined the South Carolina militia to fight in the Revolutionary War.

Martin Van Buren 1837-1841

He made three unsuccessful bids for reelection.

The term OK was popularized by him. Van Buren was from Kinderhook, N.Y., sometimes referred to as Old Kinderhook in speeches and print. O.K. Clubs soon formed to support Van Buren's campaign. O.K. later came to mean all right.

William H. Harrison 1841-1841

He was the only President who studied to become a doctor.

Delivered the longest inaugural address, a 105-minute speech. He didn't wear a hat that day and contracted pneumonia and died in the White House one month later.

John Tyler 1841-1845

He was the only President to hold office in the Confederacy.

Five years after leaving office, Tyler was so poor he was unable to pay a bill for $1.25 until he had sold his own corn crop.

James Knox Polk 1845-1849

A week before he died, Polk was baptized as a Methodist.

His wife Sarah was a devout Presbyterian. Therefore, she banned dancing, card playing and alcoholic beverages in the White House.

Zachary Tyler 1849-1850

As a soldier always moving from location to location, Taylor never established an official place of residence and never registered to vote. He didn't even vote in his own election. It wasn't until he was 62-years-old that he cast his first ballot.

He refused all postage due correspondences. Because of this, he didn't receive notification of his nomination for President until several days later.

Millard Fillmore 1850-1853

The White House's first library, bathtub and kitchen stove were installed by the Fillmores.

After completing his term, went on to became chancellor at the University of Buffalo.

Franklin Pierce 1853-1857

Pierce gave his 3,319-word inaugural address from memory, without the aid of notes.

He was arrested while in office for running over an old woman with his horse, but his case was dropped to insignificant evidence in 1853.

James Buchanan 1857-1861

Buchanan was never married. The White House hostess was a niece.

Was a minister to England before being elected.

Abraham Lincoln 1861-1865

First President to die by assassination. He was shot while watching a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.

At 6 feet, 4 inches, Lincoln was the tallest President.

Andrew Johnson 1865-1869

In 1867, the House of Representatives voted 11 articles of impeachment against him. The Senate acquitted him by one vote in the Spring of 1868.

After leaving office, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1875.

Ulysses S. Grant 1869-1877

In a seven-year span, Grant went from a clerk at his father's leather store in Galena, Ill., to Army General to U.S. President.

Upon graduating from the military, Grant had no intention on keeping that as a career. He planned on being a mathematics professor.

Rutherford B. Hayes 1877-1881

The first President to visit the West Coast while in office.

Signed the act that permitted women to plead their cases before the Supreme Court.

James Garfield 1881-1881

He was the first left-handed President.

The first President to campaign in two languages -- English and German.

Chester A. Arthur 1881-1885

Never ran for President, as he was Vice-President under Garfield.

His Administration enacted the first general federal immigration law in 1882.

Grover Cleveland 1885-1889, 1893-1897

He answered the White House phone personally.

He vetoed 414 bills in his first term and 584 votes in his second term.

Benjamin Harrison 1889-1893

Harrison stood only five feet, six inches tall.

He received 100,000 fewer popular votes than Cleveland in 1888, but won the Electoral College 233 to 168.

William McKinley 1897-1901

He was elected to the U.S. Congress at age 34.

He was shot in 1901 while in the receiving line at the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition by a deranged anarchist. He died eight days later.

Teddy Roosevelt 1901-1909

The inspiration for the Teddy Bear is believed to have come from a political cartoon about a bear hunting trip Roosevelt went on in 1902.

The Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located in the North Dakota Badlands.

William H. Taft 1909-1913

Became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1921-1930) after leaving office.

Said that appointment was his greatest honor, as he wrote, "I don't remember that I ever was President."

Woodrow Wilson 1913-1921

World War I (1914-1918) happened during his tenure.

In 1914, he declared the first Mother's Day celebration.

Warren G. Harding 1921-1923

First newspaper publisher to be elected President.

First President to visit Canada and Alaska.

Calvin Coolidge 1923-1929

At 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 3, 1923, Coolidge received word he became President due to Harding's death. Coolidge was vacationing in Vermont at the time and was administrated the Oath of Office by his father, who was a notary public.

Chose not to seek re-election in 1928.

Herbert Hoover 1929-1933

The Stock Market Crash of 1929 occurred months after he took office, signaling the start of the Great Depression.

Was Secretary of Commerce under both Harding and Coolidge.

Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933-1945

World War II occurred during 1939-1945. He was also the only President to be elected to four terms.

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President, was a fifth cousin.

Harry S. Truman 1945-1953

Was expected to lose the 1948 election to Thomas Dewey. The Chicago Tribune ran a huge headline proclaiming that had occurred. Truman is pictured holding a copy of that paper, which is known as one of the most widely seen photographs in U.S. history.

In June 1945, witnessed the signing of the charter of the United Nations.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953-1961

On D-Day 1944, was Supreme Commander of the troops that invaded France.

Signed the Federal Highway Legislation Act in 1956, which helped result in the country's interstate highway system.

John F. Kennedy 1961-1963

Was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Tex. He spent a little more than 1,000 days in office before being assassinated.

His speech to students at the University of Michigan in 1960 helped launch the Peace Corps.

Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1969

Spent 24 years in Congress -- 12 each in the House and Senate -- before becoming Kennedy's Vice-President in 1961.

Chose not to seek re-election in 1968 so he could devote his full efforts, without being involved in politics, to world peace, as the Vietnam War was going on at the time.

Richard M. Nixon 1969-1974

The only President to resign from office due to the Watergate scandal.

Praised for ending American involvement in the Vietnam War and improving relations in the USSR. and China.

Gerald R. Ford 1974-1977

Born Leslie Lynch King Jr.

Became Vice-President when Spiro Agnew, Nixon's first Vice-President, was forced to resign. Became President when Nixon resigned.

James E. Carter Jr., 1977-1981

Was a farmer before entering public office.

To increase human and social services, he created the Department of Education.

Ronald W. Reagan 1981-1989

At 69-years-old, Reagan was the oldest elected President and, when he died in 2004 at age 93, he lived longer than any other President.

Won re-election in 1984 by defeating Walter Mondale 525-13 in the Electoral College.

George H.W. Bush 1989-1993

Flew 58 missions during World War II as a Navy pilot.

Was Ambassador to the United Nations, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China before becoming Reagan's Vice-President in 1980.

William J. Clinton 1993-2001

He was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second term.

On Dec. 19, 1998, the House approved two articles of impeachment against Clinton, one for perjury and the other for obstruction of justice. The Senate acquitted him on both articles two months later.

George W. Bush 2001-2009

On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists flew hijacked airplanes into both towers of the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

He lost the 2000 popular vote to Al Gore by over 500,000 votes, but won the Electoral College tally by a 271-266 margin.

Barack H. Obama 2009-Current

The first President born outside the continental United States.

Was a State Senator from Illinois from 1996-2004 and a U.S. Senator from 2005-2008 before being elected.