Politics and Government |
Trivia & Useless Facts
Croatia was the first country to recognize the United States in 1776.
Antonia ('Tonie') Nathan, the 1972 Vice-Presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, was the first woman in American history to receive an electoral vote.
The only non-Presidents to adorn US currency are: $1 coin, Susan B. Anthony; $10 bill, Alexander Hamilton; $100 bill, Benjamin Franklin; $10,000 bill, Salmon P. Chase.
Ross Perot resigned from the General Motors Board of Directors because of the decision to purchase Hughes Aircraft Company.
John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in a theatre and was found in a warehouse. Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and was found in a theatre.
Pennsylvania was the first colony to legalize witchcraft. Source: Jason Wray
In a tradition dating to the begining of the Westminster system of government, the bench in the middle of a Westminster parliarment is 2 1/2 sword lengths long. This was so the government and oppositon couldn't have a go at each other if it all got a bit heated! Source: Jim of Perth, Australia.
Theodore Roosevelt was the first American President to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He won for his arbitration of treaty discussions at the end of the Russo-Japanese War.
The only four countries that start with the letter "D" are Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica and the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic was called Santo Domingo when it first gained independance.
The part of Denmark which is a penninsula is called Jutland.
The Netherlands and the United States both have national anthems which do not mention their country's name. Source: Albert Siersema
The national anthem of the Netherlands (Het Wilhelmus) is the oldest national anthem in the world. The music appeared in 1572, the lyrics in 1590. The Japanese anthem has the oldest lyrics/text from the ninth century, but the music is from 1880. Source: Albert Siersema
The German Bundestag, or Parliament, has 672 members and is the world's largest elected legislative body. Source: Roger Janesheski of Granger, Indiana.
SMERSH, the Soviet spy organization made familiar by James Bond creator, Ian Fleming, was a real KGB department. Named after its motto SMERT SHpionen ('Death to Spies'), SMERSH had the job of eliminating enemies of the Soviet Union who lived abroad. Its most important victim was Leon Trotsky, the former Bolshevik leader in the 1917 Revolution, who was murdered in Mexico in 1940. Source: "Reader's Digest Book of Facts"
When First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, received an alarming number of threatening letters, soon after her husband became President at the height of the Depression, the Secret Service insisted that she carry a pistol in her purse. Source: "Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts"
You never know when opportunity is yours. Take the case of Daniel Webster, a U.S. congressman in the nineteenth century. Webster wanted more than anything else to be President of the United States. He was offered the vice-presidency by William Henry Harrison, but turned it down. Then Harrison died in office. Again Webster was offered the vice-presidency, by Zachary Taylor, but declined. Taylor died in office. Webster never did become President. Source: "Knowledge in a Nutshell"
President James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other -- simultaneously! Source: "2201 Fascinating Facts"
Americans pay over $30,500 in federal, state, and local taxes every second
All three major 1996 Presidential candidates, Clinton, Dole and Perot, were left-handed.
Before Bill Clinton, no left-handed American president had ever served two terms.
Only three Presidents graduated from the military academies: Grant and Eisenhower from West Point, and Carter from Annapolis.
There has never been a President from the Air Force or Marine Corps, although Reagan was in the Army Air Corps.
The U.S. Constitution stipulates that, to be eligible for the Presidency, a candidate must be a natural-born citizen, must have lived in the United States for a minimum of 14 years and must be at least 35 years old. There are no other legal qualifications or restrictions for the post, so there is nothing in the law to prevent a lunatic, a bankrupt or a convicted criminal from becoming President. Source: "Reader's Digest Book of Facts"
In England, the Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak.
The U.S. Naval Observatory declares American time.
The company providing the liability insurance for the Republican National Convention in San Diego is the same firm that insured the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic.
The dome on Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, conceals a billiards room. In Jefferson's day, billiards were illegal in Virginia.
Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt were all cousins through one connection or another. FDR and Eleanor were about five times removed.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to have a presidential aircraft. He only flew on the airplane, a specially equipped Douglas DC-4 nicknamed "The Sacred Cow," once; to travel to the Yalta Conference during World War II. It was equipped with an elevator so that the president could board the plane while remaining in his wheelchair. The aircraft currently is on display at the USAF museum in Dayton, Ohio.
FDR was the most superstitious president -- he traveled continually but never left on a Friday. He also wouldn't sit at the same table that held thirteen other people.
By the time FDR's mother died, in 1941, FDR had presided over at least eight annual budgets of the largest fiscal entity on earth. Yet during her lifetime, Sara Delano Roosevelt did not entrust her son with managing the family's money because she did not think her son up to the task.
After the Civil War the U.S. sued Great Britain for damages that were caused by them building ships for the Confederacy. We originally asked for $1 billion but settled on $25 Million.
Of all U.S. Presidents, none lived to be older than John Adams, who died at the age of 91.
President John Quincy Adams owned a pet alligator which he kept in the East Room of the White House.
John Quincy Adams took his last skinnydip in the Potomac on his seventy-ninth birthday.
Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, was the first (and only) foreign-born first lady.
The most common first name for a president is James or some variation of it. (In order: James Madison, James Monroe, James Polk, James Buchanan, James Garfield, Jimmy Carter)
Jimmy Carter was the first president born in a hospital.
Gerald Ford pardoned Robert E. Lee posthumously of all crimes of treason.
Gerald Ford was the only man who held both the Presidency and the Vice-Presidency but who was not elected to either post.
Gerald Ford was once a male model.
Gerald Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.
Gerald Ford was the only president to have two women attempt to assassinate him. Both attempts were in California in September of 1975. The first attempt was September 6, 1975, by Lynette Fromme who thought she could impress Charles Manson by killing the president. The next attempt was by Sara Jane Moore on September 22, 1975. Her motive was simply that she was bored. Later, she was pronounced mentally unstable.
All U.S. Presidents have worn glasses, some of them just didn't like to be seen with them in public.
The Panama Canal was excavated from the coasts inland; the final short segment was cleared by explosives detonated by President Woodrow Wilson, who sent the signal by wire from New York City.
President James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other.
Harry Truman's middle name was just 'S.' It isn't short for anything. His parents could not decide between two different names beginning with S.
When Harry Truman left office in 1952 he got in his own car and drove himself back to Missouri.
James Madison lived at Montpiellier (tall mountain); Thomas Jefferson lived at Monticello (little mountain.)
The lightest President of the United States was James Madison who was 5' 4" and weighed under 100 pounds. The tallest was Lincoln at 6' 4". The heaviest was Howard Taft who, at times, weighed over 300 pounds. Source: "Knowledge in a Nutshell"
Andrew Jackson was the only U.S. President to believe that the world is flat.
President Andrew Jackson spent most of his adult life with a bullet no more than two inches away from his heart as a result of a duel he fought before becoming President.
On his inauguration day in 1829, Andrew Jackson had to climb over a wall and enter the Capital from the basement in order to avoid boisterous mobs that thronged the Capitol in celebration. Source: "Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts"
President Taft got stuck in his bathtub on his Inauguration Day and had to be pried out by his attendants.
Taft weighed 340 lbs. on his inauguration day.
Taft's special "fat man" bathtub was big enough for four average-sized men.
William Howard Taft was the first President to own a car.
Taft was the last President with facial hair
The reason Maryland did not seceed from the Union in 1865 was that President Lincoln had the state legislators arrested.
When Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession passed Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln had been shot, one of the cornices fell off the building. Source: "2201 Fascinating Facts"
When John Wilkes Booth leaped onto the stage after shooting the President, he tripped -- on the American flag. Source: "2201 Fascinating Facts"
A short time before his assignation Lincoln dreamed he was going to die, and he related his dream to the Senate. Source: "2201 Fascinating Facts"
Abe Lincoln's mother died when the family dairy cow ate poisonous mushrooms and Ms. Lincoln drank the milk.
Before winning the election in 1860, Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections for various offices.
Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln, was present at the assassinations of three US presidents: Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley.
The first President to ride in an automobile was William McKinley. After being shot, he was taken to the hospital in a 1901 Columbia electric ambulance.
George Washington's false teeth were made of whale bone.
George Washington was deathly afraid of being buried alive. After he died, he wanted to be layed out for three days just to make sure he was really dead.
Washington's second inaugural address was 138 words long.
When George Washington was elected President, there was a king in France, a czarina in Russia, an emperor in China, and a shogun in Japan. Only the office of President remains today.
George Washington had to borrow money to go to his own inauguration.
George Washington who commanded the Continental Army as a four-star general was promoted posthumously to the position of six-star "General of the Armies of Congress" by an order of Jimmy Carter, who felt America's first President should also be America's highest military official.
James K. Polk was the only President to have been Speaker of the House.
A book published in 1940 contained 370 proofs of the Pythagorean Theorum, including one by President James Garfield.
John Tyler, president from 1841 to 1845, joined the Confederacy twenty years later and became the only President named a sworn enemy of the United States.
John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Millard Fillmore and Chester Arthur did not make Inaugural Addresses.
There were two Presidents whose names contained double letters in both their first and last names: William Harrison and Millard Fillmore.
Andrew Johnson, the 17th president, was the only self-educated tailor. He is the only president to make his own clothes as well as his cabinet's.
Richard Nixon left instructions for "California, Here I Come" to be the last piece of music played at his funeral ("softly and slowly") were he to die in office.
Richard Nixon's favorite drink was a dry martini.
Julie Nixon, daughter of Richard Nixon, married David Eisenhower, son of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President and Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, is the only President known to have shot a hole in one in golf.
William Henry Harrison was the first president to die in office, and he was the oldest president ever elected. He was also the only president to study medicine.
James Buchanan is said to have had the neatest handwriting of all the presidents.
Harrison was the only president born in the same county as his vice president.
Harrison's inaugural address was 2,843 words long.
The shortest Presidential inaugural address was George Washington's, at 135 words. The longest was by William Henry Harrison, at 8445 words.
Ronald Reagan was the oldest President elected to office.
Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Davis appeared opposite each other in the movie "Hellcats of the Navy."
Ronald Reagan sent out the army photographer who first discovered Marilyn Monroe.
Ronald Reagan was the only divorced President.
Ronald Reagan was the only President who studied economics in college.
The only president to be head of a labor union was Ronald Reagan.
Theodore Roosevelt's wife and mother died on the same day.
When the Hoovers did not want to be overheard by White House guests, they spoke to each other in Chinese.
The first President to be a Navy veteran was John F. Kennedy. Since JFK, all Presidents have been Navy veterans except Reagan (Army) and Clinton, who didn't serve.
Only two U.S. Presidents and their wives are buried at the Arlington National Cemetery: John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and William Taft and his wife Helen Heron Taft.
William Howard Taft was the first President to own a car.
When Harry Truman left office in 1952 he got in his own car and drove himself back to Missouri.
No president was an only child.
Harrison had a goat named "His Whiskers."
Franklin Pierce liked to race his horse and carriage through town. Once, he ran down an elderly woman, and was arrested. The charges against him could not be proven, and the case was dismissed.
The Coolidges had the wildest collection of pets in the White House -- a goose, a wallaby, a donkey, a thrush, a lion cub, two cats, twelve dogs, and several birds.
Warren G. Harding's middle name is Gamaliel.
Warren G. Harding was the first American President to visit Canada. He stopped in Vancouver, British Columbia while he was on his way to Alaska.
According to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Lyndon Johnson loved the soda Fresca so much he had a fountain installed in the Oval Office that dispensed the beverage, which the president could operate by pushing a button on his desk chair. Fresca is a grapefruit- flavored soda sold on the East Coast.
Robert Kennedy was killed in the Ambassador Hotel, the same hotel that housed Marilyn Monroe's first modelling agency.
In current existence there are more handwritten letters from George Washington than from John F. Kennedy.
The Baby Ruth candy bar was actually named afte Grover Cleveland's baby daughter, Ruth.
Grover Cleveland's real first name is Stephen, Grover is his middle name.
Sirimauo Bandranaike of Sri iLanka became the world's first popularly elected female head of state in 1960.
There was some question as to whether Barry Goldwater could legaly serve as President. The Constitution requires presidents to be born in the United States. Goldwater was born in Arizona before it was a state.
The "ZIP" in Zip Code stands for "Zone Improvement Plan."
The Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, has twice as many bathrooms as is necessary. When it was built in the 1940s, the state of Virginia still had segregation laws requiring separate toilet facilities for blacks and whites.
Despite being only five stories high, the Pentagon is one of the biggest office buildings in the world. It has more floor space than the Empire State Building which is 102 stories. The Pentagon has over 3 million square feet of office space and can house about 30,000 employees. This was made possible by the unusual design of five rings on each of its five sides.
Six time Socialist Party candidate for President of the United States Norman Thomas never polled more than 884,000 popular votes in one election, but his influence on American political and social thought were very effective. Among the reforms that he
early championed were unemployment compensation and old-age pensions. Source: "Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts"