Presidential Trivia: 40 Fascinating Facts About US Presidents – Part 3

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1John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy ordered 1200 Cuban cigars just a day before declaring the Cuban trade embargo. 

2. President Lyndon B. Johnson owned an amphibious car, a car that serves as both a vehicle and a boat. He used it to scare guests by driving them into his lake while screaming that the brakes were malfunctioning.

3. Ulysses S. Grant provided the defeated and starving Confederate Army with food rations after their surrender in April 1865. Because of this, for the rest of his life, Robert E. Lee "would not tolerate an unkind word about Grant in his presence."

4. In 1981, Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 air traffic controllers after they refused to end their strike and subsequently banned them from federal service for life.

5. Richard Nixon once called in staff to help him open an allergy-pill bottle. It was the childproof type of bottle, with instructions saying “Press down while turning.” The cap had teeth marks on it where Nixon had apparently tried to gnaw it open.

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6Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson

In his final days, Lyndon B. Johnson would listen to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel repeatedly while agonizing over his legacy; worrying that he would only be remembered for the Vietnam War and not as the architect of equal rights and Medicare.

7. Richard Nixon sabotaged Vietnam peace talks to give himself a better chance in the 1968 U.S. Presidential election, prolonging the war by 5 years.

8. In 1919, Eisenhower and the Army tried to drive across the country. They barely made it, so Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System when he became President.

9. President Gerald Ford stood up for civil rights in 1934 by threatening to quit his college football team, unless they let Willis Ward (African American) play against the south’s Georgia Tech. He agreed to play only after Ward asked him to because they couldn’t afford to lose that game.

10. Franklin D. Roosevelt made an agreement with the press that they wouldn't take photos of him walking or getting in and out of cars, so as to avoid publicizing his disability due to polio.

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11Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson personally rejected a proposal put forward by Japan during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that would have confirmed the racial and ethnic equality of all people.

12. Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to fly in a plane - and he nearly fell out. He described it as 'the bulliest experience I ever had.'

13. In the 1896 U.S. election, William McKinley won despite the fact that he campaigned from the front porch of his home in Ohio while his opponent traveled extensively by railway speaking at over 600 events.

14. US President Benjamin Harrison had electric lights installed in the White House, but would sleep with the lights on because he was too afraid to touch the switches.

15. President Grover Cleveland developed mouth cancer during his second term. Fearing news of this might cause financial panic, he underwent secret surgery on his friend’s yacht off the coast of Long Island, under the cover story of being on a 4-day fishing trip.

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16Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

President Franklin D. Roosevelt thought every American should own an acre of land so that they could be self-sustaining in case of catastrophe.

17. The 20th President of the US, James A. Garfield, contributed an original proof of the Pythagorean Theorem before he became president. He came up with it during a discussion with other members of Congress, and it was published in the New England Journal of Education.

18. Ulysses S. Grant was also planned to be assassinated along with Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth but he did not attend the play at Ford Theater because their wives were not on good terms.

19. President Harry S. Truman's middle name is just the letter S.

20. Richard Nixon possessed 3,700 hours of taped conversations while he was in the White House. Very few people have listened to more than a few hours of them. The tapes "go a long way toward showing Nixon’s underappreciated geopolitical genius and how he became the victim of his own emotionalism." 

21John F. Kennedy funeral

John F. Kennedy funeral

John F. Kennedy's main funeral honor Guard were all Irish soldiers flown to the United States at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy who stated that JFK had been enthralled and impressed by how the Irish military honored their dead on his visit to Ireland.

22. Theodore Roosevelt openly despised the nickname "Teddy", and was quick to correct anyone who called him it. He preferred those working closely with him to refer to him as Colonel or Theodore.

23. U.S President Jimmy Carter helped to reduce the Guinea Worm Disease cases from 3.5 million to 126. This disease is now at the brink of extinction.

24. Before he became President, Grover Cleveland had an affair with a woman which resulted in her becoming pregnant, and in order to cover up the scandal, he had her committed and her child sent to an orphanage.

25. Calvin Coolidge once awoke to a burglar in his hotel room. He talked the burglar out of robbing him, loaned him $32, and told him how to leave without being arrested.

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