44 Facts About United States Presidents That Will Blow Your Mind

Common fact: They’re all weirdos.

1. George Washington grew large amounts of cannabis.

2. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson went to see William Shakespeare’s home in 1786. They then ripped off a piece of Shakespeare’s chair with a knife to take with them as a memento.

3. Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair.

4. James Madison weighed under 100 pounds and was only 5’4”.

5. James Monroe chased William Crawford, the secretary of the Treasury, out of the White House with a pair of fire tongs.

6. John Quincy Adams and Herbert Hoover both had pet alligators.

7. Andrew Jackson taught his parrot how to curse — it was so bad that the parrot had to be removed from Jackson’s funeral for swearing too much.

8. Martin Van Buren was the first U.S. president to be born a citizen of the United States, but his first language was Dutch, because he grew up in a Dutch part of New York called Kinderhook.

9. William Henry Harrison commissioned bottles of hard cider in the shape of log cabins as part of his campaigning.

10. John Tyler was born in 1790, and he still has two living grandchildren.

11. When James K. Polk was 17, he had surgery to remove gallstones without any anesthesia or antiseptic.

12. Zachary Taylor died suddenly, and while his exact cause of death is still disputed, it most definitely originated from eating cherries and fresh milk.

13. Millard Fillmore had a schoolboy crush and married his teacher.

14. While president, Franklin Pierce was arrested for running over an old woman with his horse; the charges were later dropped.

15. James Buchanan was rumored to be gay.

16. Abraham Lincoln created the Secret Service hours before his assassination.

17. Andrew Johnson was completely hammered at his vice presidential inauguration in 1865.

18. Ulysses S. Grant once got a speeding ticket on his horse. He was fined $20.

19. Rutherford B. Hayes signed the act that allowed women to plead cases before the Supreme Court, making it legal for women to practice in the court system.

20. James Garfield was ambidextrous, and could write Greek with his right hand while simultaneously writing Latin with his left.

21. When Chester A. Arthur was 24, he successfully represented Elizabeth Jennings, a black woman who sued a streetcar company for kicking her out of the white section of a streetcar. As a result, all New York City streetcars were forced to desegregate.

22. Grover Cleveland allegedly date-raped a woman, got her pregnant, forced her to put the child in an orphanage, and committed her to an insane asylum.

23. Benjamin Harrison was nicknamed “kid gloves,” because he always wore goat-skin gloves, allegedly to protect himself from infection.

24. Grover Cleveland is the only president to have ever served as a hangman. He carried out multiple executions.

25. William McKinley’s wife suffered from epileptic seizures, and when she had seizures during public events, McKinley would gently place his handkerchief over her face and carry on.

26. The teddy bear got its name from Teddy Roosevelt. During a hunting trip, a guide tied a bear to a tree for the president to shoot, but he refused, stating that it was unsportsmanlike.

27. William Taft was a member of the secret Skull and Bones society at Yale, which his father co-founded.

28. Woodrow Wilson is the only president to have earned a Ph.D., and he didn’t learn to read until he was 10 years old.

29. Warren G. Harding drank during prohibition, had extramarital affairs, and allegedly had a child out of wedlock with a woman who was 31 years his junior.

National Archives, Hulton Archive/ Fox Photos, Hulton Archive

30. Calvin Coolidge had a pet pygmy hippopotamus named Billy.

31. While living with his uncle on a Native American reservation in Oklahoma, Herbert Hoover learned to make bows and arrows.

32. Franklin Roosevelt wore dresses up until the age of 5.

33. To help his early political career, Harry S. Truman briefly considered joining the KKK, but turned them down after he learned that he would be banned from appointing Catholics to any government jobs.

34. Dwight Eisenhower was a painter, and he produced more than 250 known pieces.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Getty/ Central Press

 

35. John F. Kennedy was a massive fan of James Bond author Ian Fleming, and upon meeting Fleming at a dinner party in 1960, he asked the author about overthrowing Fidel Castro.

36. Lyndon Johnson had so many extramarital affairs while in office that his male aides referred to the girls he met with as his harem.

37. Richard Nixon pursued his wife for two years, and would even chauffeur her on dates with other men during that time.

38. Gerald Ford was once a male model on the cover of Cosmopolitan, and he could have played in the NFL.

39. Jimmy Carter went on record as having seen a UFO, and he’s the first known president to do so.

40. The only U.S. president who has been divorced is Ronald Reagan. He divorced actress Jane Wyman in 1948, and married Nancy Davis in 1952.

41. While captain of Yale’s baseball team, George H.W. Bush met and posed for a photo with Babe Ruth. It was just a few months before the Bambino’s death.

42. During a radio interview, Bill Clinton aced a quiz about My Little Pony.

43. George W. Bush was the head cheerleader his senior year at Phillips Academy.

44. Barack Obama is an avid collector of comics, but in particular of Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics.

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