United States Presidential Trivia Your History Teachers Never Taught You

Seal-president-of-the-united-states-1163420_640Here are some facts about or involving our country’s Presidents you may not know.

The first president born in a hospital. Jimmy Carter, our 39th president, was the first to be born in a hospital, in 1924. Not all of Carter’s successors were born in hospitals; post-Carter presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush were not. Meanwhile, seven previous presidents, including Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, were born in log cabins, meaning more U.S. presidents have been born in log cabins than hospitals.

The number of U.S. presidents who were only children. Zero! Every single U.S. president has had, at the very least, a half-sibling. The four U.S. presidents who had half-siblings, but not full siblings, were Franklin Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. The president with the most siblings was James Buchanan, the 15th president, who had six sisters and four brothers.

The only U.S. president to never marry. James Buchanan, the 15th president, remained unmarried not only throughout his entire presidency but also throughout his entire life, the only U.S. president to do either of those things. His niece, Harriet Lane Johnston, served as his first lady. Buchanan was not the only bachelor elected to office however. Grover Cleveland, the 22nd president, was unmarried when he was elected, but he got married while in office. Before that, his first lady was his sister.

The first president to declare war. Our fourth president, James Madison, became the first U.S. president to declare war. He signed a declaration of war against the British on June 18, 1812, officially beginning the War of 1812. It would be more than 30 years until the next official declaration of war: 1846, when James K. Polk began the Mexican-American War.

The first national monument. The American Antiquities Act, enacted in 1906, established the protection of “natural and cultural resources” in the United States, paving the way for national monuments and parks. President Theodore Roosevelt wasted no time in proclaiming four national monuments in that same year. The first of those was Devils Tower in Wyoming. This massive column of igneous rock attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.

The first national park. The first official national park is Yellowstone in Wyoming, established by President Grant in 1872. The difference between a national monument and a national park, by the way, is that parks are set aside by Congress for their scenic or natural significance, while monuments can have historic or scientific significance of any kind, and are created via executive order. Buildings and ruins, for instance, can be monuments, but not parks.

Be sure to look for our United States Trivia (Non-Presidential) Your History Teacher Never Taught You – Parts 1 and 2!

This blog was adapted from an article by Meghan Jones in rd.com.

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