5 Presidential Facts Your History Teacher Never Told You
Image credit: The White House Historical Association via Wikimedia Commons
The men who have served as President of the United States were far more interesting than your average high school history class might suggest. These five facts are ones for the books … even if they were technically left out of the books.
1. WASHINGTON WASN'T ACTUALLY NO. 1 …
Your teachers all said G.W. was the first American president, but George "I Cannot Tell a Lie" Washington would have told you differently. During the American Revolution in 1781, the Continental Congress elected Maryland statesman John Hanson to the post of President of the United States in Congress Assembled. After getting elected, Hanson sent a letter to Washington thanking him for all of his hard work. Washington's reply was addressed to the "President John Hanson." Not until he was inaugurated in 1789 did Washington officially take his own version of the title. Hanson would go on to headline lists of Americans who were kinda, sorta president.
2. AND ONCE IN OFFICE, HIS MOTTO WAS BASICALLY ‘YOLO’
As president, ol' Georgie pulled in a salary of $25K a year. That's roughly $1 million in today's currency. Apparently excited by his newfound purchasing power, Washington started living it up, reportedly buying leopard-skin robes for all his horses and spending seven percent of his income on alcohol.
3. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS WAS A LITTLE TOO COMFORTABLE IN HIS SKIN
Forget secret tapes and shredded documents. Back in the early 19th century, there was a better way to get a glimpse of an American president truly exposed. All you had to do was show up at the banks of the Potomac River early in the morning during the warmer months between 1825 and 1829 to catch John Quincy Adams skinny-dipping.
4. BUSH MADE QUITE THE IMPRESSION IN JAPAN
If you remember one thing from the first Bush administration, it's probably not the 1992 state dinner during which President George H. W. Bush, ill with the flu, lost his lunch in the lap of the Japanese prime minister. Well, a lot of Japanese remember that incident a little better. Turns out, Bush's faux pas coined a slang word, bushusuru, which translates as "to do the Bush thing," meaning "to vomit."
5. THOMAS JEFFERSON'S RESUME WAS MISSING SOME VITAL INFORMATION
What do you want on your tombstone? Thomas Jefferson knew, so he took the time before he died to write out the inscription. He was very clear that the monument was not to contain a word more than he wrote, which included his accomplishments as “author of the Declaration of Independence,” and “founder of the University of Virginia.” However, he did forget one small achievement. The tombstone fails to mention that Jefferson was once president of the United States.