The United States of America has seen roughly 250 years of presidents; some good, some bad and most falling somewhere in the realm of relatively adequate. While the presidency is only one of three co-equal branches of government, none of which is superior to the others, the president is certainly the most visible person in the American power structure. The president is highly scrutinized, from their personal life to their every pronouncement that could even vaguely be construed as a comment on policy. Conspiracies abound about what presidents are really thinking and doing when no one is watching, and of course, nobody really knows who someone is behind closed doors.
Some presidents have entered the pantheon of history's greatest leaders, while others have been relegated to the dustbin of history. A few left office under a cloud, while others' legacies were rehabilitated later as history gained perspective on their deeds and misdeeds. Others got away with absolutely heinous acts of corruption. Some have given great speeches, and others passed life-altering legislation. Some of them rose to the challenges of their age, and others were caretakers, at best. Let's see how well you remember them all!
Who was the first president of the United States?
Though he was not unanimously elected, he did win the majority of the electoral votes in each state. He served for two terms, actively choosing not to pursue a third term. This choice set the precedent for presidents serving a maximum of eight years, but it wasn't yet enshrined as law.
Which president was the only American president to be elected four times?
Following FDR's death during the beginning of his fourth term as president, the 22nd Amendment was ratified in 195 and limited the presidential office to two four-year terms.
William Henry Harrison served only 32 days in office because he:
He died from complications of pneumonia at the age of 68, and his Vice President, John Tyler, became the 10th president of the United States. He did not have a vice president.
Which US president was involved with an affair (and ensuing scandal) with Monica Lewinsky, former White House intern?
Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for this scandal in 1998, however, he was acquitted by the Senate in 1999 and completed his term in office.
Who fatally shot President Abraham Lincoln?
John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the back of the head as he sat in the Presidential Box at the Ford Theater enjoying a play. While other American presidents would also be assassinated, he was the first.
This US President smoked multiple cigars every day, and it eventually led to his death from throat cancer.
Grant served as the 18th president of the US, and worked to enforce the end of slavery via the Civil Rights Act of 1866. After the presidency, Grant spent two and half years traveling the world in the name of diplomacy and in recognition of the United States as an emerging power player in world politics.
President Ronald Reagan was the first US president who was:
Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the US and served two terms, from 1981-1989. Prior to that, he was the 33rd governor of California. During his acting days, he was the president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Who was the first president to wear a beard?
Lincoln grew out his beard at the goading of an eleven-year-old girl who thought his face was too thin without facial hair. At 6'4", Lincoln was also the tallest president on record.
James Buchanan was the only president who never:
James Buchanan was a lawyer, a diplomat and a politician, but never a husband. However, he did have a First Lady. His niece, Harriet Lane, took on the duties that usually would go to the president's spouse.
Which US president served his entire presidency unable to walk unaided?
Franklin D. Roosevelt was partially paralyzed from a disease he contracted when he was 39 years old. He was mostly wheelchair bound, but with help, he could walk a few feet. He tried to appear more able-bodied than he was, as he was afraid the public wouldn't vote for someone who was seriously disabled.
Which US president was responsible for the D-Day invasion during World War II?
Eisenhower succeeded Harry Truman as the 34th president. He was promoted to 5-Star Army General during the end of World War II and was responsible for planning the successful invasion of France on in Normandy.
Who did Richard Nixon speak with on July 21, 1969 from the White House radio-telephone?
Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and several hours later on July 21st, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first to step foot onto the surface of the moon. Nixon called it "the most historic phone call ever made from the White House."
This US president played the saxophone:
Bill Clinton played saxophone in a jazz trio in high school. The three wore dark sunglasses on stage and called themselves "Three Blind Mice."
A prominent US family, this president's father gave him $1 million when he turned 21 years old:
The money was in a trust fund that had been set up by his father to be accessible to him only when he turned 21.
Though many served in the Army, this US president was the first to have served in the Navy:
John F. Kennedy was the first president to serve as an active member of the Navy from 1941-1943. Kennedy saved a fellow soldier's life during an attack on their boat during WWII.
Which president was the first president to hold a press conference on television?
John F. Kennedy held the first televised press conference on January 25, 1961. It's estimated that 65 million people tuned-in to watch him give the conference, which lasted for 37 minutes.
Who was the only US president to resign from office?
Richard Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974 amid the threat of impeachment for the Watergate scandal and his loss of political support. Gerald Ford succeeded him as president.
Grover Cleveland dedicated the ______ in New York Harbor in 1886.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the US from the people of France in 1886. It stands at a height of 151' 1" tall. The French name of the statue translates to "Liberty Enlightening the World."
Herbert Hoover was the first president to be born west of which river?
Hoover served as the 31st president of the US from 1929-1933. He was a mining engineer raised as a Quaker, and was also a Republican. He was president during the beginning of the Great Depression.
Herbert Hoover and JFK were two presidents who did this with their salary:
Hoover made a small fortune in the mining industry, and JFK came from a wealthy family.
Before his presidency, George W. Bush was managing general partner of which Major League baseball team?
Bush was the 43rd president of the United States, from 2001-2009. He was elected after a close race against Al Gore who received more popular votes than Bush.
Singer Beyonce sang "At Last" at his inaugural ball while he danced with his wife.
Barack Obama was the first black president of the United States. He served for two terms as the 44th president.
Who was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence?
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States, from 1801-1809. Other Founding Fathers included John Adams, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison and George Washington.
Which US president would awake at 5am to practice piano for two hours each day?
Harry Truman was the 33rd president of the United States, a Democrat who served as vice president and succeeded FDR upon his death.
Woodrow Wilson was the first US president to have earned a:
Dr. Woodrow Wilson earned his Ph.D. in political science in 1886 at Johns Hopkins University. He later served as president of Princeton University from 1902-1910.
John Quincy Adams was the first president to be:
John Quincy Adams was the sixth president, and prior to that, he served as the eighth Secretary of State. He's the son of a former president, John Adams, and Abigail Adams.
Which US president was the only one who was elected twice, but in non-consecutive terms?
Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the US. Benjamin Harrison served between Cleveland's two terms. Prior to his first term, he served as the 28th governor of New York.
Which US president is remembered for getting stuck in the White House bathtub?
Taft weighed close to 350 pounds, but there's no actual evidence that he was ever stuck in the White House bathtub. The rumor began years after he'd left office.
What was the relationship between John Adams and John Quincy Adams?
John Quincy Adams became the sixth president of the US, following his father, John Adams, who was the second president. The father saw his son become president just 16 months before his death.
George Washington is on two denominations of US currency. They are the one dollar bill and the:
George Washington was also the first president to be on a postage stamp! The quarter with his face on it was first minted in 1932. Washington was first on the one dollar bill in 1869.
Which US president was the first to speak over the radio?
Warren Harding served as the 29th president and died in office from an apparent cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 57. He was one of the most popular US presidents while he served, though following his death, the exposure of several scandals during his presidency made the public's opinion of him drop.
Which US president held his daughter's high school prom at the White House?
Gerald Ford was actually born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. He became the 38th president of the US following Richard Nixon's resignation.
Who was the 11th president of the US?
James K. Polk was a Democrat who served as Speaker of the House and also as Governor of Tennessee before taking the oath of the presidency in March of 1845.
Who was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House?
Franklin Pierce was the 14th president of the US, from March 1853 – March 1857. His political choices helped set the country on the track that led to the American Civil War.
This US President became a slave owner at the early age of eleven.
He was left ten slaves when his father died. George Washington died on December 14, 1799 at his home. At that time, he personally owned 123 slaves.
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