Fun Facts: US Presidents
Let’s be honest – being able to talk to your friends in English makes you look pretty cool. But how about if you talk to your friends in English and can simultaneously tell them some top facts?
Three days from today (February 18) it is Presidents Day, or ‘Washington’s Birthday’, a US state holiday that began in 1879.
"What is Presidents Day?" I hear you say. "And what has it got to do with me?" Well, unless you study - or are hoping to study, English in the USA (in which case you should be swotting up on American state holidays), then maybe not too much.
But whether you wear your hair in tight white curls to look like your idol George Washington, or whether you think politics is totally boring, here are some outstanding facts about US Presidents that even the coolest of kids will want to memorize and tell their friends:
- George Washington (1789-1797): began to lose his teeth at just 20 years old – they were replaced by false teeth made of gold, lead, elephant and walrus tusks, and other humans’ teeth.
- Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809): spoke six different languages (obviously being multilingual is pretty sophisticated, so you and Jefferson have that in common).
- John Quincy Adams (1825-1829): liked early morning swims in Washington D.C.’s Potomac River – naked early morning swims. Apparently a bold female reporter once stole his clothes and held them hostage until Adams agreed to an interview.
- John Tyler (1841-1845): had 15 children.
- Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865): Though he probably didn’t wear spandex, Abe was an excellent wrestler, honored in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and losing only once in around 300 matches.
- Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881): was the first President to use a telephone. His number was ‘1’ and his first call was with the inventor of the telephone Alexander Graham Bell. Hayes supposedly asked Bell to “please speak a little more slowly”, a tip you can borrow when talking on the phone in English.
- James A. Garfield (1881-1881): could write with both hands at the same time, in different languages (Latin and Greek). Wow.
- Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885): changed his clothes several times a day – he reportedly owned 80 pairs of pants.
- Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt (1901-1909): was the inspiration behind toy companies naming cute stuffed bears ‘teddy bears’, after one day refusing to shoot a bear that his aide had tied to a tree.
- Herbert Hoover (1929-1933): Hoover and his wife spoke in Chinese to each other to keep their stories private – they were both fluent. (Become fluent in English and you and your friends could do the same with your secrets).
- George Bush Senior (1989-1993): survived four plane crashes during World War II.
- George W. Bush (2001-2009): was head cheerleader at his high school (my personal favorite).
I'm sure your minds are blown after having read those facts. Have an exceptional Presidents Day and share these facts with friends. And if you have any good facts for Kaplan, let us know!
Simultaneously: at the same moment
Swotting (UK slang): to study or learn intensively
Cheerleader: someone who participates in cheerleading – an activity commonly dominated by girls that involves ‘pumping up’ the crowd at a sporting event, and many high kicks
Minds are blown: a phrase meaning to be overwhelmed by excitement