What July 4 is all about.
of the Presidency
The "Zero Factor,"
U.S. History Fact-O-Rama
about the U.S. of A.
The REAL First President
George Washington was not the first President of the United States. The first President, John Hanson,
representative at the Continental Congress. On November 5, 1781, Hanson, who
is considered a black man because of his Moorish background, was elected by the
Constitutional Congress to the office of "President of the United States in Congress
Assembled." He served for one year and was followed by 6 other Presidents before
Washington was elected.
Damn Those Damned Draft Dodgers!
President Grover Cleveland was a draft dodger. He hired someone to enter the service in
his place. He was ridiculed by his political opponent, James Blaine, but it was soon
discovered that Blaine had done the same thing himself!
Mr. President, Are You Aware
of How Fast You Were Going?
Ulysses S. Grant was convicted of exceeding the speed limit while riding with his horse in
the streets of Washington, D.C. late one night. The accusing police officer was reluctant
to issue the $20 fine when he realized that the offender was President Grant, but Grant
insisted the he be fined.
And If You Think THAT'S Bad...
President Franklin Pierce was arrested during his term as President for running over an
old lady with his horse, but the charges were later dropped.
A man named David Rice Atchison was President of the United States for one day and didn't
even know it. According to the law at the time, if neither the President nor the Vice
President were in office, the President Pro Tem of the Senate (Atchinson) became
President. On March 4, 1849, President Polk's term had expired and President-elect Taylor
could not yet be sworn in because it was a Sunday. Atchinson did not realize that he had
been President for a day until several months later. The law that made Atchinson President
for a day has since been changed.
I'm a Loser, Baby, So
Why Don't Ya Kill Me
When he was 22, his business failed. When he was 23, he lost a bid for U.S. Congress. When
he was 24, he failed in business again. The following year, he was elected to the state
legislature. When he was 26, his sweetheart died. At age 27, he had a nervous breakdown.
When he was 29, he was defeated for the post of Speaker of the House in the state
legislature. When he was 31, he was defeated as Elector. When he was 34, he ran for
Congress again and lost. At the age of 37, he ran for Congress yet again and finally won,
but two years later he lost his re-election campaign. At the age of 46, he ran for a U.S.
Senate seat and lost. The following year he ran for Vice President and lost. Finally, at
the age of 51, he was elected President of the United States. Who was this perpetual loser, you ask?
"Is It the Fourth?"
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams spent years writing letters back and forth to each other
debating the role of government. Jefferson favored a small Federal government with
relatively limited powers; Adams demanded a stronger, more centralized Federal government.
They had an enormous amount of respect for each other and died coincidentally on the same
day: July 4, 1826. Jefferson's last words were: "Is it the fourth?"
Were They Aiming for Robert or What?
Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abe Lincoln, was present at the assassinations of three
Presidents: his father's, President Garfield's and President McKinley's. After the last
shooting, he refused to attend any State affairs. He would not have been present at these
events if it hadn't been for the brother of John Wilkes Booth, who saved his life years
The "Zero Factor" and Tecumseh's Curse
Some folks believe that the curse of Indian chief Tecumseh has killed every U.S. President
before the end of their term in office, if they were elected in a year that ended with 0.
The first victim of the curse was William Henry Harrison, whose troops killed the Indian
chief in 1813.
- Harrison, elected in 1840, died of pneumonia after serving 31 days in office.
- Lincoln, elected in 1860, assassinated.
- Garfield, elected in 1880, assassinated.
- McKinley, elected to a second term in 1900, assassinated.
- Harding, elected in 1920, died of a stroke in 1923.
- Roosevelt, elected to a third term in 1940, died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1945.
- Kennedy, elected in 1960, assassinated.
- Reagan, elected in 1980, survived an attempted assassination. (Is the curse finally
broken? We'll find out sometime in the next decade!)
Presidents Washington and Lincoln both had what might be considered prophetic visions.
Lincoln prophesized his own death and even warned Congress
about it. Washington prophesied the great future of the
United States, including the victories in two Great Wars, and overcoming the
devastation of a third (yet to occur?) global conflict.
Sorry, King -- I Gotta Get Back
To My Marijuana Harvest!
When George Washington and Ben Franklin were in France raising money for the Revolution,
Washington told the King of France that he would leave Franklin in charge of the
negotiations because he had to return to Virginia. He is quoted as saying, "I
wouldn't miss the hemp harvest at Mount Vernon for all the tea in China". Hemp
(marijuana), which was used to make clothes and paper, was the number one cash crop of the
colonies and remained so until the invention of the cotton gin.
All in the Family Affair?
Franklin Roosevelt was related to Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and even his own
wife, Eleanor, a second cousin. Although the relationship with the Roosevelt's was an
uncomfortable situation for many people, there was stranger twist to the First Couples
marriage. For 30 plus years, from 1932 on, Eleanor Roosevelt had an affair with another
woman, Associated Press reporter Lenora Hickok. Eleanor wrote well over 2,300 passionate
love letters to Hicky which Hicky saved on the condition that they not be published until
10 years after Eleanor's death.
More 4th of July Festivities: