Know Your Presidents

Know Your Presidents

Know Your Presidents

In honor of Electrion Day 2012, a quiz on U.S. leaders from the past

by Tom Graham


If you’re sick of hearing about shifting policies, moving forward or backward and 5-point plans, you are not alone. It’s a political jungle out there and we’re about to enter the final stretch of campaign pleas and promises. This presidential election looks like it’s going to be an old-fashioned photo finish between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, and the fire storm of political ads and rhetoric is working itself toward a massive November crescendo.
Hanging in the balance of the election are many serious issues regarding the economy, unemployment, national security, health care and the military, just to name a few. We thought we’d give you a break from party platforms and pre-rehearsed speeches, and test you on your knowledge of presidents past. From quirks, births, deaths and duels, to pants, sheep, beards and schools — let’s find out: how well you know your presidents?

1. Who was the first president to wear pants?

2. Who was the first president to shake hands with guests?

3. Barack Obama is our 44th president, but there have only been 43 presidents. How the hell is this possible?

4. What college has the most presidents (seven) as alumni?

5. The oldest president inaugurated was Reagan (age 69), but who was the youngest man to become President?

6. Lincoln was the tallest president at 6’4”; at 5’4”, who was the shortest?

7. Eight presidents died in office. How many were assassinated?

8. Who was the only president elected unanimously?

9. Who was the first son of a president to become a president?

10. Which president was wounded in a duel at the age of 39 and lived with the bullet lodged in his chest for years?

11. Who was the first president born in the United States of America?

12. This president kept sheep to trim the White House lawn.

13. This president was the first to die in office after serving only 30 days.

14. This president installed the first bathtub and kitchen stove in the White House and refused an honorary degree from Oxford University (written in Latin), saying a person shouldn’t accept a degree he couldn’t read?

15. Which president gave his inaugural address from memory, without the aid of notes?

16. Which president was the first president to wear a beard?

17. While president, he was arrested for driving his horse too fast and was fined.

18. This president called his official portrait painting “the ugliest thing he ever saw”?

19. Who installed the first telephone into the White House?

20. Who was the first left-handed president and the last of seven presidents born in a log cabin?

21. Who dedicated the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886?

22. Which president lost the sight in one eye while boxing in the White House?

23. He was the first president to travel outside the U.S.

24. Weighing in well over 300, who got stuck in the White House bathtub the first time he used it?

25. This president was the first newspaper publisher to be elected president.

26. This president was sworn into office by his father.

27. Who was the first president to donate his salary to charity?

28. Who was the first president to appear on television?

29. Who was the first president to have been divorced?

30. This president’s middle initial is not an abbreviation and has no significance.


ANSWERS: 1. James Madison. Earlier presidents wore knee breeches. 2. Thomas Jefferson. Previously people bowed to presidents. 3. Grover Cleveland was elected for two nonconsecutive terms and is counted twice, as our 22nd and 24th president. 4. Harvard. 5. Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when he succeeded McKinley, who had been assassinated. 6. James Madison. 7. Four. Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy. 8. George Washington. 9. John Quincy Adams. 10. Andrew Jackson. 11. Martin Van Buren. 12. Woodrow Wilson. 13. William Henry Harrison died of phenomena. 14. Millard Fillmore. 15. Franklin Pierce. 16. Abraham Lincoln. 17. Ulysses Simpson Grant. 18. Lyndon Baines Johnson 19. Alexander Graham Bell (trick question!). 20. James Abram Garfield. 21. Grover Cleveland. 22. Theodore Roosevelt. 23. Theodore Roosevelt traveled to Panama. 24. William Howard Taft. 25. Warren Gamaliel Harding. 26. Calvin Coolidge. 27. Herbert Clark Hoover. 28. Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  29. Ronald Wilson Reagan. 30. Harry S. Truman.

Did you know?

  • Vice presidents were originally the presidential candidates receiving the second-largest number of electoral votes.
  • For two years, the nation was run by a president and a vice president who were not elected by the people. After Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in 1973, President Nixon appointed Gerald Ford as vice president. Nixon resigned the following year, which left Ford as president, and Ford’s appointed vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, as vice president.
  • Presidents Adams, Jefferson, and Monroe all died on the 4th of July.
  • At various times, George Washington wore dentures made of human teeth, animal teeth, ivory or even lead — never wood.


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